Location and Land Formation

Last Update: 2008-5-7; By chinatravelservice

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Coastline in eastern China
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TOPGeographical Location

Globally Speaking, China belongs to the northern part of east hemisphere and is crossed by the tropic of cancer in the north. It lies in East Asia and faces Pacific Ocean. The total continental boundary of China extends over 20,000 kilometers, enabling China to be the neighbor of 12 countries. It is bordered by North Korea to the northeast, Mongolia and the area of Soviet Union to the north, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Laos to the west and southwest, and Vietnam to the south. Across the seas to the east and southeast are the Republic of Korea, Japan, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. The integral Chinese territory is 960,000 square kilometers (about 14.4 billion mu, a Chinese square measure unit), accounting one fifteenth of that of the earth, and one forth of that of whole Asia. Therefore, considering acreage, China is the largest country in Asia and one of the biggest countries in the world at large.

The tip of the boundary of China starts from North Latitude 53°31′ at the axes of the main .sea-route of Heilongjiang River nearby Mohe River in the north to North Latitude 4°15′ at Zengmu Ansha Submerged Reef of Nansha Islands at South China Sea in the south, covering a distance of 5500 kilometers. It also runs from Pamirs located west to Wuqia County in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in west China to the converging part of Heilongjiang River and Wusuli River in east China, extending for 5200 kilometers.

TOPLand Formation 

The topography of China drops off escarpment eastwards, characterized by three altitude terraces. The first terrace of altitude features Tibet Plateau which is over 4000 meters above the sea level and reputed as the  "Ridge of the World". The highest peak of on the earth—Everest is located at the border of Tibet and Nepal. The second terrace contains Daxing Anling Mountain Range, Taihang Mountain, Wushan Mountain, and Xuefeng Mountain, the average altitude of which ranging from 1000 meters to 2000 meters. The third and lowest terrace refers to the broad plains and hills in East China.

China has four major plateaus, namely, Tibet Plateau, Inner Mongolian Plateau, Huangtu(Loess Plateau), and Yungui Plateau; four major basins, referring to Sichuan Basin, Tarim Basin, Junggar Basin, and Qaidam Basin; three major plains, including Northeast China Plain, North China Plain, and Plain of middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River. Rolling lands in China mainly spread to the south of Yangtze River, in the area of Fujian Province, Zhejiang Province, Guangdong Province, Guangxi Province, and Shandong Province.

China is one of the countries which have large acreage of desert. Over one million square meters of its land is covered by desert. It mainly settles in North China, accounting 13% of the country's total area.

TOPRivers & Lakes

China is one of the countries which enjoy numerous rivers. Yangtze River is the largest river in China. It runs 6300 kilometers, draining 180-square-kilometer area inhabited by over 300 million people. Moreover, along the river, extends a fertile farmland of over 1.2 billion square meters. Yellow River is the second, largest river in the country. It extends 5464 kilometers with a drainage area of 750,000 square meters. Jinghang(Beijing-Hangzhou) Canal is the most ancient and longest canal in the world. It is 1782 kilometers long and dug by manpower.

China is endowed with a lot of lakes. Fresh water lakes in the country constitute 45% of the total lake acreage. Famous lakes include Poyang Lake, Dongting Lake, Taihu Lake, and Qimghai Lake.. Besides, China has a long and tortuous coastal line.


The continental coastline starts from Yalujiang River in the north to the estuary of Beilun River in the south, stretching over 18,000 kilometers (excluding coastline of 5000 islands). Taiwan Island is China's largest island taking up 35,788 square kilometers. Its coastline is 1140 kilometers long. Hainan Island is the second, and Chongming Island, the third. Zhoushan Islands is the largest Islands comprising over 600 large and small islands.

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