China, or the People's Republic of China, a country in eastern Asia. It is sometimes called Communist China or Mainland China to distinguish it from the Republic of China, or Nationalist China, situated on the offshore island of Taiwan. Both governments claim to be the rightful rulers of all China, but the Communists have been in firm control of the mainland since 1949 and since 1971 have been recognized by the United Nations as the legal rulers.
The name China, like the earlier name Cathay, is European in origin and is unknown to most Chinese. For thousands of years they have called their country Zhongguo, which means Middle Kingdom. The name reflects the traditional Chinese belief that China is the geographic and cultural center of the world, with all other nations on the periphery.China is a large country in eastern Asia.