China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a sovereign state in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.35 billion. The PRC is a one-party state governed by the Communist Party, with its seat of government in the capital city of Beijing. It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces; five autonomous regions; four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing); two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau); and claims sovereignty over Taiwan.
Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers, China is the world's second-largest country by land area, and either the third or fourth-largest by total area, depending on the method of measurement. China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometres (9,000 mi) long, and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas.