China was the birthplace of some of the earliest civilisations known to us today. For thousands of years, it expanded, conquered, fractured and reunited under a long line of dynasties, until it became a republic in 1912 and was eventually taken over by the communist party in 1949. Today China is the world’s most populous country, with close to 1.5 billion inhabitants, and one of the fastest-growing economies on earth. This combination of a long history full of rich tradition with a drive to expand and modernise makes China a fascinating, almost indefinable country. Luckily our photographers stay true to the old saying that a picture says more than a thousand words, so we have collated our best photos of China to tell you the story instead.