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China, one of the countries that can boast of an ancient civilization, has a long and mysterious history almost

5,000 years of it! Like most other great civilizations of the world, China can trace her culture back to a blend of small original tribes which have expanded till they became the great country we have today. It is recorded that Yuanmou man is the oldest hominoid in China and the oldest dynasty is Xia Dynasty. From the long history of China, there emerge many eminent people that have contributed a lot to the development of the whole country and to the enrichment of her history. Among them, there are emperors like Li Shimin (emperor Taizong of the Tang), philosophers like Confucius, great patriotic poets like Qu Yuan and so on. Chinese society has progressed through five major stages - Primitive Society, Slave Society, Feudal Society, Capitalist Society and Socialist Society. The rise and fall of the great dynasties forms a thread that runs through Chinese history, almost from the beginning. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1st, 1949, China has become a socialist society and become stronger and stronger. China, an ancient, mysterious and beautiful land, is always appealing to adventurous foreign visitors. As the third largest country in the world occupying an area of 9,600,000 sq km, it spans 62 degrees of longitude and 49 degrees of latitude. A wide variety of terrain and climate shape its numerous natural attractions. Abundant in a variety of resources, plants, animals, and minerals, the land has nurtured countless generations of Chinese people. One of China's greatest treasures is her long, rich history. As early as 1.7 million years ago, the earliest humans evolved on this land. The first dynasty, the Xia Dynasty, dates to about the 21st century BC. For 4,000 years, feudalism was the dominant economic and cultural model. Then, in 1911, the revolution led by Sun Yat-sen brought the monarchy to an end. On October 1st, 1949, modern China was founded as the 'People's Republic of China'. Since then, China has developed independently and vigorously. Most recently, reform and opening-up policy has energized life in China. China is proud of her many people, long history, resplendent culture and distinctive customs. Among her greatest gifts to the world are the 'four great inventions' (paper, gunpowder, printing and the compass) . Chinese arts and crafts, including painting, calligraphy, operas, embroidery and silk are distinctive and unique. Martial arts, which have only recently begun to enjoy popularity in other parts of the world have been part of Chinese culture for centuries, and Chinese literature is testifies to the country's rich heritage. And, of course, there is Chinese cuisine, which has been exported to every corner of the globe. Basic details: Full name: The People's Republic of China Area: 9,600,000 sq km Location: middle and East Asia, bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean Climate: mainly continental monsoon climate (Tibet: vertical climate zone) Territorial seas: the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea Population: 1.3 billion (as of 2004) Capital City: Beijing People: Han Chinese (93.3%), plus 55 ethnic groups like Miao, Li, Mongolian Language: Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua) based on Beijing dialect, plus local dialects The main religions and beliefs: officially atheist, Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam (over 22 million), Catholicism (over 4 million) and Protestantism (over 10 million) Currency and monetary unit : Renminbi/Yuan Form of government: system of National People's Congress Administrative demarcations: 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities, and 2 Special

Administrative Regions Chinese President: Hu Jintao

We are the world's largest population. We descend from Yan Di and Huang Di , the two mythical kings or chieftains who had ruled the land 4,400 years ago. Among our 56 ethnic groups, the Han people stand out to make up 93.3% of the most recent census statistics. Yan Di allied with Huang Di in order to regain his lost territory in lower Yellow River from Chi You, a leader of Jiuli, a people from south China. Their combined strength proved advantageous for both, and they formed a merger. We further list three huang and five di among our proud and wise ancestral leaders. They are revered similar to prophets in the Middle Eastern religions. Three huang refer to Fu Xi , Nu Wa, Shen Nong (Yan Di) while five di refer to Huang Di, Zhuan Xiang, Di Ku, Tang Yao and Yu Shun. Similar to Hebrew biblical accounts on tribal affairs, the Chinese minorities came from splinter groups formed after royal edicts that marked major events in history. Exiled leaders fathered the minor tribes. According to Shi Ji by Sima Qian, Gong Gong, Dou, San Miao and Gun offended Zhuan Yu and were exiled upon Shun's request to north, south, west and east respectively. Thus, Gong Gong became the ancestor of Di, Dou that of Man, San Miao that of Rong and Gun that of Yi. The tempered Chinese national characteristics emerged after three subsequent dynasties: the Xia, the Shang, and the Zhou. The turmoil endured by people during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States led to a common desire for a unified country. Emperor Qin Shi Huang ruled as the first emperor, with Han tribes forming the nucleus of a united China. But the name Han is associated with the Western Han Dynasty that came after the first emperor's reign. Another unsettling period arrived with the Three Kingdoms, Western and Eastern Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasties. The five hu people resettled in the Yellow River region. Then the Northern Wei reunified the territories to bring about peace. About this time the various minorities had tacitly acknowledged the dominance of Han people and their way of life. The Chinese nation had finally emerged.

Located in Southeast Asia along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean, China is the world's third largest country, after Russia and Canada. With an area of 9.6 million square kilometers and a coastline of 18,000 kilometers, its shape on the map is like a rooster. It reaches Mohe in Heilongjiang Province as its northern end, Zengmu Ansha (or James Shoal) to the south, Pamirs to the west, and expands to the eastern border at the conjunction of the Heilongjiang (Amur) River and the Wusuli (Ussuri) River, spanning about 50 degrees of latitude and 62 degrees of longitude. China is bordered by 14 countries -- Korea, Vietnam, Laos,

Burma, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan, Mongolia, and Russia. Marine-side neighbors include eight countries -- North Korea, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Physical Features The vast land expanses of China include plateaus, plains, basins, foothills, and mountains. Defining rugged plateaus, foothills and mountains as mountainous, they occupy nearly two-thirds of the land, higher in the West and lower in the East like a three-step ladder. The highest step of the typical 'ladder topography' is formed by the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at the average height of over 4,000 meters, with the Kunlunshan range, Qilianshan range and Hengduan mountain chain as the division between this step and the second one. The highest peak in the world, Everest, at 8844.43 meters high is known as 'the Roof of the World'. On the second step are large basins and plateaus, most of which are 1,000 - 2,000 meters high. The Daxing'an, Taihang, Wu and Xuefeng Mountains divide this step and the next lower one. Plateaus including Inner Mongolian, Loess, Yungui Plateaus, and basins such as Tarim, Junggar, and Sichuan Basins are situated here. The third step, abundant in broad plains, is dotted with the foothills and lower mountains, with altitudes of over 500 meters. Here are located famous plains: the Northeast, the North China, and the Middle-Lower Yangtze Plains, neighboring with each other from north to south. These well-cultivated and fertile lands produce abundant crops.

Regional Divisions
Although the physical features are as described, people tend to divide China into four regions, that is, the North, South, Northwest and the Qinghai-Tibetan areas. Because of geographical differences, residents of each region have distinctive life styles and customs. The North and South regions are located in the Eastern monsoon area and are divided by the Qin Mountains-Huai River. Nearly 95 percent of the Chinese population lives here. The other two regions, the Northwest and Qinghai-Tibetan regions that occupy 55 percent of the land, have fewer people, although most of the ethnic groups cluster there.

Rivers and Lakes
China has numerous rivers and lakes. According to statistics, more than 50,000 rivers have drainage areas that exceed 100 square kilometers; more than 1,500 exceed 1,000 square kilometers. These rivers can also be classified as exterior and interior rivers. The Yangtze, the longest in China and even in Asia, is the third-longest in the world. The Yellow River, 'Mother River of the Chinese People', is just behind the Yangtze, both flowing into the Pacific Ocean. The Yarlung Zangbo River belongs to the Indian Ocean water system, and the Irtysh River to the Arctic Ocean. On the other side, the interior rivers drain less area than the exterior ones. Lakes are also important. The areas with the most lakes are the Middle-Lower Yangtze Plain and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Many lakes in the northwest are salty. QinghaiLake, a beautiful natural salt-water lake, is the largest. In southeast China, most lakes are fresh water. Poyang Lake, Dongting Lake , and Taihu Lake are all fresh water lakes. These provide China with precious resources such as aquatic products, petroleum, natural gas, mines and renewable resources including tide power.

Mountainous Topography China has large areas of mountainous land, about two-thirds of the country. The ranges mainly run from east to west and from northeast to southwest. Among these mountains, some reach to the sky, and others are lower with charming scenery. Out of the mountains throughout the world at the altitude of over 7,000 meters, over 50 stand in China. To the east in China, lower mountains like Mt. Taishan, Mt. Huashan, and Mt. Emeishan, also display their unique beauty. In addition, they hide rich treasures including botanic, zoologic, and mineral resources.