A overview of China's geography

Paul LinesStarred Page By Paul Lines, 1st Nov 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Other

Considered by many to be the jewel in the Asian Crown, and now home to over a billion people, geographically China is not only the third largest country in the world, its size exceeded only by Russia and Canada, but also has a natural geographical diversity that makes it unique.

Areas and borders

In total, China occupies an area of 9.6 million square kilometres. Inland it shares a border with fourteen countries; include Russia and four of the former Eastern Block countries, Vietnam, Pakistan, Korea and Afghanistan. It's coastline, which adjoins to the Pacific Ocean, stretches for 14,500 kilometres, which is just over 9,000 miles. At the northern point of its borders, from east to west the land can be travelled for 5,200 kilometres (3,200 miles approximately) and from north to south 5,500 (3,400 miles approximately). So vast is the land that when the sun is rising over the Pamire Plateau in the west, it is the middle of the day in the East, around the Wusuli River.


Physically China is a fascinating country with a variety of differing landscapes and terrains. Around two thirds of the country is mountainous, mainly in the West and it falls through three ranges of heights to meet the sea in the East. The mountain area includes some of the worlds most rugged and beautiful ranges, with the Kunlunshan, Qilianshan and Hengduan mountains bordering this area. These mountain ranges encompass the "Roof of the world" plateau, with the Himalayas, including Mount Everest the world's highest and most challenged peak, forming China's border. The area is rich in treasures, including an amazing variety of botanical and zoological species and mineral resources.

Plateaus and Basins

The second area is dominated by plateaus and basins, which range in height above sea level between 1,000 and 2,000 metres. It includes the inner Mongolian and Yungui plateaus, and Tarim and Sichuan Basins. This area is separated from the main crop producing area of China by the Wu and Xuefeng Mountains

Despite the physical differences throughout its land, generally observers tend to separate China into four main geographical regions, these being the South, Northwest, North and the Qinghai-Tibetan areas. Each of these has their distinct culture and traditions. It is in the latter two areas that the vast majority of the population have made their home, with the remaining five percent or so liberally spread across the rest of the country.


China is literally awash with rivers and lakes, with these covering nearly forty percent of its land area. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers are perhaps the most famous and these connect most of the major towns. The rivers flow down from the mountains through a vast array of spectacular waterfalls, with lush vegetation forming beautiful curtains and carpets of the surrounding lands. As they run towards the coast, these rivers become some of the world's busiest waterways, still abounding with commerce. The lakes, which cover around 80,000 square kilometres, provide wonderful areas of relaxation, exploration and livelihoods. It is these rivers, which some statistician’s number at around fifty thousand and lakes that produce so much hydroelectric power for the country. They are also providers of other natural resources such as petroleum and gas and aquatic produce.


Politically, China is divided into twenty-three provinces, five autonomous regions and four municipalities, plus of course the two special regions of Hong Kong and Macau that have recently been annexed to the country. The four municipalities include the Capital Beijing, Shanghai, Nei Mongol and Guangxi, are rapidly becoming some of the world's busiest commercial and financial centres.


There is no doubt that China, as a physical country, is one of the world's most diverse and intriguing countries, with its every changing landscapes from west to east and the myriad of different cultures that can be met along that journey, as well as the panoramic beauty of the natural surroundings.


Find out more about China's geography at:
Travel China
Chinese funeral rites

Why not join me on Wikinut and earn while you write?


Asia, Asian, Border, China, Geographical, Geography, Mount Everest, Mountains, Plain

Meet the author

author avatar Paul Lines
Having spent a large part of my working life as a business consultant, I am now a full time freelance writer offering content for on-line and print publishers, as well as focusing on creative writing

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author avatar Denise O
15th Nov 2010 (#)

Very nice article Paul, love it!
Great text and pictures.
Congrats on the star, it is well deserved. Thumbs up on facebook.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Paul Lines
15th Nov 2010 (#)

Thanks Denise. That is really appreciated.

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author avatar SiddiQ
16th Nov 2010 (#)

China is a beautiful place.
This article brought the best out of it. Well done.

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author avatar Paul Lines
16th Nov 2010 (#)

I agree and a place I would like to spend more time at just for the scenic views and variations

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author avatar Charlene Nuble
16th Nov 2010 (#)

Very nicely written. Congratulations for getting a star on tis one!

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author avatar Paul Lines
17th Nov 2010 (#)

Thanks Charlene

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author avatar Erik Van Tongerloo
17th Nov 2010 (#)

China is indeed a wonderful place on earth. Interesting info and beautiful pictures.

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author avatar Paul Lines
17th Nov 2010 (#)

Thanks Eric

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