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China's Geographical Regions


China can be divided into eight major geographical regions, which overlap somewhat with cultural or subcultural areas.
China's total area covers nearly 10 million square kilometers, making it the third largest country measured by area. Two-thirds of the country is high plateaus and mountains with populations living at altitudes from 1,000 to 4,000 meters above sea level and high mountain areas reaching 7,000 to 8,000 meters. Climate varies from subarctic to subtropical. The Han majority is densely settled in the eastern half of the country - also called "inner China" - along the coastal areas, on the great plains, in the river valleys, and in the foothills.

There are in total 56 ethnic groups in China, the 55 ethnic minorities are sparsely distributed over the remaining 55 percent of the country lying to the north, southwest and west of the main areas of Han settlement. In the mountainous provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou, where Han and other ethnic groups have coexisted for several centuries, they are separated by elevation, with the minorities living at higher altitudes.

Inner China is suited to intensive, settled agriculture with an emphasis on grain crops, supplemented by vegetables and fruits. Irrigation systems have been used for thousands of years to lessen the dependence on rainfall and the damage from floods and drought. These problems have further been reduced in recent decades, where the government has completed numerous hydraulic projects along the lower Huang He (Yellow River) and the Huai and Hai rivers. Major projects are planned for the Yangtze River in coming decades.

China can be divided into eight major geographical regions, which overlap somewhat with cultural or subcultural areas.

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Map of China

Northeast
North China Plain
Loess Plateau
Northwest
South Central China
Maritime South
Southwest
Tibetan Plateaus
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