April 12, 2021

The People’s Republic of China, or in its abbreviated form China, is situated in eastern and central Asia on the western coast of the Pacific Ocean where it has a long coastline. Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers of land area, China is the third largest country in the world—slightly smaller than Russia and Canada. It has the largest population in the world—at the end of 2014, the population of mainland China reached 13.6 billion. It has 56 ethnic groups, the largest of which are the Han which constitute 92 percent of the total population. At present, China has 34 provincial-level administrative divisions consisting of 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 direct-controlled municipalities, and 2 special administrative regions.

Most of China, including Hainan, Southern China, Central China, Northern China, and Western China, and the Northeast, is situated in temperate and subtropical climate zones, which belong to the monsoon climate area. Only a small portion is situated in the tropical zone or is near the cold belt. In the summer most of the country is hot and rainy, while during the winter there is a wide variation in temperature between north and south. Annual rainfall varies from over 1,500 millimeters in the southeast to as low as 50 millimeters in the northwest.

China’s terrain is high in the west and drops off in the east. Its major land forms consist of mountains, plateaus, basins, plains, and hills. The average elevation above sea level of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the “Roof of the World,” is over 4,000 meters. The Yangtze River and Yellow River are China’s two most important rivers. The Yangtze is 6,300 kilometers long, and is China’s largest river. Almost as long as the Nile River in Africa and the Amazon River in South America, it is the world’s third longest river. The Yellow River, 5,464 kilometers long, is China’s second longest river. The Yellow River basin is the place where Chinese civilization originated.

China is one of the countries where an economy and civilization developed the earliest in human history. It has a history and culture that have lasted for 5,000 years, and within the country there are still many ancient sites that can provide evidence of China’s antiquity. The compass, gunpowder, paper-making, movable type printing, and other inventions have made a great contribution to the development of human society.

In recent years with the rapid development of the economy, the living standard of the Chinese people has continuously risen, and most people have reached a modest level of prosperity. China now has the fastest growing economy in the Asia-Pacific region.

Beijing, abbreviated Jing, is a municipality directly under the central government situated in the northern part of the North China Plain. Its total area is approximately 17,000 square kilometers. Beijing has cold and dry winters, hot and rainy summers, short springs and autumns.

Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, and is the center of China’s government, science, education, and culture, as well as national and international relations. It is one of the World’s major historical and cultural cities and an ancient capital. Beijing is one of China’s cities with the highest concentration of ancient architecture and famous historical sites. The Imperial Palace, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Great Wall, and the Peking Man site in Zhoukoudian have all been included on the List of World Cultural Heritage Sites. Other famous sites are Tian’anmen Square, the Thirteen Ming Tombs, Beihai Park, Yonghe Temple, Lugou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge), and Wofo Temple. There are also many famous memorial halls and old residences for such persons as Chairman Mao, Lu Xun, Xu Beihong, Guo Moruo, Mao Dun, and Soong Ching-ling—too many to be counted.
Tianjin, abbreviated Jin, is a municipality directly under the central government situated in the northern part of the North China Plain. Facing Bohai Bay to the east, Tianjin is in the continental climate zone, with four distinct seasons. Its area is approximately 11,000 square kilometers.

A trading port with a long history, Tianjin is also one of China’s integrated industry bases. It is especially well-known for its marine chemical and petrochemical industries. The new Tianjin Port is a major trading port in North China—its freight handling capacity ranks second in the country. Famous local products include Xiaozhan rice, Tianjin white pears, and Goubuli stuffed buns. Its folk arts include Yangliuqing woodcut prints and the Zhang family clay figurines which are famous both in China and abroad.
Hebei, abbreviated Ji, is situated on the North China Plain, north of the Yellow River, facing Bohai Bay to the east. It has a total area of about 190,000 square kilometers. It is known for its cold and dry winters, dry and windy springs, torrid summers, and dry and cool autumns. The provincial capital is Shijiazhuang.

Hebei is a major communications hub, and the largest base for cotton production in China. It also is a famous industrial area for oil, coal, and textile. Animal husbandry in Zhangjiakou is highly developed. Local products such as Shenzhou nectarines, Xuanhua grapes, Zhangbei lambskins, and Zhaozhou mushrooms are quite famous.

The most famous sites include the Beidaihe scenic area and the Chengde Mountain Resort which has been included on the List of World Cultural Heritage Sites. Other cultural sites are the Yan Mountains Great Wall, Shanhaiguan (Shanhai Pass), ancient Handan city of the Zhao state, Zhaozhou Bridge (also known as Anji Bridge), Eastern Qing Tombs and Western Qing Tombs.
Shanxi, abbreviated Jin, is situated in North China west of the Taihang Mountains. Because of its relatively high terrain and being surrounded by mountains on the east and west, the temperature of the province is rather low, and it has little rainfall. Winters come early and last long, and summers are warm. The total area is about 15,000 square kilometers.

Shanxi is the famous “land of coal.” It is a major base for natural resources and heavy industry. One third of the counties and cities produce coal. It is number one in China in coal reserves, coal output, and the amount of coal transferred to other localities. Traditional local products include Fen wine, Zhuyeqing wine, and mature vinegar.

Shanxi, a treasure trove of Chinese history and culture, is one of the places where the Chinese people originated. There is the Paleolithic archaeological site of Dingcun Man, as well as graves and archaeological sites from the Xia, Shang, and Zhou to the Tang dynasty. Hengshan (Mount Heng, the Northern Sacred Peak), Wutaishan (Mount Wutai), and other mountains are famous national scenic areas. The ancient city of Pingyao has been included on the List of World Cultural Heritage Sites. In addition, the Yungang Grottoes, the Huayan Temple colored sculptures, and the Yongle Temple mural paintings are all estimable treasure houses of art.
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, abbreviated Inner Mongolia, is situated on the northern border of China, bordering Mongolia and Russia in the northwest. It is the first autonomous region established in China. Many ethnic groups reside in the region, including Mongol, Han, Hui, Manchu, Korean, Daur, and Oroqen. Inner Mongolia is a part of the famous Mongolian Plateau. Most of the region consists of plateaus and vast grasslands. It has a total area of about 1.1 million square kilometers. The winters are severe and last more than six months. The summer months of July and August are warm and rainy, but the desert areas are arid, windy, and dusty. There are violent sand storms in the spring, and intense heat in the summer. The regional capital is Hohhot.

Inner Mongolia has rich natural resources. Its rare earth ore reserves are ranked number one in the world, coal reserves are ranked second in the country, and timber reserves in the forest areas of the Greater Khingan Mountains make up about one-sixth of those in China.

Inner Mongolia has vast grassland, and is one of China’s four pastoral areas. The immense forest of the Khingan Mountains in eastern Inner Mongolia is a famous tourist attraction for its grassland scenery. Western Inner Mongolia has desert wonders. There are many cultural landscapes in this region including the Tomb of Wang Zhaojun, the Five-pagoda Temple, Dazhao Temple, White Pagoda, Wudangzhao Monastery, and the Chinggis Khaan Tomb. Famous local products include carpets, (goat) cashmere, Mongolian knives, Mongolian boots, and dairy products.
Liaoning province, abbreviated Liao, is situated along the ocean in the southern part of Northeastern China. It borders the Yalu River and North Korea in the east, covering a total area of 150,000 square kilometers. It is known for its cold winters, hot summers, and windy and short springs. Most of the rainfall occurs from June to August. Liaoning is the place where the northern nationalities originated. Later, Han Chinese gradually immigrated into the province. The current population consists of Han, Manchus, Hui, Koreans, Xibo (Sibe), and other ethnic groups. The provincial capital is Shenyang.

Liaoning is not only a major producer of tussah silk, cotton, and peanuts, but also an important area for the growing of temperate zone fruits, with its Southern Liaoning apples and Western Liaoning pears well known throughout China. The province is an important industrial area, too. The Fuxin mining district, which is known as haimei (Coal by the sea), is one of the China’s ten largest coal mines. The Liaohe oil field is one of China’s largest oil and gas fields. The coastal fishing industry is highly developed—Lüshun and Dalian are famous fishing industry bases that are abound with yellow croaker, black carp, maoxia shrimp (Acetes chinensis), prawns, and shellfish.

Liaoning has a long history and a resplendent culture. Famous scenic places include the Shenyang Imperial Palace (Mukden Palace), the Fuling Mausoleum (of Nurhachi, founder of the Qing dynasty), the Zhaoling Mausoleum (of Huang Taiji, the second emperor of the Qing dynasty, and his empress), the Longquan Temple in Qianshan Mountain, and the prehistoric site of Xinle culture. Famous local products include Fushun amber and Dalian shell carvings.
Jilin province, abbreviated Ji, is situated in the central portion of Northeastern China. In the southeast it borders the Tumen River, Yalu River, and North Korea. Many Koreans live in the province. Other ethnic groups include Han, Man, Hui, and Mongolians. It has a total area of approximately187,000 square kilometers. The province has heavy winds in spring and autumn, and the weather often changes. Winters are cold and lasts half a year or more. Summers are hot and short. The provincial capital is Changchun.

Jilin is a major area for the production of grain. Agriculture, forestry, and animal husbandry are highly developed. The province is number one in the per capita production of grain, producing a large amount of sorghum, soybeans, timber, as well as the widely acclaimed “three treasures of the northeast”—ginseng, mink pelts, and deer antlers. In the southeastern part of the province, the Changbaishan (Paektu Mountain), which forms the border between China and North Korea, has been listed by the World Network of Biosphere Reserves as a bioreserve. Other famous sites include Longtanshan (Dragon pool mountain), the Puppet Emperor’s Palace in Changchun, Songhua Lake, the site of the ancient Goguryeo Kingdom, Ancient Tombs of Donggou River, and the General’s Tomb.
Heilongjiang, abbreviated Hei, is situated on the northeastern China border. It is contiguous to the Amur River, Ussuri River, and Russia on the north and east. It is China’s northernmost province. Half of the province consists of mountains and the other half plains. One feature of the province’s climate is its short summers and winters that last half of the year or more. The temperature is rather low, and in the extreme northwest there is no summer for the entire year. Heilongjiang has many minority groups including Manchus, Hui, Koreans, Mongols, Daur, Oroqin, Hezhen, and Russians. It has a total area of approximately 460,000 square kilometers. The provincial capital is Harbin.

Heilongjiang is a perfect place to enjoy ice and snow. Mohe county in the far northwest is acclaimed as China’s “Arctic Village.” In the winter one can see the magnificent northern lights. In addition, Harbin’s Ice Festival, winter hunting in the Lesser Khingan Mountains, and skiing at Taoshan are among the special highlights of winter activities in Heilongjiang. In summer and autumn, one can go to Lake Jingpo, the Wulianchi (Five joined ponds), and the Zhalong Nature Reserve to enjoy seeing the precious red-crowned cranes.

Heilongjiang is rich in natural resources, including large amounts of oil, coal, and gold. Its forest resources rank first in the country. Thus, the province is one of the major centers of heavy industry. Heilongjiang has the most arable land per capita in the country, and it produces many agricultural products. It is number one in the production of soybeans and sugar beets. The “precious bird soup” made from hazel grouse and Siberian ginseng pills are famous local products from here.
Shanghai, abbreviated Hu or Shen, is a municipality directly under the central government situated in the central section of China’s east coast on the southern bank of the Yangtze River estuary. Its area is approximately 6,340 square kilometers. Shanghai’s climate is warm and humid with four distinct seasons. The period between summer and autumn can be quite rainy.

Shanghai is China’s largest industrial city. Its gross industrial output value ranks first in the country. It is also China’s largest commercial and financial center and trading port with the greatest handling capacity. An international metropolis, Shanghai’s transportation and communication are highly developed. In recent years, exploitation and construction in Pudong have further accelerated the city’s economic development. Agriculture in the suburbs is also well developed and technologically advanced. Vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, fish, and dairy products have achieved a base production level. Shanghai’s main local products include embroidery, Nanqiao fermented bean curd, and Chongming watermelon.

Shanghai has a long history and is abundant in tourism resources. The city, which is divided into two parts: Huxi (Shanghai West) and Pudong, is renowned for its human landscapes. The famous sites include the Yu Garden, Jade Buddha Temple, Grand View Garden at Dianshan Lake, the Jiading Ancient Yi Garden, Longhua Temple, and Longhua Pagoda as well as the Lu Xun Memorial Hall, Lu Xun’s Tomb, and Soong Ching-ling’s former residence. Construction in the new district includes the Bund, the New Bund in Lujiazui (Lokatse), Oriental Pearl Tower, Yangpu Bridge, and Nanpu Bridge.
Jiangsu, abbreviated Su, is situated in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, facing the Yellow Sea on the east. Because of its many rivers and lakes, Jiangsu is called “water country.” The entire province has four distinct seasons. Spring and summer are quite rainy, and there are frequent typhoons in late summer and early autumn. The total area of the province is approximately 100,000 square kilometers. The provincial capital is Nanjing, which is one of China’s seven great ancient capitals.

Jiangsu province has the largest number of the most famous historical cities in China, which include Nanjing, Suzhou, Yangzhou, Zhenjiang, Changzhou, Xuzhou, Huaiyin, and Wuxi. Suzhou’s classical gardens have been included on the List of World Cultural Heritage Sites. Taihu (Lake Tai) in Suzhou, Zhongshan (Bell Mountain) in Nanjing, Yuntaishan (Yuntai Mountain) in Lianyungang, Shou Xihu (Slender West Lake) in Yangzhou are all important national scenic sites.

Industry is highly developed in Jiangsu. Its textile and silk industries are number one in the country. It is rich in natural products, and is commonly acclaimed as the “land of fish and rice.” Nanjing salted dry duck and Taihu icefish are famous Jiangsu delicacies. Jiangsu cuisine is even more renowned as one of China’s eight great regional cuisines. Among the folk arts, Suzhou embroidery, Yixing teapots and ceramics, Huishan clay figures of Wuxi, and Yuhua stone pendants of Nanjing are the most famous.
Zhejiang, abbreviated Zhe, is situated in the central part of Eastern China on the coast of the East China Sea south of Taihu (Lake Tai), with a total area of approximately 100,000 square kilometers. It has a warm and damp climate with four distinct seasons and ample sunshine. The provincial capital is Hangzhou, which is one of China’s seven ancient capitals.

There are innumerable famous historical sites in the province. Among them, Hangzhou’s West Lake with its picturesque scenery is well known throughout the world, hence the saying “Up above there is heaven; down below there are Suzhou and Hangzhou.” West Lake, along with Qiandao Lake, Mount Putuo, and the Yandang Mountains, has been listed as a national-level scenic and historic interest area. Other famous sites such as the Yue Fei Temple, Liuhe Pagoda, Lingyin Temple, and Yuquan (Jade Springs) are well known in China and abroad. The Qiantang River tidal bore at Haining is acclaimed as one of the most wondrous sights in the world.

Zhejiang is an integrated high-yield agricultural zone, and is famous as the land of fish and rice and the repository of silk. It is also an important area for the production of jute and silkworms. It ranks first in the country in the yield of tea and moso bamboo. Hangzhou silk, white chrysanthemums, tea, and brocade all enjoy a fine reputation. Among them, the famous West Lake Longjing tea is even more famous. Zhejiang cuisine is one of China’s eight great cuisines.
Anhui province, abbreviated Wan, is situated in the northwestern part of Central China. The Yangtze River and Huai River flow through the entire province. Northern Anhui is a plain with little rain, and southern Anhui is mountainous and quite rainy. In winter the temperature difference between north and south is quite large. The total area of the province is approximately 140,000 square kilometers. The provincial capital is Hefei.

Anhui has many tourist attractions. The most famous site is Huangshan, which is commonly acclaimed as the Number One Remarkable Mountain in the World. It has been included on the List of World Natural Heritage Sites. Mount Jiuhua is one of China’s four great Buddhist mountains, and Mount Tianzhu is a famous Daoist mountain. Ancient cultural sites include the residence of Lord Bao, Memorial Temple of Lord Bao, and the Three Kingdoms relics site.

Anhui is an important base for the coal and steel industry. It has a long history of handicrafts. Among the “four treasures of the studio,” Anhui ink, Shezhou inkstones, and Xuan paper are the most famous. Freshwater fishing is highly developed, and the amount of area devoted to fish farming ranks among the top in the country. Anhui cuisine is one of China’s eight great regional cuisines.
Fujian, abbreviated Min, is situated on the Southeast China coastline with a total area of approximately 120,000 square kilometers. Facing the Taiwan Strait to the east and the island of Taiwan across the ocean. Fujian has a long and winding coastline and many good natural harbors. The province has a warm and damp climate with no frost all year long. However, between summer and autumn there are many typhoons, when there are torrential rains. The provincial capital is Fuzhou.

Rich in tourist resources, Fujian is called the “mountain kingdom of the southeast.” It enjoys the advantages of both mountains and sea; it is blessed with green hills and blue waters where flowers and trees luxuriantly thrive; it has the highest percentage of forest cover in the country. The Wuyi Mountains, Mount Taimu, and Gulangyu Island are quite famous tourist attractions. Sites of famous people from Fujian include the Grave of Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga) and the Lin Zexu Shrine. Fujian is number one in the production of longans, and is a major producer of tea and sugarcane. Its subtropical fruits are famous far and wide. Fujian cuisine is renowned as one of China’s eight great regional cuisines. Also rich in mineral reserves, Fujian possesses many different kinds of minerals.
Jiangxi, abbreviated Gan, is situated south of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River with a total area of approximately 167,000 square kilometers. It is surrounded by mountains on the east, west, and south. Northern Jiangxi is on the Poyang Lake Plain. Poyang Lake is China’s largest freshwater lake, and is a natural fish reservoir for Jiangxi. The spring and autumn are relatively short; summers are scorching hot; winters are cold. The provincial capital is Nanchang.

Jiangxi has numerous scenic and historical sites. The famous summer resort area at Mount Lu has been included on the List of World Natural Heritage Sites. Nanchang, the Jinggang Mountains, Anyuan, Ruijin, and other places all have a close connection with the Communist revolution. Jiangxi is also a province famous for its culture, and quite a number of renowned scholars such as Tao Yuanming, Ouyang Xiu, Zhu Xi, and the national hero Wen Tianxiang came from Jiangxi.

Jiangxi is an important producer of grain, and abounds with plant oils, flax, tea, and tobacco. It is also rich in minerals—the Dexing Copper Mine, Dayu Tungsten Mine, the Pingxiang Coal Mine, and the Huichang Salt Mine are well known in China and abroad. Jingdezhen porcelain is even more globally famous, and the city still preserves a fair number of ancient kiln sites.
Shandong province, abbreviated Lu, is situated on the eastern coastline and the lower reaches of the Yellow River, facing the sea on three sides. Because it is influenced by the ocean, Shandong’s climate is warm and humid. It is quite rainy during the summer with occasional squalls, and it is sunny and dry in winter. The total area is approximately 150,000 square kilometers. The provincial capital is Ji’nan.

Shandong, which has a long history and many famous historical sites, is the place where the Qi-Lu culture originated. Qufu is the old home of the famous educator and thinker Confucius. Mount Tai is foremost of the Five Sacred Peaks, and enjoys acclaim in the phrase “singularly honored among the Five Sacred Peaks.” Mount Tai and the Three Confucius’ Sites, namely the Kong Family Mansion, the Temple of Confucius, and the Cemetery of Confucius, have been included on the List of World Natural and Cultural Sites. In addition, Daming Lake, Baotu Spring, and Thousand Buddha Mountain in Ji’nan are acclaimed as the Three Scenic Sites of Ji’nan.

Shandong abounds in wheat, and its yields are the highest in the country. It is also one of the three largest bases for cotton production and one of four provinces with the largest production of tussah silk. Being by the ocean, Shandong is rich in seafood and kelp, and is important for its marine fish farms. Its famous local products include Qingdao beer, Ji’nan feather paintings, and Qufu inkstones. Shandong cuisine is renowned as one of China’s eight great regional cuisines.
Henan, abbreviated Yu, is situated in Central China in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River. Most of Henan province lies south of the Yellow River, and hence the name Henan, literally “south of the river.” The springs are dry with frequent sandstorms, summers are hot and rainy, autumns are bright and sunny, and winters are cold with little rain or snow. The total area of the province is approximately167,000 square kilometers. The provincial capital is Zhengzhou.

In ancient times, Henan was called Zhongzhou (Central Province) or Zhongyuan (Central Plain). It is one of the places where Chinese civilization originated, and the location of the archaeological remains of the Yin-Shang dynasty. Luoyang and Kaifeng, two major cities of the province, are among the seven ancient Chinese capitals. The Longmen Grottoes at Luoyang, which are one of China’s four treasure houses of grotto art, have been included on the List of World Cultural Heritage Sites. The Shaolin Temple at Songshan (Mount Song) is renowned both in China and abroad. The White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China, is also in Henan.

Henan abounds in wheat, sesame, and tobacco. Funiushan (Funiu mountain) is one of China’s four largest producers of tussah silk. Local products include reproductions of Tang tri-colored ceramics, Dukang wine, Henan dates, and jadeite carvings.
Hubei, abbreviated E, is situated north of Dongting Lake in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River with a total area of approximately 186,000 square kilometers. Hubei has four distinct seasons. In the spring, weather is hard to predict; summers are humid and hot; autumns are dry, fresh, and cool; winters are dry and cold. The provincial capital is Wuhan.

Hubei is a land and water transportation center that connects with various places throughout the country, and Wuhan is commonly called “the main thoroughfare of the nine provinces.” Hubei has abundant hydraulic resources. There are the Three Yangtze Gorges, the Gezhouba Dam, the Danjiangkou Reservoir, and other large hydroelectric power stations. There are many historical sites in the province. Proceeding upstream on the Yangtze River from Yellow Crane Tower there are the Three Kingdoms sites of Jingzhou and Xiangyang. In the northwest area of the province there is Shennongjia, which is a National Nature Reserve. There is also the Ancient Buildings Complex in the Wudang Mountains which has been included on the World Cultural Heritage List. Within the Xiling Gorge there are the Sanyoudong (Three travelers’ cave), Huangling Temple, and the old residences of Qu Yuan and Wang Zhaojun. Hubei’s grain, cotton, and plant oils hold an established place in the entire country. Hubei’s silver ear fungus, sweet osmanthus, black tea, and Laoqing tea are renowned in China and abroad. Traditional handicraft products include Jingzhou brocade, Jiangling imitations of ancient lacquerware, and Wuxue bamboo ware.
Hunan, abbreviated Xiang, is situated in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River with a total area of approximately 210,000 square kilometers. Most of its territory lies south of Dongting Lake, and is surrounded by mountains on the east, west, and south. Between spring and summer Hunan often experiences torrential rains. Summers are humid and hot, but often have dry spells. Winters are quite cold under the influence of cold air from the north, but the season does not last long. The provincial capital is Changsha.

Hunan has picturesque scenery, a long history, and many famous historical sites. Among them, Wulingyuan Scenic and Historical Interest Area have been included in the List of World Natural Heritage Sites. Other famous sites include the Southern Sacred Peak, Mount Heng, acclaimed as “the most beautiful of the Five Sacred Peaks;” Yueyang Tower, one of the three most famous Chinese towers; and the Shigu Academy, which was one of the four famous academies of the Song dynasty. There is also the beautiful Dongting Lake.

Hunan has abundant mineral resources—it is often called “the land of non-ferrous metals.” The Xikuangshan mine in Lengshuijiang is acclaimed as the “world capital of stibnite.” Hunan is also one of the major producers of grain along with tea oil and tung oil. Because it is so rich in natural products, Hunan is known as the “land of fish and rice.” Hunan cuisine is renowned as one of China’s eight great regional cuisines. The traditional handicraft of Changsha embroidery is known far and wide.
Guangdong province, abbreviated Yue, is situated in the south of the Nan Mountains, facing the South China Sea with a total area of approximately 180,000 square kilometers. The provincial capital is Guangzhou, and the major cities include Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou, Foshan, Zhanjiang, and Zhongshan. Guangdong has a larger population with greater density. In addition to Han Chinese, there are forty-two ethnic groups reside in the province, including Yao, Zhuang, Hui, Manchu, She, Li, and Miao, which account for about 0.6 % of the population.

The climate features high temperature with abundant rainfall. The coastal areas are often hit by typhoons from July to September. The province produces a large amount of rice, sugarcane, lychee, and pineapple. The coastlines are long and continuous; the fishing grounds are vast; the marine products are abundant.

Among mineral resources, 116 types of minerals have been identified. Peat, lead, silver, and pyrite reserves are ranked at forefront in the nation. South China Sea oil field, along with offshore basins such as Pearl River estuary and North Bay, is a vast area rich in oil and gas reserves. In addition to natural resources, traditional handicrafts are also well developed. The porcelain of Foshan, Chaozhou, and Shantou, embroidery and ivory-carving of Guangzhou, Duan[xi] inkstones and straw mats of Zhaoqing, and Shantou drawn-work are renowned at home and abroad.

There are many cultural relics and revolution sites in Guangdong such as Sun Yat-sen’s former residence in Cuiheng village, the Tomb of Seventy-two Martyrs of Huanghuagang, the former residence of Hong Xiuquan (leader of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom), the Xiangzi Bridge in Chaozhou, and the Zhenhai building in Guangzhou. Famous tourist sites include “Guangdong’s four famous mountains”—Luofu Mountain, Xiqiao Mountain, Dinghu Mountain, and Danxia Mountain. Yue (Cantonese) cuisine is one of China’s eight major regional cuisines.

Currently Guangdong is one of China’s most economically developed provinces. Ethnic Chinese with their ancestral homes in Guangdong reside all over the world. Foreign trade is a major pillar of economic development in Guangdong. The province’s gross domestic product (GDP), foreign investment, gross export value, local taxes, and total retail sales of consumer goods have ranked number one in the country for many consecutive years.
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, abbreviated Gui, is situated in the west portion of Southern China. It is bordered by the Gulf of Tonkin to the south. It is one of China’s five autonomous regions with a total area of approximately 230,000 square kilometers. One third of the province’s population are Zhuang people, and the remaining ethnic groups include Han, Yao, Miao, and Dong. The regional capital is Nanning.

Guangxi summers are long and scorching hot, and there is occasional snow in winter, with distinct dry and wet seasons. Limestone is widely distributed throughout the region, and under conditions of high temperature and abundant rain many impressive karst caves have been formed. Furthermore, the wonderful mountain peaks around Guilin and the famous Li River of Yangshuo provide Guangxi with rich tourist resources. The area is famous as the phrase goes “Guilin’s scenery is peerless in the world, Yangshuo’s scenery is peerless in Guilin.”

Guangxi is also rich in mineral resources. Its manganese production is the largest in the country. It has a rich array of tropical and semi-tropical crops, which mainly include rice, sugar cane, corn, and tea. Guangxi also produces a variety of fruits including Shatian pomelos, longans, and pineapples. Guangxi star anise, cinnamon, and fennel even sell well overseas.
Hainan province, abbreviated Qiong, is situated in the South China Sea. It includes Hainan Island, the Xisha (also known as Paracel) Islands, Zhongsha (literally“middle-sands”) Islands, and Nansha (Spratly) Islands, a group of islets, atolls, cays and reefs in the South China Sea. The province has a total area of approximately 35,000 square kilometers including its land mass and archipelagos; the sea area has a total area of about 2 million square kilometers. Hainan has a diverse ethnic population that includes Han, Li, Miao, Zhuang, and Hui. The provincial capital is Haikou.

Hainan has a tropical monsoon climate. The summers are hot and rainy, and there is no winter season. Its emerald green waters, azure skies, and picturesque coconut groves have earned it the name “Hawaii of the East.” Hainan is a major tourist destination, and the largest base of tropical crops in China. The main crops include coco beans, rubber, cashew nuts, sugarcane, sweet potatoes, coconut, mango, and pineapples. The vast marine waters (territory of sea) produce abundant marine products; lobster, sea turtle, and grouper are the best known seafood. In addition, Hainan is rich in oil reserves. Its iron ore and sea salt are famous throughout the country.
Chongqing Municipality, abbreviated Yu, situated in the interior of Southwest China, is the multi-directional transfer hub between east and west. The city center is partially surrounded by the Yangtze River and Jialing River. Its total area is approximately 82,400 square kilometers. Summers are damp, muggy, and rainy. It is known as one of China’s “Three Furnaces.”

Chongqing is a historically and culturally famous city with rich tourist resources. There is Hechuan Fishing Town to the north, Jinfo Mountain to the south, the Dazu Stone Carvings to the west, and the Yangtze Three Gorges to the east, which comprise a magnificent scenic tourist area.

Among China’s municipalities directly under the central government Chongqing is the largest by area, has the broadest jurisdiction, and is the most populous. The municipality features large cities, large rural villages, large industries, and large agricultures. This area is rich in forest and herbal medicine resources. Famous local products include pickled mustard tuber of Fuling, Cantonese oranges of Jiangjin, and navel oranges of Wan county.
Sichuan, abbreviated Chuan or Shu, is situated in Southwest China on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River with a total area of approximately 490,000 square kilometers. There are obvious differences between the eastern and westerns parts of the province. The western portion consists of the Sichuan-Tibet Plateau, which has a low temperature and abundant sunshine. The eastern portion consists of the Sichuan Basin, which has early springs and warm winters. Here the summers are hot and humid with many cloudy and foggy days and little sunshine. The provincial capital is Chengdu, a famous historical city.

Sichuan has many scenic attractions, cultural relics, and historical sites. Natural landscapes include Jiuzhaigou, Huanglong, and Mount Emei, which have been included on the List of World Natural Heritage Sites. Jiuzhaigou is the old home of China’s national treasure, the giant panda. The Leshan Giant Buddha and Dazu Rock Carvings have been included on the List of World Cultural Heritage Sites. Other famous sites are the Anyue Giant Buddha, Du Fu’s thatched cottage, and Wangjiang Pavilion.

Sichuan is acclaimed as “Nature’s Storehouse.” It not only abounds in such agricultural products as rice, wheat, cotton, and rape seed, it also is rich in mineral resources, the most important of which are coal, iron, and oil. Alcohol brewing and distilling is highly developed. Luzhou Tequ (Luzhou special ferment), Wuliangye, and Jian’nanchun are all famous liquors. Sichuan brocade, embroidery, lacquerware, and bamboo weaving enjoy great reputations in China and abroad. Sichuan cuisine has been acclaimed as one of China’s eight great regional cuisines.
Guizhou, abbreviated Gui or Qian, is situated in the eastern portion of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau with a total area of approximately 176,000 square kilometers. Guizhou is a demographically diverse province. The Miaoling Mountain in the south is an important area inhabited by Miao people. Other ethnic groups include the Bouyei, Dong, Yi, and Sui (or Shui). The provincial capital is Guiyang.

Guizhou has warm and damp climate with many cloudy and rainy days and no distinct seasons. Guizhou has rich forest resources, and is known as “the mountainous land suitable for planting trees.” It produces much fir wood.

Guizhou is one of China’s four largest producers of tobacco and tussah silk. It also has rich mineral resources. Qianxi (Western Guizhou) is known as the “sea of coal,” and the Qiannan (Southern Guizhou) Plateau is credited with “having the best karst in the world.” Renhuai Moutai (Maotai) is called the “national liquor.” Anshun batiks, Miao silver ornaments, Dafang lacquerware, Yuping flutes, and Weining ham are famous local products. Tourist resources can be found southwest of Guiyang and include China’s largest waterfall, Huangguoshu Falls, the Jiaxiu Tower in Guiyang, Fanjing Mountain in northeastern Guizhou, and the karst cave at Zhijin. These places attract countless tourists every year.
Yunnan, abbreviated Dian or Yun, is situated on the southwestern border of China. It borders Myanmar on the west, and Laos and Vietnam to the south with a total area of approximately 390,000 square kilometers. It is the nation’s most ethnically diverse province. Twenty-six of China’s fifty-six officially recognized ethnic groups live in Yunnan, and they constitute one-third of the province’s population. They include Yi, Bai, Hani, Dai, Zhuang, Hui, Yao, and Naxi. These people are quite attractive and charming, and excel at singing and dancing. The provincial capital is Kunming.

The entire area of Yunnan consists of mountains and plateaus, and there are obvious vertical changes in climate. In the plateau area all four seasons are springlike, and thus Kunming is called the “spring city.” Yunnan’s main agricultural products are rice, wheat, sugarcane, tobacco, and tea. The province has rich tourist resources. Natural landscapes include the scenic areas of Black Dragon Pool in Lijiang, Shilin (Stone forest) in Lunan, Erhai Lake in Dali, and Jade Dragon Falls. Yunnan is also rich in plant and mineral resources. Famous local products include tobacco, the hemostatic powdered medicine Baiyao, Pu’er tea, ham, tianqi ginseng, and guoqiao (literally “crossing the bridge”) noodles.
Tibet Autonomous Region, abbreviated Zang, is situated on China’s southwestern border, bordering India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Burma (Myanmar), with a total area of approximately 1.2 million square kilometers. Ninety percent of the population are ethnic Tibetans. The regional capital is Lhasa.

Tibet is situated on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau which with an average elevation of 4,000 meters above sea level, is known as the “Roof of the World.” Mount Everest (Chomolungma in Tibetan), located between the border of Nepal and China, is the main peak of the Himalayas. At 8,848 meters above sea level, it is the highest mountain in the world. Tibet has a plateau climate. It has low temperatures in most areas, little rain, thin air, long hours of sunshine, and strong radiation.

Tibet is rich in natural resources. It not only has snow mountains, lakes, grassland, primeval forests, but also has energy resources including hydraulic, geothermal, solar, and wind. Tibet is an important pastoral area in China. Its goat and yak down are sold all over the world.

Tibet is a religious area, and most Tibetans believe in Lamaism. There are more than 2,700 monasteries in the region. The largest Tibetan building complex the Potala Palace was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The thousand-year old Jokhang Temple is an important Tibetan cultural heritage site and a major tourist attraction. Famous local products include Tibetan woolen blankets, Tibetan boots, and horse gear.
Shaanxi, abbreviated Shan or Qin, is situated in the middle reaches of the Yellow River with a total area of approximately 205,000 square kilometers. The northern portion is on the Loess Plateau, the southern portion is in the Qin-Ba Mountain area, and the central portion is in the Wei River Plain. In the southwest, the land is narrow and long, and south of the Qinling Mountains there are four distinct seasons. Northern Shaanxi is rather dry—it is humid and hot in the summer and has plenty of sunshine. The provincial capital Xi’an, called Chang’an in ancient times, is one of China’s seven great ancient capitals.

Shaanxi is one of the places where the Hua-Xia culture originated. Within the province is Huashan (Mount Hua), which is one of the Five Sacred Peaks. There are also “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Mausoleum of the First Emperor of Qin with its terracotta army, the magnificent Qianling Mausoleum (of Li Zhi, Emperor Gaozong of Tang, and Empress Wu Zetian), the Neolithic archaeological site of Banpo Village, as well as such ancient sites as the famous Tang dynasty Giant Wild Goose Pagoda.

Shaanxi has abundant mineral resources. Its rhenium reserves rank number one, its molybdenum, mercury, and natural gas rank second, and its coal, asbestos, and hydraulic limestone rank third in the country. The Wei River Plain is China’s largest area for the production of dairy goats. Local products include Xifeng wine, Chinese kiwi fruit, crystal persimmons, and Chinese chestnuts.
Qinghai, abbreviated Qing, is situated in northwestern China in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and the Yellow River. It has a total area of about 720,000 square kilometers. It has a continental plateau climate with cold winters and cool summers. There is a great variation in the diurnal temperature. Qinghai is dry with long hours of sunshine and strong radiation. The provincial capital is Xining.

Both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River originate in Qinghai, and the Qinghai Lake, covering an area of 4,583 square kilometers, is the largest saltwater lake in China. Qinghai is also one of the five major pastoral areas and one of China’s major wool producing areas. It has abundant resources of water, livestock, wildlife and wild plants. The province produces a large amount of musk, pilose antler, rhubarb, Chinese caterpillar fungus (Cordyseps sinensis), and other valuable medicinal herbs. Qinghai is also rich in mineral resources—the Qilian Mountains and Qaidam Basin are respectively called “Mountains of a Myriad Treasure” and “Treasure Bowl.” It has considerable oil reserves, natural gas, potash, salt, nonferrous metals, coal, iron, asbestos, among others.
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, abbreviated Ning, is situated in Northwest China in the middle reaches of the Yellow River with a total area of approximately 66, 000 square kilometers. The entire province consists of mountains and plateaus. In addition, the terrain is high in the south and low in the north, thus making the south cold and wet, and the north warm and dry. Winters are long and cold, summers are short and hot. There are frequent wind and sand storms, it seldom rains or snows, and there is ample sunshine. The diurnal temperature variation is quite large. The regional capital is Yinchuan.

Ningxia is one of China’s most important areas for the production of milk and beef cows. Northern Ningxia is a major base for coal production, and Taixi coal, which is known as the “King of Coal,” in Shizuishan city is the best anthracite coal in the country. The Yinchuan Plain has vast tracts of fertile land, and is important for its production of rice, wheat, sorghum, corn, and other agricultural products. From ancient times the area was acclaimed as the “rich Southland beyond the Great Wall.” Ningxia has many historical sites, including the grand and imposing Xixia Imperial Tombs, and the tall and towering peaks of the Helan Mountains. There are also the 108 Pagodas on the western bank of the Yellow River and the grottoes at Mount Sumeru. Gouqi (wolfberries), licorice root, Helan gem stones, skins of Ningxia Tan sheep, and facai (fat choy, hair moss or black moss), which are known as the “five treasures of Ningxia,” are renowned throughout China.
Xingjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, abbreviated Xin, is situated in Northwest China. It borders many countries. Covering an area of about 1.6 million square kilometers, it is the largest provincial-level region in China. Many ethnic groups reside there including Uygur, Han, Kazakhs, Hui, Mongols, and Uzbeks. Xinjiang was part of the ancient Western Regions, an area through which the “Silk Road” passed during the Han and Tang dynasties. The regional capital is Urumqi.

Xinjiang has a continental arid climate with severe temperature variations, plenty of sunshine with very little rain. Thus, it has a distinctive topography such as the “flaming mountain,” Kariz wells, the aeolian landforms of Lop Nor (Lop Lake) all in Turpan, and the glacier lakes of the Tianshan Mountains.

Xinjiang has rich natural resources. Its oil and natural gas reserves account for more than a quarter of those in China, the projected coal reserves constitute one-third of China’s total reserves, and the reserves of beryllium, muscovite, sodium saltpeter, clay, and serpentine are ranked number one in the country. The region produces a large amount of fruits, of which Turpan grapes and Shanshan honeydew melons are the most famous.
Hong Kong
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, abbreviated Gang, is situated on the southern coast of China, east of Pearl River estuary, facing the South China Sea. The entire area includes the New Territories, Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong Island, and nearby islands. Hong Kong was under the administration of Xin’an county, Guangdong province, before the First Opium War (ended in 1842). After the war, Hong Kong became a British colony. It officially reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 when it became a special administrative region.

Hong Kong has a subtropical climate. Springs are warm and damp, summers are sweltering and rainy, autumns are dry and clear, and winters are cool and dry. Typhoons frequently take place between summer and autumn. Hong Kong has a total area of approximately 1,070 square kilometers. Most of the inhabitants are Chinese, who came from various provinces in mainland China, and the rest are immigrants from all over the world. The official languages are Chinese and English.

Hong Kong is a free port with a free trade zone. The world-class deepwater Victoria Harbor is the international trading and shipping center in the Far East, with a fine reputation as “Pearl of the East.” Hong Kong is also one of the world’s financial centers. Hong Kong together with New York, London, and Zurich are listed as the world’s four major gold markets. As an international metropolis, the telecommunication and information industries in Hong Kong are also highly developed. With a fusion of Eastern and Western cultures, Hong Kong is a world renowned “shopper’s paradise,” “fine-food paradise,” and “tourist paradise.” The major tourist attractions include Tsing Ma Bridge, Tian Tan Buddha, Victoria Peak, Man Mo Temple, Ocean Park, Repulse Bay, Po Lin Monastery, various museums, and offshore islands, such as Cheung Chao Island, Lamma island, and Tai O fishing village—too many to be counted.
Macau Special Administrative Region, abbreviated Ao, is situated on the southern coast of China, west of the Pearl River estuary, facing the South China Sea. It has a total area of approximately 21 square kilometers, including Macau Peninsula, Taipa island, Coloane, and Cotai. Since the middle of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese occupied Macau, which was reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1999, and became a special administrative region.

Macau has a mild climate year around—its summers are hot and humid with occasional typhoons, and winters are slightly cold but sunny. The inhabitants are mostly Chinese who came from various provinces in the mainland. The rest are Portuguese and Europeans. The official languages are Chinese and Portuguese.

Tourism is the pillar of Macau’s economy, known as the “Garden of the Sea.” The most famous historical sites include the A-Ma Temple (Templo de-A-Má, or Templo Chinês da Barra), Ruins of St. Paul’s (Ruínas de São Paolo), Guia Fortress (Farol da Guia), Mount Fortress (Fortaleza do Monte), St. Dominic’s Church (Igreja de São Domingos), and Chapel of Our Lady of Penha (Capela de Nossa Senhora da Penha). Another pillar of Macau’s economy is gambling. As one of the world-famous gambling cities, Macau has the largest casinos in Southeast Asia, and known as the “Monte Carlo of the East.” Famous local products include the world renowned Portuguese port wine, almond cookies, egg rolls, and meat jerky.
Taiwan, abbreviated Tai, is situated in the sea area of Southeastern China with a total area of approximately 36,000 square kilometers. The province, which includes the island of Taiwan, the Penghu (Pescadores) archipelago, the Diaoyudao (Diaoyu Island), and other islands, has been a territory of China since ancient times. Taiwan is surrounded by ocean on all four sides. There is no winter season. In summer, it is scorching hot, with much rain and wind, and is frequently hit by typhoons. The ethnic groups mainly include Han, the Gaoshan, Hui, and Manchus. The most important cities are Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung.

In recent years the processing industry and foreign trade, which have made considerable progress, have become an economic lifeline for Taiwan. In agriculture, the land is especially favored by nature, and abounds in rice, sugarcane, tea, and such fruit as bananas and pineapples. Taiwan camphor wood is well known throughout the world. Taiwan is also rich in tourist resources. The most famous sites are Alishan and Sun Moon Lake. Taiwan hot springs are also well known—the four largest ones are Peitou (Beitou), Yangmingshan, the Hengchun Peninsula, and Kuan Tzu Ling (Guanzi ling).