Geography of China

China is a country located in East Asia with an area of 9,596,960 km2 (3,705,410 sq mi).[1] 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.

Geography of People's Republic Of China (中华人民共和国)
RegionEast Asia
Coordinates35°0′N 105°0′E[1]
AreaRanked 3rd/4th
  Total9,596,960[1] km2 (3,705,410 sq mi)
Coastline14,500[1] km (9,000 mi)
North Korea
Highest pointMount Everest, 8,848.86 m (29,032 ft)[2] [3](overall)
Shishapangma 8,027 m (26,335 ft) (within China)
Lowest pointTurpan Pendi, −154 m (−505 ft)[1]
Longest riverYangtze River[4]
Largest lakeQinghai Lake[5]
Climatediverse; ranges from tropical in south to subarctic in north[1]
Terrainmostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west and plains, deltas and hills in east[1]
Natural resourcescoal, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, rare earth elements, uranium, hydropower potential, arable land[1]
Natural hazardstyphoons; damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence[1]
Environmental issuesair pollution; water shortages; water pollution; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; trade in endangered species[1]
Geography and climates of China
Satellite imagery of China
Landscape of Liqian

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.

East China and South China straddle along the Pacific Ocean, with the South China Sea to the south, and the East China Sea and Yellow Sea to the east.

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.[citation needed] 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.