Lesssone One Physical Geography
Welcome to China. Please answer the following questions first, so that we can find out how much you know about China.
1. What is the full name of China?
2. how much is the total area of China and how high is it ranked internationally in terms of territorial size?
3. What are the names of two best known of rivers in China?
4. What is the most famous wild animals in China?
Now let me give you a brief introduction of China.
The full name of China is the People’s Republic of China. China is situated in the eastern part of Asia. It has a total land area of 9.6 million square kilometers, next only to Russia and Canada, ranked number three in the world. The Chinese mainland is flanked by the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea in the east and south. Almost 6,500 islands are scattered over China’s vast territorial seas, the largest, being Taiwan Island with an area of 36,000 square kilometers, and the second largest ,Hainan Island with an area of 34,000 square kilometers. Taiwan and Hainan are two provinces of China.
A bird’s-eye view indicates that China’s terrain descends in four steps from west to east.
At the top of the ‘staircase’ is the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, with an average elevation of over 4,000 meters and known as the ‘Roof of the World.’
The second step encompasses the Inner Mongolia Plateau, the Loess Plateau , the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau and the Tarim Basin,the Junggar Basin as well as the Sichuan Basin, with an average elevation of 1,000 t0 2,000 meters.
The third step, about 500 to 1,000 meters above sea level, contains, from north to south, the Northeast Plain, the North China Plain, the Middle and Lower Yangtze Valley Plain, and the Pearl Delta Plain. Interspersed along the plain’s edges are hills and foothills.
Stretching further east into the shallow sea less than 200 meters deep, with massive accumulation sediments from river estuaries, is the continental shelf that forms the fourth step of the “staircase”.
China is famous for its numerous mountains. Rising 8,848 meters above sea level on the southeast tip of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is Mount Qomolangma, the main peak of Himalayas and the world’s highest.
Most of China’s rivers flow east into the Pacific. The Yangtze River, over 6,300 kilometers long, is the largest river in China. It has a drainage area of 1,809,000 square kilometers, and is the major inland-river transport artery in China. The Yellow River Valley, stretching over 5,464 kilometers, is China’s second largest. The Yellow River Valley was a cradle of the ancient Chinese civilization and a veritable repository of historic sites and relics.
In addition to these natural rivers, China has a famous man-made river—the Grand Canal. Running from Beijing in the north to Hangzhou in the south. The largest freshwater lake is Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province and the largest salt lake is Qinghai Lake in Qinghai Province.
China is situated mostly in the temperate zone. Some parts of south China are in tropical and subtropical zones while the northern part is near the frigid zone. The temperature varies greatly in different parts of the country. In general, China has a continental monsoon climate. The four seasons are quiet distinct. It is hot and moist in summer, and cold and dry in winter.
China is one of the countries that have the greatest diversity of wildlife in the world. It has more than 2,000 species of terrestrial vertebrates, according for more than 10% of the world’s total. Many wild animals are found only in China, including the giant panda, the golden monkey, the white-lipped deer（白唇鹿）, the takin（扭角羚）, the white-flag dolphin and the Chinese alligator.（扬子鳄）
China has more than 7,000 species of woody plants, of which 2,800 are arbors（乔木）. The metasequoia,(水杉)，the China cypress (水松)，the silver fir（银杉）, the China fir（杉木） and golden larch （金钱松）etc.are found only in China.
In a concerted effort to protect the nation’s unique zoological ad botanical resources and endangered species, China had established 1,146 nature reserves of forests and wildlife by the end of 1999(Taiwan not include),with a total area of more than 88.15 million hectares.（公顷）
Lesson 2 Population and Ethnic Groups
China is the most populous country in the world. Its population totaled 1.3 billion at the beginning of 2005,which did not include Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The population density in China is 130 people per square kilometer. This population, however, is unevenly distributed. Along the densely populated east coast there are more than 400 people per square kilometer. In the central region, about 200 per square kilometer. And in the squarely populated plateaus in the west, there are less than 10 people per square kilometer
Urban dweller account for 30.4% of the Chinese population, and rural dwellers 69.6%; males make up 50.8% of the population and females 49.2%. People 14 years old or younger make up 25.7%; those from 15 to 64, 67.6%; and those of 65 or older, 6.7%.
After the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, rapid population growth became a major impediment to the nation’s economic and social development. In the 1970s, the Chinese government introduced a family planning policy, advocating late marriage and late childbirth, fewer but healthier babies, especially one child per couple. The policy, however, is rather flexible for rural people and ethnic minorities. Since then, China’s birth rate has been steadily declining year by year. The birth rate dropped from 34.11% in 1969 to 12.83% at the end of 2002, and the natural growth rate decrease from 26.08% to 6.45%. Thus the population of this country has basically accomplished the transition to a reproduction pattern that is characterized by low-birth and low-growth rates.
China has 340 million families, with 3.63 people per household on average. Most families are composed of a couple and their child/children, but there is no lack of big families with three or more generations living under the same roof. In most Chinese families, husband and wife support each other family numbers. The Chinese have a tradition of respecting the old and loving the young. Though many young couples do not live with their parents, they maintain close contact with them. Grow-up children are duty-bound to support and help their parents. The Chinese attach due importance to relations between family members and between relatives.
China is a united multi-ethnic nation of 56 ethnic groups. The Han people make up 92% of the country’s total population, and the other 55 ethnic groups, 8%. As the majority of the Chinese population is made up of the Hans, the other 55 ethnic groups are customarily referred to as minorities. The Han people are found throughout the country, though most of them inhabit the middle and lower Yellow, Yangtze and Pearl river valleys, and the Northeast Plain. The minorities are also widely scattered, but they are mainly distributed in the northwest, the southwest, and the border regions.
The Han people have their own spoken and written language. Chinese is the official language pf China; it is also one of the working languages of the United Nations. All China’s minority peoples use their own languages except the Huis and Manchus, who use Chines; 23 of them have their own written forms.