China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a unitary sovereign state in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.381 billion. The state is governed by the Communist Party of China and its capital is Beijing. It exercises jurisdiction over 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing) and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau). The country's major urban areas include Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Hong Kong. China is a great power and a major regional power within Asia, and has been characterized as a potential superpower.