Thursday, May 26, 2022
China Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


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China, formally known as the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is an East Asian sovereign state. It is the world’s most populated state, with a population of about 1.381 billion. The state is ruled by the Communist Party of China, which is headquartered in Beijing. It has authority over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two mostly self-governing special administrative areas (Hong Kong and Macau). Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Tianjin, and Hong Kong are the country’s main urban centres. China is a large state and a significant regional force in Asia, and has been dubbed a possible superpower.

China, with a land size of about 9.6 million square kilometers, is the world’s second biggest state in terms of land area and either the third or fourth largest in terms of total area, depending on the measuring technique used. China’s terrain is wide and varied, ranging from forest steppes in the dry north to subtropical forests in the moist south. China is separated from most of South and Central Asia by the Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir, and Tian Shan mountain ranges. The Yangtze and Yellow rivers, respectively the world’s third and sixth longest, flow from the Tibetan Plateau to the heavily populated eastern coast. China’s Pacific Ocean coastline stretches for 14,500 kilometers (9,000 miles) and is bordered by the Bohai, Yellow, East China, and South China seas.

China is one of civilization’s cradles, with its known history starting with an ancient civilisation – one of the world’s oldest – that thrived in the rich Yellow River valley in the North China Plain. China’s political structure has been built on hereditary monarchs known as dynasties for millennia. Since 221 BC, when the Qin Dynasty defeated many kingdoms to establish the first Chinese empire, the state has grown, split, and rebuilt several times. The Republic of China (ROC) succeeded the last dynasty in 1912 and governed the Chinese mainland until 1949, when it was destroyed in the Chinese Civil War by the Communist Party of China. On 1 October 1949, the Communist Party formed the People’s Republic of China in Beijing, while the ROC government moved to Taiwan, with Taipei serving as its de facto interim capital. Both the ROC and the PRC continue to assert their legitimacy as the legal government of all of China, but the latter has more international recognition and governs more land.

China has grown to become one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies since 1978, when economic reforms were implemented. As of 2014, it was the world’s second-biggest economy in terms of nominal GDP and the world’s largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). China is also the world’s biggest exporter of commodities and the world’s second largest importer. China is a nuclear weapons state with the biggest standing army and second-highest military expenditure in the world. The PRC is a United Nations member, having succeeded the ROC as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 1971. China is also a member of a number of official and informal international organizations, including the World Trade Organization, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BCIM, and the G-20.

People and customs in China

China is a very diverse place with great differences in culture, language, customs and economic level. The economic landscape is particularly diverse. The big cities like Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai are modern and comparatively prosperous. However, about 50% of the Chinese still live in rural areas, although only 10% of the Chinese land is arable land. Hundreds of millions of rural dwellers still cultivate manual labor or draught animals. Around 200 to 300 million former farmers have emigrated to townships and cities in search of work. According to government estimates for 2005, 90 million people were living on less than USD 924 per year and 26 million below the official poverty line of USD 668 per year. At the other end of the spectrum, the rich continue to indulge in luxury goods and real estate at an unprecedented rate. In general, the southern and eastern coastal regions are more affluent, while the interior, the far west and north, and the southwest are much less developed.

The cultural landscape is not surprisingly diverse given the size of the country and its population. China has 56 officially recognized ethnic groups; by far the largest is the Han, which makes up over 90 % of the population. The other 55 groups enjoy positive measures for university admission and exemption from the one-child policy. However, the Han are far from homogeneous and speak a variety of incomprehensible local “dialects”; most linguists actually classify them as different languages by using more or less the same set of Chinese characters. Most ethnic minorities naturally also have their very own languages. Contrary to popular belief, there is no unified Han Chinese culture, and although they share certain common elements such as Confucian and Taoist beliefs, the regional differences in culture within the Han ethnic group are actually very different. There are many customs and deities that are specific to specific regions and in some cases even villages. The celebration of the new lunar year and other national festivals varies drastically from region to region. Specific customs related to the celebration of important occasions such as weddings, funerals and births also vary greatly. In general, contemporary urban Chinese society tends to be secular and traditional culture is more of a basic trend in daily life. Among the ethnic minorities, the Zhuang, Manchu, Hui and Miao are the largest. Some other notable ethnic minorities are: Koreans, Tibetans, Mongols, Uighurs, Kyrgyz and even Russians. In China, the largest Korean population lives outside of Korea and there are also more ethnic Mongols than in the Republic of Mongolia. Many minorities have been assimilated to varying degrees with the loss of their language and customs or a fusion with Han traditions. An exception to this trend is the current situation of the Tibetans and Uighurs in China, who fiercely defend their cultures to the death.

On the whole, however, the Chinese love a good laugh, and because there are so many ethnic groups and outsiders from other regions, they are used to and agree with different approaches. In fact, the Chinese often talk to strangers by discussing differences in accent or dialect. They are very used to using sign language and are quick to see a non-verbal joke or pun wherever they can recognize one. (A laugh does not necessarily mean contempt, just pleasure, and the Chinese like a “collective good laugh”, often at times or circumstances that Westerners consider rude). The Chinese love and adore children, allowing them a lot of freedom and a lot of attention to them.

Geography of China

China has a large number of areas with many mountain ranges in the interior, plateaus and deserts in the center and far west. Plains, deltas and hills dominate the east. The Pearl River Delta region around Guangzhou and Hong Kong and the Yangtze Delta around Shanghai are important power plants of the world economy, as well as the North China Plain around Beijing and the Yellow River. At the border between Tibet (the Autonomous Region of Tibet) and the nation of Nepal, Mount Everest is the highest point on earth at 8,850 m. The Turpan Depression in Xinjiang in northwest China is the lowest point in China at 154 m below sea level. This is one of the lowest points in the world after the Dead Sea.

Units of Measure in China

China’s official measurement system is metric, but sometimes you hear the traditional Chinese measurement system used in colloquial speech. The one you are most likely to encounter in everyday use is Jin (斤), a unit of measurement for mass. Most Chinese give their weight in Jin on request, and food prices in the markets are often quoted per Jin. For practical reasons, one Jin corresponds to approximately 0.5 kg

Biodiversity in China

China is one of 17 megadiverse countries and is located in two of the most important environmental zones in the world: the Palearctic and Indomalaya. It has over 34,687 animal and vascular plants varieties, which makes China the 3rd most biodiverse country in the world after Brazil and Colombia. The country signed the Rio de Janeiro Convention on Biological Diversity on June 11, 1992 and became a party to the Convention on January 5, 1993. It later developed a national strategy and action plan for biological diversity, the revision of which was received by the Convention on September 21, 2010.

In China there are a least 551 species of mammals (the 3rd highest in the world), 1,221 bird species ( 8th), as well as 424 species of reptiles ( 7th) and up to 333 types of amphibians ( 7th). China is the country with the greatest biodiversity in every category outside the tropics. China’s wildlife shares habitat with the world’s largest population of Homo sapiens and is under acute pressure. More than 840 animal species are endangered, or threatened by local extinction in China, primarily due to various human activities like habitat destruction, contamination and poaching for food, fur and other ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine. Compromised wildlife is under the protection of law. As of 2005, the country has more than 2,349 nature reserves with a total area of 149.95 million hectares, representing 15 percent of China’s total land area.

China has more than 32,000 types of vascular plants and is host to a wide variety of forest types. In the north of the country, cold coniferous forests are predominant and are also home to animal species including moose and Asian black bear and over 120 bird species. The undergrowth of moist coniferous forests can contain bamboo thickets. In higher montane populations of juniper and yew, bamboo is replaced by rhododendrons. Subtropical forests, which predominate in central and southern China, are home to up to 146,000 plant species. Although tropical and seasonal rainforests are limited to Yunnan and Hainan Island, these areas contain a quarter of all plant and animal species found in China. Over 10,000 species of fungi are known in China, of which almost 6,000 are higher fungi.

Demographics of China

The population of the People’s Republic of China was reported as approximately 1,370,536,875 in the 2010 census. Nearly 16.60% of the population was 14 years or younger, while 70.14% were between 15 and 59 years old and 13.26% were above 60 years old. The population increase for 2013 is assumed to be 0.46%.

While China is a mid-income economy by Western standards, China’s rapid economic growth since 1978 raised a hundred million of its population from poverty. Nowadays approximately 10% of the Chinese population are living below the poverty level of just under $1 per day, in contrast to $64% from 1978. In the year 2014, China’s urban unemployment level was around 4.1%.

With a population of over 1.3 billion people and dwindling natural resources, the Chinese government is very concerned about population growth and since 1979 has tried, with mixed results, to apply a strict family planning policy commonly known as the “one child policy”. Before 2013, the government’s policy was to limit families, except for ethnic minorities, to only have one child at a time, with some flexibility in rural areas. In December 2013, a substantial relaxation of the policy was adopted, allowing families to have two children if one parent is an only child. Now the Government is abandoning the one-child policy in favor of a two-child policy. Data from the 2010 census suggest that the total fertility rate could now be around 1.4.

The policy, together with the traditional preference for boys, may contribute to an imbalance in the gender ratio at birth. According to the 2010 census, the gender ratio at birth was 118.06 boys per 100 girls, which is above the normal range of about 105 boys per 100 girls. The 2010 census found that men made up 51.27 percent of the total population. However, China’s gender ratio is more balanced than in 1953, when men made up 51.82 percent of the total population.

Ethnic groups in China

China officially recognizes 56 different ethnic groups, of which the largest are Han Chinese, who make up about 91.51% of the total population. Han Chinese, the largest ethnic group in the world, are more numerous than other ethnic groups in all provincial-level divisions except Tibet and Xinjiang. According to the 2010 census, ethnic minorities make up about 8.49% of the Chinese population. In comparison with the 2000 census, the Han population has increased by 66,537,177 people or 5.74%, while the combined population of the 55 national ethnic minorities has been increased by 7,362,627 people or 6.92%. In the 2010 census, a total of 593,832 foreigners living in China were counted. The largest groups of this type came from South Korea (120,750), the United States (71,493) and Japan (66,159).

Religion in China

For thousands of years, Chinese civilization has been influenced by various religious movements. The “three teachings”, including Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism (Chinese Buddhism), have historically played an important role in shaping Chinese culture, each of which plays a role in the common Chinese (or popular) religion. . ). Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Chinese constitution, although religious organizations that do not have official authorization may be subject to state persecution.

Demographically, the most widespread religious tradition is the “Chinese religion,” which includes Confucian and Taoist modalities and consists of loyalty to Shen (神), a character that means “energies of generation” that can be deities. by nature. . Environmental or ancestral principles of human groups, concepts of politeness, cultural heroes, many of which appear in Chinese mythology and history. Some of the most famous cults are those of Mazu ( Goddess of the sea ), Huangdi (one of the two divine patriarchs of Chinese race), Guandi ( God of War and Business ), Caishen ( God of Wealth and prosperity) ), Pangu and several others. China is home to several of the highest religious statues in the world, including the highest of all, the Buddha in the spring temple in Henan.

The government of the People’s Republic of China is officially an atheist. The religious affairs and affairs of the country are supervised by the State Administration for Religious Affairs. A 2015 Gallup International survey found that 61% of Chinese identified themselves as “convinced atheists”. However, this result may be due to the survey’s Western criteria for defining a “religion”. The researchers found that there is no clear boundary between religions in China, particularly between Buddhism, Taoism and local popular religious practice. Leading sinologist John Lagerwey clearly defines China as a “religious state”.

According to recent demographic analyses, an average of 80% of the Chinese population practices some form of Chinese popular religion, Taoism and Confucianism. About 10-16% are Buddhists, 2-4% are Christians and 1-2% are Muslims. In addition to the local Han religious practices, there are several ethnic minorities in China that retain their traditional indigenous religions. Various sects of indigenous origin make up between 2% and 3% of the population, while Confucianism is popular among intellectuals as a religious self-designation. Important religions that are specifically related to certain ethnic groups are Tibetan Buddhism and the Islamic religion of the Hui and Uighurs.

Economy of China

From 2014 onwards, China will have the world’s second largest economy in terms of nominal GDP and, according to the International Monetary Fund, will amount to around USD 10.380 trillion. In terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), China’s economy is the largest in the world with a PPP GDP of USD 17.617 billion in 2014. In 2013, GDP per capita in PPP was USD 12,880, while nominal GDP per capita was USD 7,589. In both cases, China was behind some 80 countries (out of 183 countries on the IMF list) in the global GDP per capita ranking.

Economic history and growth

Since its foundation in 1949 until the end of 1978, the People’s Republic of China was a centrally planned economy in the Soviet style. After Mao’s death in 1976 and the subsequent end of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping and the new Chinese leadership began to reform the economy and move toward a more market-oriented mixed economy under a one-party regime. Collectivization of agriculture was dismantled and arable land privatized, while foreign trade became an important new priority, leading to the creation of special economic zones. Inefficient public enterprises (SOEs) were restructured and unprofitable enterprises were closed, resulting in massive job losses. Modern China is characterized above all by a market economy based on private property and is one of the prime examples of state capitalism. The state still dominates in strategic “pillars” sectors such as power generation and heavy industry, but private enterprise has grown considerably, with some 30 million registered private companies in 2008.

Since economic liberalization began in 1978, China has been one of the world’s fastest growing economies, heavily dependent on growth driven by investment and exports. According to the IMF, China’s average annual GDP growth between 2001 and 2010 was 10.5%. Between 2007 and 2011, China’s economic growth was equal to the growth of all G7 countries combined. According to the Global Growth Drivers Index announced by Citigroup in February 2011, China has a very high 3G growth rate. Its high productivity, low labor costs and relatively good infrastructure have made it a world leader. However, the Chinese economy is energy intensive and inefficient. China became the world’s largest energy consumer in 2010, relying on coal to meet over 70% of its energy needs and overtaking the US to become the world’s largest oil importer in September 2013. Early September In the 2010s, China’s economic growth began to slow in the face of domestic credit problems, weakening international demand for Chinese exports and the fragility of the global economy.

In the online sector, China’s e-commerce industry grew more slowly than the EU and the US. A significant phase of development will begin in 2009. According to Credit Suisse, the total value of China’s online transactions increased from a negligible size in 2008 to around 4 trillion RMB (660 billion U.S. dollars) in 2012. China’s online payment market is dominated by large companies. such as Alipay, Tenpay and China. UnionPay.

China in the global economy

Being a member of the WTO, China is the world’s leading trading power with a total value of international trade of $3.87 trillion in 2012 and its foreign exchange reserves have reached $2.85 trillion. At the end of 2010, this represents an increase of 18.7% over the previous year. year, which makes its reserves among the largest in the world. In 2012, China was the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment with a turnover of $253 billion. In 2014, China’s foreign exchange remittances totaled 64 billion US dollars. This makes China the second largest recipient of remittances worldwide. China also invests abroad with a total volume of foreign direct investment of US$62.4 billion in 2012 and a number of significant acquisitions of foreign companies by Chinese companies. In 2009, China held U.S. securities valued at approximately $1.6 trillion and was also the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury Bonds, with more than $1.16 trillion in U.S. Treasury bills. China’s undervalued exchange rate has led to friction with other major economies, and it has also been widely criticized for producing large quantities of counterfeit goods. According to consulting firm McKinsey, China’s total debt rose from $7.4 trillion in 2007 to $28.2 trillion in 2014, equivalent to 228 percent of China’s GDP, a higher percentage than some other countries in the world. G20.

In 2009, China was ranked 29th in the Global Competitiveness Index, despite being ranked 136th out of 179 countries in the Index of Economic Freedom in 2011. 2014 the Fortune Global 500 list of the largest global companies It included 95 Chinese companies with total sales of $5.8 trillion. That same year, Forbes also reported that 5 of the top 10 state-owned enterprises in the world were Chinese, which included the world’s largest bank in terms of total assets, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Class and income equality

China’s bourgeois population (if defined as those with an annual income between $10,000 and $60,000) had reached over 300 million in 2012. According to the Hurun report, the number of billionaires in US dollars in China declined from 130 in 2009 to 251 in 2012. This makes China the second highest number of billionaires in the world. China’s domestic retail market was worth more than 20 trillion yuan ($3.2 trillion) in 2012 and will grow by more than 12% per year from 2013, while the country’s luxury goods market has grown significantly, accounting for 27.5% of the global market share. In recent years, however, China’s rapid economic growth has contributed to high consumer inflation, which has led to increased government regulation. China has a high level of economic inequality, which has increased in recent decades. In 2012 the Chinese Gini coefficient was 0.474.

Things To Know Before Traveling To China

The electricity is 220 volts/50 Hz. Two-pin European and North American, and three-pin Australian plugs are generally supported. However, be sure to read the voltage ratings on your appliances to make sure they accept 220 volts (double the 110 volts used in many countries) before plugging them in – you could cause a burnout and permanent damage to some appliances like hair dryers and shavers. Universal extension cords that can handle a variety of plug styles (including British) are widely available.

Names of long streets are often given with a middle word indicating the part of the street. For example, White Horse Street or Baima Lu (白马路) can be divided into Baima Beilu (白马北路) for the northern (北 běi) end, Baima Nanlu (白马南路) for the southern (南 nán) end and Baima Zhonglu (白马中路) for the central (中 zhōng) part. For another street, dōng (东 “east”) and (西 “west”) could be used.

In some cities, however, these names do not designate parts of a road. In Xiamen, Hubin Bei Lu and Hubin Nan Lu (Lakeside Road North and Lakeside Road South) run parallel and east-west on the north and south sides of the lake. In Nanjing, Zhongshan Lu, Zhongshan Bei Lu and Zhongshan Dong Lu are three separate main roads.

Laundry services can be expensive or hard to find. In upscale hotels, washing each garment costs ¥10-30. Cheap hotels in some areas have no laundry service, although in other areas, such as along the Yunnan tourist route, the service is common and often free. In most areas, with the exception of the city centres in the big cities, you will find small shops that do laundry. Look for the 洗衣 (xǐyī) sign on the front door or spot the laundry hanging from the ceiling. The cost is about ¥2-5/piece. Even in the smallest towns, dry cleaners (干洗 gānxǐoutlets are widely available and may be able to wash clothes. But in some areas, you have to wash clothes by hand, which is time-consuming and tedious. It can take days to dry a pair of jeans, which is especially difficult if you are staying in a dormitory with no hangers, so quick-drying fabrics like polyester or silk are a good idea. If you find a hotel that does laundry, they will usually put all your clothes in the wash together or even with other items from the hotel, so lighter colours are best washed by hand.

Smoking is banned in public buildings and public transport, with the exception of restaurants and bars (including KTVs) – many of which are outright smoking dens, although many multinational restaurant chains prohibit smoking. These bans are enforced throughout the country. In general, smoking laws are strictest in Shanghai and Beijing, and less strictly enforced in the other cities. Many places (especially train stations, hospitals, office buildings and airports) have smoking rooms, and some long-distance trains have smoking areas at the end of each carriage. Facilities for non-smokers are often poor; most restaurants, bars and hotels do not have non-smoking areas, apart from the top establishments, although many modern buildings have a smoke extraction system that draws cigarette smoke out of the room through a ceiling fan – meaning the smoke is not hanging in the air. The Chinese phrase for “May I smoke?” is “kěyǐ chōuyān ma?” and “No smoking!” is “bù kěyǐ chōuyān!”.

Potentially disruptive behaviors

Foreigners may observe some behaviour in mainland China that can be somewhat disconcerting.

  • Spitting: on the street, in shops, supermarkets, hotel lobbies, hallways, restaurants, on the bus and even in hospitals. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that it is unhealthy to swallow mucus. Although the government has made great efforts to reduce this habit in light of the SARS epidemic as well as the Olympics, it still exists to varying degrees.
  • Smoking: almost everywhere, even in areas with “no smoking” signs, including gyms, football fields, bathrooms and even hospitals. Some cities now ban smoking in most restaurants, but enforcement can vary. Western restaurants seem to be the only ones that consistently enforce the ban. Masks would be a good idea for long bus journeys. It is perfectly normal for someone to smoke in a lift or even in hospital, even if there is a no smoking sign in sight.
  • Reaction to strangers: Anyone who does not look Chinese will notice that “hello” or “laowai” calls are common: lǎowài (老外) literally means “old outsider”, a colloquial term for “foreigner”; the more formal term is wàiguórén (外国人). Shouts of “laowai” are ubiquitous outside the big cities (and even there occasionally); these shouts come from just about anyone, regardless of age, and even more likely from very young people, and can occur many times in a day. Discrimination against people with darker skin is relatively widespread in China.
  • Staring: This is common in most parts of China. Staring usually arises from pure curiosity, almost never from hostility. Don’t be surprised if someone comes right up to you and just looks as if they are watching TV, no harm done!
  • Drinking: There is often a toast at dinner and it is generally considered impolite to refuse the toast.
  • Loud conversations: These are very common. Many Chinese speak very loudly in public and it can be one of the first things you notice when you arrive. Talking loudly does not usually mean that the speaker is angry or involved in an argument (although of course it can be). Noise means life, and China is rooted in a community-based culture, so you might want to bring earplugs for long bus or train rides!
  • Queuing: The concept of waiting in line doesn’t really exist in China, and it’s hard to suggest how to deal with it other than pushing and shoving like the others do! This is a serious problem at airports, train or bus stations, shopping malls or museums. If you are trying to catch a taxi, expect other people to walk further down the street to catch one before you. You may have to learn to be more assertive to get what you want in China.
  • Personal space: Remember that the concept of personal space is more or less non-existent in China. It is perfectly normal and acceptable behaviour if someone comes into very close contact with you or bumps into you and says nothing. Don’t get angry because the person will be surprised and most likely won’t even understand why you are offended!
  • Ignoring rules: Ignoring municipal, provincial and/or national rules, regulations and laws. This includes (among many other things) dangerous and careless driving, i.e. speeding, not using headlights at night, not using turn signals and driving on the wrong side of the road, crossing the road and smoking in non-smoking areas or disobeying smoking bans.
  • Fear of flying: A relatively new phenomenon, specifically in China, is groups of passengers who show both verbal and physical aggression towards airline staff during delays (and flight delays are very common). This is usually done in order to get better compensation from the airline.
  • Sneezing: Many Chinese do not cover their mouths when they sneeze. Picking your nose in public is common and socially accepted.
  • Escalators: Be careful when standing behind people on an escalator, as many people glance at it as soon as they get off – even if the escalator behind them is full. Department stores hire special staff to prevent this behaviour as much as possible.
  • Lifts: People love to use lifts whenever possible, especially in large family groups. You should definitely plan for patience if you want to walk through a shopping centre with a pram or luggage.

Some foreign residents will say that this behaviour is getting worse and others will say that things are getting better. The cause is usually attributed to the influx of millions of migrants from the countryside who are unfamiliar with big city life. The most important advice is not to take noticeable behaviour personally, as Chinese are rarely deliberately offensive to foreigners.

Lucky numbers

In general, 3, 6, 9 and especially 8 are lucky numbers for most Chinese.

  • “Three” means harmony of heaven, earth and people. “Three” is mostly seen in Chinese ancestor worship and traditional weddings.
  • “Six” stands for gentleness or success.
  • “Eight” sounds so close to the word for wealth that many people believe that eight is a number associated with prosperity. So it is no surprise that the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games began at 8:08:08 on 08.08.2008.
  • “Nine” is also considered a lucky number with the meaning of “eternal”.
  • “Four” is taboo for most Chinese because the pronunciation in Mandarin and even more so in Cantonese is close to “death”.

Overall, the Chinese like homophones. Sometimes even “four” can be a good number. Many people went to the registry office on 4 January 2013, simply because 2013/1/4 sounds like “love you forever” in Chinese.

The Chinese believe that the spirit of the deceased returns on the seventh day after their death. After a fire in Shanghai in which many people died, about 10,000 people came to the place to mourn seven days after the fire.

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