A Profile Of China
Among the worlds four most famous ancient civilizations, Chinese civilization is the only one in the world that has been developing for more than 5,000 years without interruption.
Random photo: Impressions of China
Since China＇s opening–up to the outside World in 1978, particularly with China＇s accession to the World Trade Organization(WTO) in 2001 and the Beijing's succession bid for 2008 Olympic Games, more and more overseas visitors have been becoming increasingly interested in China's ancient culture, beautiful scenery, people＇s lifestyle and various aspects of the society .Before visiting China-the most populous country with vast territory and abundant resources-some of them have already read some books on China. But to really know China, s／he has to travel in China in person to acquire knowledge firsthand , as a Chinese saying goes:“A picture is worth a thousand words, but being there is worth a thousand pictures 百闻不如一见。”An old Chinese maxim (or adage) goes: “Travelling ten thousand Li (or 5,000 kilometres) equals reading ten thousand volumes 中国有句古训：行万里路，读万卷书。 ”Travel is one of the great sources of knowledge. Only by traveling in a country we can have an overall knowledge of its past , present , and future and of its folk customs as well.
Among the worlds four most famous ancient civilizations (the other three ancient civilizations being ancient Egypt ,Babylon ,and India ),Chinese civilization is the only one in the World that has been developing for more than 5,000 years without interruption .The origin , development process, context and mechanism of this ancient Chinese civilization are the most important subjects fir archaeologists, historians ,and tourists to explore.
For thousands of years, China＇s architecture, art, religions, human studies, social sciences and people's lifestyles have undergone tremendous changes . China boasts 101 famous cultural and historical cities, 1,271 national key cultural relics under under protection ,177 state-level scenic spots, 153 state-level nature reserves, 44 national geological parks and 342 national foresty parks, of which UNESCO had inscribed 30 historical sites or scenic spots on the World Heritage List by July 2,2004.China now ranks the third , behind Italy and Spain, on the list.The World famous Old Silk Road, 3,000-year-old capital cities , well-preserved imperial palaces and gardens, Suzhou and Hangzhou-the two cities famed for their wonderful and exquisite gardens-vast frasslands, northern scenery featuring ice and snow, tropical sea beaches, Buddhist temples, imperial museums, memorial halla, grotto arts, sculptures, palaces, and pagodas , which are of high historic value reflecting Chinese national architectural styles .
Calligraphy, paintings, sculptures, and various kinds of arts and crafts show the artistic talents of the people of all 56 ethnic groups of the great Chinese nation.
Historical sites stud all over China just like stars in the sky, and museums of various sizes bring visitors and tourists both home and abroad to the ancient Chinese civilization. China＇s modernization drive , high-tech equipment, its national economy with a high annual growth rate and a huge domestic market-all these indicate the orientation of development of one fifth of the mankind in the 21st Century , providing a reminder for the people in countries with economic slump.
In a short span of more than two decades since 1978, the number of people from overseas coming to China to invest, to do business, to travel or to spend holidays has been increasing year by year. This has not only promoted the economic relations and foreign countries and regions, but has also furthered mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and the peoples in the rest of the world. In 2004 , China received 109.0382 million overseas tourists by turnstile count(41.8 million were overnight overseas tourists (ranking the 4th in the world), generating 25.739 billion US dollars, ranking the 7th-in the world, only after the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and England.
China is situated in the eastern part of Asia, on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean . Its land territory of 9.6 million square kilometers begins from the confluence of the Heilongjiang and Wusuli rivers(longitude 135© 31＇N) in the west of Wuqia County in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (longitude 73© 40＇E ) in the west , about 5,200 kilometres apart ; and from the midstream of the Heilongjiang River north of Mohe (latitude53© 31＇N) in the north to the southernmost island Zengmu＇s Ansha in the South China Sea (latitude41© 31＇N), over 5.500 kilometres apart. China＇s land borders more than 20,000 klometres; in length; its manland coastline stretches for some 18,000 kilometres; and its neighbours more than 20 countries, either contiguous or separated by stretches of sea. There are 6,536 island exceeding over 500 square metres. Taiwan (an area of 35,774 square kilometres) and Hainan (encompassing 32,200 square kilometres) are the two largest islands in China .
China boasts a land boundary exceeding 20,000 kilometres in length and is bordered by Korea in the northeast; Russia and Mongolia in the north , Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tsjikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in the northwest; India, Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan in the southwest; Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam in the south . Across the seas to the east and southeast China faces Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.
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