China’s natural space is of a diversity that is seldom found anywhere else on earth. Rugged high mountains and deserts in the west, Mongolian steppes in the north and tropical islands in the south. In between, embedded in extensive hilly landscapes, the great rivers, on whose fertile banks once the Chinese civilization arose. But nature has suffered severely from industrial overexploitation and galloping urbanization. One of the most pressing questions in China today is therefore how to preserve the natural environment as a livable space.
According to oxfordastronomy, China is Asia’s most important industrial country and a motor for global economic growth. Cheap jobs in production and a growing consumer demand due to the rising standard of living attract numerous investors from abroad. At the same time, China’s government is faced with the difficult task of distributing the fruits of economic success fairly and appropriately rewarding individual commitment.
More than three decades of economic reforms have fundamentally changed the society of the PRC. Despite increased prosperity, China’s population is more than ever shaped by social differences. Areas of tension exist between rich and poor, between different ethnic groups or between town and country.
Staying in China is now relatively uncomplicated. In addition to the entry modalities, you should deal with the topics of safety, health care, transport and communication options in advance. Those who stay in China for longer may want to learn Chinese or are looking for a school for the children.
Proportion of literate adults: 96.8% (2018)
Major religions: Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Christianity
Urban population: 60.6% (2019)
Life expectancy (female / male): 78/74 years (2019)
Gender Inequality Index: Rank 85 (of 189) (2018)
Number of births: 1.16 / woman (2019)
Infant mortality: 11.4 / 1000 live births (2019)
Chinese society has become increasingly urbanized in recent decades. In the early 1980’s, 20% of Chinese people lived in rural areas and 80% in cities. Nowadays, most Chinese, around 60%, live in urban areas. In the course of economic reforms, huge metropolitan areas have emerged, of which the Per River Delta with the megacities of Canton, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai is the largest. A total of 67 million people live in this metropolitan region. But tens of millions of people also live in metropolitan areas around Shanghai or Beijing. The rapid growth of the urban population in the coastal areas is strongly linked to the inward migration of millions of migrant workers. The city of Shenzhen, which was a small fishing town with 60,000 residents in the early 1980’s, is now a metropolis with 13 million residents.
The largest cities in China are Chongqing (30 million), Shanghai (24 million) and Beijing (21 million). There are also numerous cities such as Tianjin, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shenyang, Xi’an, etc., some of which have well over 5 million residents.
China’s transport system is particularly well developed in the eastern coastal regions. Its dimensions are impressive: the road system covers 4.7 million km, of which around 131,000 km are expressways. The railway network is around 191,000 km long and reaches all major cities in China. At the same time, PR China has the largest network of navigable waterways worldwide with 127,100 km and has 2,000 sea ports and more than 5,000 river ports. Nine of the 10 largest container ports in the world are in China and with over 2,000 seagoing ships, the PR China has the third largest merchant fleet in the world. China’s aircraft fleet consists of over 5,000 aircraft that can fly to more than 200 civil airports on Chinese soil. The largest airport in the world opened in Beijing in September 2019.
In terms of transport policy, much attention has been paid to expanding the transport infrastructure in the underdeveloped and hard-to-reach western regions since the early 2000’s. An important example of this is the connection of Tibet to the Chinese rail network: since July 2006, freight and passenger trains have been able to run on the world’s highest railway line, over 1,000 km long, between Golmud (Qinghai) and Lhasa (Tibet). China’s westernmost city, Kashgar, was also connected to the rail network. In total, a further 850 billion euros are to be invested in the roads and rails of western China over the next few years
Another focus of transport policy is the expansion of the high-speed rail network in the east of the country, which is already 11,028 km long. In 2012 the world’s longest high-speed rail line went into operation. It connects the capital Beijing with Guangzhou (Canton). The trains reach speeds of up to 350 km / h and cover the 2,298 km route within eight hours. An even longer route is to connect Baotou in Inner Mongolia with the Hainan Islands in southern China.
In 2017, construction of new urban rail systems began in 30 Chinese cities.