China Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

China: population


Population and population policy

According to Countryaah website, China has a population of around 1.4 billion. Around 51.9% of them are men and 48.1% women.

The population of China, the most populous country in the world, makes up about 20% of the world’s population. Although the population density of the People’s Republic of about 135 residents per square kilometer is not very large, it must be remembered that it is an average figure and that the giant cities with their gigantic population density are compared to areas (especially western China) which (due to the geographical conditions) are not very large many people can accommodate. The most sparsely populated “part” of China is Tibet. There are only 2 people per square kilometer. Most Chinese live within the coastal regions in the east of the People’s Republic, which is also where some of the most densely populated regions in the world are located. About 90% of the population of China live on just 1/3 of the national territory.


The Chinese government responded to the problem of overpopulation with measures that are unique in the world, such as the concept of one-child marriage which has even been enshrined in its own law. This measure, introduced in 1979/80, must be understood as a reaction to the enormous increase in the country’s population since 1949. It stipulates that only one child may be born in each family, although there are also many exceptions (e.g. for national minorities): E.g. Farming families whose first child is a girl are allowed to have a second child. Anyone who does not adhere to this one-child policy is punished with fines, disadvantages (for example, when allocating kindergarten places or living space), but can also experience abortions or sterilizations forced by the state. In practice, however, the one-child policy was only more or less enforced in the cities and not in the countryside. Nevertheless, according to government reports, between 1994 and 2004 enabled a birth rate reduction of around 300 million. The one-child policy is still law, but has been relaxed, most recently in 2004 for Shanghai, where divorced and remarried partners are allowed to have a child again.

In 2015, however, this policy was further relaxed, not least because of the increasing aging population.

The Chinese government has responded in particular to the problem of girl abortion and killing: For example, the determination of the sex of unborn children is prohibited under criminal law or special benefits are granted for families with two female children (for example in the case of national minorities or twin births).

Ethnic composition

Only about 20% of China’s 1.4 billion people still live in cities, the rest live in the countryside. About 90% of the population of China are descendants of the Han Chinese, i.e. descendants of the people of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD).

Around 8% belong to the 55 officially recognized national minorities (Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetans, Miao, Manchu, Mongols, Buyi, Koreans, and other nationalities), which cover over 60% of Chinese territory – mainly in the steppes and the mountains of the border provinces live scattered.

Religious affiliation

Officially, the People’s Republic is an atheist state. Since the majority of Chinese have not professed any religious denomination after more than half a century of communism, there are also no official statistics on religious affiliation. A statistical recording of the distribution of religions would always be problematic, since it is normal in Asian cultures to profess more than one religion. Traditional religions in the Asian cultural area are Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Christianity and Lamaism (in Tibet and Inner Mongolia). The old Chinese folk and superstition and Confucianism are also very influential today. Although Confucianism was specifically fought under Mao Zedong, as a social ethic it now shapes the moral behavior of the Chinese. Although the Chinese Communist Party has embarked on a reform course and the relevant regulations are dealt with much more liberally than in the early 1980s, the practice of belief is still subject to strict limits. Nevertheless, since the beginning of the reform course, there has been a strong influx in temples and monasteries due to the increased social insecurity. In the same context, there is an increase in new religious movements that have emerged since the late 1980s and which the authorities initially ignored. Falun Gong is the most famous of these movements. The Chinese government is skeptical of Christianity, Islam and Lamaism. Often, especially with the Muslim minority living predominantly in northwest China, as well as areas of tension with the Lamaist current of Buddhism, which is at home in Tibet. Only the subordinate churches, like the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, are allowed by the Chinese Communist Party. The main reason for this tolerance is that this Catholic Church does not recognize the Pope as the highest authority, but the Communist Party. Overall, an estimated 6.5% of the population profess Christianity.

National language

Since 1955 the so-called Mandarin (Putonghua) has been the official language of the People’s Republic. The Mandarin is based on the Beijinhua, the Beijing dialect. The younger generations in China learned Mandarin in school. However, it happens that when talking to older Chinese or in rural areas, Mandarin is not understood. Apart from the different languages of the many minorities in China, the Han Chinese alone have eight main dialects and numerous secondary dialects. China is not a linguistically homogeneous country. According to Abbreviation Finder, CHN stands for China in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

China: geography and map

The China is a country in East Asia the size of an entire continent. The country crosses 35 degrees of latitude with a total length of 5,500 km – starting in the northeast, to the islands of the Zengmu Reef in the south. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of China.

The distance between China’s northwest on the border with Pakistan, Afghanistan and the former Soviet Union to Ussuri in the northeast is 5,200 km.

Area and land use

The PR China covers a total area of 9,572,419 km². According to, China is the third largest country in the world after Russia and Canada. Geographically, the country slopes from west to east. Mountains, high plateaus and hilly landscapes make up two thirds of the total land area. The respective proportions of the total area of the mainland are:


Around 9% of the country is forested.

Meadow, pasture land

Around 24% of the land is used as meadow or pasture land.


6.5% of the land can be described as steppe or wasteland. Parts of the Gobi desert show features of the steppe.

Arable land and fields

Around 36% of the land is used as arable land or fields, especially in the north for growing grain and sweet potatoes and in the south for growing rice.


21% of the country is desert. The largest sandy desert in Central Asia is the Taklimakan Desert, which is almost completely devoid of vegetation due to its lack of water. It is located in the north-west of the country between the Tian Mountains and the Kunlun Mountains. The second largest desert within the PRC is the Gobi Desert. Its bottom of large-grain red sand is home to only sparse vegetation, mainly a steppe with grasses and shrubs.


Around 2% of the land is wetlands.


About 33% of the country is mountainous.

National borders

Approximately one fifth of the world’s population lives in the PR China.

China has a common border with a total of 14 countries. The total length of all borders is 22,147 km.

There are limits to:

  • Afghanistan (76 km)
  • Bhutan (470 km)
  • Myanmar (2,185 km)
  • India (3,380 km)
  • Kazakhstan (1,533 km)
  • North Korea (1,416 km)
  • Kyrgyzstan (858 km)
  • Laos (423 km)
  • Mongolia (4,677 km)
  • Nepal (1,236 km)
  • Pakistan (523 km)
  • Russia (Northeast) (3,605 km)
  • Russia (northwest) (40 km)
  • Tajikistan (414 km)
  • Vietnam (1,281 km) and
  • the Hong Kong Special Administrative Regions (30 km) and Macau (0.34 km).

Furthermore, Beijing regards the Republic of China (Taiwan) as part of the People’s Republic of China.

Longitude and latitude

China extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from around 18 ° to 53 ° to latitude north Δλ = from around 073 ° to 135 ° east longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

For China, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there and a plus sign that it is later than after CET:

Δt (CET) = + 7 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The PR China has no summer time, i.e. Central European Time (CET) plus 7 hours applies in winter and 6 hours during European summer time.

Highest sun level in Beijing (Peking)

Beijing lies at a north latitude of around φ = 40 °.

If the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at δ = 23.5 °, summer begins in Beijing, June 21st. Then, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun):

40 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °


H = 73.5 °

At 73.5 °, the sun in Beijing has the highest level of the entire year above the horizon (more precisely: above the horizon).


Seven of the world’s 19 mountains that are higher than 7,000 m are located within the PRC or on the Chinese border.

Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the “roof of the world”, includes most of the high mountains of the People’s Republic.

Himalaya chain

The mountains of the Himalaya chain are also on average 6,000 m above sea level.

Among them is the:

Qomolangma (Mount Everest).

The Qomolangma (Mount Everest). With a height of 8,848 m, it is the highest mountain in the world. it is located in the border area with Nepal. The mountain was climbed on May 29, 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and the Nepalese Sherpa Tensing. It is interesting that China has so far given the height of the mountain at 8,844.3 m. Only in April 2010 did China accept the “Nepalese” altitude specification of 8,848 m.

Kulun Mountains

The mountains Muztag (7,723 m), Muztagata (7,546 m) and Kongur (7,719 m) belong to the Kulun Mountains, which begin in the west on the Pamir highlands and extend 2,500 kilometers to the east.

Hengduan Mountains

Another mountain range in China is the Hengduan Mountains, a group of mountain ranges that traverse eastern Tibet, western Sichuan and Yunnan. The highest peak in the mountains, the Gongga, (7,556 m) measures here. The average height of the Hengduan Mountains is 3,000 to 4,000 m.

Other high mountains:

Ch’aio-ko-li Feng (K2) (8,611 m)

Kamet (7756 m)

Namjagbarwa Feng (7,755 m)


Yangzi (yangse)

The longest river in the country and at the same time the third largest river in the world is the Yangtze (Changjiang), which with a length of around 6,300 km separates the country into the north and south and at the same time also forms the cultural border. To the north of the river, cereal and sweet potato cultivation predominate, while wet green rice fields dominate the landscape in the south. The source of the Yangtze rises at the foot of the 6,621-meter-high Gelandong in the Tanggula Mountains in Qinghai Province. Although the river is known in Europe as the Yangtze, the upper, middle and lower reaches have different names. The upper course is still called Tuotuo, then Tongtianhe, and from Yibin in Qingahai to Sichuan it is called the Gold Sand River (Jinshaijang). The middle course is called Ghanjiang,

Yellow River (Huáng Hé)

Historically, the Yellow River (Huáng Hé) is China’s most important river. Its source is in Qinghai, then flows north via Lanzhou and then paves its way south at Baotou in Mongolia. On his journey he crosses the fertile loess plain, on whose soil the first communities settled. The river created the prerequisite for the emergence of Chinese civilization. The 5,464 km long river takes its name from the yellow loess soil, which is easily eroded and washed into the river due to the lack of planting.

Other major rivers in the country are:

Mekong with a length of around 4,909 km

Pearl River with a length of around 2,197 km

Brahmaputra with a length of around 2,900 km

Amur with a length of around 2,824 km

Salwawien with a length of around 2,500 km as well

the Xi jiang with a length of around 2,011 km.



The Poyang-Ho is the largest freshwater lake in China. It is located in Jiangxi Province, about 50 km north of Nanchang. During the rainy season the lake has a size of up to 4,000 km², in dry conditions its size is reduced to approx. 1,000 km². The lake, with an average depth of 8 m, is one of the most important rice-growing areas in China. A 1 km long canal connects China’s largest lake with China’s longest river – the Yangtze.

Dongting Hu Lake

The Dongting Hu Lake is the second largest freshwater lake in China with an area of 2,820 km². Located on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the lake stretches between Hunan Province and Hubei Province. Covered by numerous lotus blossoms, the lake is often the scene of many traditional Chinese myths and legends. Located on the east bank of the lake is the impressive Yueyang Temple, which was sung about by the poet Fan Zhongyan during the Song Dynasty (420-479 AD). There are several islands on the lake, the most famous of which is Junshan Island – not least because of the island’s white tea, the so-called Yin Zhen tea (Yin = silver, Zhen = needle).

Other large lakes are:

  • Hongze Hu Lake with an area of around 3,780 km²
  • Lop Only with an area of around 3,520 km²



There are around 5,400 islands scattered in Chinese territorial waters. The island of Taiwan is the largest with an area of 36,000 km², although it is now a separate democratic state, China still considers it to be part of its territory.


The island of Hainan with an area of 34,380 km² is the largest in the People’s Republic of China. The capital is Haikou.

The island is part of the province of the same name.

The PR China rises to the Spratly, Paracel and Diaoyu Islands. Because of the local oil reserves, the Spratly Islands are also claimed by Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines.

Yellow Sea, East China Sea, South China Sea

China borders the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea to the east and the South China Sea to the southeast. All of these seas are marginal seas of the Pacific.

China Population