China covers a vast area of eastern Asia and is home to one-fifth of the world's total population. It has a history of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, with dynasties stretching back to the 3rd century BC. Its landscapes include almost every type to be found on earth including mountains and high plateaux, deserts, forests and vast river plains, and it has abundant natural resources. Since the death of the Communist leader Mao Zedong in 1976, and the start of economic reforms two years later, China has experienced rapid change. Today, China has one of the world's largest economies. Yet despite this economic boom, millions of people in China continue to live in poverty, and the Chinese government struggles to provide adequate services for all of its vast population. At the start of the twenty-first century, China may be set to become a world superpower, but issues such as urbanization and food production remain major challenges for the future.
Ali is a former teacher of humanities and education officer for Oxfam. She has written a number of books for young people as well as course material for teachers.