Location

The People Republic of China is situated in eastern Asia on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean, with an area of 9.6 million square kilometers. China's continental coastline extends for about 18,000 kilometers, and its vast sea surface is studded with more than 5,000 islands, of which Taiwan and Hainan are the largest.

Land Formation and Rivers China's land drops off in escarpments eastward to the ocean, letting in humid air current and leading many rivers eastward. Among the rivers totaling 220,000 kilometers in length in China, the Changjiang (Yangtze) and the Huanghe (Yellow) are world known.

China has beautiful scenery, with mountains and ranges, highlands, plains, basins, and hills. The highlands and hill regions account for 65 percent of the country's total land mass, and there are more than 2,000 lakes. The highest mountain peak is Qomolangma (Everest), the highest in the world, 8,848 meters above sea level; the lowest point is the Turpan Basin, 154 meters below sea level.

Climate

China is characterized by a continental climate. The latitude spans nearly 50 degrees. The greater part of the Chinese territory is situated in the Temperate Zone, its southern part in the tropical and subtropical zones, and its northern part near the Frigid Zone. Temperatures differ therefore rather strikingly across the country. The northern part of Heilongjiang Province has long winters but no summers; while the Hainan Island has long summers but no winters. The Huaihe River valley is marked by distinctive seasonal changes, but it is spring all year round in the south of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. In the northwest hinterland, the temperature changes dramatically. China high tundra zone is situated in the Qinghai-Tibet, where the temperature is low in all four seasons. Some desert areas are dry all year round.

Resources

China abounds in natural resources. It leads the world in many proven mineral deposits; No country in the world boasts more wildlife than China, many of which are native to China, such as giant panda, snub-nosed golden monkey, and Chinese alligator; China's dawn redwood and Cathaya argyrophylla are known as the living fossils of ancient plants.

To protect the nation's native animals and plants, especially the endangered species, China has established more than 700 nature reserves. History China, with a recorded history of 5,000 years, is one of the world's earliest civilizations.

In the 21st century B.C., China entered slave society with the founding of the Xia Dynasty, thereby writing a finale to long years of primitive society. The Xia was followed by the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasty, Which encompassed the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods.

In 221 B.C., Qin Shihuang established China's first centralized autocracy, the Qin Dynasty, thereby ushering Chinese history into feudal-ism, which endured in a succession of dynasties, such as the Han, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing, until the Opium War of 1840.

The economy and science and technology were relatively well developed in ancient China. During the Shang Dynasty some 3,000 years ago, the Chinese had mastered the art of bronze metallurgy, and invented iron implements; Many distinguished thinkers, scientists, artists and writers came into being. The contributions to world civilization of ancient China's four inventions: papermaking, printing, powder, and the compass, as well as remarkable achievements in mathematics, medical science, astronomy, agriculture, and architecture, are universally recognized.

The Bourgeois Democratic Revolution of 1991 led by Sun Yat-sen toppled the rule of the Qing Dynasty, put an end to more than 2.000 years of feudal monarchical system and culminated in the establishment of the provisional government of the Republic of China.

The People's Republic of China was founded on October 1,1949. Today, China is implementing reform and opening-up policies, and has established socialist market economy, thereby charting the course for socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics. Population China, as the word's most populous country, has a population exceeding 1.2 billion, which makes up 22 percent of the world total. To bring population growth under control, the country has followed a family planning policy since the 1970s.

The minority people of China

Ethnic Groups China is a multiracial country with 56 ethnic groups, including Achang, Bai, Bonan, Blang, Bouyei, Korean, Daur, Dai, De'ang, Dongxiang, Derung, Oroqen, Russian, Ewenki, Gaoshan, Gelao, Hani, Kazak, Han, Hezhen, Hui, Jino, Gin, ingpo, Kirgiz, Lahu, Li, Lisu, Lhoba, Manchu, Maonan, Mongolian, Monba, Miao, Mulam, Naxi, Nu, Primi, Qiang, Salar, She, Sui, Tajik, Tatar, Tu, Tujia, Va, Uygur, Uzbek, Xibe, Yi, Yuigur, Yao, Tibetan, and Zhuang. The Han people account for 92 percent of the population. No matter how big or small the population is, all peoples share equal rights.

Religion China is a multi-religious country. Taoism, Buddhism, lslamism, Protestantism and Catholicism have all developed quite a following in this country. Freedom of belief is a government policy, and normal religious activities are protected by the constitution.

Language and Character Chinese is commonly used in modern China. It is one of the five working languages designated by the United Nations. The majority of the 55 ethnic groups have their own languages. As a written language, Chinese has been used for 6,000 years.

Family Names Chinese family names came into being some 5,000 years ago. There are more than 5,000 family names, of which 200 or 300 are popular. The order of Chinese names if family name first. For instance, the family name of a person called Zhang Side is Zhang. Administrative Units China is divided into 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities under the direct jurisdiction of the Central Government, and one special administrative region. The 23 provinces are Hebei, Shaanxi, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Shaanxi,Guangdong, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, and Hainan; The five autonomous regions are Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Xinjiang, Guangxi, and Tibet; The four municipalities are Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Chongqing; Hong Kong is the special administrative region.

The Capital

Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China. It is not only the nation's political centre, but also its cultural, scientific and educational heart and a key transportation hub. Beijing has served as a capital for more than 800 years. The city had many places of historic interest and scenic beauty, including the imperial Palace (also known as the Forbidden City), the largest and best-preserved ancient architectural complex in the world; the Temple of Heaven, where Ming and Qing emperors performed solemn rituals for bountiful harvests; the Summer Palace, the emperors' magnificent garden retreat; the Ming tombs, the stately and majestic mausoleums of 13 Ming Dynasty emperors; and the world-renowned and genuinely inspiring Badaling section of the Great Wall. Large-scale construction since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 has brought great changes to Beijing. Today's Beijing still retains the alluring fascination of an ancient capital, but has added a small forest of skyscrapers and a complete range of municipal facilities, transforming itself into an attractively modern metropolis redolent of history.

The National Flag, National Emblem and National Anthem
The national flag of the People's Republic of China is red in color, rectangular in shape, with five stars. The proportion between the length and height of the flag is three to two. The five five-pointed yellow stars are located in the upper left corner. One of them, which is bigger, appears on the left, while the other four hem it in on the right.

The red color of the flag symbolizes revolution; the stars take on the yellow color in order to bring out their brightness on the red ground. The larger star represents the CPC, while the four smaller ones, the Chinese people. The relationship between the stars means the great unity of the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC.