* Population: 1.3 billion (UN, 2005)
* Capital: Beijing
* Area: 9.6 million sq km (3.7 million sq miles)
* Major language: Mandarin Chinese
* Major religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism
* Life expectancy: 70 years (men), 73 years (women) (UN)
* Monetary unit: 1 Renminbi (yuan) (Y) = 10 jiao = 100 fen;
* Main exports: Manufactured goods, including textiles, garments, electronics, arms
* GNI per capita: US $1,740 (World Bank, 2006)
* Internet domain: .cn
* International dialling code: +86
The People’s Repuplic of China is the third largest country in the world in terms of area and the largest in terms of population. Its total area is 9.6 million square kilomiters and its population is 1.3 billion. China has shared borders for centuries with Korea, the formly Soviet Union, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Laos and Vietnam.
CLIMATE & SEASONS
There are four distintive seasons in China with marked continental monsoon climate and varied from place to place. Northerly winds prevail in winter, while sountherly winds reign in summer. From September to April the following year, the dry and cold winter monsoons from Seberia and Mongolia in the north gradually become weak as they reach the southern part of the country, resulting in cold and dry winters and great differences in temperature. The summer monsoons last from April to Sptember. The warm and moist summer monsoons from the oceans bring abundant rainfall and high temperature with little difference in temperature between the south and the north.
The males: 51.63%, the females: 48.37% ; people aged below14:22.89%; people aged 15-64:70.15%; people aged above 65:6.96%.
China has 56 ethenic groups. Of the people enumerated in the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and servicemen of the mainland of China, 1,159.40 million persons or 91.59 percent were of Han nationality and 106.43 million persons or 8.41 percent were of various national minorities.
Of the 56 ethnic groups in China, the Hui and Manchu use the same languages as Han people, while the rest of the groups have their own spoken and written languages.
China is a country with a great diversity of religions, with over 100 million followers of various faiths. The main religions are Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, China’s indigenous Taoism, along with Shamanism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity and the Naxi people’s Dongba religion. The Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Kirgiz, Tarta, Ozbek, Tajik, Dongxiang, Salar and Bonan peoples adhere to Islam; the Tibetan, Mongolian, Lhoba, Moiba,Tu and Yugur, to Tbetan Buddhism, and the Dai, Blang and Deang to Theravada Buddhism. Quite a few Miao, Yao and Yi are Christians. Religious Han Chinese tend to practice Buddhism, Christianity or Taoism.
HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS
In China there are 11 days of national puplic holiday out of the year:
The New Year’s Day – 2 days
The Spring Festival(usually falling in late January or early and mid-February) – 3 days
The May 1st Labor Day – 3 days
The October 1st National Day – 3 days
Lantern Festival ( falls on the 15th day of the 1st moon)
Birthday of Confucius
Dragon Boat Festival
HANDICRAFTS & SOUVENIRS
China is famous for silk, porcelain , ceramic, antiques, beautiful stamps, paintings and scrolls: Watercoulours, oils, woodblock
China is a huge country in terms of population and geography with aged old culture and tradition. Naturally, those differences develop different tastes and dishes . For the Chinese majority-Hannationality, food and dishes can be devided into four typical cuisine styles.
- Shadong Cuisine: employs scallions and rich materials and prefers salty flavors, such as Stewed Scallion and sea cucumber.
- cuisine Cuisine: famous for spycy food, such as Shreded Pork with Chilli and Garlic Sauce.
- Huaiyang ( Jiangsu Province) Cuisine: attaches importance to soup and has a mild and sweet flavor, as in Steamed Shad.
- Quangdong Cuisine: has fresh, tender and nourishing dishes like Roast Piglet with Crispy Skin.
Apart from the Han, China also has 55 minority ethnic groups whose living and eating habit vary greatly. The Mongolians are known for theitr typical food:Roast Whole Lamp, Roast Lamp leg, Mutton Eaten with Fingers and Milky Tea. The Tibetans bake the barley and grind it into flour to make a special staple, known as zanba. The minorities living in muggy zones in southwest China favor sour, bitter and spicy food, such as Roast Fish Wrapped in Lemondgrass….
For most travellers Visa to China are required. Visas are readily available from Chinese Embassies in your countries. Tourist Visa for 30 day, single-entry visa is standard . It can be issued in three to five working days. There are seven types of visas as follows: Travel, Business, Resident, Transit, Student, Working, Stewardess.
For International Departure Airport Tax is 90 yuan, approximaly $US12
In accordance with the details for the Implementation of Regulations of the People’s Republic of China Concerning Frontier Santation and Quarantine, people coming to China from certain countries must produce valid documents showing they have been inoculated agaisnt small pox, cholera, or yellow fever. People from countries newly declared as infected areas must show corresponding vacination documentation. (Inquiry may be made for details at Chinese embassies abroad or at Chinese repubic departments.)
In towns and cities, IDD service is provided at all hotels and post offices. Phone cards are available in post offices inside hotels or in the streets. Even more conveniently, most newsstands in major cities also carry phone cards. Telephone booths in the streets are mostly for local calls.
Tourist hotels provide postal serives. If you want to send important istems such as antiques and cultural relics that are under customs control, you will have to ask for the help of the local branch of the international post office, instead of the small post office in a hotel.
Electricity supply in China is 220 volts, but sockets with abaptres are available in the washrooms of many luxury and medeium-grade hotels.