China Geography and Population

By | January 8, 2023

China (Geography)

China (Geography), Population

In 2005, China’s population exceeded 1.3 billion. The world’s largest population also means the world’s largest workforce and largest potential market, but also enormous pressure on the physical environment and natural resources. China has the world’s largest production of an increasing number of products, but a low production per. resident. The large population also creates problems in the form of insufficient food supply, lack of employment and low income levels.

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China’s first census in 2 AD during the Western Han Dynasty revealed a population of 59.6 million. residents. It corresponded to an estimated one quarter of the world’s population. Since then, population growth has reflected the coming and going of dynasties. In the heyday of the great dynasties (Tang and Ming), the population fluctuated around 60 million. The fall of the dynasties was accompanied by massacres and famine, which reduced the population by a third or even up to half. approximately In 1740, the population is estimated at around 150 million, while after a strong growth it was approximately 350 million in 1812. At the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949, China’s population was 541 million. again approximately a quarter of the world’s population. However, China’s share of the total world population is declining; it is currently assessed (2007) to amount to approximately 22%.

Administrative division

At the provincial level, China is today (2006) divided into 33 units, of which 22 are actual provinces, five autonomous regions, four cities and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao.

Only in Xinjiang and especially in Tibet do minorities and not male nationalities constitute the majority of the population.

Autonomy includes limited self-government for compactly inhabited minority areas. Autonomy applies in particular to the cultural field. The administration must be in the language of the largest minority, and the governor must belong to the same minority, but this does not apply to the first party secretary, who is often he. The privileges associated with the granting of autonomous status are important. The one-child policy thus does not apply to minorities, and the central government is obliged to transfer extensive financial subsidies via the state budget.

China’s administrative division
capital city population area km2
Beijing 19,620 16,808
Tianjin 12,939 th most common 11,920
Hebei Shijiazhuang 71,854 187,693
Shanxi Taiyuan 35,712 156,300
Inner Mongolia AR Hohhot 24,706 1,183,000
Liaoning Shenyang 43,746 147,500
Jilin Changchun 27,453 187,400
Heilongjiang Harbin 38,314 454,000
Shanghai 23,019 6341
Jiangsu Nanjing 78,671 102,600
Zhejiang Hangzhou 54,427 th most common 101,800
Anhui Hefei 59,500 139,000
Fujian Fuzhou 36,854 121,300
Jiangxi Nanchang 44,568 166,600
Shandong Jinan 95,793 156,700
Henan Zhengzhou 94,030 167,000
Hubei Wuhan 57,238 185,900
Hunan Changsha 65,701 211,800
Guangdong Guangzhou 104,320 177,901
Guangxi Zhuang AR Nanning 46,024 236,661
Hainan Haikou 8671 33,920
Hong Kong SAR (2011) 7072 1091
Macao SAR (2014) 626 16
Sichuan Chengdu 80,418 485,000
Chongqing 28,846 82,000
Guizhou Guiyang 34,749 176,100
Yunnan Kunming 45,967 394,000
Tibet AR Lhasa 3002 1,228,400
Shaanxi Xi’an 37,327 205,600
Gansu Lanzhou 25,575 453,694
Qinghai Xining 5627 721,200
Ningxia AR Yinchuan 6301 51,800
Xinjiang AR Ürümqi 21,816 th most common 1,660,400
China in total Beijing 1,339,724 9,611,000
The population figures in 1000 are from 2010

Below the provincial level, there are 30 autonomous districts and 120 autonomous counties. In SW China, where minorities live very mixed, autonomy is often extended to several minorities within the same autonomous area.

The provincial system itself carries a risk of weakening the central government, especially during dynastic periods of decline. Pga. the size of the provinces, the provincial governors could challenge the power of the center and acquire many of its functions, including the control of tax collection. A parallel situation is partly true today, where economic reforms since the 1980’s have led to greater economic room for maneuver for the provinces and a corresponding weakening of central government revenue.

The provinces’ relative independence is reinforced by China’s physical structure created during two major geological fold periods. The earliest were formed the NE-SW mountains, most recently the east-west mountains. The two folding directions form the boundaries between a large number of basins and plateaus and form the background for the chessboard pattern that the provinces form. Rivers, the basis of sailing and irrigation, do not usually form provincial boundaries, but are often the core area of ​​the province.

The physical barriers between the provinces are also the background for the fact that each province within a common Chinese cultural framework has developed a distinctive regional culture, which is expressed, for example, in the form of dialect, cuisine and crafts.

The provinces vary enormously in terms of area, population and population density. The largest provinces in terms of area are outside the densely populated agricultural regions and on their border, ie. in the western periphery of China, characterized by plateaus and plateaus: Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Sichuan, Heilongjiang, Gansu and Yunnan. The smallest units are, in addition to the four cities, the eastern Chinese provinces, where the great river plains are the dominant landscape feature. Conversely, the population of the provinces, as the river plain provinces, including Sichuan, have the largest and at the same time the densest population. The population density varies from over 500 per. km2 in the eastern provinces at the lower reaches of Chang Jiang and on the North China Plain to less than 15 per km. km2in the western so-called autonomous territories of Tibet and Xinjiang. The population distribution emphasizes that China continues to be dominated by a nature-dependent self-sufficient agriculture.

Population development after 1949

The population of the People’s Republic has been counted by five counts: in 1953, 1964, 1982, 1990 and 2000. A sample count in 2005 comprised 1% of the population. In addition, local population registers are kept, which are accumulated at national level each year. Censuses and registers point to a large population growth in the 1950’s and 1964-73 and a subdued growth since 1973. There are several reasons for the growth: a decline in the death rate as early as 1949 as a result of a successful health policy, the traditional predilection for boys, which is primarily due to the fact that girls are married off and therefore do less good for security in old age, and finally the fluctuating population policy, as a large population was at times considered an asset for the country’s development. The death rate fell from 20 ‰ in 1949 to 11 ‰ in 1957 and continued its decline from 1962 to 1976, when it first came below 7 ‰. Since then it has been between 6 and 7 ‰. The birth rate has, apart from the period The Great Leap Forward 1958-60, been above 30 ‰ up to and including 1971. Only then did the decline in the birth rate begin, which means a decline in natural growth. With a birth rate in 2005 of 12.4 ‰ and a natural increase of 5.9 ‰, China is demographically more like a developing country than a developing country.

During the Great Leap Forward, a temporary drastic increase in the death rate occurred while the birth rate fell. The result was a negative natural growth in 1960. The background was widespread famine caused by three years of natural disasters and failed economic policies. The disaster is one of the worst in modern times, yet the Chinese government managed to hide its extent from the outside world for almost 20 years. It is estimated that 25-30 million died in 1958-61. more people and was born 30-35 million. fewer people than under normal conditions.

Although the birth rate has been declining since the early 1970’s, the large population, combined with the large birth rates from the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960’s, means that annual growth will continue to be large. Since 1990, China’s population has grown by an average of 12.8 million. per year, compared with 13 million. in the 1950’s.

To curb population growth, the Chinese government has launched family planning campaigns four times since 1949: 1956-58, 1962-66, 1971-79 and the one-child campaign from 1979, which was only eased in general at the end of 2015, after which all married couples with effect from 1.1. 2016 can have two children.

Only the third campaign was decisively successful, although its quantitative goals were not achieved. The campaign was launched under the motto later, longer, fewer: ie. later marriages, longer periods between births and fewer children.

With the one-child campaign, population policy was tightened. The goal was to reduce the number of children per family to a child before the year 1985 and maintain this target until the year 2000. Thereafter, the number of children per family gradually rise to 2.16 (the reproduction figure), so that by the year 2070 China could have a low and stable population of 700 million, a size that is more in line with the country’s polluted natural basis. According to Chinese demographers, the family planning policy in the 35-year period 1971-2005 has meant up to 400 million. fewer births. But the long “braking distance” means that China’s population will only peak towards the year 2050 with a total population of around 1.5 billion.

Until 2001, population policy was a provincial matter. Basically, the one-child policy remained in force, especially in the cities, but in order to meet the needs of the necessary labor force and care for the elderly, local legislation specified a number of exceptions for rural areas. In the countryside, a couple was thus allowed to have a second child in the following cases: If the couple’s first child was a girl (19 provinces), if both parties were an only child (27 provinces), if the first child was disabled and could not participate in normal physical work (31 provinces).

China’s family planning policy has left its mark in the form of over 80 million. only children, but at the same time more and more young people find it undesirable in their career endeavors to put children in the world. A major concern is the impact of the one-child policy on child rearing: a spoiled generation of “princes and princesses” has emerged.

The gender distribution exhibits a predominance of males, which has been common throughout China’s history, but is unusual globally. At the 1953 census, the sex ratio was 107.6 men per. 100 women. The increase in average life expectancy, from 34 years before 1949 to over 68 since 1986, should lead to a more equal gender distribution, as women’s average life expectancy is higher than men’s. However, the skewed gender distribution with a majority of men (106.7 per 100 women) has not changed significantly between the two censuses from 1990 to 2000, but the gender distribution at birth has developed dangerously skewed to 117.9 boys per child. 100 girl children. The one-child policy as such has hardly directly contributed to the deteriorating gender distribution, but rather the return of family use and the traditional Confucian value system with its emphasis on boy children, combined with a weakening of the rural collective security system as well as the introduction of scanning technology, which has enabled increased gender-selective abortion. According to Western researchers, the skewed gender distribution means that China was missing 35 million. women in 1990, corresponding to 6.3% of the actual number of women. The corresponding figures had increased by DKK 41 million in 2000. and 6.7%.

The age composition changes sharply with the declining birth rate, and 7.7% of the population is now over 65 years old. The national data cover large regional differences; development is at the forefront as eastern China, especially in the major cities on the east coast. It creates a financial problem in the form of pension funds and a housing and care problem, as more and more elderly people live in their own households.

Urban development and population migration

In China’s long feudal period, the most important function of cities was political: to be centers of administrative and military power. The cities were walled, and the changing capitals of the dynasties had close to or over 1 million. residents.

With the invasion of the Western powers from 1840, modern urban development began, where industry, trade and transport became urban-creating functions. Cities along the east coast became centers of foreign capital and grew rapidly, while cities inland languished. During this period, Shanghai developed into China’s largest city. In NE China, the Japanese built in the 1930’s in the then occupied Manchukuo a large number of heavy industrial cities, which were to serve as a starting point for a continued Japanese expansion in East Asia.

At the time of the Communist takeover in 1949, the country had eight million cities, the majority of which were either on the coast (Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Nanjing) or in North China (Shenyang), while only two were inland (Chongqing, Wuhan).

From 1949 to 2005, China’s urbanization rate has risen from 11% to 43%. Although the degree of urbanization for a long period, from 1962 to 1978, was at a low and stable level, 17-18%, this period was also characterized by extensive migration between country and city. The government’s means of controlling migration from country to town is the household status of the household as either agricultural or non-agricultural population, a registration which was introduced in 1957. Only the granting of status as non-agricultural population allowed permanent residence in a city and thus access to the commercial grain of cities.

The period 1950-57 was characterized by strong urban growth as a result of reconstruction and planned industrialization with an emphasis on heavy industry. Inland cities were selected as growth poles, such as Harbin (northeast), Baotou (north) and Lanzhou (northwest). The industrialization campaign during the Great Leap Forward 1958-60 meant a violent influx of peasants into the cities. In the subsequent economic crisis of 1961-63, an estimated 26 mill. urban dwellers move to rural areas partly to abolish urban unemployment and partly to alleviate the burden of peasants supplying cities with commercial grain.

The campaign of the Cultural Revolution up in the mountains and out into the villages from the mid-1960’s meant an extensive emigration from town to country of cadres and intellectuals (xiafang). But at the same time there was an extensive recruitment of peasants as contract workers to the cities. As they maintained their household status as peasants, they constituted a source of cheap labor. In anticipation of a third world war, industrial and urban development were given high priority in China’s strategic hinterland, especially in the southwest: Chengdu, Kunming and Guiyang, the so-called third front building 1965-71.

With the economic reforms of 1979, there was a strong urban growth and change of the migration pattern between the provinces: from the hinterland back to the coastal region. The open door policy with emphasis on market economy and the establishment of economic zones and open coastal towns meant an up-prioritization of the consumer goods-producing coastal towns, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Fuzhou, Beijing and Tianjin. The young people were allowed to return to the big cities. The migration from country to city increased to an unprecedented extent. In 2005, the floating population category included DKK 147 million. people; it is the mobile part of the population that lives in the cities without having household status as non-agricultural population: contract workers, tradesmen, maids, unemployed and homeless.

The number of million cities has risen sharply, from 19 in 1978 to 127 in 2003 (calculated on the basis of the non-agricultural population). But the figure is misleading, as many districts with administrative status at the district level since 1978 include not only a number of counties, but also often a number of smaller towns. The actual number of million cities is rather 49 (2003), of which 29 are located in the 12 coastal provinces.

At the same time, the reforms have led to a revival of rural small towns, partly 20,000 recognized towns, where part of the population has non-agricultural status, partly over 50,000 market towns, which employ more than 100 million. farmers. The small towns are centers of collectively and privately owned industry and wholesale and retail. The rural urbanization, which is a unique Chinese development feature, should help to employ the hundreds of millions. farmers who are released through agricultural efficiency, but in a way that limits metropolitan development.

Natural geography

The population pressure in China is so great that it is difficult to find a spot that is not modified by human activity. There is very little virgin soil and primary vegetation left.


China is very mountainous, with 65% of the land mass being mountains and plateaus. The terrain, which slopes from west to east, can be roughly divided into four large steps.

The Tibetan Plateau or “Roof of the World” in the southwest forms the top of the stairs. The alpine-folded plateau, which averages 4000-5000 masl, is bounded and intersected by some of the world’s highest, mainly west-east-extending mountain ranges. The Pamir, Karakorum, Kunlun, Altun and Qilian border to the north and the Himalayas to the south, while Tangula, Gangdise and Nyainqentanglha intersect the plateau. China and some of Asia’s largest rivers originate on the plateau: Huang He (The Yellow River), Chang Jiang (Yangtze Kiang), Indus, Yarlung Zangbo (Brahmaputra Upper Range), Nu Jiang (Salween Upper Range) and Lancang Jiang (Mekong Upper Range)). To the east, the plateau is bounded by the north-south-extending mountain system Hengduan, which is intersected by Nujiang, Lancang and Chang Jiang in densely extending deep canyons on their way south. Between the mountain ranges of the plateau are extensive basins with diverse salt lakes. The cold and harsh plateau forms1/4 of China’s land area but contains less than 1% of the country’s agricultural area and population. The majority live as farmers in the Yarlung Zangbo Valley, while the northern part of the plateau is inhabited solely by nomadic shepherds with their hardy animals, especially sheep, goats and yaks.

The second topographic step includes a series of plateaus and basins with heights of 1000-2000 m north and east of the Tibetan Plateau. The northern and northwestern part of the step forms part of the arid Central Asia and includes the Mongolian Plateau, the Ordos Plateau, the Tarim Basin and the Dzungarian Basin. The steppes and deserts dominate, and the steppes form the basis of life for the majority of China’s shepherd population. Northwestern, arid China makes up 30% of China’s land area, but includes only 10% of agricultural land and 4% of the population.

The mighty loose plateau, which stretches across the provinces of Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia, is drained by Huang He and, with its heavily degraded terrace landscapes, is an impoverished part of arable northern China. The Yunnan-Guizhou plateau to the southwest is the poorest part of rice-growing southern China. The terrain is dominated by terraced hillsides and karst landscapes. The Sichuan Basin, drained by Chang Jiang, with its more than 100 million. people the absolute population center of gravity of this step.

Plateaus and basins are bounded by folded mountains with heights of over 3000 m, of which Tian Shan between Tarim and Dzungariet are the highest. To the east, the second stage is delimited by mainly NE-SW-extending mountains, Store Hinggan and Taihang. Where rivers flow from first to second and from second to third steps, the bulk of China’s hydropower potential and the largest hydropower plants are located.

The third stage includes the large river plains, which are generally below 200 m. They house the majority of the country’s agricultural population and the majority of major cities. The Northeast China Plain stretches through all three northeastern Chinese provinces and is drained by Liao He, Nen Jiang and Songhua Jiang. The North China Plain, which includes large parts of Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Anhui, and Jiangsu provinces, is drained by Huang He, Huai He, and Hai He. The southern Chinese river plains include the middle and lower Chang Jiang and the smaller Zhu Jiang or Pearl River Delta in Guangdong Province. South of Chang Jiang, the topography consists mainly of NE-SW mountains with heights of 500-1000 m and intermediate river valleys and basins.

The fourth topographic step includes the marginal oceans with continental shelf and over 5,000 islands. The marginal oceans, which are generally less than 200 m deep, consist of Bo Hai, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea. The largest islands are Taiwan and Hainan. Several states are claiming the Xisha (Paracel) and Nansha (Spratly) archipelagos in the South China Sea, including due to the oil deposits found.


China’s climate is dominated by the monsoon’s seasonal wind and rainfall changes. In winter, the northwest monsoon blows from the Siberian cold high pressure and provides cold and drought. In summer, on the other hand, the Indian heat imprint over the mainland and the maritime high pressures over the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean require the hot and humid summer monsoon to blow in over land.

The location of the precipitation belt is closely linked to the arrival and withdrawal of the summer monsoon. Where the southeast monsoon dominates, the rainy season begins in early April in southern China, in early June in central China, and in early July in northern and northeastern China. The monsoon retreats quickly in late August or early September. In SW China, where the southwest monsoon dominates, the rainy season begins in late May and ends only in October, when the monsoon quickly moves south.

China’s large north-south extent means that the country includes three climate zones: the continental temperate North China and the subtropical and tropical South China. The southern border of temperate northern China follows the Qin Ling Mountains, which serve as a protection against the cold northern winds, and Huai He further east. Only the southernmost part of Guangdong as well as Hainan and Taiwan are located in the tropical zone. At the same time, the great east-west extent and the effective barrier of the Himalayas mean that the monsoon has no effect in the arid NW China, where steppes and deserts dominate.

In January, the temperature differences from north to south are quite large, 1.5 °C for each latitude, from −30 ° in northern Heilongjiang to + 20 ° in southern Hainan. In July, the difference between north and south is much smaller, only 0.2 ° for each latitude. Most places in China have an average July temperature of 20-28 °. The exception is the cold Tibetan Plateau, where the July temperature is 4-12 °. The warmest are at Chang Jiang’s middle and lower reaches and in the Turfan Basin in Xinjiang, where the highest temperature of 47.6 ° is measured. The major cities of Chongqing, Wuhan, Changsha and Nanjing near Chang Jiang are called in summer “the four furnaces”.

In most areas, annual precipitation is concentrated during the summer months. Only the Altai Mountains and the Ilidalen in Xinjiang, which are characterized by the wandering low pressure of the westerly belt, have an even rainfall distribution in all seasons. The greatest amount of precipitation falls on the mountains of the east coast by more than 1500-2000 mm per year, while the smallest amount of less than 50 mm falls in the Taklimakan desert to the northwest.

The variation in the annual rainfall is large. This leads to recurring drought and flood disasters that China’s history is so full of. Despite extensive water regulation work, agriculture will always be very nature dependent and fixed production targets will be difficult to meet.


River water is necessary for China’s intensive agricultural production and urban industrial production, and rivers and canals continue to be a significant transportation system. Most of the rivers originate in the mountainous interior of the country and have their outlet in the Pacific Ocean or the Indian Ocean. The two longest and most significant are Chang Jiang and Huang He. Chang Jiang’s water flow is 17 times larger than Huang Hes. As much as 36% of China’s land is drained by rivers that flow into the northwestern part of China. The most famous inland river is the Tarim, which runs along the northern edge of the Taklimakan Desert and receives its water from the glaciers of the Kunlun and Tian Shan mountains.


According to ZHENGSOURCING, China had the world’s fourth largest economy in 2005, and growth in the economy is considerably greater than in most developed countries. But with an estimated GDP per. population of $ 1,100 (2003), China has reached the group of lower middle-income countries.


With 47% of the labor force (2004), the primary occupations are the main occupations in China. Throughout China’s history, peasant uprisings and political unrest have often arisen as a result of food shortages. The classic race between population growth and food production on a limited agricultural area is still the main dilemma for a Chinese government; currently, a fifth of the world’s population needs to be fed on less than 10% of agricultural land. China capabilities in the early 2000-t. precisely to feed its population on a modest and vegetable dominated nutritional level. Since 1985, China has been primarily a grain importer, especially of wheat, to meet part of the needs of the metropolitan population.

With a cultivated area of ​​approximately 95 mio. ha cultivates a Chinese farmer on average approximately 0.25 ha (calculated on the basis of a workforce of 490 million). It was estimated in 1996 that a further 15 million. ha can be cultivated, mainly in northwestern and northeastern China, but the land here is of marginal quality and the cultivation costly to undertake. At the same time, agricultural land, often of the best quality, is included for other purposes: urban development, infrastructure and farmers’ housing construction.

Chinese agriculture is very labor intensive and can be compared to horticulture. It is estimated that the Chinese farmer still spends approximately 1200 working hours per. ha per year compared to American farmers 10 hours. The low technological level consequently has a low labor productivity, as a Chinese farmer produces approximately 1 t of grain per year, compared to approximately 120 ti USA. But the West’s heavily mechanized agriculture based on high oil consumption is not a viable route for China. Nevertheless, it is officially estimated that the modernization of agriculture in the coming decades will continue to make hundreds of millions more redundant. farmers to be employed outside the actual agricultural production.

During the period of the People’s Republic, the government has pursued a fluctuating agricultural policy to increase agricultural production. The policy has partly included a political-economic side, where new forms of property and price policy should increase the farmers’ motivation for an increased effort, and partly a technological side, where an increase in land yield is put at the center.

The modest size of the farm is a classic, unsolved problem, first and foremost because it is the reason for the low average income of rural areas. The large collectives were a bid for a solution, but they were quickly abandoned in favor of the so-called production responsibility system. The land is still collectively owned, but the individual family has the right to use the land by renting it from the collective, usually for a period of 30 years. The family’s income depends to a much greater extent than before on the quantity produced, which can be partly sold at free market prices. The reforms were initially accompanied by increased government settlement prices for the main agricultural crops, such as cereals and cotton. The policy led to high growth in agricultural production and sharply rising incomes for the majority of the rural population in the period 1979-84. But from 1985,

The reform economy has regional consequences. Families with specialized production in the east coast provinces with the many big cities have run ahead, while many families in the country’s interior, far from the large markets, to a large extent still have to make ends meet via a self-sufficiency economy.

The technological solution aims to increase the yield per. unit of area, primarily by expanding the multi-crop system; the sown area is expanded in the form of several annual crops without increasing the cultivated area. The strategy is associated with the introduction of rapidly maturing and high-yielding plant varieties, an expansion and streamlining of the irrigated area and increased use of artificial fertilizers. The effective irrigated area has been expanded from 19% of the cultivated area in 1952 to 51% in 2004, and the fertilizer consumption has increased from 0.6 kg per hectare. sown ha in 1952 to 302 kg in 2004. The resulting increase in area yield has been large, eg for rice from 2.4 t per hectare. ha in 1952 to 6.3 in 2004 and for cotton from 240 kg per. ha in 1952 to 1111 kg in 2004.

The intense utilization of agricultural land, the increased irrigation and the cultivation of marginal soils have not been without costs in the form of a number of environmental damages, of which soil erosion, salinisation and desertification are the most serious.

Food crops, especially cereals, usually occupy 80-90% of the sown area, but the proportion is declining. China is the world’s largest producer of rice, wheat, millet, peanuts, cotton, silk and tobacco, and among the 2-5 largest of a very wide range of other crops.

Livestock breeding

In Chinese Central Asia, the nomadic minority peoples live on vast steppes of Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang and on the Tibetan Plateau. The main animals of the Mongols and Kazakhs are sheep, goats, horses, cattle and camels, of Tibetans sheep, goats and yaks.

The most important livestock in the agricultural areas are pigs, chickens, ducks, rabbits, cattle, buffaloes, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep and goats. The water buffalo remains an important draft animal in China’s rice fields. China has the world’s largest number of pigs, horses, sheep, goats, donkeys, mules and chickens, as well as the third largest number of cattle.

Pork, poultry and eggs are widespread foods in agricultural areas, and mutton, milk and cheese in nomadic areas. But even though China’s meat production is the world’s largest, meat consumption per capita is population modest, albeit rising. Dairy farming and specialized poultry farming is a new phenomenon around the big cities.


China is the world’s largest fishing nation. The tradition of breeding freshwater fish dates back 2000 years. Diverse species of carp fish dominate. Most of the production takes place in South China’s rivers, canals, lakes, ponds and rice fields, especially along the middle and lower reaches of Chang Jiang and along the Pearl River.

However, deep-sea fishing is larger than freshwater fishing. The Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea are rich in fish banks. State-owned fishing companies are based in a number of port cities, including Dandong, Dalian, Yantai, Qingdao, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Zhanjiang. Private fishing is on the rise. Near the coast, shellfish, crabs and seaweed are bred. Pollution and overfishing are creating increasing problems for fisheries.


Forests make up only 18% of China’s land area. The production of timber reaches a third place among the world’s timber producers, but the country suffers from a great shortage of timber, firewood and derived products such as paper and cellulose. The timber forests, which make up 80% of the forest area and are dominated by coniferous forests, are widespread in the remote and inaccessible areas, the Hinggan Mountains in Heilongjiang, Jilin and eastern Inner Mongolia, and the Hengduan Mountains in the southeastern Tibetan Plateau, especially Sichuan and Yunnan. The timber forests are overexploited and much wasted. The forest area also includes the subtropical Chinese bamboo forests, the protective forest belts in the northern part of the country, the Green Great Wall, which is to curb soil erosion and desertification, and finally forest areas with tree crops (heavy oil, walnut, date, rubber) and orchards (apples, pears, citrus fruits, bananas, pineapples).

Mining and industry

In 2004, the secondary industries (mining, industry and construction) employed 169 million, corresponding to 23% of the labor force, and contributed 46% of GDP. The large state-owned companies continue to form the backbone, but the other forms of property, collective, private and foreign, are gaining more and more ground. Of particular importance is the industrialization of rural areas.

Before 1949, the industry emerged mainly as a result of the needs of the world market. The industry included three sectors that had little to do with each other: the foreign, the modern national and the traditional. The foreign sector, which was by far the largest, covered two areas: the treaty ports1842-1936 and Manchuria 1932-45. After the end of the Opium War in 1842, the Western powers, with England as the dominant nation, acquired territorial rights on the coast of China in the form of treaty ports. Shanghai and Canton (Guangzhou) became the main investment areas. The industry mainly comprised consumer goods, textiles, food and beverages, which were either consumed locally or exported. With Japan’s occupation of Manchuria in 1932, a heavy industrial construction began with arms production as the core. Manchuria and Korea were to be heavy industrial centers in the expanding Greater Japan. The basis of industrialization was the rich deposits of coal and pig iron and migrating Chinese labor. The main centers were Shenyang (machinery), Fushun (coal) and Anshan (iron and steel). A nationally owned industry arose primarily in the coastal provinces, but outside the treaty ports. The national bourgeoisie focused primarily on consumer goods, but the goods were mainly sold on the national market in the cities of the hinterland. Japan’s invasion of China caused a large part of the national industry to move to Chongqing in Sichuan Province, where the Guomindan government established its capital in 1938-46. Most of China was dominated by the traditional sector, with urban craft production serving the local upper class. where the Guomindan government established its capital 1938-46. Most of China was dominated by the traditional sector, with urban craft production serving the local upper class. where the Guomindan government established its capital 1938-46. Most of China was dominated by the traditional sector, with urban craft production serving the local upper class.

Industrial policy after 1949, including the prioritization of industries and the choice of location, has been very volatile. 1949-57 was marked first by reconstruction and then implementation of China’s first five-year plan 1953-57 with Soviet assistance and according to Soviet planning principles. Heavy industry was given high priority with iron and steel industry, coal mining, electric power and machinery industry as key industries, and a large number of industrial centers were started in the interior of China, especially North and Northwest China, among others. Baotou, Luoyang, Zhengzhou, Lanzhou, Ürümqi. The flagships became new iron and steelworks in Wuhan and Baotou.

The Great Leap Forward, which meant a break with Soviet planning practices, was marked by a decentralization of state-owned enterprises from the central to the provincial level and the start-up of local industry at levels below the province: prefectures, counties and municipalities. The mass campaign for the production of pig iron and steel received the most publicity, both in town and on land. The policy of “walking on two legs” ended in chaos, because the pig iron from the small blast furnaces was quite unsuitable for steel production. In a short adjustment period 1961-63, companies were localized, the pace of investment was lowered, unprofitable companies closed, and the production of consumer goods was given higher priority.

The Cultural Revolution 1966-76 was characterized by changing strategies, which had an impact on sector choice and location. An actual decline in industrial production took place only in the most chaotic part of the period, 1967-68. Most significant is the construction of the so-called Third Frontfrom 1964. In anticipation of the outbreak of a third world war, in which both the United States and the Soviet Union could be the invading party, the central government invested in a massive build-up of new industrial capacity in SW China with its center in Sichuan. The Third Front structure consisted of large and medium-sized enterprises, especially in heavy industry and many with military production, several of which were built in mountainous areas. The production equipment was nationally manufactured, and construction and production were supervised by experts and workers from the coastal area. The Panzhihua Iron and Steel Works in the southeastern part of Sichuan was the largest project. At the same time, railway lines were laid between the provincial capitals of SW China.

From 1971, a number of state-owned enterprises were again decentralized from the central to the provincial level, and emphasis was placed on building small local enterprises. Most famous was the investment in the so-called Five Small Industries, small state-owned enterprises at county level with the following heavy industrial components: energy production from coal mines and hydropower plants, iron and steel production, cement production, fertilizer production and production and maintenance of agricultural machinery.

A third feature of the period was the interest in the import of advanced Western technology, symbolized by the purchase in 1973-74 of 13 large nitrogen fertilizer plants from Japan, the United States, the Netherlands and France. Another wave of purchases began in 1978. The companies, which were located in a large number of provinces, four of them in SW China, emphasized the central government’s emphasis on self-sufficiency in grain.

Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms of 1979 meant a radical change of course with market economy experiments and opening up to foreign investment and technology. In 1979, the central government established four special economic zones (free zones) in the provinces of Guangdong (Shenzhen and Zhuhai) and Fujian (Xiamen and Shantou). The zones, which are located opposite Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, were to draw capital from precisely the territories that are considered parts of China, in order to gradually integrate them into the Chinese economy. In 1989, the island of Hainan became the fifth special economic zone. In 1984, China opened 14 coastal cities for foreign investment. Since then, high-tech development zones have been set up in most major cities, where foreign companies can invest on favorable terms. The most significant investment zone, the Pudong area of ​​Shanghai, was established in the early 1990’s.

In 2004, China was the country in the world that absorbed the most foreign capital, in the period 1979-2004 in the amount of 562 billion. dollars. In 2004, foreign-funded companies numbered just over 242,000 with a workforce of 10.33 million, contributing 57% of China’s foreign trade. About 70% of the companies are industry, especially in textile, electronics, telecommunications equipment, machinery and chemical industry. Until 1992, investment came mainly from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao, and the companies were small and labor-intensive, but since then, the large, high-tech and transnational companies from Japan, the United States and the European Union have played an ever-growing role. 86% of foreign investment is made in the coastal provinces.

The economic reforms contribute to a new national division of labor and a re-creation of the crooked China from before 1949, when the coastal provinces also constituted the country’s dynamo. The greater financial independence of companies and provinces means greater concentration of economic activities on the east coast and less emphasis on redistribution in favor of the less developed hinterland. In the coastal region, emphasis is placed on building knowledge- and technology-intensive production and production of high-quality consumer goods, including products for the overseas market. The goal is twofold: partly to gain access to the world market, partly to contribute technologically to the development of China’s interior.

The central government needs a rapid development of the inner provinces, because the majority of the country’s mineral deposits, including energy resources, are located here. Since the 8th Five-Year Plan 1991-95, the Chinese government has called for a prioritization of the development of the country’s interior, from 1999 in the form of the development program “The Great Development of the Western Region”, a grandiose state attempt to correct the market distortion of the country. An important purpose of the development strategy is to get started in the utilization of the western region’s enormous natural resources, especially energy sources, and to build up the region’s infrastructure, in the form of roads, railways, oil and gas pipelines, power plants and electricity networks, ie. projects which will also benefit the development of the coastal region within a common national market. An example is Xinjiang, China’s northwesternmost province. To accelerate development, a so-called double opening is being attempted, partly towards the coastal provinces and western capital, partly towards the new, Muslim neighboring states, which emerged after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Foreign oil companies are invited to extract the province’s rich deposits of oil and natural gas. be a raw material in a large number of new petrochemical companies. It trades across the borders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, etc., especially consumer goods, many of which originate from the coastal provinces and many go into transit to the large Russian market. Common economic development zones on the border between Xinjiang and neighboring states are being negotiated. The opening against border states applies to all of China’s border provinces. But even though the strategy provides a saline injection,


China’s economy is heavily dependent on coal, which accounts for 2/3of the country’s energy consumption. The country has the world’s third largest coal reserves, but even though China has had the world’s largest coal production since 1989, total energy production cannot keep up with demand. As a result of energy shortages, most businesses produce below their capacity, and citizens have to live with minimal and irregular home heating in the winter. Coal is produced in both large, nationally controlled mines, local state-owned mines and small collectively and privately owned mines. Production from the small mines takes place with primitive production equipment and under criticisable working conditions with an enormously high accident rate. As a result of the major environmental problems, more and more of the small mines are closing. The majority of the coals are of high quality with a low sulfur content, but since the majority of them are used untreated, coal consumption contributes greatly to environmental pollution. About 80% of the reserves are found in northern China, especially in the provinces of Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi and Xinjiang. As the majority of consumption takes place in eastern China, large quantities of coal are transported east and south, about 85% by train. Kultransport seizes approximately 40% of the rail freight capacity and thus contributes greatly to the congestion of the network.

China, which in 1949 had insignificant oil production, has been the world’s fifth largest producer since the 1990’s. Until the early 1960’s, production took place in small and remote fields in northwestern China, especially Xinjiang and Gansu. The turning point was the discovery in 1959 of the Daqing oil field in Heilongjiang province, which today remains China’s most important oil field, but with a production that has begun to decline. Other fields are Shengli in Shandong and Liaohe in Liaoning Province. Both are adjacent and continue out into Bo Hai Bay. Foreign companies contribute to the exploration for offshore oil fields, especially in the East China and South China Seas. So far, offshore production has not been a great success, but its contribution to total production has been increasing, reaching 18% in 2004. Expectations are high for the newly discovered oil fields in the major inland basins, especially Tarim and Dzungariet in Xinjiang. The large amounts of desert sand today do not constitute a technical obstacle to exploitation. With the help of foreign companies, Xinjiang’s oil production in 2004 accounted for 13% of domestic. China’s strong economic growth has meant that the country is increasingly participating in the hunt for the planet’s oil resources. In 2005, China had a crude oil import of DKK 127 million. t the world’s third largest importer, after the United States and Japan. Imports are thus approaching the level of national oil production (181 million in 2005). China’s strong economic growth has meant that the country is increasingly participating in the hunt for the planet’s oil resources. In 2005, China had a crude oil import of DKK 127 million. t the world’s third largest importer, after the United States and Japan. Imports are thus approaching the level of national oil production (181 million in 2005). China’s strong economic growth has meant that the country is increasingly participating in the hunt for the planet’s oil resources. In 2005, China had a crude oil import of DKK 127 million. t the world’s third largest importer, after the United States and Japan. Imports are thus approaching the level of national oil production (181 million in 2005).

China has been the world’s second largest producer of electric power since 1994, but production per per capita is very modest. The contribution from the thermal (coal and oil-fired) power plants in 2004 was 83%, from hydropower plants 15% and from nuclear power plants a modest 2%. The largest hydropower plants are built in central and western China, especially on Chang Jiang itself, its tributaries and the upper reaches of Huang He. The interest is concentrated on the soon-to-be-completed, much-discussed Sanxia (The Three Gorges), which with a total power of 17.68 GW will become the world’s largest hydropower plant. China has also built over 27,000 small village-owned hydropower plants, which with a total output of almost 10 GW (1995) supply the majority of the electricity used in a large part of the country’s villages. In 2005, there were only two civilian nuclear power plants in China, the Chinese-constructed Qinshan plant in Zhejiang and the Daye plant in Guangdong province, a French-Chinese cooperation project. The number of generators at the two plants has gradually grown to nine. But a large number of nuclear power plants are planned in the energy-hungry coastal region, including in Liaoning, Shandong and Fujian. It is expected that nuclear power’s share of electric power capacity will increase to 4% by 2020.

The growth rate of China’s industrial production has been among the highest in the world since 1949. Within a wide range of goods, China has gradually become the world’s largest producer. This applies, for example, to semi-finished products such as steel (largest producer in 1996), building materials such as cement, means of production for agriculture such as nitrogen fertilizers, means of transport such as motorcycles and bicycles and consumer goods such as cotton textiles and televisions. In some areas, production has started late, but is now undergoing strong development, such as the production of ships and passenger cars. In 2004, China’s contribution to the world economy was 4.3%, but the country consumed, for example, 30% of the world’s coal and 27% of the world’s iron and steel. But in all areas, per. per capita production remains low, and for most consumer goods per.

China (Plant Life)

Farthest to the northeast is coniferous forest with Mongolian larch or mixed forest with species of pine, spruce, Norway spruce and deciduous trees such as birch, oak and maple. To the west, the forest turns into a steppe with feather grass; these areas are now predominantly cultivated. Further west, precipitation decreases, and large areas are covered by semi-desert and desert with species in the saltwort family and along the rivers poplar and tamarisk.

In the densely populated areas of eastern China, such as south of Beijing, natural vegetation is found only on steep mountain slopes. The plain has a park-like character with fruit and ornamental trees by the villages, such as date plum (khaki tree, Diospyros khaki) and mulberry. The species-rich mountain forests of the subtropical areas have now been largely transformed into scrub. Farthest to the south (incl. The island of Hainan) the vegetation is tropical with evergreen forest, which contains many species from the families Melastomataceae and Dipterocarpaceae as well as bamboo species.

Across China, perhaps 30,000 species of vascular plants occur; a large project with registration and mapping of the country’s flora with Danish participation has not yet ended (1997). Especially in the tropical areas (Yunnan and Guangxi) the flora is still incompletely explored and many new species are constantly being discovered.

China (Peoples)

China’s population includes a wide range of linguistic and ethnic groups. The main population, which makes up approximately 92%, is usually referred to as the Han people, but the term covers large linguistic and cultural differences; the homogeneity of the Han Chinese population is a contentious issue. In particular, the Chinese state has promoted the idea that the Han Chinese have a common cultural and historical origin in so-called cultural core areas between Chang Jiang (Yangtze Kiang) and Huang He(The Yellow River) and at the same time describes linguistic differences as dialects, whereas archaeological and linguistic data call these assumptions into question. Today, there is an emerging regional orientation in China, where especially the provinces in the outlying areas want to promote their own identity and economic development. For culture and traditions of China, please check animalerts.

The minority population belongs to 55 so-called national minorities with very large differences between them. Physically anthropologically, they belong to both the Mongoloid and the Caucasian groups, and linguistically they are spread over several language groups. Although the national minorities only make up just over 8% of the population, they number approximately 120 mio. people and has traditionally inhabited approximately 60% of the territory currently controlled by the Chinese state, mainly due to the huge extent of Inner Mongolia to the north, Xinjiang to the northwest and Tibet and Qinghai to the west. At the 2010 census, 18 minorities had a population of over 1 million: zhuang, hui, man, uygur,miao, yi, tujia, tibetan, mongol, dong, bouyei, yao, bai, koreaner, hani, li, kasakher and dai. China’s total minority population doubled between 1980 and 1995, however, in addition to regular population growth reflects the fact that many individuals who previously registered himself as he, today can be registered as minority people, as certain privileges are associated with this status, such as milder child restraint and easier access to higher education.

There are a total of five autonomous regions with provincial status reserved for the largest nationalities: Guangxi for zhuang (46 million), Inner Mongolia for Mongols (24.7 million), Xinjiang for uygur (21.8 million), Ningxia for hui (6.2 million) and Tibet for Tibetans(3 million). However, many of these nationalities live scattered over large areas. In addition to the autonomous regions, there are autonomous minority areas at lower administrative levels. Despite the autonomous status of these regions and local areas, they are under strict central Chinese rule, which has led to constant tensions and sometimes violent clashes, especially in Buddhist Tibet and the Muslim and Turkish-speaking Xinjiang. Many nationalities have in the past formed major independent kingdoms or states, such as Tibetans, Uyghurs, Yi, Qiang, and Miao, while Mongols and Manchus earlier in history have founded dynasties that have ruled China (Yuan and Qing).

Part of the northern and western minorities are traditionally and to some extent still pastoral nomads: Mongols, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tajiks and sections of the Tibetan population. Many minority people are primarily farmers, for example zhuang, who are ethnically related to the Thai people, and also a number of highland people such as yi, yao and dai, who all live in SW China. In addition, there are a few groups of traditional sweat farmers and hunter-gatherers and also many groups with mixed occupations. Several registered minority groups are now heavily assimilated into Han Chinese society, especially Manchurians and, moreover, Hui, who are Chinese Muslims and as such not an ethnic minority in the narrow sense.

Most minority areas have been under pressure since the late 1950’s due to Han Chinese immigration from the densely populated parts of Central China, especially Inner Mongolia, which has long had a Chinese majority, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Tibet Autonomous Region. Many of the areas that constitutionally belong to national minorities have thus been the target of actual colonization and today have a real male-Chinese population majority.

China – language

The vast majority of the population, approximately 95%, speak Chinese or Hanyu, ie. languages ​​within seven related but mutually incomprehensible language groups. They are traditionally referred to as the Chinese dialects. Of these, the northern ones are spoken by almost 70% of the country’s residents, while approximately 25% speak one of the southern: wu, also called the Shanghai dialect, min, Fujian, yue, Cantonese, kejia, hakka, xiang, Hunanese and gan, the Jiangxi dialect. The standardized language form, putonghuaThe ‘common language’, based on North Chinese, was adopted in 1956 and is actively promoted through the media and education system. Scripture is common to all Chinese dialects, although the pronunciation of the characters varies greatly from dialect to dialect.

approximately 5% of China’s population speak non-Chinese languages. They belong to ethnic minority groups, 55 of which are officially recognized; they speak more than 100 different languages ​​from six different language groups. In northern China, the main minority languages ​​are Altaic, including the various Mongolian languages (about 4.8 million) as well as Uyghur (7-8 million), Kazakh (about 1.3 million) and Korean (about 2.2 million). mio.). In addition, there are two Indo-European languages, Tajik (about 40,000) and Russian (about 13,000). In southern China, there are representatives of the language families tai-kadai, spoken by approximately 25 million, of which approximately 16 mio. zhuang, approximately 2.9 million bouyei and approximately 670,000 li, Tibeto-Burmese, spoken by approximately 20 million, of which approximately 5.5 million yi and approximately 4.5 million Tibetan, Hmong-Mien (about 5.5 million) and Mon-Khmer languages spoken by approximately 475,000, of which approximately 280,000 wa. In addition, there are 1.9 million who speak Bai – the language most closely related to Chinese. Not all 55 minority groups have or use their own language; Chinese is thus spoken among the Manchus in northern China, whose language has been forgotten except for the Sibo dialect ., spoken by approximately 30,000, and in the geographically dispersed Muslim group hui. Mongols, Uyghurs and Tibetans, etc., have ancient writing systems that are still used, while a number of other languages, such as hmong-mien and zhuang, are written in Latin letters.

China Geography