Where is China located?

What countries border China?

China Weather

What is the current weather in China?


China Facts and Culture

What is China famous for?

  • Food and Recipes: Chopsticks are used for all meals in China. When finished, a person places the chopsticks neatly on the table; they... More
  • Family: Historically loyalty to the family unit has always been important to the Chinese. During the Cultural Revolution, the state tried... More
  • Fashion: The Chinese generally wear conservative clothing. In the past, the Chinese people mostly wore the same style pantsuit because of... More
  • Visiting: Invitations are usually sent for formal occasions, but otherwise it is common to visit someone unannounced. When invited, one is... More
  • Recreation: Table tennis, basketball and soccer are the most popular sports in China. In warm weather, Chinese like to relax outdoors... More
  • Cultural Attributes: Confucianism has great influence on how the Chinese approach daily life. The elderly in China are respected. The Chinese people... More
  • Dating: Chinese customs stress moral purity. Intimate relations and public displays of affection are discouraged. To help the family planning program... More
  • Diet: Generally, there is not a wide variety of food available throughout the country, except where private enterprise is encouraged. What... More

China Facts

What is the capital of China?

Capital Beijing
Government Type communist party-led state
Currency Renminbi yuan (RMB)
Total Area 3,705,387 Square Miles
9,596,961 Square Kilometers
Location Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam
Language Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages

note: Mongolian is official in Nei Mongol, Uighur is official in Xinjiang Uygur, and Tibetan is official in Xizang (Tibet)
GDP - real growth rate 6.6%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $15,400.00 (USD)

China Demographics

What is the population of China?

Ethnic Groups Han Chinese 91.5%, Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uighur, Tujia, Yi, Mongol, Tibetan, Buyi, Dong, Yao, Korean, and other nationalities 8.5%
Languages Standard Chinese (putonghua), based on the Mandarin dialect, is the national language and is spoken by more than 70 percent of the population. Other dialects are also spoken, including Wu (in Shanghai), Min, Yue (Cantonese), and Kejja. Each of the 55 minorities speaks its own language or dialect. In some cases, education and all official transactions may be conducted in the local minority language. Chinese does not have a phonetic alphabet; it uses characters to express words, thoughts, or principles. A Romanized alphabet Pinyin is used to help teach Chinese in school and for international communication. Even though there are over 50,000 characters in the Chinese alphabet, only about 8,000 are actually in use. The Chinese language requires that one knows 1,500 to 2,000 characters to be considered fluent in the language.
Nationality Adjective Chinese
Nationality Noun Chinese (singular and plural)
Population 1,394,015,977
Population Growth Rate 0.46%
Population in Major Urban Areas Shanghai 20.208 million; BEIJING (capital) 15.594 million; Guangzhou 10.849 million; Shenzhen 10.63 million; Chongqing 9.977 million; Wuhan 9.158 million
Predominant Language Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages

note: Mongolian is official in Nei Mongol, Uighur is official in Xinjiang Uygur, and Tibetan is official in Xizang (Tibet)
Urban Population 50.6%

China Government

What type of government does China have?

  • Executive Branch: chief of state: President XI Jinping (since 14 March 2013); Vice President WANG Qishan (since 17 March 2018) head of government:... More
  • Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal More
  • Citizenship: citizenship by birth: no citizenship by descent only: least one parent must be a citizen of China dual citizenship recognized: no residency requirement... More
  • National Holiday: National Day (anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China), 1 October More
  • Constitution: history: several previous; latest promulgated 4 December 1982 amendments: proposed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress or supported... More
  • Independence: 1 October 1949 (People's Republic of China established); notable earlier dates: 221 B.C. (unification under the Qin Dynasty); 1 January... More

China Geography

What environmental issues does China have?

  • Overview: Occupying an area of about 3.7 million square miles, the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) is the fourth-largest country in... More
  • Climate: The country lies almost entirely in the temperate zone. Only Hainan Province and the southernmost portions of Yunnan and Guangdong... More
  • Border Countries: Afghanistan 76 km, Bhutan 470 km, Burma 2,185 km, India 3,380 km, Kazakhstan 1,533 km, North Korea 1,416 km, Kyrgyzstan... More
  • Environment - Current Issues: air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; water shortages, particularly in the north;... More
  • Environment - International Agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law... More
  • Terrain: mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east More

China Economy

How big is the China economy?

China News & Current Events

What current events are happening in China?
Source: Google News

Interesting China Facts

What unique things can you discover about China?

  • China is home to the world's largest amphibian: the Asian Giant Salamander can grow up to 1.5 meters in length and weigh up to 40 kilograms.
  • The 2000 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Gao Xingjian, a prolific writer whose works include the novel Soul Mountain. His work was banned in China for political reasons. Xingjian now lives in Paris.
  • The northeastern city of Harbin holds an annual Ice Lantern Festival each winter. People sculpt buildings and figures from ice and hang lanterns inside them.
  • Hong Kong people love spending leisure time dining out with family and friends. Hong Kong has the world's highest ratio of restaurants: one for every 20 persons. The largest Hong Kong restaurant can seat 6,000 diners.
  • At 8,850 m, Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth. Stretching across the border between China and Nepal, the highest peak of the Himalayas attracts climbers from all over the world. Those who climb Mount Everest face extreme weather including low temperatures, high winds and steep, icy slopes. Atmospheric pressure at the top is 1/3 less of that at sea level, which means 1/3 less oxygen available to breath. Many climbers bring bottled oxygen to complete the climb. Other challenges induced by the high altitude are headaches and other flu like symptoms and exhaustion.
  • The most well-known and revered Canadian in China is Norman Bethune, a medical doctor who worked with the revolutionary army, training doctors and treating soldiers during the Chinese Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).
  • The world's deadliest earthquake happened in July 28, 1976. It killed an estimated 242,000 people. The city of Tangshan has been called the Brave City of China because of its successful rebuilding efforts.
  • The Great Wall of China is 6,000 kilometers long. It was built in the 3rd century BC, after the unification of China, to protect the heartland from northern invasions.
  • The Great Wall was originally built in the Spring, Autumn, and Warring States Periods as a defensive fortification. It began as independent walls for three states (Yan, Zhao and Qin) and went through constant extensions and repairs in later dynasties. The wall did not become "Great" until the Qin Dynasty when Emperor Qin Shihuang had the walls joined together to fend off invasions from the Huns in the north.

    The construction of the Great Wall drew heavily on local resources for construction materials. A great army of manpower, composed of soldiers, prisoners, and local people, built the wall in line with the local conditions under the management of contract and responsibility system. The result is a manifestation of the wisdom and tenacity of the Chinese people and the Great Wall has become a monument of the Chinese nation throughout history.
  • When Wang Zhizhi joined the Dallas Mavericks he became the first Chinese man to be drafted by the National Basketball Association in United States.
  • The Yellow River is considered to be the cradle of Chinese civilization and referred to as the Mother River of China.
  • The world's deadliest flood happened in the Huang He River (also called the Yellow River), August of 1931. It killed an estimated 3.7 Million people. The river is 3,000 miles long. It has flooded the surrounding areas more than 1,500 times in the last 1,800 years.
  • The Chinese started making alcohol over 3,400 years ago, but have been drinking tea for only 1,400 years.
  • In China, it is considered unlucky to give someone a clock for a birthday present. In Mandarin, the word for “clock” is similar to death.

  • The birthday child pays respect to his or her parents and receives a gift of money. Friends and relatives are invited to lunch and noodles are served to wish the birthday child a long life.
  • Over 1,000 years ago, Chinese surgeons developed techniques to remove cataracts.
  • China has the world's largest number of dwelling units.
  • The Taoist principle of feng shui (wind-water) concerns the placement of buildings and objects such as doors, windows and furniture to ensure harmony with nature. Feng shui is widely practiced both at home and in business.
  • In public, the Chinese use their family name, which is placed before their given name. People's first names often have a meaning. Xiapei means "little jewel."
  • China has the world's largest number of hospitals with over 67,807.
  • High mountains and plentiful rivers give China the world's largest potential for hydropower--electricity generated by the force of falling water. Coal is currently China's main source of energy but current methods result in high carbon emissions and other pollution. Hydropower is a relatively clean form of energy, however, China's dams have flooded huge regions of farm land and displaced millions of people. China has almost half of the 50,000 large dams in the world and continues to build to meet the needs of their people.
  • Mouth organs were first made in China about 1100 BC; 2,000 years later, Chinese temples had mouth organ orchestras.
  • New Year's celebrations include fireworks to scare off evil spirits, parades and a Festival of Lanterns, in which thousands of lanterns light the way to the New Year.
  • In the wild, Pandas only live in China in places where bamboo forests grow.
  • China has the world's largest number of pharmacists with over 418,000. They also have the most doctors with over 1.918 million.
  • China is the world most populous country with over 1.393 billion people.
  • Rice is the main food eaten in Asia. Farmers often grow it on step like fields called terraces. These fields are cut into steep hillsides.
  • China is the world's top rice growing country and produces 212.7 tons of rice per year. India is second at 134.7 tons
  • Gender discrimination in salaries for men and women has been abolished in China since the 1950s.
  • Silk is a product of southern China. It is made from the cocoon of the silkworm moth. Over 100 cocoons are required to make one ounce of silk yarn.
  • The Chinese are responsible for many technological advances. They invented the first seismograph (132 AD), gunpowder (before 800 AD) and the first book (The Diamond Sutra, printed around 868 AD). Modern Chinese researchers are active in sciences, particularly rocketry, biochemistry and medicine.
  • More people live in China than in any other country in Asia. This continent has the most people, the most land and the highest mountains.
  • When a bottom tooth falls out in China, the child might toss it onto their roof. If it is an upper tooth that is lost, the child might place it at the foot of their bed, on the ground or even in a hole. Tradition says the new tooth will be pulled in the direction of the old one and come in more quickly and straight.
  • The majority of Chinese own bicycles instead of cars. In cities, bicycle jams are common; however, Chinese are increasingly using rapid transit, taxis and cars.
  • Many cooking techniques conserve fuel. For example, ingredients may be cut into small pieces to cook quickly. The curved shape of the wok, a common frying pan, distributes a small amount of heat over a large surface.

Watch video on China

What can you learn about China in this video?

Moments in China YouTube, Ryan Edmond

China Travel Information

What makes China a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

The People's Republic of China was established on October 1, 1949, with Beijing as its capital city. With well over 1.3 billion citizens, China is the world's most populous country and the fourth-largest in terms of territory. Although political power remains centralized in the Chinese Communist Party, China is undergoing profound economic and social changes. Modern tourist facilities are available in major cities, but many facilities in smaller provincial cities and rural areas may be below international standards.

Crime

When visiting China, you should always take routine safety precautions and pay attention to your surroundings. Petty theft remains the most prevalent type of crime encountered. Pickpockets target tourists at sightseeing destinations, airports, crowded subways, markets, and stores. Make sure you guard your passport and wallet, as most incidents tend to involve items kept in back pockets, backpacks, or bags/purses swung over a shoulder or set down in a taxi, another vehicle, a restaurant, or a shop.

Narcotics-related crimes and use are also on the rise in China. Chinese law enforcement authorities have little tolerance for illegal drugs, and they periodically conduct widespread sweeps of bar and nightclub districts, targeting narcotics distributors and drug users. Expatriates from various countries have been detained in such police actions.

Con artists targeting visitors are also common in popular tourist sites. A common scam involves younger Chinese "English students," often women or a couple, offering a local tour and an invitation to tea at a nearby restaurant. When the bill comes, the restaurant owners force victims to pay an exorbitant bill before they can leave the premises.

Taxi drivers, especially at airports, sometimes target arriving travelers, refusing to use the meter or claiming they are a limousine and can charge higher fares. Always have the name of your destination written in Chinese to show the driver, and get a receipt when you arrive at your destination. It is a good practice to keep valuables such as purses, camera bags, and computer cases next to you or in your lap rather than in a less-accessible area of the taxi. Ask the driver to remove the bags from the trunk before you get out of the taxi and before you pay, so he cannot drive away with your luggage.

Do not buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States; if you purchase them, you may also be breaking local law. Some U.S. citizens report that items purchased, even at state-owned or museum stores, believed to be antiques or genuine gems are later determined to be reproductions.

Counterfeit currency is a significant concern in China. Cab drivers and businesses have given many people, not just tourists, counterfeit currency. Carrying small bills or using exact change, particularly in taxis, can help protect you. Some merchants will switch a large bill with a counterfeit bill and return it to you, claiming that you passed them the counterfeit bill. If you must pay with RMB 100 bills, it may be useful to note the last few serial numbers before paying in case they get switched. There have been cases of people receiving counterfeit bills from free-standing ATMs. Use only ATMs at financial institutions or those recommended by your hotel.

Political protest is not legal or permitted in China and is rarely encountered by foreigners. Travelers who have attempted to engage in political protest activities in public places have been deported quickly, in some cases at their own expense, usuallybefore the U.S. Embassy is aware of the situation.

Participating in unauthorized political activities or protests against Chinese policy in China may result in lengthy detentions and may impact your eligibility for future visas to visit China. Foreigners engaging in pro-Falun Gong or pro-Tibetan activities have been detained or immediately deported from China, usually at their own expense, after being questioned. Several reported they were subject to interrogations and were physically abused during detention. In addition, some alleged that personal property, including clothing, cameras, and computers, was not returned.

U.S. citizens have been detained and expelled for distributing religious literature. Chinese customs authorities have enforced strict regulations concerning the importation of religious literature, including Bibles. If you bring religious literature with you, it should be a "reasonable amount" for your personal use only. If you attempt to bring larger quantities, the literature will likely be confiscated and you may be fined, detained, or deported.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in China, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. For example, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in China, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is very important to know what is legal and what is not wherever you go.

China gives the police the authority to detain and deport foreigners for a wide variety of reasons, including engaging inprohibited religious activities and soliciting prostitutes. If you do not have your passport with you, you may be taken in for questioning. China has strict laws against driving under the influence of alcohol that can lead to immediate detention on a criminal charge.

If you are arrested in China, the U.S.-China Consular Convention requires Chinese authorities to notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate general of your arrest within four days. Typically, the police will not allow anyone other than a consular officer to visit you during your initial detention period, including your family or even an attorney. Bail is rarely granted in China, and you can be subject to detention for many months before being granted a trial. Please see the section on DUAL NATIONALITY for the limits on consular notification and access in the cases of persons who hold dual nationality.

Languages

Standard Chinese (putonghua), based on the Mandarin dialect, is the national language and is spoken by more than 70 percent of the population. Other dialects are also spoken, including Wu (in Shanghai), Min, Yue (Cantonese), and Kejja. Each of the 55 minorities speaks its own language or dialect. In some cases, education and all official transactions may be conducted in the local minority language. Chinese does not have a phonetic alphabet; it uses characters to express words, thoughts, or principles. A Romanized alphabet Pinyin is used to help teach Chinese in school and for international communication. Even though there are over 50,000 characters in the Chinese alphabet, only about 8,000 are actually in use. The Chinese language requires that one knows 1,500 to 2,000 characters to be considered fluent in the language.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

The standards of medical care in China are not equivalent to those in the United States. If you plan to travel outside of major Chinese cities, you should consider making special preparations.

Travelers have reported difficulty passing through customs inspection when arriving with large quantities of prescription medications. If you regularly take over-the-counter or prescription medication, bring your own supply in the original container, including each drug's generic name, and carry the doctor's prescription with you. Many commonly-used U.S. drugs and medications are not available in China, and some that bear names that are the same as or similar to prescription medications from the United States may not contain the same ingredients or may be counterfeit. If you try to have medications sent to you from outside China, you may have problems getting them released by Chinese Customs and/or you may have to pay high customs duties.

Reuse of medical supplies such as syringes and needles or poor sterilization practices are problems in China, contributing to transmission of diseases such as hepatitis, which is endemic in China. To avoid contamination, travelers should always ask doctors and dentists to use sterilized equipment and be prepared to pay for new syringe needles in hospitals or clinics.

In emergencies, Chinese ambulances are often slow to arrive, and most do not have sophisticated medical equipment or trained responders. In most parts of China, helicopter evacuations are not commercially available. Many travelers choose to take taxis or other vehicles to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for ambulances to arrive. Most hospitals demand cash payment or a deposit in advance for admission, procedures, or emergencies, although a few hospitals in major cities may accept credit cards.

Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and a few other large cities have medical facilities with some international staff. Many hospitals in major Chinese cities have so-called VIP wards (gaogan bingfang). Most VIP wards provide medical services to foreigners and have some English-speaking staff. However, even in the VIP/foreigner wards of major hospitals, you may have difficulty due to cultural, language, and regulatory differences. In China, it is customary for patients' families to help care for them in the hospital and to supply their toiletries, paper supplies, and meals. Hospitals often refuse to perform surgery or administer treatment without the written consent of the patient's family, even if they are not in China, and doctors frequently will only tell the family members the patient's diagnosis and prognosis, but will not discuss it with the patient. Physicians and hospitals sometimes refuse to give U.S. patients copies of their Chinese hospital medical records, including laboratory test results, scans, and x-rays.

Mental health facilities or medications are not widely available in China. If you are traveling to or studying abroad in China, before you go, put a plan in place for managing your mental health.

In most rural areas, only rudimentary medical facilities are available, often with poorly trained personnel who have little medical equipment and medications. Rural clinics are often reluctant to accept responsibility for treating foreigners, even in emergency situations.

If you elect to have surgery or other medical services performed in China, be aware that there is little legal recourse to protect you in case of medical malpractice. The U.S. Embassy and consulates general in China maintain lists of local English-speaking doctors and hospitals, which are published on their respective American Citizens Services web pages.

Most roads and towns in Tibet, Qinghai, parts of Xinjiang, and western Sichuan are situated at altitudes over 10,000 feet. If you plan to travel in these areas, you should seek medical advice in advance of travel, allow time for acclimatization to the high altitude, and remain alert to signs of altitude sickness. Air pollution is also a significant problem throughout China, and you should consult your doctor prior to travel and consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you. You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. Please note that the CDC recommends that travelers to China ensure that their polio vaccinations are up to date. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

Tuberculosis is also an increasingly serious health concern in China. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.

HIV is a significant concern in China. An estimated quarter of a million people in China are living with HIV, most of whom are not aware of their status.

ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY: In vitro fertilization (IVF) is widely practiced in China and a number of government-licensed clinics perform the procedure. Surrogacy, however, is strictly forbidden under Chinese law and surrogacy contracts will not be considered valid in China. The use of reproductive technology for medical research and profit is strictly controlled in China. In February 2013, the Chinese Ministry of Health launched a crackdown against unlicensed fertility clinics and underground fertility treatment programs.

Safety and Security

For most visitors, China remains a very safe country. Petty street crime is the most common safety concern for U.S. citizens in China. However, business disputes between U.S. citizens and Chinese business partners can result in a physical confrontation or kidnapping. If you feel that your personal safety is in danger in the course of a business dispute, you should contact the local police immediately. The Chinese authorities are responsible for the safety and security of all residents in and travelers to China and it is important to report your concerns to the local police.

Some parts of the country are restricted or you may need a special permit to travel there. Please keep in mind that you are a guest in a foreign country where U.S. laws do not apply. You are subject to Chinese law and legal procedures.

Violent crime is not common in China, but violent demonstrations can erupt without warning, and in past years there have been somefatal bombings and explosions which could pose a random threat to foreign visitors in the area. The vast majority of these local incidents are related to disputes over land seizures, social issues, employment disputes, environmental problems, or conflicts involving ethnic minorities. Some incidents have become large-scale and involved criminal activity, including hostage taking and vandalism.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in China, you will encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Rules, regulations, and conditions vary greatly throughout China, but a general rule of thumb is that traffic safety is poor and driving in China can be dangerous.

Traffic is chaotic and largely unregulated, and right-of-way and other courtesies are usually ignored. The average Chinese driver has fewer than five years' experience behind the wheel and the rate of traffic accidents in China, including fatal accidents, is among the highest in the world. Cars, bicycles, motorbikes, trucks, and buses often treat road signs and signals as advisory rather than mandatory. Pedestrians never have the right of way, and you should always be careful while travelling in, or even walking near, traffic. Child safety seats are not widely available in China, and most taxis and other cars do not have seat belts in the back seats. Motorcycle and bicycle accidents are frequent and often serious. If you decide to ride a bike or motorcycle, wear a helmet.

You may not drive in China using your U.S. driver's license or an international license. If you have a resident permit, you canapply for a PRC driver's license, althoughregulations for obtaining a license vary from province to province. Liability issues and the difficulty of passing the driver's test may make it preferable to employ a local driver.

If you are involved in a traffic accident, stay calm; road altercations sometimes turn violent quickly. The safest course is tocall the policeand wait for them. Even minor traffic accidents can becomemajor public dramas. In some instances bystanders have surrounded accident scenes and nominated themselves to be an ad hoc jury. The parties involved in an accident may offer money to the crowd in exchange for favorable consideration. If there are no injuries and damage is minimal, the parties often come to agreement on the spot. If no agreement is reached and the police are called, the police may mediate or conduct an on-site investigation requiring those involved to come to the police station to sign statements. Unresolved disputes are handled by the courts. In cases where there are injuries, the driver whose vehicle is determined to have inflicted the injury will often be held at least partially liable for the injured person's medical costs regardless of actual responsibility for the accident. Many foreigners have been involved in incidents where the victims appear to have purposely caused accidents and claimed to have been injured in order to get payment for their supposed damages and medical care. When foreigners are involved in an accident, the police will sometimes hold their passports until the other parties are satisfied with the compensation they receive.

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