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Term: Zhonghua


Area near Peking was home to hominids 500,000 BC; Chinese civilization in S by 7000 BC; beginning in 18th cen. BC, ruled by many great dynasties including Shang, Chou, Han, T'ang, Sung, Chin, Mongol, Ming, Ch'ing & Manchu, with often-changing boundaries;official language is Mandarin Chinese, though standard Chinese, Yue, Wu, Minbei, Minnan, Xiang, Gan, Hakka & minority languages are also spoken; Pinyin is official romanized form of writing.