Dragons, Pandas And Fourteen Neighbours – A Few Facts About China

China has been in the news more than usual over the last couple of weeks for various reasons. Now that we’re at the start of the Chinese Year of the Rat, we thought it might be interesting to have a look at a few facts and figures about the People’s Republic of China.

China’s history stretches back into the millennia. Based on the evidence, archaeologists think that hominids were alive in China at least 250,000 years ago. It may even be that they could be found as long ago as 2.24 million years in the past.

China is the most populous country in the world, with a population of slightly less than 1.5 billion. (The Earth has an estimated 7.63 billion people alive at present.)
China has 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities which are directly controlled, and 2 special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau. It’s the 3rd largest country in the world by land area, covering 3,747,879 square miles, or 9,706,961 square kilometres if you prefer metric.

Although Beijing is the capital, with 21.7 million inhabitants, Shanghai is the most populous city, with a population of around 24.2 million people. Six out of the thirty three megacities in the world are in China – a megacity is a city with over 10 million inhabitants.

Amazingly, there’s only one time zone in China, the country is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. You’ll find just about every type of environment in the country including mountainous, deserts, and maritime; tropical to arctic. Mandarin Chinese is the official language, but it’s by no means the only language spoken in the country. In some regions you’ll hear Cantonese, Hainanese, Mongolian, or Shanghainese.

When we started looking at where China is on the map of the world (PENpal poised, obviously!) we found out that an astonishing fourteen countries share borders with China. As well as India and Russia, these are Afghanistan, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar (previously known as Burma), Pakistan, Tajikistan, Nepal, Myanmar (previously known as Burma), Laos, Nepal, and Vietnam.

The summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, is the marker for the border between China and Nepal. The Great Wall of China stretches for 5,500 miles (that’s 8,850 kilometres) and is the largest man-made structure on Earth.

And finally, if you’re ever wondered what creatures symbolise China, look for a dragon or a giant panda.

And while we’re on the subject of giant pandas, did you know they can swim? That’s our “fun fact of the day”…


(All sites were accessed on 31 January 2020)