China is the fourth largest country in the world. It covers large parts of Central and East Asia. It is the country with the largest population. A control of the population is sought through state birth regulation. The economic growth in China is enormous. The country is in the transition from an agricultural to an industrial state.
China can look back on a long cultural development. There was already a high culture in the central plain of Beijing 3500 years ago. For millennia, China was an empire. The “Middle Kingdom” is today a communist ruled people’s republic.
Short for CN on ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG, China is a mountainous country. The major rivers Hwangho and Yangtze River cross the country. Because of the great north-south stretch and the enormous differences in altitude, China has a share in almost all climates on earth. According to the rainfall, China is divided into two major regions. Rain farming is possible in the fertile east, while nomadic livestock farming and irrigation are predominant in the dry west. There are second desert areas.
China’s north-south extension is 4500 km, from west to east China extends over 25 degrees of latitude (Fig. 1). The Chinese have always referred to their country as the Middle Kingdom, as Ching-kuo.
Important data about the country
|Population density:||138 residents / km²|
|Growth of population:||0.7% / year|
|Life expectancy:||71 years|
|Form of government:||People’s Republic|
|Languages:||Chinese (Mandarin, official language), Tibetan, Uighur, Mongolian, Kazakh, Thai languages etc. a.|
|Religions:||Buddhists 8%, Daoists 2.4%, Muslims 1.5%, Christians 1%, Lamaists in Tibet, Confucianists|
|Climate:||almost all climates on earth: monsoon climate, hot and humid marginal tropics, temperate zone with cold winter climate in the north, snowy climate in the high mountains|
|Land use:||Arable land 10.8%, forest 14.5%, pasture land 30.6%|
(share of employees)
|Agriculture 44.1%, industry 21.4%, services 28.6%|
|Export goods:||Electrical products, clothing, yarns and fabrics, chemical products, iron, steel, engineering products|
|Gross domestic product:||$ 1,417,000 million (2003)|
|Gross National Product:||US $ 1100 / residents (2003)|
China is a mountainous country. Two thirds of the country are higher than 1000 m. The land surface drops in several stages towards the Pacific coast (Fig. 2).
In the southwest of China, the highlands of Tibet between the Kunlun Shan in the north and the Himalayas in the south represent the highest land mass with an average altitude of 4000 m.
The second stage follows in the north and east with altitudes between 1000 and 2000 m. It includes the high basins without drainage and the highlands of Central Asia (Tarim basin with the Takla Makan desert and Djungary, highlands of Inner Mongolia).
To the east extend the loess mountain countries of the provinces Shaanxi and Shanxi. Loess is a calcareous, yellowish-brown sediment deposited by wind transport. Loess soil is very loose and fertile.
To the south of it lies the Sichuan Basin and the karst area of the Yunnan-Guishou Plateau.
The extensive lowland areas of eastern China and the mountainous regions of the southeast form the lowest land scale.
Coming from Central Asia, the Hwangho and the Yangtze River cross northern and central China.
The Hwangho is also called the “yellow river”. It flows through the fertile north Chinese loess land. During the monsoon rain in summer, huge amounts of loess are washed off, which the river deposits again in its river bed at the lower reaches. In places it rises 10 m above the adjacent level. The Hwangho is the most dangerous river in China due to its huge floods.
At 6300 km, the Yangtze River is not only the longest river in China, but the whole of Asia. It drains about a fifth of the country. The currents have large fluctuations in water level, which are regulated by reservoirs and dams.
The west of the country has few rivers and no drainage.
Because of the great extent from north to south over 4500 km and from west to east over 25 degrees of latitude as well as the great differences in altitude, almost all climates on earth occur in China. China is in the range of monsoon winds e. In winter, winds from Siberia bring cold and dry air in. In summer the wind blows mainly from the south and brings warm and moist air. The central Chinese mountain system is a climatic divide. It makes it more difficult for cold air masses to penetrate south and warm air masses to the north. According to the precipitation conditions, China can be divided into two major regions. The east has a humid climate. The west, on the other hand, is dry (Figs. 4 and 5).
The extreme south of China belongs to the hot, humid marginal tropical area with 2400 mm of precipitation per year. In northern China there is a warm temperate winter cold climate. Between December and February, cold air from Siberia reaches the region, so temperatures are well below freezing point.
The highlands of Tibet and the basins of the northwest no longer reach humid Pacific air because the Himalayas are a natural obstacle. It is extremely dry in this region. There are huge deserts here. The winters are very cold with permafrost and the summers are very hot.
Tibet, the mountain region, has a continental highland climate with an average annual temperature of 1 °C. Lhasa has an exposed location. It is one of the wettest areas in Tibet and has milder temperatures.
About one eighth of the country’s area is covered by forests. In northern China, forests have disappeared from the landscape due to centuries of overexploitation. Coniferous forests can only be found in Manchuria.
In the mountains of the south and southwest, mixed forests appear alongside scrubland, bamboo trees and palm trees. The creation of forest protection strips and the afforestation of wasteland are countermeasures to reduce the consequences of forest clearance.
In the tropical south, rainforests and mangroves shape the landscape.
Steppes cover the regions in the northwest and Inner Mongolia.
Only 10% of the land area can be used for arable farming. Rain farming is possible in the damp eastern part of the country. In the arid west, nomadic cattle farming and irrigation are predominant. Nevertheless, agriculture employs around two thirds of the workforce. The cultivation of grain comes first. In southern China, in “green China”, rice is grown, in the north and the Manchurian lowlands wheat, maize, millet and oats. The “yellow China”, the loess areas of the northern mountainous region, are the main cultivation areas.
China is the world’s leading producer of rice and wheat, but the harvests are only sufficient for its own consumption.
The iron and steel industry, as well as the chemical and petrochemical industry, were particularly encouraged by the Chinese leadership during the 1960’s. Shipbuilding and the construction of large-scale plants (e.g. oil rigs, large machines) account for 50% of the manufacturing sector.
The textile industry is the oldest branch of industry in China. China is the world leader in the manufacture of cotton and wool fabrics. The electrotechnical industry, the manufacture of televisions and washing machines has seen strong growth over the past few decades. The high technology sector is still underdeveloped. Aircraft construction and the start of a computer industry are planned.
China – the country of the future
If China’s enormous economic growth of the past few years can be maintained, China will be one of the leading economies in the world in 10 to 20 years. Nevertheless, the future forecasts must be viewed critically. Only if the enormous social and environmental problems can be successfully mastered will economic growth keep pace.
Chinese culture is one of the oldest advanced cultures in the world. Its beginnings go back around 3500 years. The cultural traditions still have an effect today. Since the 16th century BC. Dynasties existed in China with a king at their head; in the 3rd century it became an empire.
On February 12, 1912, the last emperor was forced to abdicate and the republic was proclaimed. After 2000 years, the history of the Chinese Empire was over.
The first republic existed until 1949. The civil war ended in 1949 with the victory of the communists. MAO ZEDONG became the 1st President of the People’s Republic of China. He died in 1976. A phase of western orientation and economic liberalization began.
Some important data on China’s culture and politics:
- Since around 1000 BC: development of characters
- 3rd to 5th century BC: Construction of the great wall
- 552–479 BC: CONFUCIUS
- around 200 BC – 200 AD: Buddhism invades from India Cultural heyday Confucianism becomes the state religion
- in the 12th and 13th centuries: construction of the inner city of Beijing with the imperial palace
- 1272–1292: MARCO POLO is in China
- 1898: The New Territories (Hong Kong) are leased to Great Britain for 99 years
- 1921: Founding of the Communist Party (KPCH)
- April 18, 1927: Foundation of a national government under CHIANG KAI-SHEK
- 1950–1953: land reform
- 1959–1960: “The great leap forward”
- 1966–1976: Cultural Revolution
- 1979: The liberalization of the national economy begins
- 1983: Election of LI XIANNIAN as head of state
- June 4, 1989: Tiananmen Uprising Mass protest in Beijing against the government
- 1.7.1997: The British crown colony Hong Kong falls back to China after 99 years.