Antique yet up-to-the-minute, familiar yet unrecognizable, outwardly urban but quintessentially rural, conservative yet path-breaking, space-age but old-fashioned, China is a land of mesmerizing and eye-opening contradictions. The People's Republic of China was proclaimed in 1949. Since then, it's been commanded by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). China is the most populous country in the world. One fifth of the world's population is Chinese ! It is also the third largest country on the planet, after Russia and Canada.