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China Overview

Zhnghu Rnmn Gnghgu
Official language Standard Chinese (Mandarin)
Capital Beijing
Form of government People's Republic
Area 9,572,900 km²
Residents 1.33 billion
Currency yuan
Time zone UTC + 8 = CET + 7
License plate
Internet TLD .cn
Telephone area code 0086


China OverviewThe People's Republic of China occupies a large part of Central and East Asia with an area of ​​9,572,900 km² and is the fourth largest country in the world after Russia, Canada and the USA. The country borders the Yellow and the East China Sea in the east, and the South China Sea in the southeast. China has national borders with Russia and Mongolia in the north, in the east with the People's Republic of Korea, Hong Kong (China again since 1997) and the former Portuguese territory of Macao (China again since 1999), in the south with Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Bhutan, Nepal and India and in the west with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The Chinese name Chung-kuo (Middle Kingdom) developed into the name China, which has been in use in the West since the late Middle Ages.

Seven large landscapes characterize the country, three of them in the west belong to Central Asia (highlands of Tibet, large basins in the northwest, Mongolian highlands), the landscapes of Manchuria and north and south China, which are connected to the east and are separated by the central Chinese mountain system, belong to East Asia.

The highlands of Tibet in southwestern China lie at an average altitude of 4,500 m above sea level and are the highest plateau in the world (hence the name "roof of the world"). The highlands are framed by a series of high mountain ranges: to the south in the Himalayas is Mount Everest (Qomolangma), the highest mountain in the world at 8,848 m, further eight-thousanders include the K 2 (8,610 m), the Lhotse (8,516m) and the Makalu (8,481m). In the north of the Tibetan highlands lies the Kunlun Kunlun Shan Mountains (up to 7 732 m), in the west Karakorum. The rivers Mekong, Yangtse-kiang and Huang He originate on the east side of the highlands.

The second major landscape in Central Asia is the basin landscapes in northwest China, which are also surrounded by mighty mountain ranges. In the north is the Tarim Basin with an area of ​​approximately 500,000 km², which is bounded by Kunlun Shan in the south and by the Tian Shan mountain threshold in the north. The Tarim Basin is at an altitude of between 700 and 1 400 m, a large part of the area is covered by the desert landscape (Takla Makan). To the north-east of the Tarim Basin is the Turfan depression, which is the lowest point in China at a height of -154 m below sea level. North of the Tarim Basin, separated by the Tian Shan mountain system, is the Dsungarei, a basin landscape that mainly consists of desert and salt marshes. East of the Tarim Basin, separated by the Altun Shan mountain range,

The Mongolian highlands in the north of China form the third large Central Asian landscape and are largely occupied by the Gobi Desert (Schamo). Here, too, mountain systems form a natural limitation.

Manchuria is located in northeastern China with the Manchurian lowlands as the center. In the north of Manchuria, the Amur River (Heilong Jiang) forms the border with Russia, in the south the landscape is bordered by the Yellow Sea and the Korean Peninsula. In the Chanbai Shan mountain range on the border with Korea lies the highest elevation of Manchuria (2744 m). Mountainous regions join in the south of the Manchurian lowlands.

To the southwest of Manchuria are the alluvial areas of the north China plain, which are very fertile. The lowlands are densely populated, including the Chinese capital Beijing. The mountainous regions adjoining in the west are covered by a fertile layer of loess, which in places is over 200 m thick. The loess soil gave the Hwangho (Yellow River) its name.

The central Chinese mountain system, which connects to the Kunlun Shan Mountains in the west and consists of several mountain ranges (eg Qinling, Daba Shan, Wuyi Shan), rises to altitudes of up to 5,000 m (Min Shan) and separate North China from South China. South China is characterized by low mountain ranges and wide basin landscapes such as the Red Basin, which owes its name to the predominant reddish sandstone and lies at an altitude of approx. 1,000 m above sea level. The karstic highlands of Yunnan-Qizhou with numerous caves and underground lakes lie to the southwest of the Red Basin, through which the Yangtze River flows.

The fertile coastal plains on the East and South China Sea are an important agricultural area for China. The coast is partly heavily structured and has numerous offshore islands, the largest is the island of Hainan in the South China Sea, which is the southernmost point in all of China.

A large number of rivers run through China, the longest is the Yangtsekiang with a length of about 6 300 km, the second longest is the Huang He (Yellow River) with 5 464 km. Both originate in the highlands of Tibet and flow into the East China Sea. Many of the rivers are dammed into lakes. The largest of the natural lakes in China is the Qinghai Hu, a salt lake with an area of ​​around 4,583 km².


China has a large number of climate zones due to its size. While it is tropical hot in the south, there are cool temperate zones with extremely cold winters in the north of Manchuria and in the Central Asian highlands. The central Chinese mountain system represents a climatic divide: it prevents the cold air masses coming from the north, especially in winter, from flowing to the south. Conversely, the warm and humid air masses, which mainly come from the south of the Pacific in summer, are prevented from penetrating further north.

The extreme south of the country (Hainan Island, Hong Kong) has average temperatures of around 28 C in summer, and around 16 C in winter. The average annual rainfall is around 2,800 mm. In the north, the temperatures decrease continuously in winter, as does the amount of precipitation.

Northern China has a warm, temperate climate. While the temperatures in summer are still relatively high, the winter temperatures are already significantly lower than in the south. In the capital Beijing, Beijing, mean values ​​of -5 C are measured in January, in July it is approx. 26 C. The average annual rainfall is around 620 mm, in the rest of northern China around 1000 mm.

In Harbin in the Manchurian lowlands in northern China, summer temperatures average around 23 C. In January the average is at -20 C, in extreme cases the temperature can drop to -40 C. The rainfall amounts to approx. 550 mm annually, the rain falls mainly in the summer months.

In the high-lying basins in northwest China, the surrounding mountain ranges are extremely dry, which leads to the formation of large deserts. The summer temperatures in these regions (Tarim Basin, Dsungarei) are very high, the winter values ​​extremely low. In the Tibetan highlands there is a continental highland climate, in Lhasa mean values ​​around -1 C are measured in January, in July the average temperature is around 16 C. The rainfall here is around 420 mm annually.

Flora and fauna

About 14% of the country's area is forested. In the extreme south of the country (Hainan) there are rainforests, palm trees and mangroves. In the mountainous and hilly countries of southern China, the vegetation is subtropical with evergreen deciduous forests (including oaks), which gradually merge towards the north into mixed forests (southern Manchuria) and coniferous forests (northern China). Extensive forests now only grow in the outskirts of the Tibetan highlands. The highlands themselves are largely above the tree line and are covered with grass or alpine mats. In many parts of the country, the original vegetation had to give way to intensive agricultural use. In the extremely dry areas of China (e.g. Tarim Basin, Dsungarei and in the Mongolian highlands) there are full deserts or semi-deserts and steppe landscapes on their edges.

The sparsely populated regions of China, especially in the west and northeast, offer a suitable habitat for a large number of animals. Some of the animal species living here are endemic, such as the China alligator, the Chinese river dolphin and the Chinese giant salamander. Deer, elk and beaver live in the north. The Siberian tiger, which occurs in the border area with Russia, is endangered. The Przewalski horse is considered extinct. The giant panda bear (bamboo bear) lives in the Tibetan mountains. Today, an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 wild specimens still live in the existing protected areas, but the special nutritional habits of the animals do not guarantee their survival. The bird life in China is particularly diverse, including numerous migratory birdsthe red-crowned drum and the red-crowned crane, little egret,


China is the most populous country on earth with around 1.33 billion people. The average population density is 139 residents per square kilometer, but the population is very unevenly distributed: large parts of the north and west of the country are extremely sparsely populated, while other parts of the country are very densely populated in the east and south ( up to 2,000 residents per square kilometer)). The largest metropolitan areas include the Shanghai metropolitan area with around 18.4 million people in the metropolitan area, other cities with a population of several million include the capital Beijing (Beijing, metropolitan area 13.82 million), Tianjin (metropolitan area 9.85 million), Schenyang, Wuhan, Chongqing and Xi'an.

After the population of China exceeded the billion mark in the early 1980s and continued to show high growth rates (2.5%), measures were taken by the state to combat the overpopulation. This included increasing the marriage age, legalizing abortions and advocating the one-child family. The population growth rate is currently 0.58%.

According to COUNTRYAAH, 91.9% of the population are Chinese, who call themselves Han. There are also about 50 ethnic and religious minorities in the country: the largest group are the Zhuang with around 16 million, who belong to the Thai people and live in the autonomous region of Guangxi. Other groups are the Hui (approx. 9 million, Ningxia Autonomous Region) and the Uighurs (approx. 7 million, Xinjiang Autonomous Region). Around four million Tibetans live in the autonomous region of Tibet, which was occupied by Chinese troops and annexed to China in 1950. Its religious and political leader, the Dalai Lama, has been living in exile in India since the late 1950s and demands Tibetan independence. Other minorities are Mongols, Kazakhs, Yi and Miao.Standard Chinese (Mandarin), which is based on the Beijing dialect, is the official language,

Since the end of the 1970s, the free practice of religion in China has been back in the constitution. In fact, the communist regime that has ruled since 1949 is still trying to suppress the influence of religions on a massive scale. According to official information, the proportion of non-denominations is high at over 70%. Nevertheless, many Chinese are still followers of Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism, with Buddhists being the largest group in terms of numbers (approx. 100 million Chinese). Members of Islam are estimated to make up around 2% of the population, Christians around 1%.

The life expectancy for a Chinese baby born today is around 72.5 years. The literacy of the population is 91%.

Political system

According to the current constitution of 1982, the People's Republic of China is a "socialist state under the democratic dictatorship of the people, led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants". It is headed by the President (Xi Jinping since March 2013), who is also General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission. He is elected by the National People's Congress (NVK) for a five-year term. The NVK (2,987 members, number of which can vary slightly) meets only once a year; the ongoing political work is carried out by a permanent committee, whose 175 members are elected annually. In addition to the President, the NVK elects the State Council, the Supreme People's Court,

The central administrative body is the State Council. This executes the state power. The Prime Minister (Li Keqiang since March 2013) heads the State Council and leads its work.

The Chinese Communist Party's claim to leadership is laid down in the constitution. Every five years, the (currently) 204 members of the Central Committee are elected at the party conference, who in turn elect the 25 members of the Politburo.

The People's Liberation Army is subordinate to the Central Military Commission (ZMK). This was originally an organ of the Chinese Communist Party and was directly occupied by the Central Committee. Since the 1982 constitution, it has also been at least formally responsible to the state body and the National People's Congress.

China is divided into 23 provinces, four government cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing) and five autonomous regions (Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Guangxi).

Hong Kong, which has been part of China again since 1997, has the status of a special administrative region. China is practicing the principle of "one country, two systems", which means that in Hong Kong the existing social and economic system will remain intact for 50 years after the handover. This also applies to the Macao colony that Portugal returned in December 1999. There are also 147 autonomous administrative units with limited self-government.


In 1978, Deng Xiaoping initiated economic reforms with the aim of a "socialist market economy", which were initially included in the party statutes and in 1993 for the first time in the constitution. The measures included the establishment of so-called special economic zones with few trade restrictions (mostly in coastal areas). The opening of China to western industrialized countries led to double-digit growth rates. China has been the largest trading nation since 2013. At the same time, however, the cost of living rose massively and there was a large income gap. Underemployment and unemployment are particularly widespread in rural areas inland. The enormous economic growth is accompanied by an unprecedented overexploitation of the environment, which often no longer permits further pollution.

Agriculture employs 37% of the total workforce and generates around 10% of gross domestic product (GDP). Around a tenth of the country's area can be used for arable farming, partly through artificial irrigation. China is a world leader in the production of a number of agricultural products. The main crops are rice, wheat, corn, millet, oats, tobacco, potatoes, tea, peanuts, soybeans, sugar cane, grapes and cotton. In some cases, up to three harvests a year are possible. Pig and poultry farming dominates in livestock farming (especially in southern and northern China). Cattle, sheep, goats, horses and house yaks (Tibet) are also kept. Traditionally, silkworm breeding is important.China is also by far the leader in fisheries, there are farms off the coast,

The People's Republic of China has an abundance of mineral resources. The main ones are hard coal, bauxite, lead, iron ore, zinc, petroleum, gold, diamonds, tin, copper, natural gas, uranium and tungsten. The country's energy requirements cannot be entirely met by fossil fuels and hydropower, electricity must be imported. The first nuclear power plant went online in 1991. After three years of construction, the Three Gorges Dam was completed on the upper reaches of the Yangtsekiang in 2006, and two years later a hydroelectric power plant with the largest capacity in the world was put into surgery.

Industry is responsible for 47% of China's GDP. In addition to the availability of raw materials, an important basis is the significant increase in foreign investment since the mid-1990s. The country's industrial companies mainly concentrate on the east of the country or in the special economic zones. Until the end of the 1970s, the iron and steel industry and aluminum smelting as well as the chemical industry were promoted and expanded by the Chinese government. Companies that process cotton, silk and wool for clothing, among other things, have a long tradition in China. In addition, China today produces cars, planes, ships and trains as well as satellites, telecommunications systems and medical equipment.

The most important trading partners of the People's Republic of China are the USA, Japan and South Korea, and Taiwan also plays a role in imports. Germany sources around 4% of Chinese exports and supplies over 5% of its imports.

Only the east of the People's Republic of China has good transport links, and the infrastructure in many parts of the country is poorly developed. There are a total of 110,000 km of rail available, more than half of which are in the east. Of the two million kilometers of road, many are unpaved and can only be driven on during dry periods. The highway network, with a length of 85,000 kilometers, is expected to be completed in 2020. Inland and coastal shipping play an important role; around 110,000 km of goods and goods are used on the rivers alone.

China is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. However, the number of visitors has recently decreased, among other things, air pollution is to blame.

The currency is the yuan (= 10 jiao or 100 fen).

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