China Facts

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.
  • A great array of historical relics including: the world’s longest wall, the Great Wall of China, the world’s largest collection of 2,000-year-old life-size figurines, the Terracotta Army, and the world’s largest ancient palace, the Forbidden City
  • Great Wall Tourists

  • 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 Everest 8,848m (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.
  • 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.

National Facts



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.

Location Information

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
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)
North to south extent (mainland): 3,700 km (2,300 mi)
North to south extent (including Hainan): 3,900 km (2,400 mi)


  • Chinese Currency Yuan“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.


The Peoples of China

China's Minority Peoples56 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

Hi, I'm Ruru Zhou
I updated this article on February 26, 2014
See all my travel articles
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Questions and Answers About China Facts

DEBRA 2014-01-08
Show Answer
I have been invited to go back to China with our Foreign Exchange student in May to visit with her family in the Yellow Mountain area. I am 68 yrs old and just not sure if that is wise. What do you think. I would be there about 3 wks living with them.
Dear DEBRA, The average temperature is from 20℃(68℉)-25℃(77℉), it is not cold, but it rains usually. You could take some shirts, T-shirts, jeans and a jacket. An umbrella is needed. Lussie Lu replied on 2014-01-10
Nanioz 2013-01-10
Show Answer
What materials did they use to built the Great Wall of China?

Hi Nanioz, it was built with mud and the water which washed the sticky rice.

Whitney Liao replied on 2013-01-13
juliet 2012-06-13
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hi. what is your local currency conversion in us dollars?
At the moment it is around USD1=CNY6.3. Visa and Master cards are acceptable widely in China, especially at hotels, shopping malls and restaurants. You could change America Dollar to Chinese Currency (CNY or RMB) easily at airports, hotels and China Bank. In cities, ATM machine is everywhere, just to check whether it has English version. Generally speaking, visitors need pay for dinners, evening shows, tips to guides and drivers and another personal expense (shopping etc), keeping CNY500 cash per person one day is OK. Ruby Zhao replied on 2012-06-14
christopher 2012-05-14
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what type of government did china have
Jade Hoefferle 2011-12-17
Show Answer
how many people are in china
According to the data of Chinese population census in 2010, it is about 1.34 billion people in China, including people from Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and foreign countries. Lynn Ye replied on 2011-12-19
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