China is one of the oldest civilizations on the face of the earth. The official name for China is People’s Republic of China. Beijing is the capital of China, while other major cities include Shanghai, Shenygan, Wuhan, Harbin, Chongqing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Chengdu. China is one of the largest nations both in terms of area and population. It covers over 3.7 million square miles and has a population of over 1.3 billion people, which is almost four times the population of USA.
Due to its massive area and unique geographical location, China offers a variety of landscapes and climate ranges for its visitors. One can enjoy plains, deltas, hills, mountains, plateaus and even deserts in a single country while being in China.
Control over growing population has been the main focus area for the Chinese government over the last few years. Reforms and policy initiatives have been introduced to reduce the population growth rate to 0.5% annually. However, the policy framework developed for the purpose has always been controversial, as it does not allow couples to have more than one child. This policy change has resulted in a high number of abortions every year. The death rate in infants is also abnormally high (25.5 per 1000 births). Although the government discourages abortions, high penalties are charged in case of non-compliance with the policy of having one child per family.
The long and rich history of China has given birth to a diversified Chinese culture. The most dominant is the Han Chinese group that forms approximately 91% of the total population. Although it is the largest group in terms of the population, there are various dialects of language used in China. It is reported that there are seven major Chinese dialects; however, hundreds of dialects are used at local and regional levels. Only 60% of Han Chinese speak the most common dialect i.e. Mandarin. Over 70% of the population speaks Mandarin while the other languages spoken mostly include Turkic, Korean, Uygur, Tibetan and Mongolian. Varieties of languages used at times make it impossible for the people to communicate with each other across the regions.
Most of the population is atheist, meaning they do not believe in any religion. The most followed religion is Buddhism with over 100 million practitioners. Next is Taoism. A small number of Muslims and Christians can also be found in the country.