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About China

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About China

China is situated in eastern Asia, bounded by the Pacific in the east. The third largest country in the world, next to Canada and Russia, it has an area of 9.6 million square kilometers, or one-fifteenth of the world's landmass.

The Chinese border stretches over 22,000 kilometers on land and its coastline extends well over 18,000 kilometers, washed by the waters of the Bohai Sea, the Huanghai, the East China and the South China Seas. The Bohai Sea is China's only inland sea.

There are 6,536 islands larger than 500 square meters, the largest being Taiwan, with a total area of about 36,000 square kilometers, and the second, Hainan. The South China Sea Islands are the southernmost island group of China.

Quick Facts:

Full Country Name: People's Republic of China
Area: 9,596,960 sq km (mainland)
Population: 1.25 billion (mainland)
Capital City: Beijing (pop 13.8 million)
People: Han Chinese (93%), plus 55 ethnic minorities
Official Language: Putonghua (Beijing Mandarin dialect)
Religion: Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Muslim, Christian
Government: Communist republic
Current Head of State: Hu Jintao
GDP: US$4.5 trillion
GDP per Head: US$3600
Growth Rate: 7.8%


Beijing (Area: 16,800 square kilometers; Population: 12.59 million)


1.25 billion (mainland).

The Chinese population is unevenly distributed, with the eastern part heavily populated (more than 300 persons per square kilometer) and the west scarcely populated (about 40 persons per square kilometer). The national average density of population is 119 per square kilometer (1990 census). The average size of household is 3.7 persons. The proportion of population aged at 0-14 was 26.4 percent, 67.3% between the ages 15-64, and 6.4% for the age group of over 65. The average life span of the Chinese population is 70.8 years, with the male at 68.71, and female at 73.04.

More information on Chinese people


China, one of the four oldest civilizations in the world, has a written history of 4,000 years and boasts rich cultural relics and historical sites. It is the inventor of compass, paper, gunpowder and printing. The Great Wall, the Grand Canal and the Karez irrigation systems are three great ancient engineering projects built 2,000 years ago. Now they are the symbols of the rich culture heritage of the Chinese nation. China has gone over a long history of primitive society, slavery society, feudal society and semi-feudal semi-colonial society and the present socialist society.

More infomation on history of China


  • The National People's Congress (NPC)
  • The President of the People's Republic of China
  • The State Council
  • The Central Military Commission
  • The Supreme People's Court
  • The Supreme People's Procuratorate

More information on Chinese government

Administrative Divisions:

China has 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities and 2 Special Administrative Regions (Hong Kong and Macao).

More detailed information

Armed Force:

The People's Liberation Army (PLA)

Ruling Party:

Communist Party of China (CPC)


Hu Jintao

Major Public Holidays:

New Year's Day: January 1

The Spring Festival (Chinese Lunar New Year's Day - between January and February: The exact date varies, depending on Chinese Lunar Calendar. Chinese New Year's Day in 2003 was on February 1.

Labor Day: May 1

National Day: October 1

The working days are Monday through Friday. Official hours are from 8:00am to 17:00pm with one hour for lunch.


The official language is Putonghua (meaning common language in Chinese) or Mandarin, which is one of the five working languages at the United Nations.

Most of the 55 minority nationalities have their own languages. Cantonese is one of the local dialects of southern China. As a written language, Chinese has been used for 6,000 years.

More information on Chinese language

Ethnic Groups:

China is made up of 56 ethnic groups. The Han people make up 91.02 percent of the total population, and the other 55 national minorities 8.98 percent.

More information on Chinese ethnic groups


In Chinese names, family names comes first and given name second. For example, in the case of Deng Xiaoping, Deng is the family name, Xiaoping the given name. Chinese family names came into being some 5,000 years ago. There are more than 5,000 family names, of which 200 to 300 are popular. The most popular Chinese family names are ZHANG, WANG, LI, ZHAO, LIU, CHEN...


China is a multi-religious country. Buddhism, Taoism and Islam are the three major religions. Catholicism and Protestantism have smaller but substantial followers too.

Different ethnic groups usually follow different religions. Islam is followed by the Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Kirgiz, Tatar, Dongxiang, Salar and Bonan peoples. Buddhism and Lamaism are followed by the Tibetan, Mongolian, Dai and Yugur nationalities. Christianity is followed by the Miao, Yao and Yi nationalities. Shamanism is followed by the Oroqen, Ewenki and Daur nationalities. The majority Han nationality believes in Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity.

More information on Chinese religions


Chinese currency is called Renminbi (RMB) (means "People's Currency"). The unit of RMB is Yuan. The official exchange rate between U.S. Dollar and RMB Yuan currently is about 1:8.3 (US$1 = 8.30 Yuan). 1 Yuan equals 10 Jiao, and 1 Jiao equals 10 Fen (cent).

More information on Chinese currency


AC 220 V, 50 Hz (bathrooms of many luxury and medium-grade hotels may have 110-volt sockets).



In addition to Chinese language TV broadcast, English and Japanese TV programs are available in many hotels via satellite relay. China Central Television Station (CCTV) and some local TV stations also provide English news and other programs in English.


Courntry code: Mainland China 86; Hong Kong 852; Taiwan 886.

Special Telephone Numbers: Police 110; Fire 119; Emergency 120)

Also see:

8 Cuisines
Chinese Tea
Beijing Opera
Martial Arts (Gong Fu)
Chinese Callipgraphy