Population 1.35 billion President: Xi Jinping In 1949, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) came into power after defeating the nationalist opposition, which withdrew to Taiwan. Mainland China operated under the authoritarian socialism of founder Mao Zedong, until the country shifted its economic policies to adopt a capitalist market economy. However, the economic sea change has not translated to the political sphere, which is still dominated by communist ideology. Xi Jinping became president in 2012, and is seen to be detracting from collectivism. However, he still rejects Western democracy, and clamps down on any criticism of the party.