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China Geography

China map

Stretching from the eastern part of Asia to the western bank of the Pacific Ocean, China has a vast territory that is compared to a rooster with the head to the east and the tail to the west from Parmirs in the west to the confluence of the Heilongjiang and Wusuli rivers in the east, the distance of 5,200 kilometers (3,231 miles) covers five time zones. From north to south, it measures about 5,500 kilometers (3,418 miles), extending from the central line of Heilongjiang River, north of Mohe town, to the Zengmu Reef at the southernmost tip of the Nansha Islands.

From north to south, China borders the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East Sea and the South Sea. The Bohai Sea is located between the Shandong Peninsula and the Liaodong Peninsula and it is China's continental sea. The vast sea is interspersed with more than 5,000 islands, among which the Taiwan Island is the largest.

China faces South Korea and Japan across the sea in the east, and further down to the southeast are Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.
East - North Korea
North – Russia
Northwest - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
West - Afghanistan and Pakistan
Southwest - India, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan
South - Burma, Laos and Vietnam

 Area & Administrative Division
With an area of 9.6 million square kilometers, the territory of China equals the whole area of the European continent, ranks third in the world after Russia and Canada. There are altogether 34 administrative units at provincial level, including four municipalities, five autonomous regions, two special administrative regions and 23 provinces.

From a bird's eye view, China's terrain resembles a four-step staircase down from west to east. With an average altitude of 4,000 meters (13,123 feet), the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, well-known as the 'Roof of the World', is on top of the staircase. The second step consists of Inner Mongolian, Loess, the Yunnan-Guizhou plateaus, the Tarim, Junggar and Sichuan basins, with an average attitude of 1,000 - 2,000 meters (3,281-6,562 feet). The third step, declining to 500 - 1,000 meters (1,640-3,281 feet) above sea level, begins at the boundaries from the Greater Hinggan, Taihang, Wushan and Xuefeng mountains eastward to the seacoast, including the Northeast Plain, the North China Plain and the Middle-lower Yangtze Plain from north to south. Interspersed amongst the plains are hills and foothills. To the east of the third step is the shallow water of the continental shelf which forms the fourth step. The depth of the water is mostly less than 200 meters (656 feet).

The four great plateaus - the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Inner Mongolian Plateau, the Loess Plateau and the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau

The four great basins - the Tarim Basin, the Junggar Basin, the Chaidamu Basin and the Sichuan basins

The three great plains - the Northeast Plain, the North China Plain and Middle-lower Yangtze Plain

The five sacred mountains - Mt. Taishan , Shandong Province, Mt. Huashan , Shaanxi Province, Mt. Hengshan , Shanxi Province, Mt. Hengshan, Hunan Province and Mt. Songshan, Henan Province.

The four well-known Buddhist shrines - Mt. Wutaishan, Shanxi Province, Mt. Emei, Sichuan Province, Mt. Jiuhuashan, Anhui Province and Mt. Putuoshan, Zhejiang Province.

 Natural Resources
Because of its large terrain and its climate, China has a large amount of natural resources. It is rich in hydropower resources, leading the world with 680 million kilowatts hydropower reserves. Cultivated lands, on the other hand, are lesser in comparison and are distributed unevenly. Most of north China is dry, whereas paddy fields are abundant in the south. Resources like coal, iron and oil are mainly produced in the north, but nonferrous metals are mostly buried in the south. It has also a vast maritime territory where there are many in-shore fisheries. The East Sea is famed for its 'Natural Fish Store'.

The main rivers - the Yangtze River , the Yellow River , the Pear River, the Haihe River, the Huaihe River, the Heilongjiang River, the Songhua River, the Qiantang River, the Liaohe River, Tarim River, the Yarlong Tsangpo River , the Salween River (Nu Jiang) and so on.

The five freshwater lakes - the Boyang Lake in Jiangxi Province, the Dongting Lake in Hunan Province, the Taihu Lake between Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces, the Hongzehu Lake in Jiangsu Province and the Chaohu Lake in Anhui Province.

The three great water projects - the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, the Ling Canal as well as the oldest and longest man-made canal in the world - the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal.