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.
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.
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.