- Full Name: The People’s Republic of China
- Common name: China
- Origin of name: probably from First Emperor Qin (pronounced "chin") and the Qin Dynasty, when China was first united.
- Chinese name: 中国 Zhōngguó /jong-gwor/
- Meaning: ‘Middle Country’
- Currently the most interesting country on the planet
- The third most visited country in the world for tourism, despite its separation from most high-disposable-income countries.
- The world’s largest population and third largest area.
- One of the longest national histories in the world: 3,000 years of documented history.
- The world’s fastest growing economy for the last 30 years (10% or more per year). See China's Top Large Cities.
- Fastest urbanization: 300 million people have moved from rural areas to cities in the last 30 years, and the same is predicted for the next 30 years. See Developing China.
- Most construction: Half of the world’s concrete and a third of the world’s steel is used annually in China.
- Greatest altitude difference: 9,002m (29,534 ft) — Mount Everest8,848m (29,029 ft) to the Turpan Depression -154m (-505 ft) — the world’s highest point and world’s third lowest.
- Greatest range of climate: below -40°C in the north to above 40°C in the south, from a few mm of rainfall (less than an inch) in the Taklamakan Desert in the Northwest to over 3 meters (10 feet) in a year in the Southeast.
- Greatest range of landscapes: the only country to have desert and rainforest, a high altitude plateau with towering mountains and deep depressions, karst and Danxia crags, and sandy tropical beaches.
- Includes the most inland point, furthest from any sea, near Urumqi in Xinjiang Province.
... and Culturally
- Greatest range of native food styles and ingredients on the planet: from very bland to very spicy, sweet to sour, dry to soup-based, with just about every edible plant animal and organism served somewhere.
- Origin of the only surviving pictographic writing system, and the world’s most-spoken and most-difficult-to-learn first language.
- A huge depth of culture developed in a long and relatively isolated history: Confucianism and other philosophy, Taoism, tea culture, martial arts, poetry, calligraphy, the imperial legacy, traditional dress and minority traditions, ancestor worship, the animal zodiac, etc.
- Widest variety of commonly held belief systems on the planet: from capitalist to communist to spiritual, from atheist to ancestor worship to Buddhist to Muslim to Christian.
- Main attractions: The Great Wall, The Terracotta Army, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, The Scenery of Guilin, The Yangtze River, The Yellow Mountains, Tibet, Shanghai and Hong Kong Cityscapes, Pandas, Sanya Beaches.
- Most famous foods: Peking duck, sweet and sour pork, kungpao chicken, ma po tofu, wonton soup, dumplings, spring rolls, chow mien.
- Most popular souvenirs and local products: tea, Chinese painting, calligraphy and seals, Chinese knots, paper-cuts, cloisonné, jade, embroidery and silk。
- China Highlights: top scenic cities, most famous cities, top historical cities and most beautiful places.
About 3,000 years of recorded history, with traditional accounts of prior dynasties.
- 770–221 BC: Rival states grow in strength and battle for control.
- 221 BC China united by First Emperor Qin
- 206–220 AD the Han Dynasty takes over giving its name to the Chinese majority.
- 618-907: the Tang Dynasty — China influenced the west through the ancient Silk Road
- 1271–1368: the Yuan Dynasty — China’s first foreign dynasty (of Mongol origin)
- 1368–1644: the Ming Dynasty — Most of the Great Wall that we see today was constructed
- 1644–1911: the Qing Dynasty — China’s second foreign dynasty (of Manchu origin) and last dynasty
- 1912–1949: the Republic of China years — internal struggle for power
- October 1, 1949 People’s Republic of China inaugurated by Mao Zedong
- 1978: Deng Xiaoping begins China’s opening up reforms leading to rapid economic growth.
- Most international borders (14): Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and North Korea
- Area: 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 square miles)
- Population: 1.3 billion
- Capital: Beijing
- Largest City: Shanghai (Municipality pop. 23,000,000)
- Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (including Taiwan), 5 Autonomous Regions, 4 Municipalities, and 2 Special Administrative Regions
- Terrain: 33% mountains, 26% high plateaus, 19% basins and deserts, 12% plains regions, 10% hills.
- Climate: Generally speaking, the north of China is much colder and drier than the south, and the west of China is generally drier than the east. Read about the best time to visit China.
North to South
- Most northerly point: 53.6°N Heilongjiang Province
- Most southerly mainland point: 20.3°N Guangdong Province
- Most southerly point in a province: 18.2°N Hainan Island
- North to south extent (mainland): 3,700 km (2,300 mi)
- North to south extent (including Hainan): 3,900 km (2,400 mi)
East to West
- Most easterly point: 134.7°E Heilongjiang Province
- Most westerly point: 73.5°E Xinjiang Autonomous Region
- West to east extent: 5,000 km (3,100 mi)
- “The Factory of the World”
- World’s second largest economy: 5.7 trillion USD (2010)
- GDP per capita: 4,300 USD
- Development: fastest in world history at 10%+ for the last 30 years
- Industry: World’s largest producer of: concrete, steel, fertilizer, clothing and toys.
- Beijing Capital International Airport is the second busiest airport in the world and busiest in Asia.
- Several major international airports, including: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong
- Some of the world’s largest ports: Shanghai (greatest cargo tonnage since 2005), Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Ningbo, Qingdao, and Tianjin.
- Rapidly developing infrastructure including the new wave of intercity high-speed trains and city metros.
- Biggest migration in the world at Spring Festival. See more Spring Festival Facts.
The Peoples of China
56 ethnic groups (officially): Han (1,226M in 2010), Zhuang (16M), Manchu (11M), Hui (10M), Miao (9M), Uyghur (8M), Tujia (8M), Yi (8M), Mongol (6M), Tibetan (5M), Buyei (3M), Dong (3M), Yao (3M), Korean (2M), Bai (2M), Hani (1M), Kazakh (1M), Li (1M), Dai (1M), She (<1M), Lisu, Gelao, Dongxiang, Gaoshan, Lahu, Sui, Va, Nakhi, Qiang, Tu, Mulao, Xibe, Kyrgyz, Daur, Jingpo, Maonan, Salar, Blang, Tajik, Achang, Pumi, Ewinki, Nu, Gin, Jino, De’ang, Bonan, Russian, Yugur, Uzbeks, Monbar, Oroqen, Derung, Tatars, Hezhen, and Lhoba (3k), with a further category: undistinguished (700k)
- Chinese languages: Mandarin (Standard Mandarin or the Beijing Dialect — taught all over China) and other regional dialects/languages including: Wu (Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu), Cantonese or Yue (Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong and Macau), Min (Fujian and Taiwan), Xiang (Hunan), Hakka (Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangdong and Taiwan) and Gan (Jiangxi, Hubei and Anhui).
- Minority languages: Zhuang, Tibetan, Turkic, Mongolian, Tajik, and many others
Facts about Major Cities and Attractions