China is one of the largest and most geographically diverse countries in the world. From vast green plains to expanding deserts and freezing mountainous regions China has a lot to explore.
Because China is so large and diverse we could talk about its geography for days but we’ve selected some of our favourite facts. Here is a list of 10 of the most impressive and surprising China geography facts.
The Himalayas run along the border of China and India. The mountain range has some of the largest mountains in the world including the biggest of them all, Mount Everest. Mount Everest (Qomolangma Feng in Chinese) is 8,848 metres high.
China has the worlds largest population of 1.44 billion people. This is an incredible amount of people! The only country to come close to this is India who has 1.38 billion. Apart from these jam-packed countries, no one else comes close to a population of a billion. The USA is the third most populated country and it only has 331 million.
China also has 10 cities with a population of over 10 million – this is more than the entire population of 142 countries. Shanghai, one of China’s most cosmopolitan and modern cities, is the 3rd largest city in the world with a population of 25.6 million.
Despite having the highest population China is only the 4th largest country in the world by landmass (depending on how you measure China’s complicated land claims). Russia is the largest followed by Canada and then America.
Big temperature difference in China
China is one of the countries with the greatest temperature differentials. Parts of China can see temperatures as low as -41C and other parts as high as 50C.
Harbin, found in the North of China, is world-famous for its icy winters. In January the city drops to an average temperature of -18C. They make the most of it though by building a city of ice.
There are a few cities fighting over the number one spot for the hottest city in China. Hangzhou, Hong Kong and Taiwan can all reach 40 degrees in summer – far too hot for a sunbathing!
The Yangtze River is the 3rd longest river in the world only being beaten by the Nile and the Amazon. The river covers a vast amount of China and along it there are some incredible sights.
The Three Gorges is one of the best sights along the river. With luscious green covered Gorges set in a subtropical climate, it looks like it could belong in a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean.
As well as natural beauty the Three Gorges is home to the impressive Three Gorges Dam. The dam is the worlds largest power plant.
China also has the 6th longest river in the world. The Yellow River, also known as the mother of China, or “Mother River”, is said to have been the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilisation. It travels through 9 provinces and ends in the Bo Sea.
Almost paradoxically, it is also known as “China’s Sorrow” because it is responsible for some of the highest recorded deaths by a natural disaster. Due to the river bed being predominantly silt, which is a very fine sand-like sediment, it has a tendency to change direction. Several times in history it has changed direction and at quite a speed, enough to destroy villages and towns that are in its path.
When you think of China you don’t think of a desert but desert actually covers 27.4% of China’s land. The Gobi desert, China’s biggest desert, is the 3rd largest desert in the world. It is found in the North of China bordering Mongolia. It has an impressive history.
Once a hub for some key points on the Silk Road. Many travellers, traders and even armies have passed through it despite its dangers. Genghis Khan launched many of his largest attacks on China by travelling from the Steppes in Mongolia and through the Godi desert.
Going a lot further back, to the Cretacious period, the Gobi desert was not a desert but a tree-filled forest. The desert has been a source for a number of fantastic dinosaur fossils. These include the first-ever discovered dinosaur egg, Oviraptors; cousins of Velociraptors and the largest recorded Tarbosaurus; a cousin of the T-Rex.
The expansion of the deserts are causing problems for communities and farming – desert regions have grown by more than 385,000 square miles an area of about France and Germany combined. To combat this the Chinese government has started a project called Great Green Wall which will see millions of trees planted on the desert’s border to stop it spreading.
Most bordered countries
China has the most countries bordering it in the world. They are in the lead with 16 neighbouring countries followed by Russia who have 14. Have a go at naming as many of them as you can.
They are: Afghanistan , Bhutan , Hong Kong, India , Kazakhstan, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Vietnam.
One time zone
In 1949, just after the Chinese Civil War, the Communist Party of China made the country have a single time zone in an effort to help unify the country. Rather than having the country split into 5 timezones it chose to use Bejing time (UTC+08:00).
Having one timezone simplifies things a lot especially for businesses. There is a debate in the US, which has 4 timezones, whether to move to have two timezones for this very reason.
The problem with having one timezone is that it means the far East and West areas of China have to endure daylight hours that don’t make sense for their location. China is about 3,400 miles wide. For instance, in Summer, Xinjiang (the furthest West section of China) will have a sunset at midnight!
Want to learn more?
We hope you have enjoyed reading about these incredible China geography facts and learnt something new. If you want to learn more interesting China facts then explore the rest of our blog. Or if you want to continue learning about Chinese culture along with learning the language then check out our tutoring options.