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  China Geography

 

 Topography is varied and complex, with towering mountains, basins of different sizes, undulating plateaus and hills, and flat and fertile plains.
A bird's-eye view of China would indicate that China's terrain descends in three steps from west to east.
The top of this three-step "staircase" is the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Averaging more than 4,000 m above sea level, it is often called the "roof of the world." Rising 8,848 meters above sea level is Mt. Qomolangma, the world's highest peak and the main peak of the Himalayas.
The second step includes the Inner Mongolia, Loess and Yunnan-Guizhou plateaus, and the Tarim, Junggar and Sichuan basins, with an average elevation of between 1,000 meters and 2,000 meters.
The third step begins at a line drawn around the Greater Hinggan, Taihang, Wushan and Xuefeng mountain ranges and extends eastward to the coast. Here, from north to south, are the Northeast Plain, the North China Plain and the Middle-Lower Yangtze Plain. Interspersed amongst the plains are hills and foothills.

               

                    

Climate: China has a continental monsoonal climate. Northerly winds prevail in winter, while southerly winds reign in summer. The four seasons are quite distinct. The rainy season coincides with the hot season. From September to April, the dry and cold winter monsoons from Siberia and Mongolia in the north gradually become weak as they reach the southern part of the country, resulting in cold and dry winters and great differences in temperature. The summer monsoons last from April to September with little difference in temperature between the south and the north. China's complex and varied climate results in a great variety of temperature belts, and dry and moist zones. In terms of temperature, the nation can be sectored from south to north into equatorial, tropical, sub-tropical, warm-temperate, temperate, and cold-temperate zones; in terms of moisture, it can be sectored from southeast to northwest into humid (32 percent of land area), semi-humid (15 percent), semi-arid (22 percent) and arid zones (31 percent). China is one of the countries with the greatest diversity of wildlife in the world. There are more than 4,400 species of vertebrates, more than 10 percent of the world's total. There are nearly 500 animal species, 1,189 species of birds, more than 320 species of reptiles and 210 species of amphibians. Wildlife unique to China includes such well-known animals as the giant p
The warm and moist summer monsoons from the oceans bring abundant rainfall and high tempera anda, golden-haired monkey, South China tiger, brown-eared pheasant, white-flag dolphin, Chinese alligator and red-crowned crane, totaling more than 100 species. The giant panda is an especially attractive sight. Heavily built, it has a docile disposition, and is delightfully adorable. The 1.2-m-tall red-crowned crane is a snow-white migratory bird. A distinctive patch of red skin tops its grey-brown head, hence its name. The white-flag dolphin is one of only two species of freshwater whale in the world. In 1980, a male white-flag dolphin was caught for the first time in the Yangtze River, which aroused great interest among dolphin researchers worldwide.

Land and Mineral Resources: The composition and distribution of China's land resources have three major characteristics: (1) variety in type--cultivated land, forests, grasslands, deserts and tideland; (2) many more mountains and plateaus than flatlands and basins; (3) unbalanced distribution: farmland mainly concentrated in the east, grasslands largely in the west and north, and forests mostly in the far northeast and southwest.

In China today, 94.97 million hectares of land are cultivated, mainly in the Northeast Plain, the North China Plain, the Middle-Lower Yangtze Plain, the Pearl River Delta Plain and the Sichuan Basin. The fertile black soil of the Northeast Plain is ideal for growing wheat, corn, sorghum, soybeans, flax and sugar beets. The deep, brown topsoil of the North China Plain is planted with wheat, corn, millet, sorghum and cotton. The Middle-Lower Yangtze Plain's many lakes and rivers make it particularly suitable for paddy rice and freshwater fish, hence its designation of "land of fish and rice." This area also produces large quantities of tea and silkworms. The purplish soil of the warm and humid Sichuan Basin is green with crops in all four seasons, including paddy rice, rapeseed and sugarcane.

Forests blanket 133.7 million hectares of China. The Greater Hinggan, the Lesser Hinggan and the Changbai mountain ranges in the northeast are China's largest natural forest areas. Major tree species found here include conifers, such as Korean pine, larch and Olga Bay larch, and broadleaves such as white birch, oak, willow, elm and Northeast China ash. Major tree species of the southwest include the dragon spruce, fir and Yunnan pine, as well as precious teak trees, red sandalwood, camphor trees, nanmu and padauk. Often called a "kingdom of plants," Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan Province is a rarity in that it is a tropical broadleaf forest playing host to more than 5,000 plant species.

 

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