China, situated in the east of Asia and on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean, faces the sea with the land for a background. Its sea and land location is beneficial to its relations with many neighboring countries and also advantageous to its exchanges with foreign countries. Meanwhile, the annual moist air from the sea with plenty of rainfall is an important source for China’s freshwater resources and is an indispensable condition for the growth of its maritime industry China has a vast territory. Its northernmost part is located on the central line of the main course of the Heilong River and north of the Mohe River in Heilongjiang Province; its southernmost tip is Zengmu Reef of the Nansha Islands of the South China Sea. The two sites are 5,500 km apart. Its easternmost part is at the confluence of the Heilong and Wusuli rivers; its westernmost tip is on the Pamirs in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The span of the east and the west is 5,000 km (about 62 Latitudinal degrees). China covers a total land area of 9.6 million square km, being the third largest country in the world, third only to Russia and Canada. Or China’s land area accounts for 1/15 of the total land area on earth, or accounts to the entire area of Europe.
- Full name: the People’s Republic of China
- Capital city: Beijing
- National Flag: Five-star red flag, length and width proportion: 3:2
- National anthem:
March of the Volunteers (lines: Arise, those who do not want to be slaves! We will use our flesh and blood to build another Great Wall. China has reached the brink of national collapse. All the people have been making their last outcry. Arise! Arise! Arise! All our hearts become one. Let us face the angry guns. March on! Let us face the angry guns. March on! March on! March on! On!)
- National Day: October 1. The country was founded in 1949
- Population: 1.38 billion (2015)
- Area: 3.71 million sq miles (9.60 million km²)
- Calling code: 0086
- Top legislature: National People’s Congress (NPC)
- Location: In East Asia, by the western Pacific Ocean
- Territory area: 9.6 million square km, third only to Russia and Canada.
- Major ethnic group: Han nationality
- Main religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Islam
- Symbol: Great Wall, Forbidden City (Imperial Palace), dragon, phoenix
- Largest city: Shanghai
- Currency: Renmibin (RMB) yuan
- Weights and measures: metric system
Chinese (or Mandarin) is the official language of China, and it is also the most used language in the world. Of the 56 ethnic groups in China, the Hui and Manchu use the same languages as Han people, while the rest of groups have their own spoken and written languages.
The official written characters is Chinese (simple). Minority nationalities in China have the freedom to use and develop their own languages and written characters Chinese and its written characters are in common use in China and also one of the five working languages designated by the United Nations. Because of historical and geographical reasons, there are many dialects in the Chinese language, such at Wu, Guangdong and Fujian dialects. The government has defined that the common speech of the Hah nationality is used as the common language. Chinese characters are used to record the Chinese language. Since the discovery of inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th century B.C.), the Chinese language has a history of about 6,000 years. Most of the 55 ethnic groups in China have their own languages, about 30 of them have their own written languages.
The official time zone of China is UTC+8. The land area of China is 6-degree Longitude from west to east. According to the demarcation of the world time zoning standard, the land area of China lies between the eastern fifth to ninth time zones. Currently, all the places in China have adopted the eastern eighth time zone for the sake of convenience. That is the commonly-known “Beijing Time.”
Chinese Traditional Festivals
China has quite a few major annual traditional festivals.
• Spring Festival (Chinese Lunar New Year by Chinese lunar calendar): late January/mid-February. The spring festival is the largest annual migration of people on earth when migrant workers return home to celebrate the holiday with their families.
• The Lantern Festival: the fifth day of the first month of Chinese lunar calendar, just after Chinese New Year
• Tomb-sweeping Day (Qingming Festival): usually April 4th to 6th, or the tomb sweeping day, cemeteries are crowded with people who go to sweep the tombs of their ancestors and offer sacrifices
• Dragon Boat Festival: 5th day of the 5th lunar month, usually May or June
• The Mid-autumn Day (Moon Cake Festival): 15th day of the 8th lunar month, usually Sep. or Oct.
• The Double Ninth Festival (Chongyang Festival): 9th day of the 9th lunar month, usually in October
During festivals periods, however, hundreds of millions of migrant workers will return home and millions of other Chinese travel within the country. Every means of transportation would be quite crowded. Tickets of any kind are hard to come by, and will cost you a lot more than usual, so it may be necessary to book tour service or hotel well in advance if your travel date is during the festivals periods.
Chinese Spring Festival
The current administrative divisions of China are province, county (city) and township
The country is divided into provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the central government, and special administrative regions. Provinces and autonomous regions are divided into autonomous prefectures, counties, autonomous counties, and cities; and Counties and autonomous counties are divided into townships, ethnic townships and towns. Autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties are autonomous places of various ethnic groups. At present, China is divided into 23 provinces, five autonomous regions – each with a designated minority group, four municipalities directly under the central government and two special administrative regions ((SARs)), which enjoy a degree of political autonomy. Geographically, all 31 provincial divisions can be generally grouped into seven regions, including North China, East China, Northeast China, South China, Central China, Northwest China and Southwest China.
Twenty-three provinces includes: Hebei, Shanxi, Liaoning, Jiiin, Heilongjiang, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Fujian, Taiwan, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hainan
Five autonomous regions: Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Xinjiang, Guangxi, Tibet
Four municipalities: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongging
Two special administrative regions: Hongkong, Macao
These 31 provincial-level divisions can be collectively referred to as “mainland China”, a term which usually excludes two SARs of Hong Kong and Macau.
China boasts the most wildlife in the world and most of them are native to China and unique to the world, such as giant panda, snub-nosed golden monkey, and Chinese alligator; China’s dawn redwood and Cathaya argyrophylla are known as the living fossils of ancient plants.
Wild animals: China has a great variety of wildlife, over 4,400 vertebrates, more than 100 rare species of the world: the giant panda, the golden monkey, the white-lipped deer, the South China Tiger, Crossoplilon mantchuricum, the white-flag dolphin, the Chinese alligator, and the crowned crane.
Plants: China has a great variety of plants, 32,000 species of higher plants, including nearly all the major kinds of vegetation found in the frigid and temperate zones of the northern hemisphere.
Popular flowers: Peony, azalea, primrose and felwort.