The People’s Republic of China is located in the eastern part of the Asian continent, on the western Pacific rim. It is a vast land, covering 9.6 million square kilometers. China is approximately seventeen times the size of France, 1 million square kilometers smaller than all of Europe, and 600,000 square kilometers smaller than Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the south and central Pacific). Additional offshore territory, including territorial waters, special economic areas, and the continental shelf, totals over 3 million square kilometers, bringing China’s overall territory to almost 13 million square kilometers.
Western China’s Himalayan Mountains are often referred to as the roof of the world. Mount Qomolangma (known to the West as Mount Everest), at over 8800 meters in height, is the roof’s highest peak. China stretches from its westernmost point on the Pamir Plateau to the confluence of the Heilongjiang and Wusuli Rivers, 5200 kilometers to the east.
When inhabitants of eastern China are greeting the dawn, people in western China still face four more hours of darkness. The northernmost point in China is located at the midpoint of the Heilongjiang River, north of Mohe in Heilongjiang Province. The southernmost point is located at Zengmu’ansha in the Nansha Islands, approximately 5500 kilometers away. When northern China is still gripped in a world of ice and snow, flowers are already blooming in the balmy south. The Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea border China to the east and south, together forming a vast maritime area. The Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea connect directly with the Pacific Ocean, while the Bohai Sea, embraced between the two “arms” of the Liaodong and Shandong peninsulas, forms an inland sea. China’s maritime territory includes 5400 islands, which have a total area of 80,000 square kilometers. The two largest islands, Taiwan and Hainan, cover 36,000 square kilometers and 34,000 square kilometers respectively.
From north to south, China’s ocean straits consist of the Bohai, Taiwan, Bashi, and Qiongzhou Straits. China possesses 20,000 kilometers of land border, plus 18,000 kilometers of coastline. Setting out from any point on China’s border and making a complete circuit back to the starting point, the distance traveled would be equivalent to circling the globe at the equator.