Location The People Republic of China is situated in eastern Asia on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean, with an area of 9.6 million square kilometers. China's continental coastline extends for about 18,000 kilometers, and its vast sea surface is studded with more than 5,000 islands, of which Taiwan and Hainan are the largest.
Land Formation and Rivers China's land drops off in escarpments eastward to the ocean, letting in humid air current and leading many rivers eastward. Among the rivers totaling 220,000 kilometers in length in China, the Changjiang (Yangtze) and the Huanghe (Yellow) are world known.
China has beautiful scenery, with mountains and ranges, highlands, plains, basins, and hills. The highlands and hill regions account for 65 percent of the country's total land mass, and there are more than 2,000 lakes. The highest mountain peak is Qomolangma (Everest), the highest in the world, 8,848 meters above sea level; the lowest point is the Turpan Basin, 154 meters below sea level.
China is characterized by a continental climate. The latitude spans nearly 50 degrees. The greater part of the Chinese territory is situated in the Temperate Zone, its southern part in the tropical and subtropical zones, and its northern part near the Frigid Zone. Temperatures differ therefore rather strikingly across the country. The northern part of Heilongjiang Province has long winters but no summers; while the Hainan Island has long summers but no winters. The Huaihe River valley is marked by distinctive seasonal changes, but it is spring all year round in the south of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. In the northwest hinterland, the temperature changes dramatically. China high tundra zone is situated in the Qinghai-Tibet, where the temperature is low in all four seasons. Some desert areas are dry all year round.