China, an ancient, mysterious and beautiful land, is always appealing to adventurous foreign visitors. It is situated in eastern Asia, bounded by the Pacific in the east.
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. It is the inventor of compass, paper, gunpowder and printing.
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 1, 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 energised 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.
China is made up of 56 ethnic groups. The Han people make up 91.2 percent of the total population and the other 55 national minorities 8.98 percent.
They are Mongolian, Hui, Tibetan, Uygur, Miao, Yi, Zhuang, Bouyi, Korean, Manchu, Dong, Yao, Bai, Tujia, Hani, Kazak, Dai, Li, Lisu, Wa, She, Gaoshan, Lahu, Shui, Dongxiang, Naxi, Jingpo, Kirgiz, Tu, Daur, Mulam, Qiang, Blang, Salar, Maonan, Gelo, Xibe, Achang, Pumi, Tajik, Nu, Ozbek, Russian, Ewenki, Benglong, Bonan, Yugur, Jing, Tatar, Drung, Oroqen, Hezhen, Moinba, Lhoba.
All nationalities enjoy equal status according to the constitution. The state protects their lawful rights and interests and promotes equality, unity and mutual help among all nationalities.
China has 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities and 2 Special Administrative Regions (Hong Kong and Macao).
(Source: 28 March 2008 General Information – Author: Smith)