china edition



Location Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam
Area in total 9,596,960 sq kilometer
Land boundaries in total 22,117 kilometer
Border countries Afghanistan 76 kilometer Bhutan 470 kilometer, Burma 2,185 kilometer, India 3,380 kilometer, Kazakhstan 1,533 kilometer, North Korea 1,416 kilometer, Kyrgyzstan 858 kilometer, Laos 423 kilometer, Mongolia 4,677 kilometer, Nepal 1,236 kilometer, Pakistan 523 kilometer, Russia (northeast) 3,605 kilometer, Russia (northwest) 40 kilometer, Tajikistan 414 kilometer, Vietnam 1,281 kilometer
Regional Borders Hong Kong 30 kilometer, Macau 0.34 kilometer
Coastline 14,500 kilometer
Climate Extremely diverse; tropical in south to sub arctic in north
Terrain Mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east
Elevation extremes Lowest point: Turpan Pendi - 154 m
Highest point: Mount Everest - 8,850 m
Natural resources Coal, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, uranium, hydropower potential (world's largest)
Natural Hazards Frequent typhoons (about 5 per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunami's; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence
Geography-note World's 4th largest country (after Russia, Canada, and US); on the border with Nepal is the world's tallest peak
Population 1,298,847,624 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure 0-14 years: 22.3%
15-64 years: 70.3%
65 years and over: 7.5% (2004 est.)
Median Age 31.8 years
Ethnic groups Han Chinese 91.9%, Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, and other nationalities 8.1%
Religions Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Muslim 1-2%, Christian 3-4%
note: officially atheist (2002 est.)
Languages Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)
Independence 221 BC (unification under the Qin or Ch'in Dynasty); 1 January 1912 (Manchu Dynasty replaced by a Republic); 1 October 1949 (People's Republic established)
National holiday Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China, 1 October (1949)
GDP USD 6.449 trillion (2003 est.)
GDP per capita USD 5,000 (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate 10.1% urban unemployment roughly 10%; substantial unemployment and underemployment in rural areas (2003 est.)
Government Communist state
Capital Beijing
Head of state President Hu Jintao
Inflation 2.8%
Major Trading partners USA, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan
Agriculture products Rice, wheat, potatoes, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, cotton, oilseed, pork, fish
Industries Iron and steel, coal, machine building, armaments, textiles and apparel, petroleum, cement, chemical fertilizers, footwear, toys, food processing, automobiles, consumer electronics, telecommunications
Currency Yuan (CNY);
Note: also referred to as the Renminbi (RMB)
Internet country code .cn
Internet users 94 million (2004 est.)
Time zone GMT/UTC +8 (Beijing Time)
Dialing code + 86
Electricity 220V, 50Hz

Today, attitudes towards tipping are changing. Although the practice is not officially recognised, tips are now frequently offered to and accepted by travel guides, tour bus drivers, porters and waiters in top-class hotels and restaurants. However, tipping is still not expected in most restaurants and hotels. So ask the guide whether a tip is necessary and how much when you are uncertain. Sometimes, small gifts such as paperbacks, cassette tapes and western cigarettes appear to be preferred. Note that it is part of the polite ritual that any gift or tip initially will be firmly rejected.

Consumer taxes are included in price tags on goods but big hotels and fine restaurants may include a service charge of 10% or more.

State and Public Holidays January 1-2 - New Year's Day
February - Spring Festival or Chinese New Year
March 8 - International Women's Day
May 1-2 - Labour Day
May 4 - National Youth Day
May 23 - Tibet Liberation Day
June 1 - International Children's Day
July 1 - CCP Founding Day
August 1 - Army Day
October 1-3 - National Day
Flag Flag of China