China's Geography : its Mountains, Basins, Rivers and Plains

Tibetan Plateau Yunnan - Guizhou Plateau Inner Mongolian Plateau Loess Plateau Himalayan Mountains Altay Mountains Tianshan Mountains Kunlun Mountains Karakoram Mountains Qingling Mountains Nanling Mountains Changbai Mountains Khingan Mountains Hengduan Mountains Wuyi Shan Mountains Northeastern Plain North China Plain Tarim Basin Junggar Basin Sichuan Basin Shandong Peninsula
Geography of China

China is a very diverse country with many distinct geographical regions. It has deserts, high mountains, grasslands, tropical forests and almost every other geographical feature that you can think of.

Thu 12th Jul

Forty years of change

Statistics on China's remarkable development in the last forty years are hard to take in. The GDP was 82.7 trillion yuan (US$12.5 trillion) in 2017 about 200 times that of forty years ago. The billions/trillions and growth rate may impress but do not give much insight on how ordinary lives have been transformed.

The linked article in the Shanghai Daily newspaper looks how individuals at three individual case histories. Xie Mingsheng farmed his small parcel of land in Shanxi by hand, harvesting with a sickle now harvesting, weeding, pest control is now all mechanized and a much larger area can be farmed with the same labor.

Zhao Zhaofeng comes from a coal mining family in Shanxi. His grandfather extracted coal with a pick and shovel and carried out the coal in a bamboo basket. With modern machinery the productivity has gone up forty times in forty years.

Han Yonghui sells street food in Tianjin. To get to his pitch in the city it used to take twenty hours. With new railways and fast trains it now takes him just six hours.

These stories show how modern development has transformed the lives of individuals in China on an unprecedented scale.


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The Cambridge Illustrated History of China

book coverCambridge University Press produce a mammoth in-depth history of China, this can be considered an abridgement of this work. It has copious illustrations and useful panels describing key parts of Chinese culture and history. It covers the whole time period from pre-history to the present day - a lot to cover in one book. It is a fascinating and engaging read and to be recommended as a key reference work.
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The general rule is that the terrain falls in steps from the high Tibetan plateau in the south west to the flat North Coastal plain in the north east. Three great rivers run vaguely west to east to divide the nation into three east-west zones, the Huang He (Yellow River); Chang Jiang (Yangzi River) and Yu Jiang (Pearl River). Northern China is dominated by flat plains and coastlines while Southern China is mountainous with a rocky coastline. The usual line taken to divide Northern from Southern China is the course of the Huai River which runs through Henan and Anhui. The lack of rain in Western China is one of the most important features of China's climate (see separate climate section).

Hover the mouse over an area in the map, an information box will pop-up with details of the regions of China.

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