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China

China

Location    

China is located in the eastern part of Asia on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean, which is also in the Eastern Hemisphere and the Northern Hemisphere. 

China borders a large number of countries, including Russia, Mongolia, North Korea, Pakistan, India, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Bhutan, Myanmar and Laos. It also borders the Yellow Sea, South China Sea, East China Sea and Korea Bay. Most of the area of China is located in the middle latitude and the North Temperate Zone.

The furthest point north is Mohe City of Heilongjiang Province (53°N) and the southern end of China is marked by the south end at Zengmu Reef of Hainan Island (4°N). The east end, is the centerline of the main channel of Heilongjiang River and Wusuli River in Heilongjiang Province (135°E)

Geography   

Located in Southeast Asia along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean, China is the world’s third largest country, after Russia and Canada. With an area of 9.6 million square kilometers and a coastline of 18,000 kilometers, its shape on the map resembles a rooster. 

Mohe in Heilongjiang Province marks its northern end while Zengmu Ansha (or James Shoal) is the southern most point. Pamirs marks the western boundary and the country’s eastern border is marked by the conjunction of the Heilongjiang (Amur) River and the Wusuli (Ussuri) River, spanning about 50 degrees of latitude and 62 degrees of longitude. 

China is bordered by 14 countries: Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia. Countries that share a marine border with China include: North Korea, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Physical Features

The vast land expanses of China include plateaus, plains, basins, foothills, and mountains. Rugged plateaus, foothills, and mountains occupy nearly two-thirds of the land. This higher elevation in the West and lower in the East resembles a 4-step ladder.

The highest step of the typical ‘ladder topography’ is formed by the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, at the average altitude of over 4,000 meters. There are Kunlun Mountains, Tanggula Mountains, Gangdise-Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains, and Karakoram Mountains. Himalaya Mountain in the south rim is the highest and greatest mountain chain in the world. The highest peak in the world, Everest, at 8844.43 meters high is known as ‘the Roof of the World’.

On the second step are large basins and plateaus, most of which are at 1,000 – 2,000 meters altitude. The Great Khingan, Taihang, Wu and Xuefeng Mountains divide this step and the next lower one. Plateaus including Inner Mongolian, Loess, Yungui Plateaus, and basins such as Tarim, Junggar, and Sichuan Basins are situated here. The Turpan Depression in Xinjiang is the lowest land in China (-155 meter altitude).

The third step, abundant in broad plains, is dotted with the foothills and lower mountains, with altitudes of over 500 meters. The Northeast, the North China, and the Middle-Lower Yangtze Plains, border each other from north to south. These well-cultivated and fertile lands produce abundant crops.

Neritic region of Chinese Mainland is to the east, which is also the fourth step of the ladder. The depth of water here is no more than 200 m in general. There are 5,400 islands in Chinese sea, and Taiwan Island is the largest, with an area of 36,000 km2. Hainan Island is the second largest, with an area of 34,000 km2. Diaoyu Island and Raleigh Rock in the northeast sea of Taiwan Island are the easternmost islands of China. 

Islands, reefs and beaches on South China Sea are called the South China Sea Islands collectively, which are the southernmost islands of China. They are called as Dongsha Islands, Xisha Islands, Zhongsha Islands, and Nansha Islands according to different locations. The continental shelf in the east and south of the coastline contains abundant marine resources. 

Regional Divisions

People tend to divide China into four regions, the North, South, Northwest and the Qinghai-Tibetan areas. Because of geographical differences, residents of each region have distinctive life styles and customs.

The North and South regions are located in the Eastern monsoon area and are divided by the Qin Mountains-Huai River. Nearly 95 percent of the Chinese population lives here. The other two regions, the Northwest and Qinghai-Tibetan regions that occupy 55 percent of the land, have fewer people, although most of the ethnic groups cluster there.

Rivers and Lakes

China has numerous rivers and lakes. According to statistics, more than 50,000 rivers have drainage areas that exceed 100 square kilometers; more than 1,500 exceed 1,000 square kilometers. These rivers can also be classified as exterior and interior rivers. The Yangtze, the longest in China and even in Asia, is the third longest in the world. The Yellow River, ‘Mother River of the Chinese People’, is just behind the Yangtze in length and both flow into the Pacific Ocean. The Yarlung Zangbo River belongs to the Indian Ocean water system, and the Irtysh River flows to the Arctic Ocean.  

The areas with the most lakes are the Middle-Lower Yangtze Plain and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Many lakes in the northwest are salty. Qinghai Lake, a beautiful natural salt-water lake, is the largest. In southeast China, most lakes are fresh water; including Poyang Lake, Dongting Lake, and Taihu Lake. These lakes provide China with precious resources such as aquatic products, petroleum, natural gas, mines and renewable resources like tide power.

Mountainous Topography

China has large areas of mountainous land, about two-thirds of the country. The ranges mainly run from east to west and from northeast to southwest. Among these mountains, some seemingly scrape the sky, and others feature charming scenery. There are 50 mountains in China with an altitude of over 7,000 meters.To the east in China, lower mountains like Mt. Taishan, Mt. Huashan, and Mt. Emeishan, also display their unique beauty.

Fact Sheet

Full Name: The People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国)

State System: Socialist State

Location: East of Eurasia, Pacific West Bank

Land Area: 9,600,000 square kilometers

Capital: Beijing

National Day: October 1st

National Anthem: March of the Volunteers

Country Code: CHN

Official Language: Mandarin

Currency: Renminbi (RMB)

Time Zone: UTC+8

Political System: The System of People’s Congress

State President: Xi Jinping

Party in Power: Chinese Communist Party

Population Size: 1,354,040,000 (2012)

Number of Nationalities: 56

Major Nationality: the Han nationality

Major Religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christian

Per Capita GDP: $6170.70 U.S dollars (2012)

International Area Code: +86

Good Reputations: state of ceremonies, the nation of porcelains, the nation of silk

National Flag: the Five-Starred Red Flag

National Emblem: Tian’anmen (the Gate of Heavenly Peace) under five stars, encircled 

by ears of grain, with a gear wheel below.

National Animal: Giant Pandas

The Largest Island: Taiwan Island

Neighboring Countries: Korea, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, 

Afghanistan, Pakistan, Laos, Burma, Vietnam, Nepal, India

Climate: monsoon characteristics, obvious continental climate, various climate types

Municipalities Directly Under the Central Government: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing

Autonomous Regions: Inner Mongolia, Ningxia Hui, Xinjiang Uygur, Tibet, Guangxi Zhuang

Special Administrative Region: Hong Kong, Macao

Traditional Festivals: Spring Festival, New Year’s Day, Lantern Festival, National Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Tomb-Sweeping Festival

History   

China, with a recorded history of 5,000 years, was one of the world’s earliest civilizations. China was one of the countries where economic activity first developed. As early as 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, people in the Yellow River valley had already started farming and raising livestock. In the 21st century B.C., China established a slave society with the founding of the Xia Dynasty, thereby writing a finale to long years of primitive society.

In 221 B.C., Qin Shihuang established China’s first centralized autocracy, the Qin Dynasty, thereby ushering Chinese history into feudalism, which endured in a succession of dynasties until the Opium War of 1840.

The Bourgeois Democratic Revolution of 1911 led by Sun Yat-sen toppled the rule of the Qing Dynasty, putting an end to more than 2,000 years of feudal monarchical system.

The People’s Republic of China was founded on October 1st, 1949. Today, China is implementing reform and open polices, and has established a socialist market economy.

Transportation  

Due to its large size, transportation is of particular importance in China. The country currently has a comprehensive system of modern transportation, which includes civil aviation, railway, road traffic, and water transportation. Modern modes of transportation such as express highways, electrified railroads, metros, light railways, and maglev railways are common, especially in larger cities.  

The Train Network

Rail travel remains the most popular form of transportation in China, thanks to the government-led effort to connect the country by expressways via the “National Trunk Highway System.” This program expanded the rail network to about 60,273 miles by the end of 2012, which made China’s rail network the longest expressway network in the world. China’s railways carry more than 900 billion passengers every year, the highest volume in the world. 

Travel by rail is an enjoyable, relaxing, and inexpensive way to see China’s countryside. New or modernized equipment has replaced the old train systems in most areas. Travelers who lack the time to cover vast distances by train can still experience a taste of rail travel by journeying on popular short-distance routes from Shanghai to the nearby cities of Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, or Hangzhou; or from Beijing to Tianjin. 

Amenities have been added to first-class train travel (known as “soft seats”) including comfortable waiting lounges at some train stations. Travelers should note that the trains in China are consistently punctual so showing up on time at the station is important.

Metro

The larger cities have metro systems in operation, under construction, or in the planning stage. This rapid underground transit is well suited to the size and complexity of China’s big cities and is unchallenged in its ability to transport large amounts of people at high frequency. The metro systems are designed to help passengers cover short distances quickly and connect districts to one another. 

Shanghai Metro, which opened in 1995, is the longest metro system in the world and tickets are sold by employees or by automatic machines. Cities that have a metro system include: Beijing, Changchun, Chongqing, Dalian, Foshan, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Kunming, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Tianjin, Wuhan and Xi’an.

Highways

More than 4,237,750 km of road has been built in China and when road access was made available to Motuo County of Tibet on October 31, 2013, most of the country could access the highways. It is easy to travel around the country and explore the metropolitan areas of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong quickly and inexpensively. 

Traffic varies from region to region, but can be light on some highways. If you do not feel like driving, metered taxis are available at all hotels and shopping districts, and will stop for signaling travelers. Travelers may find it convenient to hire a taxi for a whole or half day, but be sure to agree on a price first. Some taxi drivers speak English, but most do not, so be sure to bring written directions and a map to show your driver where you want to go.

Air

China National Aviation Holding Company has regular international flights heading for 121 cities in 52 countries. Overseas tourists can take more than 380 international flights to reach cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming, Xiamen, Dalian, Xi’an, Urumchi, Harbin, Kong Hong, Macau and other destinations.

Passengers flying from the United States to China via Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, or other international carriers, may book flights within China as part of their trans-Pacific ticket. Domestic flight reservations in China can be easily arranged through most hotels’ travel desks or at one of the new travel agency services. Some routes are heavily trafficked, so it is wise to book as far in advance as possible. All flights are non-smoking.

Airports

An opinion poll led by the International Airport Board in the year 2011 found that the five best airports in the world are situated in Asia Pacific. More than 300,000 passengers were surveyed in 153 airports worldwide. The international airports of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong were among the top 5 best airports.

Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) has the greatest flow of passengers annually, followed by Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG). Other major airports are located at Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Harbin, Hohhot, Kunming, Qingdao, Shenyang, Tianjin, Urumqi, Xiamen, and Xi’an.

Waterways

As far as inland shipping is concerned, the Pearl River and the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River are the busiest routes. There are also active routes along the Hebei, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang Provinces – which are situated along the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Ports in Dalian, Qinhuangdao, Tianjin, Qingdao, Lianyungang, Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Huangpu, Zhanjiang, Haikou, and Hong Kong are major seaports in China.

Information Courtesy Of China Tourism

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