Geography of China
China is a country located in East Asia with an area of 9,596,960 km2 (3,705,410 sq mi). The exact land area can sometimes be challenged by border disputes, including those concerning Taiwan, Aksai Chin, the Trans-Karakoram Tract, the South China Sea Islands, the Diaoyu Islands, and South Tibet. As sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macau were restored to China in 1997 and 1999, two special administrative regions were established under the One Country, Two Systems policy. The People's Republic of 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 is measured.
|• Total||9,596,960 km2 (3,705,410 sq mi)|
|Coastline||14,500 km (9,000 mi)|
|Highest point||Mount Everest, 8,848.86 m (29,032 ft) (overall)|
Shishapangma 8,027 m (26,335 ft) (within China)
|Lowest point||Turpan Pendi, −154 m (−505 ft)|
|Longest river||Yangtze River|
|Largest lake||Qinghai Lake|
|Climate||diverse; ranges from tropical in south to subarctic in north|
|Terrain||mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west and plains, deltas and hills in east|
|Natural resources||coal, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, rare earth elements, uranium, hydropower potential, arable land|
|Natural hazards||typhoons; damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence|
|Environmental issues||air pollution; water shortages; water pollution; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; trade in endangered species|
China has great physical diversity. The eastern plains and southern coasts of the country consist of fertile lowlands and foothills. They are 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 on the northern plains. 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.