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China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a unitary sovereign state in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.381 billion. Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometres (3.7 million square miles), including the disputed area of Aksai Chin that it currently occupies, it is the world's second-largest state by land area and third- or fourth-largest by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, it exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing) and the Special Administrative Regions Hong Kong and Macau, also claiming sovereignty over Taiwan. China is a great power and a major regional power within Asia, and has been characterized as a potential superpower.
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