Key Facts About China
Located in the Southeastern part of Asia, the People’s Republic of China is the third largest country globally and has over 1.3 billion people. It is uniquely bordered by 14 other countries, including Russia, India, Vietnam, Nepal, and more.
Not only that, China is roughly 3.7 million square miles of land. This vast land is, not surprisingly, geographically diverse. While mountains make up approximately two-thirds of the total area, you can also view foothills, basins, deserts, plateaus, and plains as well. China is also one of the countries that border the highest known peak in the world, Mount Everest, which stands at over 29,000 feet. Mount Everest’s snowy summit was first reached by humans in 1953. Since then the peak has been climbed about 4,000 times.
Chinese rivers and lakes play a large role in the local landscape. Of the 50,000 rivers, The Yangtze, which flows into the Pacific Ocean, is the longest in Asia. The Grand Canal is the longest man-made canal in the world. The Chinese people enjoy the benefits that come with having so many powerful rivers and lakes, such as having renewable energy resources.
China is considered to have one of the earliest recorded civilizations. The Chinese people come from a long tradition of invention and have especially paved the way for some of today’s greatest modern technologies. Because of them we now have inventions such as paper and movable type printing, silk, porcelain, gunpowder, and the magnetic compass. Chinese doctors frequently used medicinal herbs to heal long before other countries did to help all the sick. Paper money was used in China as early as the 7th century.
Main Attractions and Landmarks
In the past, it was rumored that the Great Wall of China could be seen from space. While this has since been proven to be untrue, it is still truly one of man’s great wonders of the world. The Great Wall is more than 13,000 miles in length (with all sections and branches accounted for) and more than 2,300 years old. It appears across certain Chinese regions such as Beijing, Qinghai, Gansu, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, and more. Though many imagine the wall to be one long, continuous line, it is actually made up of a consistent network of walls.
Another popular Chinese attraction is the Forbidden City in Beijing, which brings in many visitors every year. It is the home of many of China’s previous emperors and their families from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Construction of the Forbidden City began in 1406. This area is divided into two different parts, the Outer Court and the Inner Court. There are just under 10,000 rooms in the Forbidden City, and construction included specially made and polished yellow or “golden” tiles that protected the structure from harsh weather conditions.
China’s most famous animal is the beloved panda. Tourists love to visit these black and white bears at many of China’s zoos. You can also view pandas in a naturally simulated environment at the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding located in Sichuan. Here you can watch pandas live, eat, and play in a setting very similar to their native habitat. The Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is heavily invested in animal conservation efforts as well.
The regions of China each have their own distinctive people and lifestyles. However, you will find many similarities in terms of Chinese customs, language, values, and cuisine.
Though China is home to many different ethnic groups, Standard Chinese is the national language for the mainland. There are many dialects of the Chinese language, but you may hear a different variation for each region you visit. Other official languages in this country are Tibetan, Mongolian, and Cantonese. Most residents are able to speak more than one variation of a language. Additionally, many Chinese schools teach English in their classrooms and knowing it is one of their requirements for students seeking to attend a university.
The Chinese people mainly connect with the spiritual values found in Buddhism and Taoism. This has shaped their understanding and influence of literature and art, as well as philosophy and politics. In general, people believe in working towards the good of the “group,” or what’s called collectivism, instead of individualism. There is a strong focus on respect for elders, humility, and having a good reputation in the public eye.
Chinese food is loved and savored throughout the world. As a general rule, rice is a staple of traditional Chinese food. Different styles include Cantonese, Szechuan, Tibetan, and more. Flavors vary from region to region as well. Depending on which style you try, you can experience a world of flavors, be it a rich stir-fry, fresh seafood, spicy seasonings, or unique sweet and sour dishes. Eastern Chinese food is light and sweet while western Chinese food is heartier with a bit of spice.