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Geography

Area and geographical features
Total area consists of 3, 750, 000 square miles. The greater part of the country is mountainous. The notable exception is the great China plain, triangular in shape with its apex near Beijing and its base along the Yangtze River between Yichang and Shanghai. The Yellow River and the Yangzte River roughly divide the country into north, central and southern China. China shares a border with many Asian countries, notably Vietnam, North Korea and India. Land transport across these borders is restricted.

Population
The population of China is 1.29533 billion, including Hong Kong - 6.78 million, Macao - 0.44 million, & Taiwan - 22.28 million. The birth rate in 2001 was 6.95 per thousand. The rural population is 0.80739 billion, which accounts for 63.91% of the total population, though part of this is also engaged in rural industrial activity rather than farming. Recent years have seen a significant migration of the rural population as more people search for work in the cities, a result of huge growth in construction and the related disappearance of arable land. The urban population is 0.45594 billion, which accounts for 36.09% of the total population. The official population of Beijing is 13.819 million now. 91% of the population are Han Chinese. There are many other ethnic groups, particularly in western and southern China and the border regions.

Source of statistics: State Statistics Bureau of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Major business cities and towns
The official urban population of China is 0.45594 billion, which accounts for 36.09% of the total population. The official population of Beijing is now 13.819 million, and other major cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan are fast approaching this figure. Large-scale migrations from rural to urban areas have been a significant feature in the development of municipalities in China during the 1990s, and account for the miles of suburbs that are now a feature of provincial capitals.

Climate
In north China the climate is extreme, ranging from temperatures of -15C (5F) in December and January, to 40C (104F) in July and August. Dust storms can be expected during April and May. For most of the year Beijing is dry and dusty, the rainy season being restricted to July and August, when it can be very humid. Central China also experiences sub-zero temperatures in winter and continues to be cold until the beginning of May. The temperature in summer can rise as high as 45C in cities such as Wuhan. Humidity is high all year round, and can be uncomfortable in summer. The rainy season lasts from March until June. The climate in southern China is in general sub-tropical, remaining fairly hot and humid until about the end of October. From the point of view of temperature, the best times of the year to visit China are late spring and autumn.

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