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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 emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain.
The 13th century brought the Mongol conquest of China.
In 1271, the Mongol leader Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty; the Yuan conquered the last remnant of the Song dynasty in 1279.
Since then, China has expanded, fractured, and re-unified numerous times.
Before the Mongol invasion, the population of Song China was 120 million citizens; this was reduced to 60 million by the time of the census in 1300.
A peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Yuan in 1368 and founded the Ming dynasty as the Hongwu Emperor.
At its end, Wei was swiftly overthrown by the Jin dynasty.
The Jin fell to civil war upon the ascension of a developmentally-disabled emperor; the Five Barbarians then invaded and ruled northern China as the Sixteen States.