Travel in China – A Brief Introduction to China
2010/11/24

A Brief Introduction to China

Situated in eastern Asia,and on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean, the People’s Republic of China covers a land area of 9.6 million square kilometers, with an inland and coastal water area of more than 4.7 million square kilometers and an eastern and southern continental coastline extending for about 18,000 kilometers. Its vast maritime territory is studded with 7,600 islands, of which Taiwan is the largest with an area of 35,798 square kilometers. China shares common borders with 14 countries and is adjacent to 8 nations on the ocean. There are 4 municipalities directly under central government administration, 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions and 2 special administrative regions. The capital city is Beijing.

Name: The People’s Republic of China, commonly known as China Capital: Beijing

Population: 1.3 Billion (2005)

Land Area: Approximately 9.6 million square kilometers

Geographic Location: In eastern Asia and on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean

NationalFlag: On September 27, 1949, the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference adopted a resolution establishing the national flag of the People's Republic of China as a red flag with five stars. The flag is red in color, which symbolizes revolution, and rectangular in shape with the proportion between the length and height being 3 to 2. The five five-pointed yellow stars are located in the upper left corner, one of them, which is larger, appears on the left, while the other four hem it in on the right. This represents the great unity of the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC.

National Anthem: On September 27, 1949, the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference adopted the resolution that the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China be “March of the Volunteers”.

National Emblem: On June 23, 1950, the second session of the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference adopted the design for the national emblem of the People’s Republic of China. The National Emblem of the People's Republic of China, “shall comprise the design of Tian' anmen in its centre illuminated by five stars and encircled by ears of grain and a cogwheel, which symbolizes the New Democratic Revolution of China since the May 4 Movement (1919) and the birth of the People’s Republic of China under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants."

Ethnic Groups: There are 56 ethnic groups in China, among which the Han people account for 92% of the total population while the other 55 ethnic groups 8%. In addition to the Han, the other ethnic groups are: Zhuang, Hui, Uyghurs, Yi, Miao, Manchu, Tibetan, Mongols, Tujia, Buyei, Korean, Dong, Yao, Bai, Hani, Kazakh, Dai, Li, Lisu, Va, She, Lahu, Sui, Dongxiang, Nakhi, Kyrgyz, Tu, Qiang, Daur, Jingpo, Mulao, Xibe, Salar, Blang, Gelao, Maonan, Tajik, Pumi, Nu, Achang, Ewenki, Uzbeks, De’ang, Jing, Jino, Yugur, Bonan, Russian, Monba, Derung, Oroqen, Tatars, Lhoba, Gaoshan, and Hezhen.

Languages and characters: Fifty-three ethnic groups speak their own distinct languages and 23 ethnic groups have their own writing scripts.

Religions: Religions represented in China include Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism and other Christian groups. People are free to pursue any religion.

Major Holidays: National Day: October 1; International Labor Day: May 1; New Year’s Day: January 1; Spring Festival: January 1 of the lunar calendar - this is the biggest festival in China.

Currency: RMB ¥

Time Difference: 8 hours earlier than GMT

Climate: Eastern Asia monsoon climate.

Natural Profile: The People’s Republic of China, with a land area of 9.6 million square kilometers and a water area of about 4.73 million square kilometers, is the biggest country in Asia and the third largest country in the world. The topography descends toward sea level from west to east and gives rise to a variety of landforms. Mt. Everest in the Himalayan mountain range and lying on the southeast edge of China at 8,848 meters above sea level, is the world’s highest peak. The Yangtze and Yellow rivers, 6,300 kilometers and 5,464 kilometers long respectively, are the most important rivers in China and the Jinghang Canal, which stretches for 1,794 kilometers, is one of the longest artificial canals in the world. Qinghai Lake has an area of 4,583 square kilometers and is the largest inland salt water lake in China while Poyang Lake has an area of 3,583 square kilometers and is China’s largest freshwater lake. China experiences a complex and varied climate. Most parts of the country lie in the northern temperature zone and subtropical zone and belong to the eastern Asia monsoon climatic area. In winter, the climate is cold and dry and the temperature difference between the south and the north can be forty degrees centigrade, while in summer temperatures are high, it is the rainy season and temperature differences are small. However precipitation varies from 1,500 mm in the southeast to less than 50 mm in the northwest. The extremely high mountainous regions have constantly cold weather and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has a unique plateau climate, with a variety of mineral elements and abundant water resources.

History: China, with a recorded history of more than 5,000 years, is one of the four ancient civilizations. From the time of the founding of Xia dynasty in the 21st century BC to the late Spring and Autumn period, with the Shang and Western Zhou dynasties in between, society was slavery based. From the time of the Warring States period of 475 BC to the early period of the Qing dynasty, with Qin, Western Han, Eastern Han, Three Kingdom, Western Jin, Eastern Jin, Southern and Northern dynasties, Sui, Tang, Five dynasties, Song, Liao, Jin, Yuan, and Ming in between, society was feudal. After the Opium War in 1840, China gradually turned into a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society as a result of imperialist invasion. In 1911, the 1911 Revolution, led by Sun Yat-sen, ended the monarchy and on October 1, 1949, the CPC, under the leadership of Mao Zedong, led the masses and established the People’s Republic of China.

Economy: China has a relatively mature industrial system, with established commercial categories and products. Agriculture holds an important place in the economy and the output of grains, cotton, sugar, oil, tea and other agricultural products is among the highest in the world. China’s handcrafts industry is also world famous for its sophistication and skill. China has now built a traffic and transport network with railways, highways, waterways and airlines as the main contributors to this infrastructure. The GDP reached RMB 8.9404 billion at the end of 2000.

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