Facts At A Glance
Full country name: People's Republic of China
Area: 9,596,960 sq km (mainland)
Population: 1.2 billion (mainland)
Capital city: Beijing (pop 11 million)
People: Han Chinese (93%), plus Mongol, Zhuang, Manchu and Uighur minorities
Language: Putonghua (Beijing dialect Mandarin)
Religion: Officially atheist; Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism (no stats available); Muslim (14 million), Christian (7 million)
Government: Communist republic
Head of State: Hu Jintao
Visas: Visas are required by all foreigners entering mainland China (visas aren't needed for tourists visiting Hong Kong for less than 30 days). Standard tourist visas are valid for 30-day visits and are generally easy to acquire. Visas valid for more than 30 days are usually difficult to obtain.
Time: GMT/UTC plus eight hours (the whole of China is set to Beijing time).
Electricity: 220V, 50 AC; plugs can be three-pronged angled, three-pronged round, two flat pins or two narrow round pins.
Weights & measures: Metric
Tourism: 28 million visitors per year
An Introduction to China
Endowed with terra firma grandeur, China is reputed as the single oldest uninterrupted civilization in the world. It occupies an area of 9,560,9000 square kilometers (3,691,000 square miles), which is approximately 1/15 of the land area of the world. According to the recent census, China's entire population was estimated to be 1.2 billion as of February 15,1995. All of Europe (excluding Russia) is believed to be only half of China in area and in population.
Lying in the northern part of the eastern hemisphere, China is strategically situated in East Asia of the Pacific. It extends about 5,000 kilometers from east to west and about 5,500 kilo-meters from north to south. The land boundary exceeds 20,000 kilometers in length bordering Korea in the east, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar (Burma in the south, India, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal in the southwest, Pakistan and Afganistan toward the west, Russia, Kazakstan, Kirighizia and Tajikstan toward the northwest and Mongolia toward the north. China faces Japan across the Yellow Sea, and looks toward the Philippines beyond the South China Sea.
Running 18,000 kilometers from the mouth of the Yalu River on the borders of Korea to the mouth of the Beilung River on the borders of Vietnam, China is known to possess one of the longest coastlines in the world.
The eastern part of China proper is flanked from north to south by the Bohai, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea, with all the waters merging with the Pacific over a spectacular area of the sea, there are more than 5,000 islands scattering around. Taiwan province and Chongming Island.
In as much as China is situated in the southeastern part of the Eurasian Continent and on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean, China is said to encounter monsoon season which is attributable to the heat reserves between the largest continent and the biggest ocean in the world. The polar continental mass of cold and dry air from Siberia permeates l large part of china during the winter and the tropical mass of hot and humid air from the Pacific affects the weather during the summer. A distinctive continental climate dominates most regions in China and the temperatures are significantly on a daily and annual basis.
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