China - Covering a fifth of the continent of Asia, and home to a fifth of the world's population, China's vast land area includes some of the world's driest deserts and highest mountains, as well as some of the richest farmland.
China has the world's oldest living civilization. Its written history goes back about 3,500 years. The Chinese people take great pride in their nation, its long history, and its influence on other countries. The Chinese were the first people to develop the compass, paper, porcelain, and silk cloth. Over the centuries, Japan, Korea and other Asian lands have borrowed from Chinese art, language, literature, religion and technology.
The rugged mountain forests at the eastern edge of the Tibetan Highland area shelters pandas, golden monkeys, takins, and other rare animals.
The world's highest mountain, Mount Everest, rises 29,028 feet (8,848 meters) above sea level in the Himalayas in southern Tibet. Two of the world's longest rivers, the Huang He and Yangtze, begin in the highlands and flow eastward across China to the sea.
Spoken Chinese has many dialects, which differ enough in pronunciation to be considered separate languages, even though they use the same written characters.
China's uplands bordering Mongolia are rugged, and the Huange He river and tributaries have carved hills and steep-sided valleys into the region, giving it a unique look unlike anyplace else on earth.