China, covering an area of 9.6 million square meters, is located in the east of Asia, on the western bank of the Pacific Ocean.
The land of China descends from west to east in a tiered shape. In the west rises the Tibet Plateau, hailed as "the Roof of the World" with the world's highest peak Mount Everest. The central part, containing basins and plateaus, is hilly and forested. While 70 percent of China is mountainous, its long eastern region is dominated by river plains.
Due to its vast land, stretching latitude, and diverse terrain, China has different types of climate in different regions. The eastern region is influenced by monsoon (from north to south: temperate monsoon, subtropical monsoon and tropical monsoon). Its northwestern region has a continental climate while the Tibet area is arctic all the year round. Generally speaking, China has hot and rainy summer, and cold and dry winter. So the best time to visit China is in spring and autumn.
China is one of the world's oldest civilizations. Over 5,000 years, it developed from primitive society to socialist society. The start of Qin Dynasty in 221BC marked the rise of federalism that ruled China for over 2400 years. The Year 1949 saw the founding of the People's Republic of China, a new page has been unfolded from them.
With an estimated population of over 1.3 billion, China is known as the world's most populous country. To control the growth of population, a family planning policy has been introduced since 1970s, which is however loosened in recent year due to aged population.
There are 56 ethnic groups in China. Although the Han people constitute the 92 percent of the total population, there are 96.5 million ethnic minority people living in China, mainly in mountainous areas. Some ethnic groups have a population of more than one million, such as Zhuang, Hui, Uyghur, Miao, Tibetan, etc. Sometimes it's possible to tell what ethnic group a person belongs to from costume.
In China, there are various religious beliefs and practices, including Buddhism, Taoism (native), Islam, and Christianity. Tibetans practice Tibetan Buddhism and most Muslims live in northwest region. Citizens have the freedom to choose and express their own religious faith.
The national language of China is Chinese, which is also the most widely spoken language in the world. Chinese is composed of Mandarin (the most popular one) and many other dialects.
There are thousands of family names in China, among which only 100 are widely used, such as Li, Wang, Zhang, etc. Unlike westerns, Chinese often put family name before given name.
China is divided into 35 administration unites, including 23 provinces, five autonomous regions (Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Guangxi and Tibet), four municipalities directly under the central government (Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tianjin) and two special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau).