Two explosions occurred in the port city of Tianjin, China; they were large enough to register as seismic events. Tianjin, China is located southeast of the capital city, Beijing. The city lies at the confluence of the Hai River and the Grand Canal.
China is only slightly smaller than the United States. Its climate is extremely diverse; it ranges from tropical in the south to subarctic in the north. China's terrain consists of mostly mountains, high plateaus, and deserts in the west; and plains, deltas, and hills in the east. Its vast natural resources include: coal, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, rare earth elements, and uranium.
For centuries China stood as a leading civilization. After World War II, the communists under Mao Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that ensured China's sovereignty while imposing strict controls. After 1978, Mao's successor Deng Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled.
For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded. Since the early 1990s, China has increased its global outreach and participation in international organizations.
CIA World Factbook; The Columbia Gazetteer, 8/2015; 8/2105