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China
China
has great physical diversity. The eastern plains and southern coasts of the country consist of fertile lowlands and foothills and is the location of most of China's agricultural output and human population. The southern areas of the country (South of the Yangtze River) consist of hilly and mountainous terrain. The west and north of the country are dominated by sunken basins (such as the Gobi and the Taklamakan), rolling plateaus, and towering massifs. It contains part of the highest tableland on earth, the Tibetan Plateau, and has much lower agricultural potential and population. Traditionally, the Chinese population centered on the Chinese central plain and oriented itself toward its own enormous inland market, developing as an imperial power whose center lay in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River
Yellow River
on the northern plains[citation needed]. More recently, the 18,000 km (11,000 mi) coastline has been used extensively for export-oriented trade, causing the coastal provinces to become the leading economic center. The People's Republic of China
China
has an area of about 9,600,000 km2 (3,700,000 sq mi). The exact land area is sometimes challenged by border disputes, most notably about Taiwan, Aksai Chin, the Trans-Karakoram Tract, and South Tibet. The area of the People's Republic of China
China
is 9,596,960 km2 (3,705,410 sq mi) according to the CIA's The World Factbook.[1] The People's Republic of China
China
is either the third or fourth largest country in the world, being either slightly larger or slightly smaller than the United States depending on how the area of the United States
United States
is measured. Both countries are smaller than Russia
Russia
and Canada
Canada
and larger than Brazil.

Contents

1 Physical geography

1.1 Generalities 1.2 Eastern China 1.3 Xinjiang-Mongolia 1.4 Tibetan highlands 1.5 Rivers and drainage 1.6 Geology and natural resources 1.7 Land use 1.8 Wildlife

2 Human geography

2.1 History 2.2 Demographic geography 2.3 Economic geography 2.4 Transportation 2.5 Administrative geography 2.6 Boundary disputes

3 Atmosphere and pollution

3.1 Climate 3.2 Environment

4 Antipodes 5 See also 6 Notes and references 7 External links

Physical geography[edit] Generalities[edit]

Traditional physical and cultural divisions of China

Topographic map of China

The topography of China
China
has been divided by the government into five homogeneous physical macro-regions, namely Eastern China
China
(subdivided into the northeast plain, north plain, and southern hills), Xinjiang-Mongolia, and the Tibetan highlands[5] It is diverse with snow-capped mountains, deep river valleys, broad basins, high plateaus, rolling plains, terraced hills, sandy dunes with many other geographic features and other landforms present in myriad variations. In general, the land is high in the west and descends to the east coast. Mountains (33 percent), plateaus (26 percent) and hills (10 percent) account for nearly 70 percent of the country's land surface. Most of the country's arable land and population are based in lowland plains (12 percent) and basins (19 percent), though some of the greatest basins are filled with deserts. The country's rugged terrain presents problems for the construction of overland transportation infrastructure and requires extensive terracing to sustain agriculture, but is conducive to the development of forestry, mineral and hydropower resources, and tourism. Eastern China[edit]

Northeast plain

Northeast of Shanhaiguan a narrow sliver of flat coastal land opens up into the vast Manchurian Plain. The plains extend north to the crown of the "Chinese rooster," near where the Greater and Lesser Hinggan ranges converge. The Changbai Mountains
Changbai Mountains
to the east divide China
China
from the Korean peninsula. Compared with the rest of the area of China, here live the most Chinese people due to its adequate climate and topography.

North plain

The Taihang Mountains
Taihang Mountains
form the western side of the triangular North China
China
Plain. The other two sides are the Pacific coast to the east and the Yangtze
Yangtze
River
River
to the southwest. The vertices of this triangle are Beijing
Beijing
to the north, Shanghai
Shanghai
to the southeast, and Yichang to the southwest. This alluvial plain, fed by the Yellow and Yangtze
Yangtze
Rivers, is one of the most heavily populated regions of China. The only mountains in the plain are the Taishan
Taishan
in Shandong
Shandong
and Dabie Mountains of Anhui. Beijing, m at the north tip of the North China
North China
Plain, is shielded by the intersection of the Taihang and Yan Mountains. Further north are the drier grasslands of the Inner Mongolian Plateau, traditionally home to pastoralists. To the south are agricultural regions, traditionally home to sedentary populations. The Great Wall of China was built in the mountains across the mountains that mark the southern edge of the Inner Mongolian Plateau. The Ming-era walls run over 2,000 km (1,200 mi) east to west from Shanhaiguan on the Bohai coast to the Hexi Corridor
Hexi Corridor
in Gansu.

South (hills)

Karst
Karst
landscape around Yangshuo
Yangshuo
in Guangxi

North slope of Changbaishan
Changbaishan
in Jilin
Jilin
Province, near the border with North Korea.

Sand dunes of the Gobi Desert
Gobi Desert
near Dunhuang, in Gansu
Gansu
Province.

The Loess Plateau
Plateau
near Hunyuan
Hunyuan
in Shanxi
Shanxi
Province.

East of the Tibetan Plateau, deeply folded mountains fan out toward the Sichuan
Sichuan
Basin, which is ringed by mountains with 1,000–3,000 m elevation. The floor of the basin has an average elevation of 500 m and is home to one of the most densely farmed and populated regions of China. The Sichuan Basin
Sichuan Basin
is capped in the north by the eastward continuation of the Kunlun range, the Qinling, and the Dabashan. The Qinling
Qinling
and Dabashan ranges form a major north-south divide across China
China
Proper, the traditional core area of China. Southeast of the Tibetan Plateau
Plateau
and south of the Sichuan Basin
Sichuan Basin
is the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, which occupies much of southwest China. This plateau, with an average elevation of 2,000 m, is known for its limestone karst landscape. South of the Yangtze, the landscape is more rugged. Like Shanxi Province to the north, Hunan
Hunan
and Jiangxi
Jiangxi
each have a provincial core in a river basin that is surrounded by mountains. The Wuling range separates Guizhou
Guizhou
from Hunan. The Luoxiao and Jinggang divide Hunan from Jiangxi, which is separated from Fujian
Fujian
by the Wuyi Mountains. The southeast coastal provinces, Zhejiang, Fujian
Fujian
and Guangdong, have rugged coasts, with pockets of lowland and mountainous interior. The Nanling, an east-west mountain range across northern Guangdong, seals off Hunan
Hunan
and Jiangxi
Jiangxi
from Guangdong. Xinjiang-Mongolia[edit] Northwest of the Tibetan Plateau, between the northern slope of Kunlun and southern slope of Tian Shan, is the vast Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
of Xinjiang, which contains the Taklamakan
Taklamakan
Desert. The Tarim Basin, the largest in China, measures 1,500 km (930 mi) from east to west and 600 km (370 mi) from north to south at its widest parts. Average elevation in the basin is 1,000 m. To the east, the basin descends into the Hami- Turpan Depression of eastern Xinjiang, where the dried lake bed of Lake Ayding, at −154m below sea level, is the lowest surface point in China
China
and the third-lowest in the world. With temperatures that have reached 49.6 C., the lake bed ranks as one of the hottest places in China. North of Tian Shan
Tian Shan
is Xinjiang's second great basin, the Junggar, which contains the Gurbantünggüt Desert. The Junggar Basin is enclosed to the north by the Altay Mountains, which separate Xinjiang
Xinjiang
from Russia
Russia
and Mongolia. Northeast of the Tibetan Plateau, the Altun Shan-Qilian Mountains range branches off the Kunlun and creates a parallel mountain range running east-west. In between in northern Qinghai
Qinghai
is the Qaidam Basin, with elevations of 2,600–3,000 m and numerous brackish and salt lakes. North of the Qilian is Hexi Corridor
Hexi Corridor
of Gansu, a natural passage between Xinjiang
Xinjiang
and China Proper
China Proper
that was part of the ancient Silk Road
Silk Road
and traversed by modern highway and rail lines to Xinjiang. Further north, the Inner Mongolian Plateau, between 900–1,500 m in elevation, arcs north up the spine of China
China
and becomes the Greater Hinggan Range of Northeast China. Between the Qinling
Qinling
and the Inner Mongolian Plateau
Plateau
is Loess Plateau, the largest of its kind in the world, covering 650,000 km2 (250,000 sq mi) in Shaanxi, parts of Gansu
Gansu
and Shanxi provinces, and some of Ningxia-Hui Autonomous Region. The plateau is 1,000–1,500m in elevation and is filled with loess, a yellowish, loose soil that travels easily in the wind. Eroded loess silt gives the Yellow River
Yellow River
its color and name. The Loess Plateau
Plateau
is bound to the east by the Luliang Mountain of Shanxi, which has a narrow basin running north to south along the Fen River. Further east is the Taihang Mountains
Taihang Mountains
of Hebei, the dominant topographical feature of North China.

The Bayan Bulak Grasslands in Hejing County of the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang.

Tibetan highlands[edit]

The tallest peak entirely within China
China
is Shishapangma
Shishapangma
(8013m, 14th) of the Tibetan Himalayas
Himalayas
in Nyalam County
Nyalam County
of Tibet
Tibet
Autonomous Region.

The north face of Mt. Everest
Mt. Everest
in the Himalayas
Himalayas
from the Tibetan side of the China- Nepal
Nepal
border.

The Karakorum Range
Karakorum Range
in Xinjiang

Highlands

The world's tallest mountains, the Himalayas, Karakorum, Pamirs
Pamirs
and Tian Shan
Tian Shan
divide China
China
from South and Central Asia. Eleven of the 17 tallest mountain peaks are located on China's western borders. They include world's tallest peak Mt. Everest
Mt. Everest
(8848m) in the Himalayas
Himalayas
on the border with Nepal
Nepal
and the world's second tallest peak, K2 (8611m) on the border with Pakistan. From these towering heights in the west, the land descends in steps like a terrace. North of the Himalayas
Himalayas
and east of the Karakorum/ Pamirs
Pamirs
is the vast Tibetan Plateau, the largest and highest plateau in the world, also known as the "Roof of the World." The plateau has an average elevation of 4,000m above sea level and covers an area of 2.5 million square kilometers, or about one-fifth of China's land mass. In the north, the plateau is hemmed in by the Kunlun Mountains, which extends eastward from the intersection of the Pamirs, Karakorum
Karakorum
and Tian Shan.

Tallest mountain peaks

Besides Mt. Everest
Mt. Everest
and K2, the other 9 of the world's 17 tallest peaks on China's western borders are: Lhotse
Lhotse
(8516m, 4th highest), Makalu
Makalu
(8485m, 5th), Cho Oyu
Cho Oyu
(8188m, 6th), Gyachung Kang
Gyachung Kang
(7952m, 15th) of the Himalayas
Himalayas
on the border with Nepal
Nepal
and Gasherbrum I
Gasherbrum I
(8080m, 11th), Broad Peak
Broad Peak
(8051m, 12th), Gasherbrum II
Gasherbrum II
(8035m, 13th), Gasherbrum III
Gasherbrum III
(7946m, 16th) and Gasherbrum IV
Gasherbrum IV
(7932m, 17th) of the Karakorum
Karakorum
on the border with Pakistan. The tallest peak entirely within China
China
is Shishapangma
Shishapangma
(8013m, 14th) of the Tibetan Himalayas
Himalayas
in Nyalam County
Nyalam County
of Tibet
Tibet
Autonomous Region. In all, 9 of the 14 mountain peaks in the world over 8,000m are in or on the border of China. Another notable Himalayan peak in China
China
is Namchabarwa
Namchabarwa
(7782m, 28th), near the great bend of the Yarlungtsanpo (upper Brahmaputra) River
River
in eastern Tibet, and considered to be the eastern anchor of the Himalayas. Outside the Himalayas
Himalayas
and Karakorum, China's tallest peaks are Kongur Tagh (7649m, 37th) and Muztagh Ata
Muztagh Ata
(7546m, 43rd) in the Pamirs
Pamirs
of western Xinjiang, Gongga Shan
Gongga Shan
(7556m, 41st) in the Great Snowy Mountains of western Sichuan; and Tömür Shan (7,439m, 60th), the highest peak of Tian Shan, on the border with Kyrgyzstan. Rivers and drainage[edit] See also: List of rivers of China

Main rivers of China

China
China
has 50,000 rivers, each with a catchment area greater than 100 square kilometers. The rivers in China
China
have a total length of 420,000 kilometers. 1,500 of Chinese rivers have a catchment area exceeding 1,000 square kilometers. The majority of rivers flow west to east into the Pacific Ocean. The Yangtze
Yangtze
(Chang Jiang) rises in Tibet, flows through Central China
Central China
and enters the East China Sea
East China Sea
near Shanghai. The Yangtze
Yangtze
is 6,300 kilometers long and has a catchment area of 1.8 million square kilometers. It is the third longest river in the world, after the Amazon and the Nile. The second longest river in China
China
is the Huang He (Yellow River). It rises in Tibet
Tibet
and travels circuitously for 5,464 kilometers through North China, it empties into the Bo Hai Gulf
Bo Hai Gulf
on the north coast of the Shandong
Shandong
Province. It has a catchment area of 752,000 square kilometers. The Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
(Heilong or Black Dragon River) flows for 3,101 kilometers in Northeast China and an additional 1,249 kilometers in Russia, where it is known as the Amur. The longest river in South China
China
is the Zhujiang (Pearl River), which is 2,214 kilometers long. Along with its three tributaries, the Xi (West), Dong (East), and Bei (North) rivers, it forms the Pearl River
River
Delta near Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Macau, and Hong Kong. Other major rivers are the Liaohe
Liaohe
in the northeast, Haihe
Haihe
in the north, Qiantang in the east, and Lancang in the southwest.

West Lake
West Lake
in Hangzhou, at night

Inland drainage involving upland basins in the north and northeast accounts for 40 percent of the country's total drainage area. Many rivers and streams flow into lakes or diminish in the desert. Some are used for irrigation. China's territorial waters are principally marginal seas of the western Pacific Ocean. These waters lie on the indented coastline of the mainland and approximately 5,000 islands. The Yellow Sea, East China
China
Sea, and South China Sea
South China Sea
are marginal seas of the Pacific Ocean. More than half the coastline, predominantly in the south, is rocky; most of the remainder is sandy. The Bay of Hangzhou
Hangzhou
roughly divides the two kinds of shoreline.

Northern plain

There is a steep drop in the river level in the North China
North China
Plain, where the river continues across the delta, it transports a heavy load of sand and mud which is deposited on the flat plain. The flow is aided by manmade embankments. As a result, the river flows on a raised ridge fifty meters above the plain. Waterlogging, floods, and course changes have recurred over the centuries. Traditionally, rulers were judged by their concern for or indifference to preservation of the embankments.[citation needed] In the modern era, China
China
has undertaken extensive flood control and conservation measures. Flowing from its source in the Qingzang highlands, the Yellow River courses toward the sea through the North China
North China
Plain, the historic center of Chinese expansion and influence. Han Chinese
Han Chinese
people have farmed the rich alluvial soils since ancient times, constructing the Grand Canal for north-south transport during the Imperial Era. The plain is a continuation of the Dongbei
Dongbei
(Manchurian) Plain to the northeast but is separated from it by the Bohai Gulf, an extension of the Yellow Sea. Like other densely populated areas of China, the plain is subject to floods and earthquakes. The mining and industrial center of Tangshan, 165 km (103 mi) east of Beijing, was leveled by an earthquake in July 1976, it was believed to be the largest earthquake of the 20th century by death toll. The Hai River, like the Pearl River, flows from west to east. Its upper course consists of five rivers that converge near Tianjin, then flow seventy kilometers before emptying into the Bohai Gulf. The Huai River, rises in Henan
Henan
Province and flows through several lakes before joining the Pearl River
River
near Yangzhou.

East and Yangtze

The Qin Mountains, a continuation of the Kunlun Mountains, divides the North China Plain
North China Plain
from the Yangtze
Yangtze
River
River
Delta and is the major physiographic boundary between the two great parts of China
China
Proper. It is a cultural boundary as it influences the distribution of customs and language. South of the Qinling
Qinling
mountain range divide are the densely populated and highly developed areas of the lower and middle plains of the Yangtze
Yangtze
River
River
and, on its upper reaches, the Sichuan Basin, an area encircled by a high barrier of mountain ranges. The country's longest and most important waterway, the Yangtze
Yangtze
River, is navigable for the majority of its length and has a vast hydroelectric potential. Rising on the Qingzang Plateau, the Yangtze River
River
traverses 6,300 km (3,900 mi) through the heart of the country, draining an area of 1,800,000 km2 (690,000 sq mi) before emptying into the East China
East China
Sea. Roughly 300 million people live along its middle and lower reaches. The area is a large producer of rice and wheat. The Sichuan
Sichuan
Basin, due to its mild, humid climate and long growing season, produces a variety of crops. It is a leading silk-producing area and an important industrial region with substantial mineral resources. The Nanling Mountains, the southernmost of the east-west mountain ranges, overlook areas in China
China
with a tropical climate. The climate allows two crops of rice to be grown per year. Southeast of the mountains lies a coastal, hilly region of small deltas and narrow valley plains. The drainage area of the Pearl River
River
and its associated network of rivers occupies much of the region to the south. West of the Nanling, the Yunnan- Guizhou
Guizhou
Plateau
Plateau
rises in two steps, averaging 1,200 and 1,800 m in elevation, respectively, toward the precipitous mountain regions of the eastern Qingzang Plateau. Geology and natural resources[edit]

Energy and mineral resources

China
China
has substantial mineral reserves and is the world’s largest producer of antimony, natural graphite, tungsten, and zinc. Other major minerals are aluminum, bauxite, coal, crude petroleum, diamonds, gold, iron ore, lead, magnetite, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, natural gas, phosphate rock, tin, uranium, and vanadium. China’s hydropower potential is the largest in the world. Land use[edit] Based on 2005 estimates, 14.86% (about 1,400,000 km2 (540,000 sq mi)) of China’s total land area is arable. About 1.3% (some 116,580 km²) is planted to permanent crops and the rest planted to temporary crops. With comparatively little land planted to permanent crops, intensive agricultural techniques are used to reap harvests that are sufficient to feed the world’s largest population and still have surplus for export. An estimated 544,784 km² of land were irrigated in 2004. 42.9% of total land area was used as pasture, and 17.5% was forest. Wildlife[edit] Main article: Wildlife of China China
China
lies in two of the world's major ecozones, the Palearctic
Palearctic
and the Indomalaya. In the Palearctic
Palearctic
zone mammals such as the horse, camel, and jerboa are found. Among the species found in the Indomalaya region are the leopard cat, bamboo rat, treeshrew, and various other species of monkeys and apes. Some overlap exists between the two regions because of natural dispersal and migration, and deer or antelope, bears, wolves, pigs, and rodents are found in all of the diverse climatic and geological environments. The famous giant panda is found only in a limited area along the Yangtze. There is a continuing problem with trade in endangered species, although there are now laws to prohibit such activities. Human geography[edit] History[edit]

The Central plain, visible in dark orange.

Chinese history is often explained in terms of several strategic areas, defined by particular topographic limits. Starting from the Chinese central plain, the former heart of the Han populations, the Han people expanded militarily and then demographically toward the Loess Plateau, the Sichuan
Sichuan
Basin, and the Southern Hills (as defined by the map on the left), not without resistance from local populations. Pushed by its comparatively higher demographic growth, the Han continued their expansion by military and demographic waves. The far-south of present-day China, the northern parts of today's Vietnam, and the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
were first reached and durably subdued by the Han dynasty's armies. The Northern steppes were always the source of invasions into China, which culminated in the 13th century by Mongolian conquest of the whole China
China
and creation of Mongolian Yuan dynasty. Manchuria, much of today's Northeast China, and Korean Peninsula were usually not under Chinese control, with the exception of some limited periods of occupation. Manchuria
Manchuria
became strongly integrated into the Chinese empire during the late Qing dynasty, while the west side of the Changbai Mountains, formerly the home of Korean tribes, thus also entered China. Demographic geography[edit]

A population density map of the territories governed by the PRC and the ROC. The eastern, coastal provinces are much more densely populated than the western interior because of the historical access to water.

See also: Demographics of China
China
§ Population density and distribution The demographic occupation follows the topography and availability of former arable lands. The Heihe–Tengchong Line, running from Heihe, Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
to Tengchong County, Yunnan
Yunnan
divides China
China
into two roughly equal sections–in terms of geographic area, with areas west of the line being sparsely settled and areas east densely populated, in general. Economic geography[edit]

The East Coast (with existing development programmes)

"Rise of Central China"

"Revitalize Northeast China"

" China
China
Western Development"

China's economy has recently become export-oriented. The coastal provinces got the greatest benefits from the recent development of China's economy, becoming the new economic center of China. The Chinese leadership has long encouraged a move inland, and in 2012, following the western crisis, the top leadership announced a policy to redirect Chinese production toward the national market. Transportation[edit]

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Administrative geography[edit] Chinese administrative geography was drawn mainly during the 1949 and 1954 administrative reorganizations. These reorganizations have been the source of much debate within China. In addition, a parcel of land was ceded from Guangdong
Guangdong
to Guangxi
Guangxi
to grant the latter immediate access to the Gulf of Tonkin, while Hainan
Hainan
was split from Guangdong
Guangdong
in 1988 and Chongqing
Chongqing
from Sichuan
Sichuan
in 1997.

Click any region for more info. For a larger version of this map, see here.

Boundary disputes[edit]

Map of the People's Republic of China
China
(click to enlarge), Source: CIA

Central Asia

China's borders have more than 20,000 km (12,000 mi) of land frontier shared with nearly all the nations of mainland East Asia, and have been disputed at a number of points. In the western sector, China claimed portions of the 41,000 km2 (16,000 sq mi) Pamir Mountains area, a region of soaring mountain peaks and glacier-filled valleys where the borders of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the former Soviet Union, and China
China
meet in Central Asia. North and east of this region, some sections of the border remained undemarcated in 1987. The 6,542 kilometres (4,065 mi) frontier with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
has been a source of continual friction. In 1954 China
China
published maps showing substantial portions of Soviet Siberian territory as its own. In the northeast, border friction with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
produced a tense situation in remote regions of Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
and Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
along segments of the Argun River, Amur River, and Ussuri River. Each side had massed troops and had exchanged charges of border provocation in this area. In a September 1986 speech in Vladivostok, the Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev
Mikhail S. Gorbachev
offered the Chinese a more conciliatory position on Sino-Soviet border issues. In 1987 the two sides resumed border talks that had been broken off after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
(see Sino-Soviet relations). Although the border issue remained unresolved as of late 1987, China
China
and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
agreed to consider the northeastern sector first. In October 2004, China signed an agreement with Russia
Russia
on the delimitation of their entire 4,300 km (2,700 mi)-long border, which had long been in dispute.

Southern border

Eastward from Bhutan
Bhutan
and north of the Brahmaputra River
Brahmaputra River
(Yarlung Zangbo Jiang) lies a large area controlled and administered by India but claimed by the Chinese. The area was demarcated by the British McMahon Line, drawn along the Himalayas
Himalayas
in 1914 as the Sino-Indian border; India accepts and China
China
rejects this boundary. In June 1980 China
China
made its first move in twenty years to settle the border disputes with India, proposing that India cede the Aksai Chin
Aksai Chin
area in Jammu and Kashmir to China
China
in return for China's recognition of the McMahon Line; India did not accept the offer, however, preferring a sector-by-sector approach to the problem. In July 1986 China
China
and India held their seventh round of border talks, but they made little headway toward resolving the dispute. Each side, but primarily India, continued to make allegations of incursions into its territory by the other. Most of the mountainous and militarized boundary with India is still in dispute, but Beijing
Beijing
and New Delhi
New Delhi
have committed to begin resolution with discussions on the least disputed middle sector. India does not recognize Pakistan’s ceding lands to China
China
in a 1964 boundary agreement. The China-Burma border issue was settled October 1, 1960, by the signing of the Sino-Burmese Boundary Treaty. The first joint inspection of the border was completed successfully in June 1986.

Seas

China
China
is involved in a complex dispute with Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei
Brunei
over the Spratly (Nansha) Islands
Spratly (Nansha) Islands
in the South China
China
Sea. The 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China
China
Sea" eased tensions but fell short of a legally binding code of conduct desired by several of the disputants. China also controls the Paracel (Xisha) Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam, and asserts a claim to the Japanese-administered Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands in the East China
East China
Sea. Atmosphere and pollution[edit] Climate[edit] See also: Hot summer cold winter zone

Köppen climate types of China

Owing to tremendous differences in latitude, longitude, and altitude, the climate of China
China
is extremely diverse, ranging from tropical in the far south to subarctic in the far north and alpine in the higher elevations of the Tibetan Plateau. Monsoon
Monsoon
winds, caused by differences in the heat-absorbing capacity of the continent and the ocean, dominate the climate. During the summer, the East Asian Monsoon carries warm and moist air from the south and delivers the vast majority of the annual precipitation in much of the country. Conversely, the Siberian anticyclone
Siberian anticyclone
dominates during winter, bringing cold and comparatively dry conditions. The advance and retreat of the monsoons account in large degree for the timing of the rainy season throughout the country. Although most of the country lies in the temperate belt, its climatic patterns are complex. The northern extremities of both Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
and Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
have a subarctic climate; in contrast, most of Hainan
Hainan
Island
Island
and parts of the extreme southern fringes of Yunnan
Yunnan
have a tropical climate. Temperature differences in winter are considerable, but in summer the variance is considerably less. For example, Mohe County, Heilongjiang has a 24-hour average temperature in January approaching −30 °C (−22 °F), while the corresponding figure in July exceeds 18 °C (64 °F). By contrast, most of Hainan has a January mean in excess of 17 °C (63 °F), while the July mean there is generally above 28 °C (82 °F). Precipitation is almost invariably concentrated in the warmer months, though annual totals range from less than 20 millimetres (0.8 in) in northwestern Qinghai
Qinghai
and the Turpan Depression of Xinjiang
Xinjiang
to easily exceeding 2,000 millimetres (79 in) in Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan. Only in some pockets of the Dzungaria
Dzungaria
region of Xinjiang is the conspicuous seasonal variation in precipitation that defines Chinese (and, to a large extent, East Asian) climate absent. Annual sunshine duration ranges from less than 1,100 hours in parts of Sichuan
Sichuan
and Chongqing
Chongqing
to over 3,400 hours in northwestern Qinghai. Seasonal patterns in sunshine vary considerably by region, but overall, the north and the Tibetan Plateau
Plateau
are sunnier than the south of the country.

The average annual precipitation in China
China
and Taiwan

Early-season snow covering part of the North China Plain
North China Plain
near Shijiazhuang, Hebei

Snow
Snow
encircling the area around the Bo Hai

The first day of spring 2010 brought a massive sandstorm blowing from Inner Mongolia

On November 11, 2010, a wall of sand blew across northern China, covering much of the North China Plain
North China Plain
and Shandong
Shandong
Peninsula.

Smog
Smog
from Eastern China
China
spread over neighboring areas in February 2004.

Haze
Haze
over the North China Plain
North China Plain
and the Lüliang Mountains
Lüliang Mountains
of Shanxi

Natural color satellite image of a smog event in the heart of northern China

Dense smog settled over the North China Plain
North China Plain
on February 20, 2011.

Environment[edit] Main article: Environment of China Air pollution
Air pollution
(sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal is a major issue, along with water pollution from untreated wastes and use of debated standards of pollutant concentration rather than Total Maximum Daily Load. There are water shortages, particularly in the north. The eastern part of China
China
often experiences smoke and dense fog in the atmosphere as a result of industrial pollution. Heavy deforestation with an estimated loss of one-fifth of agricultural land since 1949 to soil erosion and economic development is occurring with resulting desertification. China
China
is a party to the Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Climate
Climate
Change treaty, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Endangered Species
Endangered Species
treaty, the Hazardous Wastes treaty, the Law of the Sea, the International Tropical Timber Agreements of 1983 and 1994, the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, and agreements on Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, and Wetlands protection. China
China
has signed, but not ratified the Kyoto Protocol (but is not yet required to reduce its carbon emission under the agreement, as is India), and the Nuclear Test Ban
Nuclear Test Ban
treaty. Antipodes[edit] Most of coastal and eastern central China, including Beijing, are antipodal to Argentina and Chile. Wuhai, Inner Mongolia, for example, is antipodal to Valdivia, Chile. See also[edit]

China
China
portal Geography portal

Chinese geography History of human geography in China Environment of China List of islands of China List of rivers in China List of mountains in China Lakes in China North China
North China
Plain Geography of Hong Kong Geography of Macau Geographic information systems in China Zomia (geography)

Notes and references[edit]

^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "China". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 2015-12-31.  ^ Based on the 1999 and 2005 surveys of elevation of snow cap, not rock head. For more details, see Surveys. ^ " Yangtze
Yangtze
River". University of Washington. Retrieved 2015-12-31.  ^ "The Largest Lakes in China". Top China
China
Travel. Retrieved 2015-12-31.  ^ CIA (October 1967), Communist China
China
Map Folio, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency 

Fitzpatrick, John. 1992. “The Middle Kingdom, the Middle Sea, and the Geographical Pivot of History”. Review (fernand Braudel Center) 15 (3). Research Foundation of SUNY: 477–521. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40241233.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Geography of China.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Maps of China.

(in Chinese) Chinese Academy of Sciences
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources (in Chinese) Chinese Ecosystem Research Network (CERN) (in English) (in Chinese) Illustrations of Famous Mountains from 1368–1644

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