The Chinese civilization are one of the East Asian civilizations in Age of Empires II along with the Japanese, Mongols, and in The Conquerors expansion, the Koreans. The Chinese are based on the Tang and Song dynasties of medieval China which were best known for their unprecedented technological innovations and highly populated cities that can accommodate millions of people by the 1200s, with the largest being Hangzhou. To reflect this achievement and for being one of the civilizations that suffered the least during the Dark Ages, they start with extra villagers and their Town Centers support a higher population. Although they have fewer resources to compensate, allied farms produce extra food (which reflects on the importance of rice agriculture in China). The unique unit of the Chinese is the Chu Ko Nu, a foot archer wielding the eponymous semi-automatic crossbow invented by the Chinese that would load a new bolt simultaneously as soon as the last one was fired. Chu Ko Nu fire multiple arrows at once and, if employed en masse, they can wreak havoc on infantry and even cavalry.
Due to game balance reasons, the Chinese lack access to many of the technologies they invented, such as the Hand Cannoneer, Bombard Cannon, and Block Printing (the earliest record of a written formula for gunpowder appears in the 11th century Song dynasty text, Wujing Zongyao, the Heilongjiang Hand Cannon is widely considered the earlier surviving firearm, and the Block Printing technology in Age of Empires II even tributes the Chinese by name). These missing technologies can be a major flaw in late game, as they lack the a hard-counter vs infantry (Hand Cannoneer), vs onagers (Bombard Cannon), and the crucial monk range upgrade (Block Printing). Their unique technology, Rocketry, do reflect their advanced gunpowder technology and boost their Chu Ko Nu and Heavy Scorpion (adding +2 and +4 attack respectively) to offer some limited compensation. The Chinese have a long history of using Demolition Ships in naval battles, and as such their Demolition Ships have 50% more health which allows them to reach their targets easier. Finally, the Chinese research all technologies more cheaply than any other civilization due to being the one of the most advanced civilizations on Earth during the time frame of Age of Empires II.
The Chinese have strong economic bonus. Chinese players on Random Maps start with six villagers instead of the usual three at the cost of having less starting resources, and their Town Centers supports ten units, which enables quicker expansion. After The Forgotten expansion, Chinese town centers also have more line-of-sight, giving them more guarantee to locate their sheep from the start (which is crucial since the Chinese starts with no food in a default game). They also have cheaper technologies - every technology's cost is decreased as they advance in age. Chinese Demolition Ships also have extra hitpoints. The Chinese unique unit is the Chu Ko Nu, which is a Crossbowman that fires three arrows in succession, but at a shorter range in comparison to normal Archers.
Unique Unit: Chu Ko Nu (foot archer that fires multiple arrows)
Unique Technologies: Rocketry (increased pierce attack for Chu Ko Nu and Scorpions), Great Wall(increases Walls' and Towers' HP)
Counting the Shang, the Chinese are the only culture to appear in all four titles of the Age of Empires Series, including their respective expansion packs.
Despite being one of the first civilizations to see widespread adaptation of 3-field crop rotation, the Chinese also do not receive the Crop Rotation technology.
The Chinese were most famous for their advanced fortification techniques, heavily walled cities (which aided Chinese defenders as late as World War II), and excellent siege engineers. Chinese siege engineers were instrumental to the rapid Mongol conquest of Persia and Russia, yet ironically the Mongols have a better siege line than the Chinese, who do not even receive Siege Engineers.