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CHINA COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

The People’s Republic of China was established on October 1, 1949, with Beijing as its capital city. With well over 1.3 billion citizens, China is the world’s most populous country and the third largest country in the world in terms of territory. China is undergoing rapid, profound economic and social change and development. Political power remains centralized in the Chinese Communist Party. Modern tourist facilities are available in major cities, but many facilities in smaller provincial cities and rural areas are frequently below international standards.

Information about China:

Geography Total area: 9,596,960 sq. km. (about 3.7 million sq. mi.). Cities: Capital–Beijing. Other major cities–Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Harbin, Chengdu. Terrain: Plains, deltas, and hills in east; mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west. Climate: Tropical in south to subarctic in north.

People Nationality: Noun and adjective–Chinese (singular and plural). Population (July 2007 est.): 1,321,851,888. Population growth rate (2007 est.): 0.606%. Health (2007 est.): Infant mortality rate–22.12/1,000. Life expectancy–72.88 years (overall); 71.13 years for males, 74.82 years for females. Ethnic groups: Han Chinese–91.9%; Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uygur, Yi, Mongolian, Tibetan, Buyi, Korean, and other–8.1%. Religions: Officially atheist; Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam. Language: Mandarin (Putonghua), plus many local dialects. Education: Years compulsory–9. Literacy–90.9%. Work force (2006 est., 798 million): Agriculture and forestry–45%; industry–24%; services–31%.

Government Type: Communist party-led state. Constitution: December 4, 1982. Independence: Unification under the Qin (Ch’in) Dynasty 221 BC; Qing (Ch’ing or Manchu) Dynasty replaced by a republic on February 12, 1912; People’s Republic established October 1, 1949. Branches: Executive–president, vice president, State Council, premier. Legislative–unicameral National People’s Congress. Judicial–Supreme People’s Court. Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (the P.R.C. considers Taiwan to be its 23rd province); 5 autonomous regions, including Tibet; 4 municipalities directly under the State Council. Political parties: Chinese Communist Party, 70.8 million members; 8 minor parties under Communist Party supervision. Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy GDP (2007): $3.249 trillion (exchange rate-based). Per capita GDP (2007): $2,458 (exchange rate-based).GDP real growth rate (2007): 11.4%. Natural resources: Coal, iron ore, crude oil, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, uranium, hydropower potential (world’s largest). Agriculture: Products–Among the world’s largest producers of rice, wheat, potatoes, corn, peanuts, tea, millet, barley; commercial crops include cotton, other fibers, apples, oilseeds, pork and fish; produces variety of livestock products. Industry: Types–mining and ore processing; iron; steel; aluminum; coal, machinery; textiles and apparel; armaments; petroleum; cement; chemicals; fertilizers; consumer products including footwear, toys, and electronics; automobiles and other transportation equipment including rail cars and locomotives, ships, and aircraft; and telecommunications. Trade (2007): Exports–$1.221 trillion: electronics; machinery; apparel; optical, photographic, and medical equipment; and furniture. Main partners–United States, Hong Kong, Japan, EU, South Korea, Singapore. Imports–$917.4 billion: electronics, machinery, mineral fuel and oil, chemicals, plastic. Main partners–Japan, EU, Taiwan, South Korea, United States, Malaysia, Australia.

PEOPLE Ethnic Groups The largest ethnic group is the Han Chinese, who constitute about 91.9% of the total population. The remaining 8.1% are Zhuang (16 million), Manchu (10 million), Hui (9 million), Miao (8 million), Uygur (7 million), Yi (7 million), Mongolian (5 million), Tibetan (5 million), Buyi (3 million), Korean (2 million), and other ethnic minorities.

Language There are seven major Chinese dialects and many subdialects. Mandarin (or Putonghua), the predominant dialect, is spoken by over 70% of the population. It is taught in all schools and is the medium of government. About two-thirds of the Han ethnic group are native speakers of Mandarin; the rest, concentrated in southwest and southeast China, speak one of the six other major Chinese dialects. Non-Chinese languages spoken widely by ethnic minorities include Mongolian, Tibetan, Uygur and other Turkic languages (in Xinjiang), and Korean (in the northeast).

The Pinyin System of Romanization On January 1, 1979, the Chinese Government officially adopted the pinyin system for spelling Chinese names and places in Roman letters. A system of Romanization invented by the Chinese, pinyin has long been widely used in China on street and commercial signs as well as in elementary Chinese textbooks as an aid in learning Chinese characters. Variations of pinyin also are used as the written forms of several minority languages. Pinyin has now replaced other conventional spellings in China’s English-language publications. The U.S. Government also has adopted the pinyin system for all names and places in China. For example, the capital of China is now spelled “Beijing” rather than “Peking.”

Religion Religion plays a significant part in the life of many Chinese. Buddhism is most widely practiced, with an estimated 100 million adherents. Traditional Taoism also is practiced. Official figures indicate there are 20 million Muslims, 15 million Protestants, and 5 million Catholics; unofficial estimates are much higher. While the Chinese constitution affirms religious toleration, the Chinese Government places restrictions on religious practice outside officially recognized organizations. Only two Christian organizations–a Catholic church without official ties to Rome and the “Three-Self-Patriotic” Protestant church–are sanctioned by the Chinese Government. Unauthorized churches have sprung up in many parts of the country and unofficial religious practice is flourishing. In some regions authorities have tried to control activities of these unregistered churches. In other regions, registered and unregistered groups are treated similarly by authorities and congregations worship in both types of churches. Most Chinese Catholic bishops are recognized by the Pope, and official priests have Vatican approval to administer all the sacraments.

Population Policy With a population officially just over 1.3 billion and an estimated growth rate of about 0.6%, China is very concerned about its population growth and has attempted with mixed results to implement a strict birth limitation policy. China’s 2002 Population and Family Planning Law and policy permit one child per family, with allowance for a second child under certain circumstances, especially in rural areas, and with guidelines looser for ethnic minorities with small populations. Enforcement varies, and relies largely on “social compensation fees” to discourage extra births. Official government policy opposes forced abortion or sterilization, but in some localities there are instances of forced abortion. The government’s goal is to stabilize the population in the first half of the 21st century, and current projections are that the population will peak at around 1.6 billion by 2050. To finance your Travel to China use this Dream Vacation Financing

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