• Population: 1.32 billion
• Ethnic makeup: 93 percent Han, including Hui (Han Moslems); Mongol, Uygur, Kazakh, Tibetan, Zhuang and some 50 other minorities make up the remaining seven percent. Han (aka: Mandarin) people itself is the result of a melting pot process for the past 2,200 years. Within Han people there are eight major dialects that are not mutually intelligible. The analogy is Portuguese to Polish in the same Indo-European language. The modern genome study reveals similar result.
• Population distribution: 94 percent of its population resides in 46% of the land. Or around 80% of the population lives in 35% of the land.
• Religion: 80 percent mixture of Buddhism and Taoism; five percent Moslem and less than one percent Christian.
• Languages: Although the Beijing version of Han (Mandarin)
is the official language, the varieties are spoken in very
distinctively different dialects.
• Literacy: 95 percent.
• Living standard: With nominal USD method, the 2007 estimated GDP per capita is about $3,400 while with purchasing power parity (PPP) considered, the GDP is over $6,000 per capita. The average rate of rising GDP has been around 10% per year for over two decades. However, the imbalance between coastal municipalities and rural inland farming area has grown more significant.
• Climate: China’s climate is similar to that of the “lower 48 States” of the United States. It ranges from East Siberian tundra in northernmost Northeastern region to tropical island weather in Hainan Island in the South China Sea; from highland desert in Tibet to grassland in Inner Mongolia.
• Urban versus rural regions: There are over 20 cities that each has a population of more than five million in its metropolitan region, although the size of the individual cities is significantly larger than that of Western cities. For instance, Beijing has a population of 13.2 million and is divided into nine counties, and occupies close to 16,810 square kilometers (6490sq. miles). The infrastructure and living conditions between urban and rural regions are very different due to the level of development. China only started its infrastructure modernization within the last 60 years compared with Japan, which started 110 years ago.
• Natural resources: China has the largest coal deposits,
which continues to be its major source of energy. However, coal
burning has caused significant pollution, especially in northern
China. China has not been self sufficient in oil consumption since
2000. As of 2009, it is estimated to consume over 8 million barrels
of oil per day. The rate of increasing demand is over 20% per year
since 2004. The import oil percentage is rapidly approaching 50%.
Rich in rare metals from the south and southwestern regions, China
has made significant contributions to its export capability with its
• Political system: The highest law-making body is the People’s Congress. Members are nominated and elected from regions across the country. The Prime Minister appointed by the President heads the executive branch. The President is elected by the People’s Representatives from local districts. The largest and longest ruling political party in China is the Communist Party which has effectively controlled both the legislative and executive branches of the government since the inception of the People’s Republic in 1949.
• Other interesting statistics (as of 2009):
- 680 million unique cell phone subscribers
- 300 million Internet users
- 1.14 million cars sold in June 2009, six months in a row surpassing U.S. as the largest auto market
- 2008 GDP $4.4 Trillion, ranked 3rd in the world, trailing U.S. $14.0 Trillion and Japan $4.5 Trillion
- 2008 total labor force was 800 Million people
- Migrant workers from inland was estimated around 130 million people at 2008 year end