• With an area of 9.6 million square kilometres, China is the fourth-largest country in the world and the most populous nation on earth, with around 1.35 billion people. Of these, 92 percent are of the Han ethnic group, with the remainder comprising about sixty minorities such as Mongols, Uyghurs and Tibetans.
• The main religions are Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity, though the country is officially atheist.
• China’s longest river is the Yangzi (6275km) and the highest peak is Qomolongma – Mount Everest (8850m) – on the Nepalese border.
• The Chinese Communist Party is the sole political organization, and is divided into Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. The chief of state (President) and the head of government (Premier) are elected for five-year terms at the National People’s Congress.
• After decades of state planning, the economy is now mixed, with nationally owned enterprises on the decline and free-market principles ubiquitous.
Everything you need to know before you set off.
Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners
Planning your trip to China
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.
An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai
Shanghai has to be a contender for the buzziest city in Asia, a thriving business hub that's brashly modern yet wears its history on its sleeve. Dense with glit…
The best aerial views in the world
Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel
That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…