Statistical information China 1996China

Map of China | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
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China - Introduction 1996
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Background: For most of its 3,500 years of history, China led the world in agriculture, crafts, and science, then fell behind in the 19th century when the Industrial Revolution gave the West clear superiority in military and economic affairs. In the first half of the 20th century, China continued to suffer from major famines, civil unrest, military defeat, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established a dictatorship that, while ensuring China's autonomy, imposed strict controls over all aspects of life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, his successor DENG Xiaoping decentralized economic decision making; output soured. Political controls remain tight at the same time economic controls have been weakening. Present issues are: closing down inefficient state-owned enterprises; modernizing the military; fighting corruption; and providing support to tens of millions of displaced workers.

China - Geography 1996
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Location: Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: 9,596,960 km²
Land: 9,326,410 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than the U.S.

Land boundaries: Total 22,113.34 km, Afghanistan 76 km, Bhutan 470 km, Myanmar (Burma) 2,185 km, India 3,380 km, Kazakstan 1,533 km, North Korea 1,416 km, Kyrgyzstan 858 km, Laos 423 km, Macau 0.34 km, Mongolia 4,673 km, Nepal 1,236 km, Pakistan 523 km, Russia (northeast) 3,605 km, Russia (northwest) 40 km, Tajikistan 414 km, Vietnam 1,281 km
Note: The former border with Hong Kong used to be 30 km

Coastline: 14,500 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: claim to shallow areas of East China Sea and Yellow Sea
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: Extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north

Terrain: Mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east

Extremes lowest point: Turpan Pendi -154 m
Extremes highest point: Mount Everest 8,848 m

Natural resources:
Iron ore
Hydropower potential (world's largest)

Land use

Land use
Arable land: 10%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 31%
Forests and woodland: 14%
Other: 45%

Irrigated land: 478,220 km² (1991_Chinese data)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


China - People 1996
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1,210,004,956 (July 1996 est.)
1,203,097,268 (July 1995 est.)

Growth rate:
0.98% (1996 est.)
1.04% (1995 est.)

Noun: Chinese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Chinese

Ethnic groups:
Han Chinese 91.9%
Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, and other nationalities 8.1%

Languages: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic divisions entry)

Daoism (Taoism), Buddhism, Muslim 2%-3%
Christian 1% (est.)

Note: Officially atheist, but traditionally pragmatic and eclectic

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years:
26% (male 167,448,148; female 151,601,650)
26% (male 167,234,782; female 151,266,866)

15-64 years:
67% (male 421,455,418; female 393,913,510)
67% (male 419,103,994; female 391,917,572)

65 years and over:
7% (male 35,056,409; female 40,529,821) (July 1996 est.)
7% (male 33,982,362; female 39,591,692) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate:
0.98% (1996 est.)
1.04% (1995 est.)

Birth rate:
17.01 births/1000 population (1996 est.)
17.78 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate:
6.92 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.)
7.36 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate:
-0.34 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.)
0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: air pollution from the overwhelming use of high-sulfur coal as a fuel, produces acid rain which is damaging forests; water shortages experienced throughout the country, particularly in urban areas; future growth in water usage threatens to outpace supplies; water pollution from industrial effluents; much of the population does not have access to potable water; less than 10% of sewage receives treatment; deforestation; estimated loss of one-fifth of agricultural land since 1957 to soil erosion and economic development; desertification; trade in endangered species
Current issues Natural hazards: frequent typhoons (about five per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts
International agreements: party to_Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified_Desertification, Law of the sea
International agreements note: World's third-largest country (after Russia and Canada)

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.11 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
All ages:
1.06 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:39.6 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.)
52.1 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 69.62 years (1996 est.), 68.08 years (1995 est.)
Male: 68.33 years (1996 est.), 67.09 years (1995 est.)
Female: 71.06 years (1996 est.), 69.18 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.81 children born/woman (1996 est.)
1.84 children born/woman (1995 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over that can read and write (1995 est.)
Total population: 81.5%
Male: 89.9%
Female: 72.7%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

China - Government 1996
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Country name
Conventional long form: People's Republic of China
Conventional short form: China
Local long form: Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo
Local short form: Zhong Guo Abbreviation:PRC

Government type: Communist state

Capital: Beijing

Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (sheng, singular and plural), 5 autonomous regions* (zizhiqu, singular and plural), and 3 municipalities** (shi, singular and plural); Anhui, Beijing**, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi*, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol*, Ningxia*, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanghai**, Shanxi, Sichuan, Tianjin**, Xinjiang*, Xizang* (Tibet), Yunnan, Zhejiang and Hong Kong
Note: China considers Taiwan its 23rd province

Dependent areas

Independence: 221 BC (unification under the Qin or Ch'in Dynasty 221 BC; Qing or Ch'ing Dynasty replaced by the Republic on 12 February 1912; People's Republic established 1 October 1949)

National holiday: National Day, 1 October (1949)

Constitution: Most recent promulgated 4 December 1982

Legal system: A complex amalgam of custom and statute, largely criminal law; rudimentary civil code in effect since 1 January 1987; new legal codes in effect since 1 January 1980; continuing efforts are being made to improve civil, administrative, criminal, and commercial law

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President JIANG Zemin (since 27 March 1993); Vice President RONG Yiren (since 27 March 1993); election last held 27 March 1993 (next to be held 1998); results_JIANG Zemin was nominally elected by the Eighth National People's Congress
Head of government: Premier LI Peng (Acting Premier since 24 November 1987, Premier since 9 April 1988) nominated by the president, decided by the National People's Congress; Vice Premiers ZHU Rongji (since 8 April 1991), ZOU Jiahua (since 8 April 1991), QIAN Qichen (since 29 March 1993), LI Lanqing (29 March 1993), WU Bangguo (since 17 March 1995), and JIANG Chunyun (since 17 March 1995) nominated by the president, decided by the National People's Congress
Cabinet: State Council; appointed by the National People's Congress (NPC)

Legislative branch: Unicameral National People's Congress:(Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui) elections last held March 1993 (next to be held March 1998; results_CCP is the only party but there are also independents; seats_(2,977 total) (elected at county or xian level)

Judicial branch: Supreme People's Court, judges appointed by the National People's Congress

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AfDB, APEC, AsDB, CCC, ESCAP, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), Mekong Group, MINURSO, NAM (observer), PCA, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNOMIL, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of China: Red with a large yellow five-pointed star and four smaller yellow five-pointed stars (arranged in a vertical arc toward the middle of the flag) in the upper hoist-side corner

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

China - Economy 1996
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Economy overview:
Beginning in late 1978 the Chinese leadership has been trying to move the economy from a sluggish Soviet-style centrally planned economy to one that is more market-oriented, but still within a rigid political framework of Communist Party control. To this end the authorities switched to a system of household responsibility in agriculture in place of the old collectivization, increased the authority of local officials and plant managers in industry, permitted a wide variety of small-scale enterprise in services and light manufacturing, and opened the economy to increased foreign trade and investment. The result has been a strong surge in production. Agricultural output doubled in the 1980s, and industry also posted major gains, especially in coastal areas near Hong Kong and opposite Taiwan, where foreign investment and modern production methods helped spur output of both domestic and export goods. GDP has more than tripled since 1978. On the darker side, the leadership has often experienced in its hybrid system the worst results of socialism (bureaucracy, lassitude, corruption) and of capitalism (windfall gains and stepped-up inflation). Beijing thus has periodically backtracked, retightening central controls at intervals. In 1992-95 annual growth of GDP accelerated, particularly in the coastal areas_averaging more than 10% annually according to official figures. In late 1993 China's leadership approved additional long-term reforms aimed at giving still more play to market-oriented institutions and at strengthening the center's control over the financial system; state enterprises would continue to dominate many key industries in what was now termed "a socialist market economy." In 1995 inflation dropped sharply, reflecting tighter monetary policies and stronger measures to control food prices. At the same time, the government struggled to (a) collect revenues due from provinces, businesses, and individuals; (b) reduce extortion and other economic crimes; and (c) keep afloat the large state-owned enterprises, most of which had not participated in the vigorous expansion of the economy. From 60 to 100 million surplus rural workers are adrift between the villages and the cities, many subsisting through part-time low-pay jobs. Popular resistance, changes in central policy, and loss of authority by rural cadres have weakened China's population control program, which is essential to the nation's long-term economic viability. One of the most dangerous long-term threats to continued rapid economic growth is the deterioration in the environment, notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table especially in the north. The amount of arable land: continues to decline because of erosion and economic development, the cumulative loss since the Communist takeover in 1949 being more than 15%. The next few years will witness increasing tensions between a highly centralized political system and an increasingly decentralized economic system. GDP purchasing power parity
$3.5 trillion (1995 estimate as extrapolated from World Bank estimate with use of official Chinese growth figures for 1993-95; the result may overstate China's GDP by as much as 25%)
$2.9788 trillion (1994 estimate as extrapolated from World Bank estimate for 1992 by use of official Chinese growth statistics for 1993-94; because of the difficulties with official statistics in this time of rapid change, the result may overstate China's GDP by as much as 25%)

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate:
10.3% (1995 est.)
11.8% (1994 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: Accounts for 19% of GDP; among the world's largest producers of rice, potatoes, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, and pork; commercial crops include cotton, other fibers, and oilseeds; produces variety of livestock products; basically self-sufficient in food; fish catch of 13.35 million metric tons (including fresh water and pond raised) (1991)

Iron and steel
Machine building
Textiles and apparel
Chemical fertilizers
Consumer durables
Food processing
Consumer electronics

Industrial production growth rate: Growth rate 13.4% (1995 est.), 17.5% (1994 est.)

Labor force: 583.6 million (1991)
By occupation Agriculture and forestry: 60%
By occupation Industry and commerce: 25%
By occupation Construction and mining: 5%
By occupation Social services: 5%
By occupation Other: 5% (1990 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate:
5.2% in urban areas (1995 est.); substantial underemployment
2.7% in urban areas (1994); substantial underemployment

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: Deficit $13.7 billion (1994)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: Calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

total value. $148.8 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
$121 billion (f.o.b., 1994)

Machinery and equipment (1994)

Hong Kong
South Korea
Singapore (1994)

Total value:
$132.1 billion (c.i.f., 1995)
$115.7 billion (c.i.f., 1994)

Industrial Machinery
Telecommunications Equipment
Steel bars

Hong Kong
South Korea (1994)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $92 billion (1994 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Yuan (Y) per US$1_8.3186 (January 1996), 8.3514 (1995), 8.6187 (1994), 5.7620 (1993), 5.5146 (1992), 5.3234 (1991), 4.7832 (1990)
Note: Beginning 1 January 1994, the People's Bank of China quotes the midpoint rate against the U.S. dollar based on the previous day's prevailing rate in the interbank foreign exchange market

China - Energy 1996
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 746 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 593 kWh (1993)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

China - Communication 1996
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 20 million telephones (1994 est.); domestic and international services are increasingly available for private use; unevenly distributed domestic system serves principal cities, industrial centers, and most townships
Domestic: telephone lines are being expanded; interprovincial fiber-optic trunk lines and cellular telephone systems have been installed; a domestic satellite system with 55 earth stations is in place
International: satellite earth stations_5 Intelsat (4 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean Region) and 1 Inmarsat (Pacific and Indian Ocean Regions); several international fiber-optic links to Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

China - Military 1996
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Military expenditures

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

China - Transportation 1996
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 204
With paved runways over 3047 m: 17
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 69
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 7
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 3
With paved runways under 914 m: 3

Airports with paved runways
Over 3047 m: 17
2438 to 3047 m: 69
15-24 to 2437 m: 7
914 to 1523 m: 3
Under 914 m: 3

Airports with unpaved runways


Pipelines: Crude oil 9,700 km; petroleum products 1,100 km; natural gas 6,200 km (1990)



Waterways: 138,600 km; about 109,800 km navigable

Merchant marine
Total: 1,700 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 16,663,260 GRT/25,026,090 DWT
Ships by type: barge carrier 2, bulk 316, cargo 876, chemical tanker 15, combination bulk 11, container 103, liquefied gas tanker 4, multifunction large-load carrier 3, oil tanker 227, passenger 24, passenger-cargo 28, refrigerated cargo 22, roll-on/roll-off cargo 24, short-sea passenger 45
Note: China owns an additional 267 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 9,044,039 DWT operating under the registries of Panama, Hong Kong, Malta, Liberia, Vanuatu, Cyprus, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Bahamas, and Singapore (1995 est.)

Ports and terminals

China - Transnational issues 1996
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: Illicit producer of opium; bulk of production is in Yunnan Province (which produced 25 metric tons in 1994; transshipment point for heroin produced in the Golden Triangle


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