China has archaeological evidence dating back over 5,000 years. China was one of the largest and most advanced civilizations for most of the last two millenia, until the 1850s when it missed the industrial revolution. Subsequently, imperialism, wars and civil wars damaged the country and its economy up to the end of the civil war in 1949. In the 1950s, change to economic policies in the ROC transformed the country into a technology-oriented industrialized developed country. It became known as one of the Four Asian Tigers along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore. In the PRC, in the 1970s, reforms known as the Four Modernizations modernized the agriculture, industry, technology and defense, eventually making the PRC one of the major powers. China is viewed as the source of many major inventions. It has also one of the world’s oldest written language systems. Historically, China’s cultural sphere has extended across East Asia as a whole, with Chinese religion, customs, and writing systems being adopted to varying degrees by neighbors such as Japan, Korea and Vietnam. The first evidence of human presence in the region was found at the Zhoukoudian cave. It is one of the first known specimens of Homo erectus, now commonly known as the Peking Man, estimated to have lived from 300,000 to 780,000 years ago.
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