China, (People's Republic of China), is situated in eastern Asia, bounded by the Pacific in the east. The third largest country in the world, next to Canada and Russia, it has an area of 9. 6 million square kilometers, or one-fifteenth of the world's land mass. It begins from the confluence of the Heilong and Wus uli rivers in the east to the Pamirs west of Wuqia County in Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region in the west, about 5, 200 kilometers apart; and from the midstream of the Heilong River north of More in the north to the southernmost island Zen gmu " an sha in the South China Sea about 5, 500 kilometers apart. CLIMATE: China lies mainly in the northern temperate zone under the influence of monsoon. From September and October to March and April next year monsoon blow from Siberia and the Mongolia Plateau into China and decrease in force as it goes southward, causing dry and cold winter in the country and a temperature difference of 40 degree between the north and south.

POPULATION: Total Population 1. 2591 billion (1999) about 22% of total population in the world. Year Total Population Urban Population Rural Population 1995 1. 2112 billion 1996 1. 2239 billion 359. 5 million (29.

4%) 864. 39 million (70. 6%) 1997 1. 2363 billion 369. 89 million (29. 9%) 866.

37 million (70. 1%) 1998 1. 2481 billion 1999 1. 2591 billion 388. 92 million (30.

9%) 870. 17 million (69. 1%) 2000 1. 29533 billion 36% 64% Country name: conventional long form: People's Republic of China conventional short form: China local long form: Zhong hua Renmin Gongheguo local short form: Zhong Guo abbreviation: PRC Government type: Communist state Capital: Beijing Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (she ng, singular and plural), 5 autonomous regions (, singular and plural), and 4 municipalities (shi, singular and plural); Anhui, Beijing , Chongqing , Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi , Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol , Ningxia , Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanghai , Shanxi, Sichuan, Tianjin , Xinjiang , Xizang (Tibet), Yunnan, Zhejiang; note - China considers Taiwan its 23 rd province; see separate entries for the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau Independence: 221 BC (unification under the Qin or Ch " in Dynasty 221 BC; Qing or Ch " ing Dynasty replaced by the Republic on 12 February 1912; People's Republic established 1 October 1949) National holiday: Founding of the People's Republic of China, 1 October (1949) Constitution: most recent promulgation 4 December 1982 Legal system: a complex amalgam of custom and statute, largely criminal law; rudimentary civil code in effect since 1 January 1987; new legal codes in effect since 1 January 1980; continuing efforts are being made to improve civil, administrative, criminal, and commercial law Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal.