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China

The Great Wall of China

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China

China is forever linked to its ancient civilization, friendly people, and many of the world’s most revered treasures, such as The Great Wall, Terra-Cotta Warriors & Horses and the Yangtze River. Today, one can also find spectacular architecture and towering skylines in Shanghai and Beijing (site of the 2008 Summer Olympics), a wealth of luxury accommodations – and as always – exquisite cuisine.

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Geography/Environment
China's land drops off in the escarpments eastward to the ocean, letting in humid air currents and leading many rivers eastward. Among the rivers totaling 220,000 kilometers in length in China; the Yangtze and the Yellow are the two major ones.

China has a diversity of land formations including mountains, hills, highlands, plains and basins. The highlands and hill regions account for 65 percent of the country's land mass. The highest mountain peak is Qomolangma (Everest), 8,848 meters above sea level; the lowest point is the Turpan Basin, 154 meters below sea level.
Climate and Weather
China is characterized by a continental climate. The latitudes span nearly 50 degrees, its southern part is in the tropical and subtropical zones, and its northern part near the frigid zones. The northern part of Heilongjiang province has long winters but no summers; while Hainan Island has long summers but no winters. The Huaihe River valley is marked by distinctive seasonal changes, but it is spring all year round in the south of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. China's high tundra zone is situated in Qinghai-Tibet, where the temperature is low in all four seasons. >

Highlights
For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences. But in the 19th and early 20th centuries, China was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established a dictatorship that, while ensuring China's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, his successor DENG Xiaoping gradually introduced market-oriented reforms and decentralized economic decision-making. Output quadrupled by 2000. Political controls remain tight while economic controls continue to be relaxed.
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