The terrain of western China is rugged and elevated, with the Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separating China from South and Central Asia. The world's apex, Mt. Everest (8,848 m), lies on the China-Nepal border, while the world's second-highest point, K2 (8,611 m), is situated on China's border with Pakistan.
The People's Republic of China is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party of China. It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four directly controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (SARs), Hong Kong and Macau. Its capital city is Beijing. The PRC also claims the island of Taiwan, which is controlled by the government of the Republic of China, as its 23rd province, a claim controversial due to the complex political status of Taiwan and the unresolved Chinese Civil War.
China has become the world's fastest-growing major economy, and the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. It is the world's second-largest economy, after the United States, by both nominal GDP and purchasing power parity (PPP). On per capita terms, China ranked 90th by nominal GDP and 91st by GDP (PPP) in 2011, according to the IMF. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army, with the second-largest defense budget.