Located in East Asia, on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has a land area of about 9.6 million sq km, and is the third-largest country in the world, next only to Russia and Canada.
China has a marked continental monsoonal climate characterized by great variety. Northerly winds prevail in winter, while southerly winds reign in summer. The four seasons are quite distinct. The rainy season coincides with the hot season.
Fauna and Flora
China is one of the countries with the greatest diversity of wildlife in the world. There are more than 4,400 species of vertebrates, more than 10 percent of the world's total.
Land and Mineral Resources
The composition and distribution of China's land resources have three major characteristics: (1) variety in type--cultivated land, forests, grasslands, deserts and tideland; (2) many more mountains and plateaus than flatlands and basins; (3) unbalanced distribution: farmland mainly concentrated in the east, grasslands largely in the west and north, and forests mostly in the far northeast and southwest.
China abounds in rivers. More than 1,500 rivers each drain 1,000 sq km or larger areas. More than 2,700 billion cu m of water flow along these rivers, 5.8 percent of the world's total. Most of the large rivers find their source in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and as a result China is rich in water-power resources, leading the world in hydropower potential, with reserves of 680 million kw.
China's topography is varied and complicated, with towering mountains, basins of different sizes, undulating plateaus and hills, and flat and fertile plains.