The mainland of China in East Asia covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometers and is bordered on the east by a seacoast more than 18,000 kilometers in length. Taiwan and Hainan are the largest of the 5,000-plus islands on the country’s vase territorial seas.
China’s landmass consists of a turmoil of escarpments, which descend eastward towards the seas. Its rivers, including the world-renowned Yangtze and Yellow rivers, have a total length of 220,000 kilometers. Its picturesque landscape is glorified by towering mountain ranges, vase plateaus and plains, and a myriad of basins and hills. Mountains and highlands make up 65 percent of the mainland, which is studded with 2,000-odd natural lakes of varying sizes. Mount Qomolangma, soaring to an unbelievable height of 8,848 meters, is the world�s highest mountain, whereas the Turpan Basin sinks 154 meters below sea level.
China is a continental monsoon climate. Its territory spans 50 latitudinous degrees, and most of it is in the temperate zone, with only a small part extending south into the tropical and subtropical zones and its northernmost tip close to the frigid zone. The climate varies from place to place throughout the country.
China leads the world in the verified deposits of a good variety of mineral resources. No country is teeming with as much wildlife as China.
The giant panda, snub-nosed golden monkey, and the Yangtze alligator can be found only in China. For good reasons, the giant panda is cherished as a national treasure. China is also home to such rare trees as metasequoia (Metasequoia glyptostrobodies) and gingko, known as “living fossils” for their paleobotanical value. More than 700 nature reserves have been established to protect the country’s precious and endangered fauna and flora from extinction.
China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations with a chronicled history of more than 5,000 years. In 221 BC, Qinshihuang established the Qin Dynasty, the first feudal autocracy in the Chinese history, thereby unveiling a 2,000-year period of feudalism which was to last through a succession of dynasties such as the Han, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing, a period which did decline until the Opium War of 1840 and which finally met its demise in the bourgeois democratic Revolution of 1911 by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. October 1, 1949 saw the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
As the world’s most populous nation, China has a population of over 1.2 billion, or 22 percent of the global total.
China is home to 56 ethnic peoples, including Hans, Manchus, Mongols, Tibetans, and Uygurs, with the Hans making up 92 percent of the nation’s total population. All the ethnic peoples are equal regardless of the size of their populations.
China is a multi-religious country. Taoism, Buddhism, Islamism, Christianity and Catholicism have all found a following in this country. Freedom of religious belief is a government policy, and the Constitution protects all normal religious activities.
Chinese is the universal language in China; it is also one of the five working languages designated by the United Nations. Most of the 55 ethnic minorities, however, have their own written and spoken languages.
China today consists of four municipalities, 23 provinces, five autonomous religions, and one special administrative region.
Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China.