China, officially the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is a unitary sovereign state in East Asia. It is one of “the Four Ancient Civilizations” with its oldest and unique culture. Also it is the third biggest country by territory and the most populous country in the world. What’s more, China is one of the world’s largest tourist countries with its richest cultural heritage and natural & cultural attractions for tourists to discover and explore.
Basic Facts of China
- Full Name: The People’s Republic of China
- Chinese Name: 中华人民共和国; 中国 Zhōngguó /jong-gwor/
- Area: 9,600,000 square kilometers
- Population: 1.383 billion (2016)
- Capital City: Beijing
- National Day: October 1
- National Flag: Five-star red flag; Length : Width = 3:2
- National Anthem: March of the Volunteers
- Location: In the east of Asia, on the western bank of the Pacific Ocean
- Territorial Seas: the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea
- Calling code: 0086
- Time Zone: UTC+8
- Currency: Renmibin (RMB) yuan
Administrative Divisions of China
There are 34 administration unites in China, including 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities directly under the central government and 2 special administrative regions.
- 23 Provinces: Hebei(河北), Shanxi(山西), Liaoning(辽宁), Jiiin(吉林), Heilongjiang(黑龙江), Shaanxi(陕西), Gansu(甘肃), Qinghai(青海), Shandong(山东), Jiangsu(江苏), Zhejiang(浙江), Anhui(安徽), Jiangxi(江西), Fujian(福建), Taiwan(台湾), Henan(河南), Hubei(湖北), Hunan(湖南), Guangdong(广东), Sichuan(四川), Guizhou(贵州), Yunnan(云南), Hainan(海南)
- 5 Autonomous Regions: Inner Mongolia(内蒙古), Ningxia(宁夏), Guangxi(广西), Xinjiang(新疆), Tibet(西藏)
- 4 Municipalities: Beijing(北京), Tianjin(天津), Shanghai(上海), Chongqing(重庆)
- 2 Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong(香港) and Macau(澳门)
Location of China
Located in the east of Asia and on the western bank of the Pacific Ocean, China covers an area of 9.6 million square kilometers. With a coastline of 18,000 kilometers, China is shaped on the map like a rooster, spanning about 62 degrees of longitude and 50 degrees of latitude. It borders 14 countries, namely Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan, Mongolia, Russia, and neighbors eight countries in marine side, including North Korea, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Geography of China
The land of China is high in the west and descends to the east coast in a tiered shape with great physical diversity. The west and north of the country are dominated by Tibetan Plateau, Gobi and the Taklamakan. The southern areas of the country consist of hilly and mountainous terrain. While the eastern plains and southern coasts of the country consist of fertile lowlands and foothills. The proportion of all kinds of terrain is: mountains (33.3 percent), plateaus (26 percent), basins(18.8 percent), plain(12 percent) and hills (9.9 percent).
Climate of China
The climate in China differs from region to region because of the country’s highly complex topography. The territory of China lies between latitudes 18° and 54° N, and longitudes 73° and 135° E. Its climate is mainly dominated by dry seasons and wet monsoons, which lead to pronounced temperature differences between winter and summer. The great distance difference from the sea, the different topography, terrain types and mountain ranges results in a great variety of temperature and precipitation, therefore the varied climate is formed.
With written records dating back over 4,000 years, China is recognized as one of the four great ancient civilizations of the world, together with ancient Babylonian, Mayan and Egyptian. As early as 1.7 million years ago, the earliest hominids evolved on this land. In the 21st century BC, man in China passed from primitive society to slave society , with the founding of China’s first dynasty – Xia. After the feudal society, China entered the modern history of the stage. On October 1st, 1949, the People’s Republic of China was founded and made Beijing the capital. Since then, the new China has developed rapidly and vigorously. More about China History.
The official language of China is Standard Chinese or Mandarin, which is the most common language used by Chinese people and works as one of the six official languages used by UN. Besides, there are many local dialects due to historical and geographical reasons, such as Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, and Hakka dialects.
Chinese character, belongs to pictographic writing system, which is one of the oldest character in the world and has a history of at least 4,000 years. The official written characters is Simplified Chinese.
In addition, all of the 53 ethnic groups except Hui and Man nationalities in China have their own languages, about 30 of them have their own written languages.
China is a unified multi-ethnic country consisting of 56 ethnic groups, and 91.6 percent of Chinese people are Han nationality. The other 55 non-Han ethnic groups are traditionally referred to as “ethnic minorities” due to the small population. The major groups are the Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uygur, Yi, Tujia, Mongolian, Tibetan, etc. Ethnic minorities are mainly distributed in the northwest, southwest and northeast regions. Yunnan Province is the most multi-national region where 25 ethnic minorities live harmoniously. More about Ethnic Culture in China.
China is a multi-religious country. Citizens have the freedom to choose and express their own religious faith. The government of the People’s Republic of China is officially atheist. The main religions in China are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Christianity. At the same time, China is one of the world’s most religiously developed countries, especially Buddhism, Protestantism and Taoism. The religious culture in China has the “three teachings”, including Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism (Chinese Buddhism). The general Chinese, on the basis of ancestor worship, are influenced by Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, which is called Chinese folk belief.
Usually, the full name of a Han Chinese consists of two or three Chinese characters. Some other ethnic groups also have the name of Han style. In China, family names always come before given names. Chinese people often use a title and a person’s surname to refer to somebody, such as Mr. Wang(王先生), Ms. Wang(王女士), or Miss Wang(王小姐).
There are hundreds of family names used in China.The number of Chinese family names that could be found in literature is 5,662, of which 3,484 are single surname, 2,032 are two-character surname, and 146 are three-character surname. The most common family names in China are Li, Wang, Zhang, etc. In China, married women usually retain their maiden name as their family name and their children usually adopt their husband’s surname.
Chinese people always take much count of the given names, which often convey special meaning to express the best of wishes for the new-born child, such as Fu(blessing), Kang(health), An(safeness), or the hope pf a virtue such as Li (courteous), Zhong(loyalty), Zheng(righteousness). Also some names are just given by the their birth time or season.
China is the second largest economy in the world (only after the United States) and the world’s largest industrial and agricultural country. At the same time, China has become the fastest nation of the world in economic growth rate. But per capita GNP is still in the middle of the world (No. 89) and is restricted by resource constraints and increased inequality.
World Heritage Sites
In 1985, China started to work as a state party for the International Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage. In 1999, China was elected as a member of World Heritage Committee. Since 1986, China began to apply for items of world heritage to UNESCO. As of July 2017, China has 52 world heritage sites, including 36 world cultural heritage sites, 4 world mixed cultural and natural heritage sites, and 12 world natural heritage sites. It ranks second in the world heritage list after Italy (53). Beijing, the capital of China, is the city that has the world’s largest number of heritage sites(7).