- Official Title: People’s Republic of China (PRC)
- Location: East Asia
- Capital: Beijing
- Largest City: Shanghai
- Official Language: Standard Chinese
- Size: 3,719,275 sq miles
- Total GDP: $18.976 trillion
- Currency: Renminbi (yuan) (CNY)
- Calling code: +86
- Internet TLD: .cn, .中國, .中国
- Population: China is the Most Populous Country in the World
- Geography: Despite Its Size, China Is Only the Fourth Largest Country in the World
- History: China Is the World’s Oldest Civilization
- Traditions: During Centuries of Existence, China Has Developed Many Interesting Traditions
- Culture: Chinese Culture Is One of the Oldest Cultures in the World
- Economy: China’s Economy Is the Second Largest in the World by Nominal GDP
- Government: China Is One of the Last Countries in the World Openly Endorsing Communism
- Type: China Is a Socialist, Single-Party State
- Geography: China’s Landscape and Climate Are Extremely Diverse
- Biology: China Is One of the Most Bio-Diverse Countries in the World
- Unfortunately, China Has Terrible Problems with Pollution
- Beijing Was Not Always Known as Beijing
- The Chinese Were Way Ahead of Other Civilisations in Many Ways
- The Chinese Consider Tea a Necessity of Life
- Chinese’s Controversial “One Child Policy” Could Lead to Problems in the Future
- Your Hairstyle Could Say a Lot About You in China
- The Chinese Flag is Strongly Connected to Communism
- Despite Its Enormous Size, All of China Lies within One Time Zone
- The Chinese Invented Many Fun Things – but Not the Fortune Cookie
- Many Historians Believe that We Have the Chinese to Thank for Soccer
China is the Most Populous Country in the World
One of the most interesting China facts reveals that China’s population exceeds 1.39 billion people; to be completely exact it is estimated to have reached 1,393,783,836 people as of July 1, 2014.
This means that China’s population is equivalent to 19.24% of the total population of the world. To put things even more simply – one in every five people in the world is Chinese. And if you want to compare it to the US: China’s population is about four times that of the United States of America.
Despite Its Size, China Is Only the Fourth Largest Country in the World
Despite the fact that it is by far the most populous country in the world, China facts reveal a surprising truth that it is only the fourth (or third, depending on the criteria used) largest country in the world. China covers an area of 3,719,275 square miles, which makes it slightly smaller than the United States.
And which other countries are larger than China? Apart from the US, Russia and Canada also exceed China in size. However, if we disregard the total area and only count land area, China is actually the second biggest country in the world, after Russia.
China’s borders with other countries total to more than 117,445 miles and its coastline is around 9,000 miles long.
China Is the World’s Oldest Civilisation
We all know that China is old, but China facts show that this fascinating country is actually considered the world’s oldest and longest continuous civilisation, and that it also has the world’s oldest continuously used written language. Some historians believe that Chinese civilisation started as early as 6,000 BC, which truly helps China live up to its nickname: the cradle of civilisation.
However, China facts reveal that life was present in China long before what we now call the beginning of civilisation. Some of the archaeological evidence discovered in recent years suggests that early hominids inhabited China between 250,000 and 2.24 million years ago.
During Centuries of Existence, China Has Developed Many Interesting Traditions
Since China has been around for a very long time, its people have had more than enough time to come up with some very interesting traditions. Some of them are only a little bit strange, while some are actually very bizarre. One of the most stunning China facts reveals that the well-known and also very controversial tradition of binding feet began as early as during the Song dynasty, which ruled between the years of 960 and 1279 AD.
Bandages were tightly wrapped around the feet of young girls to gradually break the arch of the foot, which caused the toes and heels to grow inward. The muscles of the legs would also atrophy, which would make them become extremely thin. This was of course very painful, but at the same time, it was seen as highly sexual and an in-demand look.
Another interesting Chinese tradition involves the choice of colours for funerals and mourning. While in Western societies we are used to wearing black when in mourning, Chinese people wear white clothes when going to a funeral or when mourning the loss of a loved one.
Chinese Culture Is One of the Oldest Cultures in the World
Since China is one of the oldest civilisation of the world, it is no wonder that the culture of this country is incredibly rich and diverse. However, China facts reveal that due to the size of China, the cultural aspects of life vary greatly across the country and can differ drastically between regions.
Some of the most important components of Chinese culture include literature, music, architecture, ceramics, religion, visual arts, martial arts and cuisine; the latter ones are probably the best known around the world. China facts show that this Asian country is one of the main birth places of martial arts, which are collectively known under the name Kung Fu.
Initially, martial arts were important in warfare, but later on some branches became popular as art forms. Chinese cuisine is also well known around the world; Chinese emperors were known to host banquets with over 100 dishes per meal. Nowadays, Chinese cuisine is popular in high-class restaurants, as well as fast food stands, around the world.
China’s Economy Is the Second Largest in the World by Nominal GDP
Since China facts show that the country is one of the largest and by far the most populous in the world, it comes as no surprise to learn that it is also one of the leading powers in terms of economy. The Chinese economy has been one of the world’s largest and most complex economies for the past 2,000 years, and it is still one of the fastest growing economies today.
As of 2014, China is considered the world’s second-largest economy in terms of nominal total GDP and the largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). The country is also known as the world’s largest exporter and the second-largest importer of goods. It is considered the largest manufacturing economy in the world as well as the world’s fastest growing consumer market
However, the per capita income ranks China as 77th by nominal GDP and 89th by GDP (PPP) as of 2014, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The unemployment rate in China is 4.1% and the average gross salary in 2012 was only $669 monthly.
China Is One of the Last Countries in the World Openly Endorsing Communism
China facts reveal that it is one of the world’s few remaining socialist states which openly endorses communism. China is ruled by the Communist Party of China (CPC), and its political, ideological and economic system has been described as the “people’s democratic dictatorship”, “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and the “socialist market economy” by its leaders.
Chinese government imposes heavy restrictions in many areas of everyday life, and the most notable and controversial ones among them are definitely free access to the Internet, freedom of the press, the right to have children, free formation of social organisations, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.
China Is a Socialist, Single-Party State
China facts reveal that China is a single-party state, which means that the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China basically has the ultimate power and authority over both the state and the government of China.
The electoral system of the country is hierarchical; members of the local People’s Congresses are elected directly, while all higher levels of People’s Congresses all the way up to the National People’s Congress (NPC) are elected indirectly by the People’s Congress of the level that is immediately below it. Because the political system in China is decentralised, the leaders in provinces are relatively autonomous.
China’s Landscape and Climate Are Extremely Diverse
It is probably not surprising that a country as large as China offers such a diversity when it comes to landscapes and climates. The landscape varies significantly from west to east and from north to south; while the east mostly offers densely populated plains, the central east is home to deltas of China’s two major rivers, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River.
The west of the country is home to some of the most stunning mountain ranges in the world, most notably the Himalayas. The south of China is quite hilly and has many low mountains, while the north is mostly covered with broad grasslands.
The climate of China is dominated by two weather extremes: the dry seasons and the wet monsoon seasons. The results of these extremes are significant changes between the summer and the winter temperatures. Apart from with the seasons, the climate also changes significantly in different regions of China, mainly due to the highly complex topography of the country.
China Is One of the Most Bio-Diverse Countries in the World
The country that brought us pandas has a lot more to offer than just those adorable black and white bears! China facts make it very clear that China is incredibly bio-diverse; in fact it is one of 17 mega diverse countries in the world. Some scientists claim that China is home to over 34,687 species of animals and vascular plants, which makes it the third-most biodiverse country in the world; only Brazil and Colombia have a more diverse population of plants and animals.
China is currently home to around 551 species of mammals, 1,221 species of birds, and 424 species of reptiles, as well as 333 species of amphibians. However, these numbers may decrease significantly in the following years if things don’t change: China facts unfortunately also reveal that at least 840 of the animal species currently living in China are threatened, vulnerable or in danger of local extinction.
Unfortunately, China Has Terrible Problems with Pollution
China is a stunning country from many perspectives, but it is also one of the most polluted countries in the world. Strict legislation has been put in place to prevent further pollution; unfortunately, the 1979 Environmental Protection Law is poorly enforced. The regulations are often disregarded to make more room for rapid economic development, which is one of the reasons behind the severe pollution in China.
The number of birth defects in the country continues to rise, and while there isn‘t any conclusive evidence to support this, many environmental scientists blame the extreme pollution. In 2013, the World Bank estimated that 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world lie in China; the country is also considered the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter.
While pollution of the air is often the most talked about, as it can be easily seen by the naked eye, pollution of the water in China gives just as much cause for concern. Around 298 million Chinese people do not have access to safe drinking water and the fact that around 40% of all of China’s rivers are polluted is already leading to increasingly severe water shortages.
Beijing Was Not Always Known as Beijing
China facts reveal the interesting history of Beijing; it is not only one of the few capitals in the world that isn’t the largest city in its country, but it has also had quite a lot of names in its history. During the course of China’s rich and long history, Beijing has been known as Yanjing, Dadu, and Beiping.
Its current name Beijing (the city is also known as Peking) in translation means the Northern Capital. It covers an area of 6,336.14 square miles and has a population of 21.5 million, which makes it one of the most populous cities in the world.
The Chinese Were Way Ahead of Other Civilisations in Many Ways
The Chinese invented many things long before Western civilisation ever thought of them – but to be completely fair, they had a lot more time to do so. People in China were drilling natural gas, which they later used as a heat source, as early as by the 4th century BC; Western civilisation started doing that more than 2,000 years later. The Chinese also invented suspension bridges; they started using them in 25 BC – 1,800 years sooner than the West. Chemical and gas weapons were also used in China around 2,000 years before the Europeans started using them during the First World War.
The Chinese were also way ahead of the West in the field of medicine; they discovered the concept of blood circulation and the heart pumping blood by the 2nd century BC, while Europe only learnt about it in the 17th century. Mathematics wasn’t off-limits for the Chinese either; they were using the decimal system in the 14th century BC, almost 2,300 years before it was first used in European mathematics.
The Chinese Consider Tea a Necessity of Life
Nowadays, Chinese tea is known all over the world, but China facts reveal that it was actually discovered by accident. A popular legend says that the Chinese emperor Shennong was boiling his water when a leaf of tea from the near-by shrub fell into it in 2737 BC – and tea, the drink we cannot imagine our lives without today, was discovered.
Nowadays, it is considered one of the seven necessities of Chinese life, with the other six being firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce and vinegar. While green tea is the most popular version of this drink, the main categories of Chinese tea also include white tea, oolong tea, black tea and post-fermented tea.
Chinese’s Controversial “One Child Policy” Could Lead to Problems in the Future
The “One Child Policy” is probably one of the most controversial China facts, but it could also create some significant problems for China, as well as the rest of the world, in the future. Because Chinese couples have been only allowed to have one child, and male offspring have been considered more valuable, female infanticide has not been uncommon.
However, over the years this has created a significant imbalance in gender ratios. China facts show that there are currently 32 million more boys than girls living in China, which means that millions of men will not be able to find wives and start families of their own in the not so distant future.
Your Hairstyle Could Say a Lot About You in China
When you are picking your hair style for the day in the morning, you probably only focus on how you want it to look, not the statement you want it to make. However, if you were born in China, things would be significantly different. In some areas in China, pigtails were an indication of a girl’s marital status.
Young girls who were still single and available wore two pigtails, and, once they got married, they only wore one. Some believe that this tradition could have contributed to the fact that pigtails are associated with the image of children and young girls nowadays in the Western world.
The Chinese Flag is Strongly Connected to Communism
The China national flag was adopted in September 1949 and represents both the revolution and communism. It was first flown on October 1, 1949, on the day that the People’s Republic of China was officially formed, in Tiananmen Square, which is considered the largest public gathering place in the world.
The red colour of the flag is the symbol of the revolution. The large star on the flag is a symbol of communism, while the smaller stars symbolise the Chinese people. The positioning of the stars symbolises the unity of the Chinese people and the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
Despite Its Enormous Size, All of China Lies within One Time Zone
This is one of the most remarkable China facts, but it is certainly true: in spite of the fact that China is enormous in size, it still lies in a single time zone. Chinese time is called China Standard Time internationally and Beijing Time domestically, and it is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+8).
Geographically, China spans over five time zones, but the whole country, including special administrative regions, use the same time. However, these regions do maintain their own time authorities, and their time zones are called Hong Kong Time and Macau Standard Time – but there is no difference between Beijing time and these times in the SARs. There is one exception however: Xinjiang unofficially uses UTC+06:00, which is called Ürümqi Time. This is not officially recognised, but it is used locally.
The Chinese Invented Many Fun Things – but Not the Fortune Cookie
Chinese fortune cookies may be one of the first things you think of when you think of China – but China facts show that the Chinese cannot take credit for them. Fortune cookies were invented in San Francisco and are not really a traditional Chinese custom.
However, the Chinese invented many other great things that we can thank them for every day. The Chinese can be credited for inventions such as ice cream (Marco Polo was supposedly the one who first took the recipe to Europe), toilet paper (it was only for emperors when it was first invented), paper, the compass, gunpowder, printing and paper kites.
Many Historians Believe that We Have the Chinese to Thank for Soccer
We already know that we have to thank the Chinese for many wonderful inventions, but soccer may be one of the most cherished. Many historians believe that the oldest civilisation in the world also invented this extremely popular sport, and that it happened in around 1000 BC.
However, one of the most popular games in China nowadays, ping-pong, was not invented in China. It actually originated from Great Britain, where it was called table tennis. But once the Chinese discovered the game, they went crazy for it and they now produce the majority of world-class ping-pong players.
China facts reveal that Chinese players have won the men’s World Championship 60% of the time since 1959, and all but two of the women’s World Championships since 1971. China also won all possible gold medals in ping-pong in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and in the 2012 London Olympics.
China Facts — Facts about China Summary
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is located in East Asia and is the most populous country in the world; its population exceeds 1.39 billion people. The capital of China is Beijing, and the largest city is Shanghai. China covers an area of 3,719,275 square miles, which makes it the fourth largest country in the world by area. The official language is Standard Chinese, but there are many local dialects in different regions. China’s total GDP is $18.976 trillion and its currency is Renminbi (yuan). China is the oldest civilisation and has one of the oldest cultures in the world. Today, it is a socialist, single-party state.