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It is the largest of all Asian countries and has the largest population of any country in the world. Occupying nearly the entire East Asian landmass, it covers approximately one-fourteenth of the land area of Earth. Among the major countries of the world, China is surpassed in area by only Russia and Canadaand it is almost as large as the whole of Europe. China has 33 administrative units directly under the central government; these consist of 22 provinces5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities ChongqingBeijingShanghaiand Tianjinand 2 special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau.
The island province of Taiwanwhich has been under separate administration sinceis discussed in the article Taiwan. Shanghai is the main industrial city; Hong Kong is the leading commercial centre and port.
Its topography encompasses the highest and one of the lowest places on Earth, and its relief varies from nearly impenetrable mountainous terrain to vast coastal lowlands. Its climate ranges from extremely dry, desertlike conditions in the northwest to tropical monsoon in the southeast, and China has the greatest contrast in temperature between its northern and southern borders of any country in the world.
Probably the single most identifiable characteristic of China to the people of the rest of the world is the size of its population. Some one-fifth of humanity is of Chinese nationality.
The great majority of the population is Chinese Hanand thus China is often characterized as an ethnically homogeneous country, but few countries have as wide a variety of indigenous peoples as does China. Even among the Han there are cultural and linguistic differences between regions; for example, the only point of linguistic commonality between two individuals from different parts of China may be the written Chinese language.
With more than 4, years of recorded historyChina is one of the few existing countries that also flourished economically and culturally in the earliest stages of world civilization. Indeed, despite the political and social upheavals that frequently have ravaged the country, China is unique among nations in its longevity and resilience as a discrete politico-cultural unit. This relative isolation from the outside world made possible over the centuries the flowering and refinement of the Chinese culture, but it also left China ill prepared to cope with that world when, from the midth century, it was confronted by technologically superior foreign nations.
There followed a century of decline and decrepitude, as China found itself relatively helpless in the face of a foreign onslaught. The trauma of this external challenge became the catalyst for a revolution that began in the early 20th century against the old regime and culminated in the establishment of a communist government in This event reshaped global political geography, and China has since come to rank among the most influential countries in the world.
The provinces are traceable in their current form to the Tang dynasty — ce. Over the centuries, provinces gained in importance as centres of political and economic authority and increasingly became the focus of regional identification and loyalty. China stretches for about 3, miles 5, km from east to west and 3, miles 5, km from north to south. Its land frontier is about 12, miles 20, km in length, and its coastline extends for some 8, miles 14, km.
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Pine branch framing peaks in the Huang Mountains, Anhui province, China. Britannica Quiz. Exploring China: Fact or Fiction? Is China the most densely populated country on Earth? Test the density—or sparsity—of your knowledge of China in this quiz. Water's edge view of the Shanghai financial district and Huangpu River, China. Huangpu district in Shanghai at night.
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