Natural Environment


 The terrain of China varies, with the western regions being elevated and the eastern regions having lower altitudes. Approximately 67% of the land consists of mountains, plateaus, and hills, while basins and plains make up the remaining 33%.


The mountain ranges, such as Altai, Tianshan, Kunlun, Karakoram, Himalayas, Yinshan, Qinling, Nanling, Daxinganling, Changbai, Taihang, Wuyi, and Hengduan, generally run from east to west or northeast to southwest. The Qinghai-Xizang Plateau in the west is the world’s largest plateau, often referred to as the “Roof of the World,” boasting an average altitude exceeding 4,000 meters. Mount Qomolangma, known as Mount Everest in English, stands as the world’s highest peak, soaring to 8,844.43 meters above sea level.


Moving eastward from the plateau towards the northern border, one encounters the Inner Mongolia Plateau, the Loess Plateau, the Sichuan Basin, and the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, collectively representing the second stage of China’s terrain. The third stage, extending from the ranges of Daxing’anling Mountain, Taihang Mountain, Wu Mountain, Wuling Mountain, and Xuefengshan Mountains to the eastern coastline, is characterized by numerous plains and hills. China’s eastern and southern coastlines feature continental shelves abundant with seabed resources.



The climate of China is incredibly varied, characterized by significant temperature differences between the northern and southern landscapes during winter, high temperatures in summer, a wide range of humidities from east to west, and a notable monsoon climate. 


Situated in the eastern part of the Eurasian continent, the world’s largest continent, and to the west of the Pacific Ocean, the largest ocean globally, China’s southwestern border is close to the Indian Ocean. Consequently, the climate is strongly influenced by continental shifts and oceans. In winter, the prevailing northerly wind blows from the mainland to the ocean, while in summer, the southerly wind blows from the ocean to the land. Due to the influence of cold and dry winter monsoons from inland Asia, much of China, especially the northern part, experiences minimal rainfall and low temperatures in winter. The warm and humid summer monsoon originates from the Pacific Ocean to the southeast and the Indian Ocean to the southwest, elevating temperatures and bringing substantial rainfall. 


China is significantly impacted by alternating winter and summer monsoons, having the most intense version of a monsoon climate globally. Consequently, compared to other regions at the same latitude worldwide, China exhibits considerably lower winter temperatures and higher summer temperatures. The distinct annual temperature difference and increased summer rainfall are essential features of China’s continental monsoon climate.

Rivers and Lakes

China boasts numerous rivers and lakes that not only play a crucial role in the country’s geographical environment but also contribute significantly as precious natural resources.


As one of the countries with the highest number of rivers globally, China features immense waterways with rich histories, including the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Pearl River, and Huai River. Additionally, there are over 1,500 rivers with a drainage area exceeding 1,000 square kilometers. The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal stands out as a remarkable example of China’s extensive man-made river systems.


Although China has an extensive array of lakes, their distribution is uneven across the nation’s landscape. Presently, China hosts 2,693 lakes with an area of 1 square kilometer or more. In the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the largest freshwater area in China can be found. This region is home to prominent lakes such as Dongting Lake, Taihu Lake, and Poyang Lake. Many lakes on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, including Qinghai Lake and Namco Lake, are inland saltwater lakes.






Plants and Animals

China stands out as one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, boasting rich animal and plant diversity. Statistics reveal approximately 2,070 species of terrestrial vertebrates in the country, constituting 9.8% of the global terrestrial vertebrate population. Among these, China hosts more than 1,170 bird species, over 400 mammal species, and 184 amphibian species, contributing to 13.5%, 11.3%, and 7.3% of the world’s respective species. Notably, rare species such as the giant panda, white porpoise, finless porpoise, white-lipped deer, Chinese alligator, white sturgeon, and more are exclusive to China, capturing the attention and affection of tourists worldwide.

Benefiting from vast land, intricate terrain, and diverse climates, China also boasts a wealth of plant varieties. Statistics indicate the presence of 300 animal families, 2,980 genera, 24,600 seed plant species, and 2,946 angiosperm genera in China. Notably, these angiosperms represent 23.6% of the total angiosperm genera globally. Ancient plants like metasequoia and ginkgo, constituting approximately 62% of the world’s total genera, act as “living fossils” uniquely preserved in China while extinct in other regions. The sheer number of seed plant species in China, spanning three temperature zones, surpasses the total in Europe, solidifying China’s status as the country with the most abundant plant resources worldwide.