The third largest country in the world (next to Russia and Canada),
China has a land area that is almost a million square kilometers. Most
of the country is mountainous; its highest point is Mt. Everest which
rises more than twenty nine thousand feet below sea level. The Gobi
Desert is located at the northern part of the country and southern part
of Mongolia. It is famous in history as having once been a part of the
Mongol Empire and as the location of several notable cities along the
famous trade route, the Silk Road. The main rivers in the country are
the Huang He (Yellow River), the Yangtze (the world’s third largest
river), and the Zhu Jiang (Pearl River).
Mandarin is the language of the mainland
and many of the locals still could not speak English very well though
many living in the urban areas can read and write in this language. But
with the push towards more commercial endeavors, this may not be the
situation for long as many foreign influences are slowly leaking into
A communist state, China’s official name is the People’s Republic of
China or Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo in Chinese. This had not always been
the case. Less than two thousand years before the birth of Christ, China
had consisted of several states led by kings. In 4th century BC, all the
independent states were united under one state, the state of Qin (or
Ch’in) under Qin Shi Huang, who later proclaimed himself the First
Emperor of the Qin Dynasty. China got its name from this dynasty.
The last emperor of China was Henry Pu-Yi. He became emperor at the age
of 2 and abdicated when he was 6. Under the Japanese rule 1934, he
became a puppet ruler until 1945. After the defeat of Japan, China
became a communist state under the leadership of Mao Zedong. Today, the
head of state is a legislature elected President who is given a 5-year
term of office. The head of government is a Premiere who is elected by
the National People’s Congress.
The largest cities in China is headed by
Shanghai, next is the capital city of Beijing, and the rest are Tianjin,
Wuhan, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Haerbin, Xian, Chungking, Chengdu, and Hong
Kong. Hong Kong had been a British colony since 1842 but in 1997 had
been returned to China as agreed in the Sino-British Agreement of 1984.
It remains to be a duty free port attracting thousands of shoppers all
over the world and is a major tourist destination.
China’s capital is Beijing and its climate
is at its coldest at -4șC in January and is hottest at 26 șC in July. It
is the cultural heart of the country. Tian’an Men Square is located at
the heart of the city and many historical sites and monuments are seen
here such as the Forbidden City, which had once been the home of the
emperor and has since been converted into a museum. Other places of
interest are the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, and the Museum of the Chinese
Revolution. Near the city are the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven,
the tombs of the Ming dynasty, and the Great Wall.
The city of Shanghai also has its cultural spots worth mentioning. The
Museum of Art and History has some of the finest collections of Chinese
art. There is also the Museum of Natural Sciences. The Garden of the
Mandarin Yu is a fine example of the government’s effort to support the
arts. Many homes of the wealthy were converted into museums, parks,
spots to have tea, and venues for educational field trips.
attractions are the Guangzhou Museum, the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, the
Yuexiu Park (home of Zhenhai Pagoda from the Ming dynasty), the Temple
of the Six Banyan Trees, and the Huaisheng Mosque (built in 627 AD). The
terra cotta army consisting of over six thousand life-sized figures were
found in the first emperor’s tomb are located near Xi’an.
The efforts of government since the revolution of 1949 to increase
awareness of China’s culture and arts has led to almost every city in
China to establish some sort of stake in China’s development.
There are many things to see in China. It is a country rich in culture
and the arts and it would take a lifetime to fully explore its wonders.
The “Sleeping Dragon” has started to awaken and its part as the venue of
the 2008 Olympics only proves that China is opening its doors to the