China is the world's most populous country with a population of over 1.3 billion. Arguably the only nation with a written record of its lengthy history, it boasts a glorious past and many centuries among the most civilised nations on earth.
China’s origins date back over 5,000 years, when different ethnic groups living in the country’s areas merged and absorbed with each other to form the Chinese ancestors. Notable among them was legendary Emperor Huang (Huangdi), who emerged as the strongest force. After defeating all rivals during a series of battles, he established the first united country and has since been regarded as the founder of the Chinese nation.
Then began the mammoth period of dynasties, with new emperors replacing the old ones, either through 'recommendation' or by force. This cycle was brought to an end in 1911, when the last dynasty, Manchurian Qing, was overthrown and the Republic of China was formed. A new chapter was opened in 1949, when the current People's Republic of China was founded.
Ancient China had produced numerous world-known philosophers and educators such as Confucius, Laotse and Mencius, all of whose influence is still felt today. And the ancestors were second to none in terms of inventions, having formulated paper, gun-powder, the compass and printing.
Not surprisingly, China's abundant historical legacies have helped establish the country as a hugely popular tourist destination. World-renowned attractions include the Great Wall, which can been seen from space, the Forbidden City which served as the palace to China's last two dynasties, and the terra-cotta warriors in Xi'an, an enormous pottery army built in Qin Dynasty of 2,000 years ago and unearthed during the 1970s.
Geographically, its vast surface area of over 9600,000 km provides unique characteristics. Reaching the sea in the East, China borders with Central Asia in the west while its Tibetan Plateau is known as ‘the Roof of the World’, with Mount Everest, 8,849 metres tall, topping all. Northern China has a largely temperate continental climate with four distinct seasons, while conditions are considerably warmer in the country's south. Places of its southern tips are of tropical monsoon climate.
Having lagged behind the world for nearly a century, both economically and scientifically, China has embarked on rebuilding campaign since 1949. The rejuvenating process has picked up pace over the past three decades, and the country is now established as the world's second-largest economy.
Chinese Football History
One of the significant inventions by the ancient Chinese was Cu Ju, a football-like game that originated in Linzi, Shandong, over 2,000 years ago. While Britain can claim to be the birthplace of modern football, China boasts evidence of the game in its earliest form.
Despite this proud history, China has a modest record in major competitions. Indeed, its national team has reached the FIFA World Cup™ just once, at Korea/Japan 2002, while at the junior level they have twice represented Asia at the Men's Olympic Football Tournament. China have also reached the AFC Asian Cup final on two occasions, in 1988 and 2004, narrowly losing out to Saudi Arabia and Japan respectively on each occasion.
The nation’s record in the women's game is much more encouraging. The women's national team, affectionately nicknamed the Steel Roses, won Olympic silver at Atlanta 1996, before again finishing in second place at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup USA. But recent years have seen a notable decline as China failed to qualify for global tournaments for the first time, missing out on both Germany 2011 and London 2012.
China launched its professional league in 1994 and, capitalising on the country’s economic growth, the Chinese Super League has attracted big names from across the globe. Former Chelsea duo Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba spent last season with Shanghai Shenhua, while the man at the helm of Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande is none other than FIFA World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi.
China also boasts massive experience of organising global sports events. Having successfully staged two FIFA Women's World Cups in 1991 and 2007, the nation earned the world's applause for its brilliant organisation and hospitality during the Olympic Games of Beijing 2008. With the Youth Olympic Games' second edition kicking off next year, the Chinese hosts are again optimistic of showcasing their top-qualify facilities, organizational abilities and passion for football and sport in front of the watching world.