China, People Republic of
The peoples republic of China meaning middle kingdom is one of the largest countries in the world geographically and the largest in terms of population, accounting for almost 20% of the world’s total population.
Due to occupying such a large area the climate throughout the republic is incredibly varied. To the west of the country lie the Himalayas and the tallest point on earth, Mount Everest. To the south there are extensive alluvium plains and to the north there are plentiful areas of grassland.
A major issue facing the area is the continued expansion of desert. The Gobi Desert in particular creates massive issues with violent sandstorms.
Its main exports are manufactured goods, including textiles, garments, electronics and arms. The people’s republic of china is an emerging superpower.
Chinese culture is heavily based in mythology and spirituality. The Zhou Dynasty is believed by some to be the foundation of Chinese cultural development and much of the music, art and literature can be traced back to this time.
The famous Chinese guardian lions can be found outside many public buildings and homes of government officials including building in the Forbidden City.
Located in Beijing the Forbidden City now houses the Palace Museum and is an excellent example of traditional elite Chinese architecture.
It is the largest collection of preserved wooden structures in the world and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. Inside the Palace Museum are large collections of artwork from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
As with the land the climate varies dramatically depending on location. A range of climates including cold temperate, tropical, high mountain and desert can be found throughout the republic.
For example for Beijing in North East China will see heavy rain in July and August it is mostly dry for the rest of the year while Shanghai in Central China sees slightly less rain in the summer but more in total throughout the year.
And while Beijing endures harsher winters with average lows of -10 °C in January, those residing in Shanghai enjoy milder winters with average lows of 1 °C.
Summer months are fairly even average temperatures of around 30 °C.
The republic is officially atheist, although it’s been estimated that 23% of the population do believe in a faith. Up to 80% of the country is believed to follow Buddhist teachings, although this does not necessarily mean they believe in a deity.
A unique sport in China is the dragon boat racing. Dating back almost 2500 years it involves teams operating a long, narrow boat that during competition events is adorned with dragon head and tail decoration. Races are held annually as part of the Duanwu Jie festival.
It is also believed that football originated from ancient China with evidence of it being played almost 1000 years ago.
Wushu is a modern martial art created in 1949 as an attempt to nationalise the practice of traditional martial arts. Every two years the IWUF holds the World Wushu Championship. Modern wushu involves an increasing emphasis on aerial moves in an attempt to evolve the art.
Other popular sports in the country include martial arts, badminton and table tennis and Beijing was the host of the spectacular 2008 Olympic Games.