1. Formal name: People's Republic of China (PRC)
2. Capital: Beijing
3. Location: In the east of the Asian continent, on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean.
4. Land size: China has a landmass of 9,600,000 sq km, making it roughly the same area as the continental United States. The area of cultivated land in
5. Bordered countries: Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadzhikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.
6. Climate: Extremely diverse; tropical in the south to sub arctic in the north.
7. Geography: Mountains, high plateaus, and deserts in the west; plains, deltas, and hills in the east. Mount Qomolangma is the highest mountain in the world,with the mountain tower at 8,848 meters or 29,035 feet.
8. Population: China is the world's most populous country with a population estimated at about 1.294 billion by the end of 2003, one-fifth of the world's total. This figure does not include the Chinese living in the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions, and
9. Population ethnicity: 91.6 percent of Chinese people are Han. The non-Han population includes 55 ethnic minorities, of which the major groups are the Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uygur, Yi, Tujia, Mongolian, and Tibetan.
10. Religions: The number of religious worshippers in China is estimated at well over 100 million, most of whom follow Buddhism. Other major religions are Daoism, Islam and Christianity in both its Catholic and Protestant forms.
11. Languages: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, and Hakka dialects, as well as minority languages. In 1958, the First National People's Congress approved, at its Fifth Session, the adoption of the Pinyin (Scheme for the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet) for spelling Chinese names and places in Roman letters, but the Pinyin system was not popularly used until the late 1970s. Pinyin is now widely seen in
12. Constitution: After the founding of the PRC, four Constitutions have been formulated successively in 1954, 1975, 1978 and 1982. The present Constitution was adopted in 1982 and amended four times, most recently on March 14, 2004.
13. Head of State: President Hu Jintao, elected March 15, 2003.
14. Top legislative power: The National People's Congress (NPC) and its Standing Committee. Representing the people and all levels of people's congresses in
15. Top administrative body: The State Council, which is the cabinet or chief administrative body of the PRC that includes the heads of all governmental agencies. Headed by Premier Wen Jiabao.
16. Military: The People's Liberation Army (PLA) includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Second Artillery Force. Hu Jintao is chairman of the Central Military Commission of China, the country's top military agency and commander of its armed forces.
17. National flag: Red flag with five stars.
18. National emblem: Tian'anmen Gate-tower under five stars, encircled by ears of grain and with a gear wheel below.
19. National anthem: March of the Volunteers, written in 1935.
20. National Day: Chinese celebrate October 1 as National Day in honor of the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949.
21. Other national holidays: Spring Festival (the celebration of Chinese New Year, generally between the last 10-day period of January and mid-February) and International Labor Day (May 1). Major holidays in
22. Health: China provides wide access to primary health care and child immunizations. Average life expectancy was 71.8 years in 2002, having risen from 35 years on the eve of Liberation in 1949.
23. Economy: China's economy has boomed since 1978, as a result of sweeping economic reforms and opening up. GNP grew from $128 billion in 1980 to $1650.5 billion in 2004.
24. Political parties: The Communist Party of China (CPC) is the country's political party in power. Hu Jintao became general secretary of the CPC at its 16th National Congress in November 2002. Founded in July 1921, the CPC today has more than 67 million members. There are eight other parties.
25. Top advisory body: The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Representing all ethnic groups and a broad range of political and special interest groups, the CPPCC provides advice on social issues and exercises democratic supervision over the government.
26. Administrative divisions: China is made up of 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities directly under the Central Government, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao. The 23 provinces are Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang; the five autonomous regions are Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Xinjiang and Tibet; the four municipalities are Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai and Tianjin.
27. Currency: Renminbi (RMB)/Yuan; 1 US Dollar can be changed into 8.1 Yuan at the exchange rate on 1 August.
28. Staple food: Rice.