Essential Info for China

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Flag of the People's Republic of ChinaOfficial name: People's Republic of China

Population: About 1.37 billion

Capital city: Beijing

Other major cities: Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shantou, Shenzhen

Political system: China is a single-party socialist republic

Main languages: Mandarin Chinese, with hundreds of local dialects

Major religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Chinese folk religions

Neighbouring countries: Covering a vast expanse of the Asian mainland, China's neighbours include India and Pakistan to the southwest, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to the west, Mongolia to the north, part of Russia to the northeast, North Korea, South Korea and Japan to the east, and Taiwan to the southeast.

Geography: As the world's third largest country by geographic size, China covers a vast landscape stretching over 9,596,960 square kilometres (3,705,410 square miles). Its diverse terrain includes high plateaus, sunken basins, mountains, desert and coastal regions, and China is home to Asia's longest river, the Yangtze.

Time: GMT +8

Electricity:  220V, 50Hz. Chinese Standard three-pin plugs are most common. Adaptors are recommended for expats not from Australia and New Zealand.

Money: The Renminbi (RMB), also referred to as the Chinese Yuan (CNY), is the official currency. It is divided into 10 jiao.

International dialling code: +86

Emergency contacts: In most major cities the emergency numbers are 110 (police), 120 (ambulance), and 119 (fire)

Internet domain: .cn

Transport and driving: Traffic drives on the right-hand side, except in Hong Kong and Macau. The country has an expansive national railway network which includes high-speed trains. Public transport may be difficult to navigate for non-Mandarin speakers.

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