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ABOUT CHINA

 

China is a destination of such epic proportions that we can barely scratch the surface here.

 

With three major regions, China stretches from the mountainous west, to the desert plains of the Mongol Plateau to Manchuria in the northeast. The largely low-lying eastern region consists of the valleys and floodplains of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, through to the coastal plains of the Pearl River in the south.

 

It is hard to bypass (and one certainly shouldn’t!) the nation’s capital for over 3000 years Beijing as China’s premier tourist destination. The architectural masterpiece of the Forbidden City, the equally impressive Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, the Ming Tombs, the Temple of Heaven… and of course, the most famous of all. The Great Wall of China, built during the Ming Dynasty’s reign to fortify China’s northern border and today one of the most visited sites in all the world.

 

For contrast, Shanghai is one of Asia’s fastest growing and most modern cities. A centre for commercial trade with the west during the 1800s, by the 1930s it was both famous and infamous as a cosmopolitan world city. Today soaring skyscrapers overlooking the Bund are testament to Shanghai’s influential economic position.

 

And beyond the obvious, there is also Xian, once an ancient capital on the Silk Road. Xian is most famous for the discovery of its Terracotta Warriors – over 7000 warriors and horses have been excavated from a site first discovered by a group of peasants who uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby in 1974.

 

Then there is Guilin, the Yangtze River, Zhouzhuang, Zhengzhou, Xiamen, Lhasa and so much more. A country certainly worthy of more than one visit and with so much choice perfectly positioned to suit every requirement.

China a country so vast, a history so rich and a culture so profound… Home to over one billion people, China is a mysterious and fascinating nation with an incredible array of iconic historical sites, traditions and civilizations that date back many thousands of years, breathtaking country landscapes and futuristic cities.

 

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Location and Geography

Located in Southeast Asia along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean, China is the world’s third largest country, after Russia and Canada. With an area of 9.6 million square kilometres and a coastline of 18,000 kilometres, its shape on the map is like a rooster. It reaches Mohe in Heilongjiang Province as its northern end, Zengmu Ansha (or James Shoal) to the south, Pamirs to the west, and expands to the eastern border at the conjunction of the Heilongjiang (Amur) River and the Wusuli (Ussuri) River, spanning about 50 degrees of latitude and 62 degrees of longitude.

 

China is bordered by 14 countries; Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia. Marine-side neighbours include eight countries — North Korea, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

 

Chinese History

China has a long history, going back over to 3 thousand years, ruled by Emperors and their dynasties. During 1200 China was invaded by the Mongols from Mongolia and was ruled by Kablai Khan, the era was known as the Yuan Dynasty. Mongols were the first foreign invaders who ruled China for several years. By the mid-1300s, the Yuan dynasty gave way to the Ming dynasty. Then in the mid-1600s, Manchurian troops overthrew the Ming dynasty to establish the Qing dynasty. In the early 1900s, the country came out from the power of dynasty rule to create the Peoples Republic of China. In the 1930s, China came under control of a communist government.

With a rich history dating back to over 3,500 years, China is one of the oldest civilizations of the world, which is still in existence.

 

The First Opium War 

The First Opium War exploded out in 1840 when Britain persisted for the illegal opium trade in the territories of China whereas the China prohibited this narcotic drug. With China losing the war, Britain and other Western powers with the United States gained special commercial privileges over the country. Under the Treaty of Nanking, 1842, Hong Kong was handed to Britain and when the Opium Wars finally came to an end in 1898, Britain brought about a 99-year lease of the New Territories substantially enlarging the Hong Kong region.

 

The Great “People’s Republic of China”

On October 1, 1949 the founding of the “People’s Republic of China” was certified in Beijing. A new political and economic regime was instated, built on the pattern of Soviet society. During 1950s the government launch upon a tremendous economic and social indemnification. Steps were taken to restrain inflation, mending the economy and reconstructing the war-damaged industrial plants and regions. In the process the government acquired a tremendous support from its people.

 

Communism Society

In the early 1960s State President Liu Shaoqi and his party General Secretary Deng Xiaoping took over the reigns and adopted realistic economic policies, which clashed with Mao’s vision. Dissatisfied with the new developments Mao launched a massive political attack on Liu, Deng and other pragmatists in 1966. The new movement, the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”, was aimed at gathering opposition against ruling leaders.

 

The Development of the Economy in 1980s

In 1980 the reformist Sichuan party Chief Zhao Ziyang and as party General Secretary took over the charge. The reform policies brought great improvements in the standard of living especially for urban workers and for farmers. Literature and the arts blossomed and Chinese intellectuals established extensive links with scholars in other countries. At the same time however political dissent as well as social problems such as inflation urban migration and prostitution emerged.

 

China Rule in New World  

After the death of Deng in 1997, President Jiang Zemin and other members slowly took over control of the day-to-day functions of government. This “third generation” leadership governed collectively with President Jiang at the center. In 2003, Hu Jintao replaced Jiang as the President.

 

Chinese Art and Culture

China’s traditional arts command a great part of the country’s rich heritage. Since ancient time, Chinese society has cherished excellence in its arts. Kung Fu, (also known as wushu or martial arts) is one of the most well known examples of traditional Chinese culture. It is probably one of the earliest and longest lasting sports which utilize both brawn and brain. The theory of Kung Fu is based upon classical Chinese philosophy. Tea has been one of the daily necessities in China since time immemorial. Countless numbers of people like to have their after meal tea. In summer or warm climate, tea seems to dispel the heat and bring on instant cool together with a feeling of relaxation. For this reason, teahouses abound in towns and market villages in South China.

 

China is a country with many ethnic groups and a colourful cultural heritage. In China, there are many traditional festivals. Most of the traditional festivals in China are based on the Chinese lunar calendar. The Chinese regard eating as an art, which is a comprehensive combination of sight, smell, touch, taste and even sound. Chinese cuisine is a dominant branch from the Chinese culture - the core is taste while the purpose is to preserve health. It is a perfect fusion of colour, shape, appearance and flavour. China’s traditional arts command a great part of the country’s rich heritage. Since ancient time, Chinese society has cherished excellence in its arts. Over centuries, Chinese arts have developed its own unique styles and forms. Singing, sculpture, calligraphy, painting, carving and others are the timeworn forms of expression in Chinese arts.

 

Religion and Beliefs

The country of China extends over a vast land, thronged with the largest population of the world. The region also enjoys the status of being one of the oldest civilizations, since then numerous religions grew and flourished in this ancient world. China consists of 5 major religions — Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and other Christian religions.

 

Confucianism  

Confucianism is a reasoned doctrine rather than a religion, remarkably ruled China for more then 2,000 years. There are also many other ancient religions and beliefs followed by some ethnic groups. Chinese culture was perhaps the first to develop an intellectual skepticism regarding the gods.

 

Buddhism

Buddhism came to China from its bordering country India, in the 1st century AD, and could flourish only after the 4th century. China has more than 13,000 Buddhist temples, with about 200,000 monks and nuns, spreading all over the country. Buddhism falls mainly into three groups: Chinese Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism (Lamaism) and Bali Buddhism.

 

Taoism   

Taoism was brought into existence during the Han dynasty in China. The Chinese philosopher, Lu Xun once said: “China roots deep in Taoism. If one wants to understand Chinese history and culture, one must perceive Taoism first.” Taoism is also known as a traditional religion of China and has more than 600 Taoist temples throughout the country with 6,000 resident Taoist priests and nuns.

 

Islam   

Islam entered China in the 7th century, is followed by about more then 17 million members. There are more than 26,000 mosques with 40,000 Imams. Arab traders, who came to China for the purpose of trade, settled down on the southern coast of China and later established their mosques in great maritime cities like Guangzhou and Quanzhou.

 

Catholicism       

Catholicism was ubiquitously prevalent in China during the Tang Dynasty in the year 635, later on its mark faded but again in the Yuan dynasty — 1271–1368 the religion endeavour a comeback for a short period. Later, the Italian priest Matteo Ricci was authorized to set up churches during the Ming Dynasty — 1368–1644. After the opium war, there was a rapid catholic development in China. Now China is home to 4 million Catholics, including 2,700 clergymen who serve more than 4,000 churches.

 

Christianity     

Christianity includes Protestant, not of a Catholic or Eastern Church. The religion was introduced to China during the 1930s, when there was a large inflow of missionaries from the world. When new China was founded in 1949, there were some 700,000 Chinese Christians. Today, the followers of Christianity in China believed to rise up to 6.5 million, including 18,000 missionaries. There are more than 8,000 Christian churches and 20,000 meeting halls nationwide. China also has about 48 religious seminaries and colleges, and almost 10 million copies of the Bible have been published all over China.