China's Geography


We live in a shrinking world. Technology and trade have narrowed the gap that once separated cultures and nations. As we enter the 21st century it is imperative that we, as well as our students, are knowledgeable about other countries. China is one of the biggest countries in the world. It has an area of about 9.6 million square kilometers which comprises about 6.5 per cent of the world total land area. Its population of more than one billion accounts for 23 per cent of the world human population. China is the world's oldest continuous civilization and is playing a more and more important role in the world economy and political affairs. An understanding of the land and the people of China is of great significance to all students of modern civilization. This unit will focus upon the physical geography of China.


The first goal of this unit is to integrat academic subjects together using the computer networks' tool as a mode for presentation of learned objectives. This specific unit integrates the curriculum objectives of China's geography and HTML language. Students research and discover information necessary to create a social study web page. Through their computer researches, students can have a wonderful computer journey. The other goal is that students have an opportunity to learn about China's geography using printed electronic text and through the use of different teaching strategies.


Students will research data pertaining information to the major factors which have shaped China's physical geographical environment and its administrative divisions.

Students will create a web page showing their travels on the highways information. The page contains text, graphics, and navigation buttons (specific object on the screen, which reveal more information to the user when it is click on with the mouse).


  1. Use the old saying "If you dig a hole in your back yard and keeping digging, you'll end up in China". Give students time to hunt for information on the internet and be ready to respond their questions. Have them locate China, and the U.S.A. on the world map.
  2. Teach students HTML language and let them create their own web page.
  3. Let students write what they know about China and present on their web pages.
  4. Locate as much informaiton about China as possible through the internet links. The teacher can display all this information on his / her own web page.
  5. Display data collected to the students. (The teacher could either use the background information provided here or create their own set of links). Some possible topics could be China's location, neighboring countries, major cities, administrative divisions, mountains, rivers, national flag, and population.
  6. Let students work in groups (four people)on the web pages. Discussion should be encouraged.
  7. Distribute outline maps of China. Have them fill in neighboring countries, mountains and rivers, administrative divisions, and major cities). Allow the students to work on groups on their maps. Have the students draw China's national flag based on the descriptionfound in their research.
  8. Encourage students find internet pen-pals and to exchange their findings with the students from other schools with whom they are linked.
  9. Let students gather as many information links as possible and place them on their web page. Then make navigation buttons.

Background Information

Vast Territory

China is situated in the eastern part of Asia, on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is the third largest country in the world (after Canada and Russia). China has a total land area of 9.6 million squares kilometers. The distance from east to west measures over 5,200 kilometers, and from north to south, over 5,500 kilometers. When the sun shines brightly over the Wusuli River in the east, the Pamire Plateau in the west is in the very early morning. When blizzards wrap the north along the Helongjiang River in the winter, spring sowing is under way on Hainan Island in the south. Here is the World map .

China has a land border of 22,143.34 kilometers long and is bordered by twelve countries: Korea in the east; Russian in the northeast and the northwest; Mongolia in the north; India, Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal in part of the west and southwest; Burma, Laos and Vietnam in the south. Here is anAsian map.

Besides a vast land area, there are also extensive neighboring seas and numerous island. The coastline extends more than 14.500 kilometers. Across the East China Sea to the east, and South China Sea to the southeast, are Japan, the Philippians, Malaysia, and Indonesia. More than 5,000 islands are scattered over China's vast territorial seas, the largest being Taiwan and the second largest, Hainan. (Map of China). One territorial sea and three neighboring seas altogether constitute 4.73 million square kilometers.

Mountainous Topography

China is a mountainous country, with two-thirds of its total land area covered by mountains, hills and plateaus. Out of the world's twelve high peaks of more than 8,000 meters, seven are located in China. The Highest peak in the world, Mount Qomolangma (8,828m) stands on the border between China and Nepal.

There are five major mountain systems in China. These mountain systems, together with numerous intermontane plateaus, basins, and plains are interwoven into three macrolandform complexes in China. Therefore, the topography of China from the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau eastward, is broadly arranged into four great steps descending step- by-step from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to the coastal area in the east.

  1. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the top of the staircase, covers 2.2 million square kilometers and averages 4,000 meters above sea level. It is the highest and largest plateau on earth and is popularly called "roof of the world".
  2. From the eastern margin of Qinghai-Xizang Plateau eastward up to the Da Hinggan-Taihang-Wushan mountains line, composed mainly of plateau and basins with elevation from 2,000 to 1,000 kilometers.
  3. From the above-mentioned line eastward up to the coast are the largest plains of China. The plains are also interspersed with hills generally below 500 kilometers in elevation.
  4. The continental shelf, with an elevation that is generally less than 200 kilometers.

Rivers and Lakes

China has a great number of rivers. The inland river system accounts for 36 per cent of the total land area in China. more than 1,500 square kilometers of which have a catchment area exceeding 1,000 square kilometers. Among these, the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Heilongjiang River, Pearl River, and Huaihe River are the major ones.

The Yangtze River is the longest river in China and the third longest in the world. it has a total length of 6,300 kilometer and a drainage area of more than 1,800,00 square kilometers. it is an arterial waterway connection such important cities as Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan, and Chongqing.

The yellow river is the second longest river in China. It has a total length of 5,464 kilometers. On its banks lie Lanzhou, Baotou, Zhengzhou, Jinan and other important cities. The yellow river Valley is considered the cradle of Chinese civilization.

China is also a country with numerous lakes. , approximately 2,800 natural lakes with total area more than 80,000 square kilometers. Five major lake regions can be identified:

  1. The Northern lake Region
  2. The Northwester Lake Region
  3. The Qinghai-Xizang lake Region
  4. The Eastern Lake Region
  5. The Southwest Lake Region


According to the third population census of 1982, the total population of China was 1,031,882,511 as of July 1, 1982, and by a recent estimate (July 1994) the population is 1,190,431,106. Its 22.6 per cent of the world's total population makes China the world's most populous country. the urban population is 206,588,582, 20.6 per cent of the total population. China's population is unevenly distributed, the inland areas more sparsely populated and coastal provinces densely populated.(Population of China won't start to decline for generation: an analysis.

Administrative Divisions

Generally speaking, China can be divided into three natural realms: Eastern Monsoon China, Northwest Arid China, and Tibetan Frigid Plateau. The fist realm can further devided into five traditional divisions: Northereast China, North China, Central China, South China, and Southwest China. There are 30 first level administrative units (provinces, autonomous regions, and national municipalities) in China. There are three municipalities directly under the Central Government, namely Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai; 22 provinces and five autonomous regions for minority nationalities. (Schematic map of the provincial-level administrative units)

Beijing, the capital of China, is situated to the west of Bohai Sea and on the northeast fringe of the North China Plain. Covering an area of 16,800 square kilometers with a population of about ten million, it is the country's political, economics, scientific and cultural center. An ancient capital with a history of 800 years, it contains many scenic spots and places of historical interest. (Tour in Beijing )

The national Flag

The national flag of the People's Republic of China is the five stars red flag. the face of the flag is red and its shape is rectangular. In the upper left hand corner there are five yellow stars one large star and four smaller stars in an arc. the tip of one corner of each of the small stars points directly towards the center of large star. Collectively towards the center of the large star. Collectively the five stars symbolize the great unity of the Chinese people. ( flag )

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