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Travel China > China Discovery

China Brief

* Overview of China
* China at a glance
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China History

China is situated in eastern Asia, bounded by the Pacific in the east. The third largest country in the world, next to Canada and Russia, it has an area of 9.6 million square kilometers, or one-fifteenth of the world's landmass. It begins from the confluence of the Heilong and Wusuli Rivers (135 degrees and 5 minutes east longitude) in the east to the Pamirs west of Wuqia County in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (73 degrees and 40 minutes east longitude) in the west, with about 5,200 kilometers apart. In the north, it starts from the midstream of the Heilong River north of Mohe (53 degrees and 31 minutes north latitude) and stretches south to the southernmost island Zengmu'ansha in the South China Sea (4 degrees and 15 minutes north latitude), with about 5,500 kilometers in between

China Map Begin the passage with Qutang Gorge, the shortest and the grandest of the Three Gorges. View the exquisite peaks and grotesquely shaped rocks. The river guides will talk about historic sites such as Ancient Plank Road, Mengliang Stairway and the hanging coffins. Pass the Wu Gorge with its
famous lofty and misty peaks. Disembark at Wushan Daning River for an excursion to the Three Little Gorges.
The name of China comes from the transliteration of the pronunciation of Qin (pronounced "chin") that ruled during the 3rd century BC, the first imperial dynasty of the country. Present day Chinese call their country Zhongguo that means Middle Kingdom.
China proper centers on the agricultural regions irrigated by two major rivers-the Yellow River in the north, the Yangtze River in South China. The country's varied topography includes broad plains, towering mountains, high plateaus, and vast deserts.
Beijing, China's capital, is its cultural, economic, and communications center. Shanghai, located by East China Sea, is the most populous urban center, the largest industrial and commercial city.
More than one-fifth of the world's population lives in China. 90 percent of the people are Hans, but China also recognizes 55 national minorities, including Tibetans, Mongols and many other smaller ethnic groups. The official language is Mandarin Chinese that uses characters that represent words rather than pronunciation, makes it possible for all Chinese dialects to be written in the same way.
In ancient times, Chinese created one of the most brilliant civilizations in the world. Other neighboring people, Koreans and Vietnamese, were influenced by China, adopting features of Chinese art, food, material culture, philosophy, government, technology, and written language. For many centuries, especially from the 7th through the 14th century ad, China had the world's most advanced civilization. Inventions such as paper, printing, gunpowder, porcelain, silk, and the compass originated in China have contributed greatly to the development of the world.
China's political strength became threatened when European civilization expanded into East Asia. In the 19th century internal revolts and foreign invasion weakened China's last dynasty, the Qing, which was finally overthrown by Chinese Nationalists led by Dr. Sun Yet-sen in 1911. Over the course of several decades, the country was torn apart by warlords, Japanese invasion, and a civil war between the Communists and the Nationalist regime, which established the Republic of China in 1928.
In 1949 the Chinese Communist Party won the civil war and established the People's Republic of China (PRC) on the mainland. The Nationalist Government retreated to Taiwan Island, where it is functionally controlling Taiwan and a few neighboring islands.
After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Communist government began placing agriculture and industry under state control. Beginning in the late 1970s, however, the government implemented economic reforms that reversed some of the earlier policies and encouraged foreign investment. Although China is still a developing country by world standards, the economy has grown dramatically as a result of the reforms of the 1980s and 1990s.
 
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