China Destinations Travel Guide

Flag of China

Language: Chinese Mandarin

Currency: Chinese Yuan (CNY)

Calling Code: +86


The People's Republic of China, commonly known as China, is a country located in East Asia. With a population of over 1.4 billion (in 2020), China is the second most populous country in the world and the third largest in terms of total land area. According to its socialist constitution, the People's Republic of China is "under the democratic dictatorship of the people," but from the beginning it has been ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in an authoritarian to totalitarian manner. It has been accused of serious human rights violations this day.

Mao Zedong overthrew the Republic of China in the Chinese Civil War, and the People's Republic was proclaimed on October 1, 1949. It is estimated that 45 million people died in the famine caused by Mao's "Great Leap Forward" (1958-1961), and another 20 million died in the Cultural Revolution that followed, beginning in 1966. Only after Mao's death and the beginning of the end of Maoism in China did China develop into an economic and technological superpower, based on a prudent reform and opening-up policy since 1978; since 2016, the World Bank has classified the country as one of the upper-middle income countries. On average, China's economic power grew by 8.9% annually from 2000 to 2019. In addition to doubling China's share of world trade, its gross domestic product grew six-fold during this period, making China the world's second largest economy by the end of this period. However, since the "outstanding leader" Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, the People's Republic of China has regressed again in terms of social and economic freedoms and has become more aggressive ideologically and internationally, according to the report.

The People's Republic of China is one of the official nuclear powers, one of the five official victors of World War II, a permanent member of the World Security Council, and a member of the BRICS, UNESCO, World Trade Organization, World Bank, APEC , International Criminal Police Organization, and G-20.



Here is a selection of the most important and well-known cities.

1 Chengdu – The capital of Sichuan is also called the city without a sky because the sun is rarely seen there. The climate is humid and warm. The city lures with its traditional Sichuanese cuisine and its special charm - but you should bring some knowledge of Mandarin with you, as only a few people speak English there.
2 Chongqing - The largest city in the world - Chongqing (pronounced "dschong-dschin", approx. 32 million inhabitants) - has the flair of a French satellite town. If you arrive at night, it can happen that you find the city bearable, blinded by the neon signs that are everywhere. A stay in this city is only worthwhile by visiting the nearby Three Gorges, which have now also fallen victim to a dam and are more similar to the three great rivers. Even if the city's high-rise backdrop is impressive, the title "biggest city in the world" is a bit of misnomer. In fact, the 32 million inhabitants are spread over an area the size of Belgium. The core city has about 6 million inhabitants. Due to the river there is regularly a foggy haze over the city, in summer with temperatures above 40 degrees the city is also called the fire pot.
3 Guangzhou – The former canton has developed into an important trading metropolis as part of the boom in the Pearl River Delta. In terms of tourism, it mainly offers a contrast to the nearby special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
4 Nanjing – Nanjing (often Nanking in German) - which literally means "southern capital" - was the country's capital during the times of the Chinese Republic and is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in China. Beautiful temples and parks attract visitors to the metropolis on the Yangtse. However, you should refrain from visiting in the summer months - Nanjing is one of the four hottest cities in China.
5 Beijing – The capital of the People's Republic of China attracts with the Imperial Palace, also known as the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, countless street markets, an active nightlife and a short distance from the Great Wall.
6 Qingdao – The former German colony has blossomed into a popular tourist destination in recent years. In addition to holidays on the sandy beach, mountain trips to the adjacent Laoshan Mountains, where Taoism is at home, are also possible. Here you can visit a 2400 year old Taoist temple.
7 Shanghai – Along with Beijing and Xi'an, Shanghai is the tourist must-see in China. Compared to Beijing, there are no major tourist attractions (important destinations include the river promenade "The Bund", the Yu Garden and the Jin An Temple), but the city's high-rise landscape is extremely impressive. The future being built in Shanghai 24 hours a day turns the megalopolis into a single attraction. In addition, Shanghai is the shopping city par excellence in China. Xujiahui and Nanjing Road are just a few of the shopping spots in this metropolis of millions. If you want to holiday in Shanghai, you can also travel to some interesting suburbs, out of the high-rise landscape and into the idyll.
8 Shenzhen – Shenzhen was created as a special economic zone around the former colony of Hong Kong and has experienced a huge economic boom over the past 20 years, with no end in sight.
9 Suzhou – A smaller metropolis about 100km west of Shanghai is Suzhou (pronounced Su-dscho). The listing of the entire downtown of Suzhou as a Unesco World Heritage Site should speak for itself. Suzhou was and is the center of silk production in China. Located at the intersection between the Imperial Canal and the Yangtze River, it owes its economic upswing not only to its convenient location, but above all to the Chinese government's silk monopoly up until the 19th century.
10 Wenzhou – Wenzhou is a small, sleepy metropolis in the south of Zhejiang. Anyone who misses narrow shopping streets and Chinese smells in Beijing and Shanghai will get their money's worth here. The parks of the city are also very beautiful and invite the residents to make music and the tourists to linger. Since Wenzhou has a subtropical climate, a visit is advisable, especially in the winter months.
11 Wuhan – Wuhan is the capital of Hubei Province. Wuhan is considered a smoldering oven, and it gets quite hot in the summer months. On the other hand, in the cloudy winter months, the temperatures only reach values around the freezing point. A well-known attraction is the Yellow Crane Pagoda, which should not be visited around the New Year festival.
12 Lhasa – Lhasa is the capital of the autonomous province of Tibet. It is famous for the Potala, the residence of the Dalai Lama. In addition to the Potala, the Jokhang Monastery and the Norbulingka Palace (the traditional summer residence of the Dalai Lama) are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

13 Hong Kong

14 Macao


Travel Destination in China

Summer Palace contains spacious park, residential buildings, temples and many pavilions that lie on the shores of the artificial lake.


North China

Ancient Great Wall is probably the most famous site China was constructed the country from the Northern nomadic tribes.

Hanging Temple is a religious complex perched on a side of a mountain in Shanxi province of China.

Qin I mausoleum is famous for a huge Terracotta Army buried with the Emperor Quin I.

Ming Dynasty Tombs Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty are located 30 mi (45 km) Northwest of Bejing in China.

 Putuo Zongcheng Temple is a Buddhist religious complex situated in a Hebei Province in China. Its construction began during Qing Dynasty.

Yungang Grottoes is a massive religious complex carved from a side of a mountain.


Central China

Huangshan Mountains are located in Anhui province these mountains started their unique formation 100 million years ago.

Wulingyuan Mountains are located in Hunan Province has some of the most amazing geological formations.


Southwest China

Guilin Hills are picturesque geological formations on a shores of beautiful rivers.

Picturesque Jiuzhaigou Valley lies in Sichuan Province of China.


Gansu and Quinghai

Medieval Jiayuguan Castle is a beatiful fort with its unique Chinese architecture.



Gyantse Castle is a medieval citadel situated in Gyantse, Xigazê Prefecture in China. It was constructed in 1390.


How to get here

Entry requirements

A single-entry, 30-day tourist visa costs more than 100 euros, including the requisite service fee (as of November 2019). In Austria and Switzerland, contact the embassy or consulate. Visas are not issued at airports or borders. For tourist visas, a passport with at least 6 months remaining validity is required, and a child ID card or child passport is required for children. You will also need to present written confirmation of your airline ticket or lodging reservation. In addition, if you have visited African countries several times, you will need to present a medical certificate from your doctor. It is recommended that visas be applied for at least one month prior to departure. Most visas are valid for 3 months, so do not apply too early. All arriving foreigners will be fingerprinted.

If you are visiting Hong Kong or Macau before heading to China, you will need a multiple visa. Single visas are not valid for entry across the border into Hong Kong or Macau SAR. Alternatively, you must apply for a new visa in Hong Kong or Macau.

Under no circumstances you may enter the country beyond the period of stay permitted by your visa. In this case, a hefty fine, calculated according to the number of excess days, will be imposed. Departure from the country is only possible after payment and issuance of a new visa.

Entry into the Tibet Autonomous Region is only possible with a special permit.

Foreigners wishing to stay in one place for more than 24 hours must notify the local police. If you are staying at a hotel, please make a copy of your passport at the hotel, as it will be automatically accepted by the hotel. If you are staying with an individual, you must notify your host family. If you are studying abroad, you must report to the police yourself. It is best to go with a Chinese friend. If you are an international student living on campus and not living in a formal dormitory, the police may require you to present a Chinese rental agreement. However, the Chinese rental agreement only needs to include the amount of rent, the names of the tenant and the landlord, the length of the lease, the location of the apartment, and the signatures of the tenant and the landlord. The cooperation of Chinese friends or Chinese friends from college is valuable.

Visa-free short stay (transit) Citizens of 51 countries, including all Schengen countries, may enter China for 72 hours without a visa if they present a confirmed onward flight when entering certain airports. Except upon arrival in Beijing (Beijing Shoudu Guoji Jichang, PEK), a permit can be obtained locally, but must be applied for through the airline. Departure from any airport other than the airport of entry is not permitted. Applicable to flights via Shanghai* (all airports), Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian, Harbin, Xian, Guilin, Kunming, Hangzhou* (HGH), Wuhan, Tianjin, Qingdao, Nanjing* (NKG ), Changsha and Xiamen , except Beijing (for locations marked *, maximum stay has been increased to 144 hours effective January 30, 2016). The aforementioned registration obligations also apply to these stays. Even short-term overdrafts require consultation with the authorities.



Most Europeans visiting China do so by air. There are direct flights from Europe to many Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Qingdao, Shenyang, and Hong Kong. All other major Chinese cities can be reached by transfer. If you plan ahead and look for it, you can get a ticket for less than 600 euros (as of November 2015). The difference in quality between European and Chinese airlines is now negligible.

When departing from Europe and transferring to a domestic flight at a Chinese airport, baggage must either be checked in at the destination airport or checked through customs at the connecting airport and checked in again. Until recently, it was not possible to check through to the final airport. The cost of an outbound flight by Eurowings from Germany to Bangkok, Thailand, ranges from 200 to 300 euros, depending on how quickly you book. There are often very inexpensive flights from Bangkok to East Asian countries such as China and Southeast Asia such as Singapore (as of February 2017).

Safety regulations that apply internationally also apply in China and to domestic flights.



Beijing is a terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway. You can also enter the territory of the People's Republic of China by train from Hong Kong, Vietnam and North Korea. The border control takes place either at the destination station, or you have to leave the train for the formalities.



Several of China's neighbors, especially in Southeast Asia, offer international bus service to Chinese cities. It is also possible to take a bus directly from Hong Kong or Macau to certain cities on the Chinese side. Due to border control, it is usually necessary to leave the vehicle. Some connections are not available to foreigners.

Entering China with your own car or motorcycle can be difficult and quite expensive. Chinese license plates and a driver's license are required. In addition, you will need a guide (supervisor). For motorcycles, a vehicle must be added. As a result, the cost of a stay can quickly reach thousands of euros (e.g., 3,100 euros for a five-day stay in Xinjiang with four motorcycles, entering the Torgat Pass via Kashgar and leaving from Aksu to Kazakhstan via Cholga).

The Beijing Traffic Management Bureau offers relatively good information. Detailed information is available in English and Chinese.

Entering the country by bicycle is relatively easy. Although the car is replacing the automobile as the primary mode of transportation in China in the past, it is still widely used.



There are several ferry connections to coastal cities in the People's Republic of China from Hong Kong and Macau. Information and tickets are available at the respective ferry terminals. The exit formalities take place before boarding the ship, the entry formalities after leaving the ship on the Chinese side.


Local transport

By Airplane

Flying has been booming in China for about a decade. Most major cities in China have airports, often newly built and generously sized. The number of connecting flights is also increasing rapidly. Numerous Chinese airlines own aircraft, most of which have recently been procured from Western countries. Therefore, flight safety in China is no less than in Europe.

Tickets for domestic flights are the same regardless of the airline. However, discounts are often available depending on availability. For this reason, it is recommended that tickets be booked locally or through a Chinese booking portal ( is the largest). Abroad, domestic flights in China are usually much more expensive.

Airports in Chinese cities are often located in the suburbs, and transportation is not always convenient. Delays and cancellations are not uncommon. Therefore, when planning a trip, one should always check whether the same route could be traveled more comfortably by high-speed rail.

Those wishing to fly from China to Hong Kong or Macau should be aware that these flights are international. It is usually much cheaper to fly to Shenzhen or Zhuhai and then cross the border overland from there. International flights originating in China are usually considerably more expensive than international flights.


By rail

China has been building a high-speed rail network since 2006, which is already the longest line in the world. The rolling stock on the high-speed lines is made in China but incorporates European and Japanese technology. Along with the new lines, huge new stations have appeared, making high-speed rail travel very relaxing. On many routes, trains have become a cheaper and better alternative to flying.

Away from the high-speed rail network, there is a network of conventional lines, with trains of various categories and equipment. These either connect areas where high-speed rail has not yet penetrated, or they serve a clientele for whom high-speed rail is not readily available.

Train categories are identified by number. The following categories are available:
Bullet trains are numbered G (高速 gāosù) or C (城际chéngjì). They run between major cities at speeds of up to 300 km/h and make only a few or no stops, depending on the number.
D (动车 dòngchē) is a train with a maximum speed of 200 km/h and is similar in comfort to G and C. There are also night trains with sleeping cars.
Z (直达 zhídá) are direct trains that connect major cities and have no intermediate stops. These are often night trains with more comfortable and modern rolling stock. They are very comfortable and usually a cheaper alternative to long trips on high-speed trains.
Until a few years ago, express trains were the best that China Railway could offer. Many of these trains have been replaced by high-speed trains and are now seen as inexpensive alternatives to high-speed trains and on secondary routes. These trains are slower than Z trains, stop more frequently, and have older rolling stock.
Trains beginning with K (快速 kuàisù) are slower and older than trains beginning with T.
Trains without letters are the slowest and oldest. They are preferred by migrant workers because they are the cheapest way to travel. Many of these trains run off the main transportation routes and are rarely seen by tourists.

Few trains begin with other letters (regional or special trains).

High-speed trains have two or three compartment classes:
Hard seat (2nd class) means 2:3 seating in non-adjustable seats. It is slightly narrower than 2nd class in Europe.
Soft Seat (软座) or First Class is 2:2 seating with adjustable seating. It is almost the same as first class in Europe. Recommended for fat foreigners. For more cultured travelers. Some trains still offer business class (商务座).

Standing tickets are not sold.

On conventional trains.
Soft lie (软卧) in four-person compartments.
Hard seat (硬卧), a six-person compartment, similar to European couchette cars, but without compartment doors.
Soft seat (软座), equivalent to European first class.
Hard seats (硬座), comparable to European second class cars, but depending on the age of the vehicle. However, on trains for migrant workers, 3:3 bench seats with backrests built at a 90-degree angle and minimal seat size and padding can also be found.
Free seating (无座) usually means standing room. Such tickets are sold on an unlimited basis and may be long distance. Prices are the same as for hard-seat cards. Before and after national holidays, tourists must travel long distances without a seat, which can be embarrassing.

Riding long distances in a hard seat compartment is a good way to get in touch with the average Chinese person. If you have time to spare, give it a try. Fellow travelers will turn out to be loud, friendly, and outgoing, and you will soon be sharing food, looking at pictures on your cell phone, and playing cards - even if you speak little Chinese.

Tickets can be bought at train stations or at ticket offices scattered throughout the town. All tickets are for personal use, so you will need to show your passport when buying a ticket. Ticket sales usually begin 20 days before the train departs. When demand is low, one can go to the station and get a ticket for the next train, but during summer vacation and around national holidays, one risks long waits and standing room only travel afterwards. All tickets are valid only for specific trains on specific dates, so it is highly recommended that you find out the number of your desired train and stick to that train when making your purchase. Otherwise, you risk arriving at your destination at an impossible time. Sales staff usually speak only Chinese, so those who do not speak Chinese should either get help from a native speaker or write down the necessary data. Do not expect advice at the counter. If you need help, you should go to a travel agent or a friendly citizen.

China Railway Internet Ticket Sales ( is only available to those with a Chinese ID card. However, even foreigners can check departure and arrival times, train numbers, ticket prices, and seat availability. In the future, China Railways plans to do away with printed tickets.

Most cities in China have multiple train stations. The correct station is indicated on the ticket and under no circumstances should it go to another station. You may only enter the main hall of a Chinese train station with a valid ticket. Your luggage will be X-rayed at the station entrance, and your ticket and corresponding identification card will be checked. You wait for the train in your own waiting room and can only enter the platform shortly before the train departs. Due to these procedures and the size of the building, it is advisable to be at the station at least 20 minutes before the train departs. Tickets can be checked during the journey, but in any case one cannot leave the station without a ticket at the destination station. During the trip, food and drinks can be bought according to Chinese preferences. Train punctuality is surprisingly high considering the long distances involved. Toilet sanitation varies by train category and worsens during long journeys. Bring your own paper and soap.

Example costs (as of January 2019): to travel from Beijing to Xi'an, 1212 km by high-speed train (4.5-6 hours; hard seat ¥515, soft seat ¥825, business ¥1627; 12 trains per day) or night train (11.5-14. (5 hours, ¥156 (hard seat), ¥268 (hard lying), ¥422 (soft lying), 8 daily). If you simply ask for a Beijing-Xi'an ticket at the counter, you risk being booked on Z151 (arriving at Xi'an at 03:23). So you should stick to Z19 (Beijing-Xi'an nonstop, arriving at 08:00 am). Those who like long train rides can take an overnight train from Beijing to Kunming (4 trains a day, 34-44 hours, seat reservation ¥302, seat reservation ¥513, seat reservation ¥814). From Shanghai to Beijing, it takes 4 hours and 24 minutes by China National Railways' racecourse, G2 or G4 trains (¥554 for a hard seat, average speed 290 km/h). If you want to interact with the common people in a sustainable way, you can choose train 1462, which costs 156 yen and travels in 22 hours at an average speed of 59 km/h.

Departure times and delays: In contrast to delays that are common in Germany, they are very rare in China. In China, trains even depart too early. In fact, if you arrive at the platform three minutes before departure and it is still three minutes before departure, it is possible that a train official will not let you on the train to avoid a delay. In some cases, however, you may be able to persuade the officials to let you board the train.


With the long-distance bus

Intercity buses are a popular mode of transportation in China, replacing airplanes and railroads. They also provide almost all connections between major cities. In some areas, buses are the only way to get around. Bus travel is less expensive, especially in remote areas, but the vehicles can have technical problems and the trip is correspondingly less comfortable. Sleeper buses are also available on long-distance routes. In most cases, tickets can be obtained directly before departure as there are enough places available. Buses are an alternative when trains are full. Every city has several bus terminals, so you will need to ask for the correct one. English is not spoken at the bus terminals, so you will need to be able to say your destination in Chinese or write it down. Buses usually travel between two cities, and the two cities are prominently displayed in the front window of the bus.

For long distances, buses are the most unsafe mode of transportation. Although armed robberies on intercity buses have become very rare, horrific traffic accidents with fatalities are televised daily on Chinese television. Accidents, traffic jams, and road closures can cause travel times to exceed the allotted time. If in doubt, trains or airplanes are preferable.



Several cities have opened subway systems in recent years, and the subway systems in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou are among the largest in the world. The system works the same throughout China: a ticket (plastic chip or card) is purchased from a machine. With this ticket, you pass through a barrier gate to the platform. When exiting the subway area, the same ticket is used to pass through the barrier. Subway tickets are very inexpensive, starting at ¥2, and you can travel all over Shanghai for ¥10. If you plan to stay in a city for a long time, getting a value card will save you the trouble of buying tickets frequently. In some cities, you can also use a cell phone app to cross the barrier.

Be prepared for heavy crowding on platforms, cars, and especially at transfer stations, especially during rush hour. Passengers' luggage is scanned at all subway stations, so congestion and delays are common here as well. It is important to plan enough time and be careful with valuables.


With the taxi

Cabs are a very popular and widespread mode of transportation in China. They are considerably cheaper than in Europe, usually costing only a few euros for a long trip. Cabs in major cities are metered. Most drivers are honest and will turn on the cab meter without special request. Sometimes a penny or two is added as a fuel surcharge. As in any travel country, it makes sense to check cab fares on the Internet beforehand to avoid getting ripped off. In China, however, this is often not a problem. As a rule, empty cabs should be stopped with a hand signal. At certain times of the day, such as b. when the driver is changing shifts, when it is raining suddenly, or during major events, it can be difficult or impossible to get a cab. In this case, make a reservation (negotiate!) in advance. or use the subway, bus, or private car. It is also possible to charter a cab for the day, for example to visit tourist attractions outside of the cities, but this requires negotiating with the driver. In small towns in rural areas, expect to pay 500-600 yen per day.

Cab drivers rarely speak English, and international terms such as "airport" are often not understood. Drivers may refuse to take a ride because of difficulty communicating with foreigners, too short a distance, a shift change, or traffic congestion. In any case, it is necessary to be able to say the destination in Chinese or write it down in Chinese. Under certain circumstances (e.g., high prices or fuel shortages), all drivers consistently refuse to use cab meters, forcing you to negotiate. Many cities also have unlicensed drivers ("black cabs"). The only people who feel comfortable riding in a black cab are those who are fluent in Chinese and know the way to their destination. Otherwise, there is a risk of fraud and robbery, which as a foreigner, I would avoid if possible. Cab drivers do not expect tips and will usually round up or down to the nearest yuan and give you change without hesitation.

The cab industry is also going digital in China. The most popular cab app today is called DiDi, which acquired Uber China in 2016. As a rule, after ordering cab service, the driver will call you and agree on the exact point of departure. Nevertheless, it is worth installing this app before traveling to China. Various cab apps, such as Didi Dache (滴滴打车) and Kuaidi Dache (快的打车), also make it easy to pay with payment apps such as Wechat. These cabs are even cheaper than regular cabs and often have more comfortable and significantly nicer cars. Often you can pay directly through the cab app. Setting up and ordering a cab requires some knowledge of Chinese or the help of a Chinese friend. But you should use these apps, especially if you are staying for an extended period of time.


With the city bus

All Chinese cities have extensive urban bus systems. However, the route maps, stops, and destination signs are usually only in Chinese, making them of little use to tourists. City buses are also the slowest mode of transportation in the city. Nevertheless, as a tourist, you may still rely on buses, especially if there are no cabs available.

Fares are very inexpensive (between one and two yen to get around the city), and fares are usually put into a designated box with the driver. Discounts are available if you pay with a prepaid card.


By bike and on foot

The bicycle, which shaped China's urban image until the 1980s, has all but disappeared and is gradually making its way onto the streets. Any visitor to China will be struck by the large number of fellow cyclists lined up on the side of the road. The Chinese use their bikes as sports equipment in the park or as transportation to the nearest subway station. Sometimes demonic air pollution, the recklessness of other road users, and bike paths and side streets often blocked by cars make cycling unattractive. This is also true for tourists, with only a few exceptions.

Few places in China are suitable for exploring on foot. Walking in Chinese cities means slaloming around cars parked on sidewalks, streetlights, and broken manhole covers. Add to this the noise, air pollution, long distances, and summer heat, and walking can be very tiring.

Users of GPS devices should be aware that in China, due to government manipulation, the numbers displayed generally deviate from actual conditions. In sensitive border areas, errors can range from 200 to 600 meters!



Mandarin is the standard Chinese language. Cantonese is spoken in Hong Kong and the neighboring province of Guangdong. Macau also has its own dialect, as do most provinces south of Shanghai. However, the spelling is the same everywhere except in Taiwan and parts of Hong Kong. In Taiwan and parts of Hong Kong, it is spelled "Traditional Chinese"; on the mainland, it is spelled "Simplified Chinese. Because of the strong dialects, it has actually happened that Chinese people in the north and south have to communicate in foreign languages.

Chinese has many homonyms, i.e., words that have the same pronunciation but several meanings. Chinese people can tell what a word means from its context. Chinese characters consist of tens of thousands of pictographs, many of which are names. Students leave school with a knowledge of about 3,500 Chinese characters, but eventually they will have about 5,000. To be able to read some newspapers, 3,000 characters would be enough. Grammar, however, is much simpler. There are no cases or articles. On the contrary, Chinese people routinely despair over why they are called girls, despite the fact that they are women. Translated into Chinese, it means "I beat you" or "you beat me. After a few years in China, there are many foreigners who cannot read characters, even though they can speak quite well. Chinese, on the other hand, have considerable difficulty pronouncing the letter R. The trick is to gargle for weeks and learn the R on your own.

Those who do not speak Chinese will face major problems in some areas of the country. English is usually spoken in hotels and restaurants along the standard tourist routes, and you can get help buying train tickets and excursions, but you will have to be very patient in other areas. Chinese learn English in school, but the exam is written. This causes the phenomenon that it is difficult to find someone who speaks English, but even in places far from the main tourist attractions, business is written above the entrance to almost all stores in English as well as Chinese.

English is usually not a problem at hotel receptions, but other hotel employees often only understand important phrases, e.g., name price. Ticket vending machines at public subway stations can be operated in English and are easy to use. In tourist areas, ticket booths are almost everywhere, and English is quite understandable here. Those who use buses need to know how to get on the bus. This is also true for cab drivers; there is no need to call out your name or globally known keywords such as "airport" or "train station. Street vendors in tourist areas usually speak English to the extent that they can negotiate prices. Most English is perfect for traffickers trying to get tourists into overpriced bars (see security).

It is definitely worth taking important words in Chinese characters or having your hotel or tour guide write them down for you, for example. However, there is no guarantee that if you show them the sign at the bus terminal, they will also tell you how to get there. Nevertheless, China is a country that is undergoing a great deal of change, and it is possible that in a few years it will be much easier. There is a clear westernization throughout China.

There is one advantage for Western travelers. Arabic numerals are the only numerals in use in China today. Chinese numerals have their own numbers, but because of the complexity of the system, they are only used in bookkeeping. Otherwise, all numbers such as B, for example, would be displayed in the numbers we know, 0 through 9.

In China, the standard greeting that can be used at any time of the day or night is ni hao, which is the German equivalent of guten tark, literally meaning "how are you?" However, since niau means urine, it should be pronounced separately from ni hao. When ordering food at a restaurant, it is a good idea to take note of the Chinese characters for various foods and animals and their meanings. For example, meat, soup, water, cola, or animals such as duck, pig, cow, etc. It is easy to make a letter that means pork from the two letters pig and meat.

In modern times, it is also recommended to use applications such as Pleco, a partly free software program.



China's currency is the renminbi (RMB), usually abbreviated as renminbi (RMB in meters) or colloquially as kuai. All three names mean the same thing. The next smallest unit is the kuan (角); 10 kuan is equivalent to 1 RMB. 1 jiao is worth 10 fen, the next smaller unit, but there are no coins or bills.

Currently, 1 euro = approximately 7.34 yen. In Europe, the exchange rate for cash is very poor. You should carry only the minimum amount of cash and only have it with you in case of an absolute emergency. With a credit card, this emergency money is almost never needed. Many hotels will exchange money at the official rate without problems; withdrawals with EC cards will incur an additional fee. Imports into China can be up to RMB 20,000, but given the poor exchange rate, this would be pointless for the average traveler.

Credit card exchange rates in Germany are sometimes worse than those at exchange offices or hotels. This area varies greatly from region to region and location to location in China, so information should be obtained in advance.

If you are staying in China for a long period of time, you may want to ask your Chinese friends to teach you how to pay by scanning QR codes with a payment app like B.Wechat (like Whatsapp, but with payment functions, etc.). This payment method is very popular in China.

Groceries are considerably cheaper than in Europe. A beverage bottle such as a cola (0.5 liter) costs about 3 yuan, and even large attractions cost less than 5 yen. A can of cola (0.33L) is often available for 1 yen at restaurants in Xiamen. Water is even cheaper. A pastry from a bakery costs a few yuan, and for a few euros you can feed your whole family at a bakery. Small food markets are everywhere, and prices are low here as well.

Basically, China is a country where prices vary widely, sometimes unbelievably. Especially in the big shopping streets of Beijing and Shanghai, the price level is breathtaking. You can get just about anything here. The goods there are likely to be authentic. As city dwellers become more affluent, it is important for the Chinese to be seen to have authentic brand-name goods. Buying fake goods is now considered embarrassing to many Chinese. One should also be wary of insect markets and other places that sell exotic foods. Prices are often displayed at the top of the stand, and they are often disproportionately high. So you should either check the price or ask before you buy.

In China, prices can be surprisingly high, especially for electrical appliances. The following items should be bought with caution, as they are rarely cheap or of poor quality:
Printer accessories, ink cartridges, etc.
Computer-related products
DVD players, televisions
Photographic equipment can be dramatically more expensive (2-3 times more).

Some of the following items can be purchased more cheaply
DVDs and VideoCDs can be purchased at legitimate stores for as little as 7 yuan per disc. If you are buying in large quantities, ask for a discount.
Books, here there are discounts of up to 80% of the German price. English literature can be found in larger bookstores.
Clothing (clothing, if branded, can be more expensive than here, but still does not protect the buyer from fakes. Also, the Chinese market still specializes in small sizes, and 3XL or shoes size 47 are hard to find).

Caution There are numerous illegal copies of all kinds of brand-name products in circulation. To avoid prosecution in Germany, one should be especially careful with electronic media. In a typical tourist market, nothing is guaranteed to be authentic. The Chinese themselves do not shop there. However, they can receive services there, such as calligraphy, or have personalized souvenirs made.

Bars in hotels and on cruise ships can be as expensive as in Europe or even more. A cup of coffee can be 5 euros.

European tourism companies often have local partners arrange trips. It is common in China for package tourists to be forcibly dragged to sales events. Tour guides must obtain proof that they took the group there. One major package tour operator once clearly stated in its catalog, "No more than one group per day. Sometimes you can definitely learn something in a real company, and sometimes, for show, you are introduced only to pseudo-workers who work for a few seconds out of sight of the tourists. These stores are very expensive and one can spend thousands of euros. The only reason to buy there is that if the goods are counterfeit, the tour operator guarantees to refund the money.

Chinese sellers are very aggressive. Salespeople, even obvious employees, will go after tourists and it is difficult to fend them off.


Typical souvenirs

Chinese tea
Stamps written in Chinese or Latin characters, e.g. B. with your name or the name of a loved one. Best to buy at the Great Wall of China in Badaling.
Qingdao Beer Named after the brewery once founded by German settlers as Germania Brewery.



In China, it is important to negotiate prices before buying. Point to the item you want and take it. Then, either negotiate the price verbally if you speak Chinese or ask the seller to show you the selling price on his/her cell phone or seller's calculator and enter the price you are willing to pay in yuan on your cell phone. It is possible to get at least half of the original price. If you negotiate hard enough, you can get a discount of 90% or more. At ordinary food supermarkets, set restaurants, and public facilities such as train stations, it is not customary to negotiate.



Food is central to Chinese culture, and food is very important to the Chinese. It is not for nothing that they prefer to say "Qi Fan Le Ma" (Have you eaten yet?) instead of "Ni Hao" as a greeting. In recent years, however, the Chinese have moved considerably away from the topic of their favorite food. The numerous food scandals that have claimed lives have left too deep a scar. The government's greed for profit has also made many food producers lose their inhibitions and prudence.

The food served in China is very different from the Chinese food served in street corner Chinese restaurants in Germany. In China, the food is also much hotter. The Chinese eat hot food three times a day. So a Chinese hotel breakfast means fried noodles, egg rice, soup, etc. At breakfast in Chinese hotels, you can also have warm or hot orange juice. Warm or hot water is also very common. Chinese people also prefer to drink beer that is not chilled, because they believe it is good for the stomach and therefore good for one's health.

Basically everything in a Chinese kitchen is recycled. They eat pig snouts, chicken feet, and even scorpions. However, they do not have pets. Cats are not allowed at all, and only specially bred meat dogs are allowed. Many Chinese, however, will not eat dogs, scorpions, or other exotic foods for the rest of their lives. Package travelers need not fear that such strange foods will be pushed under the crumbs. The food served as the average tourist basically corresponds to what is known in Chinese restaurants. For image reasons, the Chinese government wants to drastically limit the consumption of animals that are considered pets in other countries. The majority of Chinese eat pork, beef, poultry, and seafood. Seafood is especially common in coastal towns. The region has a special local cuisine, with a wide variety of very tasty dishes. Still, if you want to eat exotic dishes such as dog or snake, you have to look for something special. Of course, my Chinese friends are very helpful in finding such restaurants, and they often consider what Westerners might want to eat. The prices of these exotic dishes are often particularly high.

Contrary to popular belief in the West, rice is rarely used in many dishes. It is served only if you are not full. It is often ordered separately. Rice is completely unnecessary because of the wide assortment of dishes that are often eaten at the same time as others at round turntables. These round revolving tables are usually found in upscale restaurants and are usually only used to seat large groups of diners.

There are many food stalls in China. What I often hear from people who have lived in China for a long time is that if you know the right food stalls, they can be a good source of supply. The turnover rate is very high, so nothing goes out of date there. They are not suitable for short-term travelers, because they quickly get diarrhea from the unfamiliar food. As anywhere in the world, it is important to make sure that the food here is fresh and well prepared. Food stalls often sell vegetables and especially tasty fruits at reasonable prices. Here you need to make sure they are fresh, peeled and cut right in front of you. In Xiamen, a whole mango, freshly peeled and cut, costs about 12-15 yen (depending on the size of the mango) (as of January 2017) Unpeeled and uncut mangoes are of course cheaper. Of course, mangoes, dragon fruit, and other region-generated fruits taste much better because they are not harvested unripe and transported for long periods of time.

Chinese food is much fresher, especially compared to Germany. This is true, for example, in restaurants with aquariums, where you can still choose live fish or lobster. These ingredients are killed in the kitchen, cooked, and served completely fresh. Flavor enhancers and other additives are often used, depending on the restaurant's price point. People with allergies should check to see if there are any items to which they are allergic. For example, nuts.

For the intrepid tourist, I recommend going to a restaurant and ordering whatever is on the menu. Most of the time, you will find that you will eat some great tasting food that you never thought you would eat. Of course, you can also use your vocabulary to limit the dishes to, for example, B. soup with pork or soup with noodles.

Vegetarian and vegan restaurants are quite rare. But even here the demand from locals as well as tourists is increasing, and the dishes offered are constantly expanding. Especially in the larger cities.

Peking duck (Chinese: 北京烤鴨/北京烤鸭, běijīng kǎoyā) is one of the most famous dishes in Chinese cuisine and is served mainly in specialty restaurants. The duck is presented to the customer, the skin is cut into diamond-shaped pieces, the fat is trimmed off, and the rolled pancake is served with sauce and green onions as an appetizer. The meat is then cut into bite-sized slices and served as a main dish with various side dishes.
Dim sum (Chinese: 點心 / 点心) are small filling dumplings usually served steamed or fried in a bamboo basket. We also call this dough Dampfnudel. There are countless variations, especially in southern and eastern China. One thing to keep in mind when eating them is that the filling is very hot. This filling, if any, can be hearty or sweet, such as b. minced meat or date palm sauce. Beans and fibrous dried pork (which looks like cotton wool) are also popular. In fact, one should be surprised.

Françoise Hauser: China en Wok. in: In Asia, Vol. 6 (November/December) (2007). - Culinary trips to China.


Special restaurants and grocery stores

In this section you will find special restaurants, bakeries and other grocery stores.

Xiamen, Fujian Province
Kempinski Hotel Xiamen Paulaner Brauhaus, No. 98 Hubinzhong Road, Siming District, Xiamen, Fujian.Tel: +86 (0) 592 235-1613, Fax: +86 (0) 592 235-1999, Email: Xiamen. Large German restaurant on the ground floor of the Kempinski Hotel Siamen. It has German beer, German sausages and other German specialties.In 2016/2017 there was a German chef. The restaurant was also known as a monthly gathering place for Germans, Austrians, and Swiss (as of February 2017). I do not personally know if this is still the case today or if there is a German chef. The music is quite good. Prices are quite high compared to Chinese restaurants, in the mid to high price range. You have to be prepared to pay around 230-250 yen, not 15-25 yen like in cheaper and tasty Chinese restaurants. Unfortunately, like many Western restaurants, this restaurant has a bad habit of adding a flat 10-20% tip to the bill (as of February 2017). The quality of the food is very close to German sausages, and the dishes (made according to German recipes) ranged from good to very good. Open Sun-Sat 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.; payment methods UnionPay, VISA, Master, American Express, JCB, Diners Club, cash, WeChat pay, Ali pay.

Changsha, Hunan Province
Bach's Bakery, Xiang Chun Xiang #8, Kai Fu Qu, Changsha, Hunan, China (address is in an alley, not a street, so hard to find) Phone: +86 731 8862 6264; the German bakery (the Chinese name for "Bach" is "Ba He") is especially looking for hearing impaired people. Based in Changsha, Hunan Province, the bakery has been run by German Uwe Blützer (Chinese name: Wu Zhenrong) and his wife Dorothee Blützer (Chinese name: Du Xuehui) since 2011. Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday 8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., closed Sundays.

West Lake Chamber, Jin Ma Food City, Hongshan Tourism District, Changsha City (Chinese: 长沙市开福区马栏山西湖楼酒家). Located in Changsha, the capital of central China's Hunan Province, the 4,000-seat restaurant is one of the world's largest restaurants, and after being listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest Chinese restaurant, it is now considered the largest restaurant in Asia. The 4,000-seat restaurant is regarded as the largest restaurant in Asia. In early 2003, construction began on a catering facility of unprecedented scale in the Kaifu district of Changsha City. The restaurant complex covers an area of 88 mu (about 5.8 hectares) in the developing Jinma Restaurant City, a 20-minute drive from Huanghe International Airport. Across the street is Changsha's largest park, Yuehu Park. Numerous buildings and parks are constructed in a traditional architectural style. There are four distinct areas throughout the complex. Area A contains 70 large and small rooms, including a performance hall where daily performances are held. Area B has 10 luxurious private rooms in the style of the Imperial Palace. Area C has nine luxurious Cantonese-style booths, and Area D is a snack street. Traditional Chinese cuisine, both Hunan and Cantonese, takes precedence and is prepared in five large kitchens; 1,000 people, including 300 chefs, work here. Approximately 700 chickens and 2,600 pounds of pork are processed each week. There is a large parking lot in front of the restaurant for buses and cars. In October 2004, the Guinness World Records Center Shanghai declared Xihu Lou the largest restaurant in China. In May 2006, the restaurant received the "First Five-Star Tourism Restaurant" award from the Changsha Tourism Bureau. Features Hunan cuisine.



In fact, even the biggest nightlife areas in Shanghai and other major cities are almost always "dead" by around 11 pm. In most major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Qingdao, the nightlife takes place only in a small part of the city. It is mostly in the "entertainment districts" that bars stay open after midnight. Chinese are not familiar with nightlife, and in some cities there is no public transportation at night, so they have to rely on cabs. Bar prices range from 1 euro for a beer to over 10 euros, with all sorts of variations. Don't be afraid to go to bars with locals. An interesting discussion may ensue.

China is probably one of the few countries where you can get into the city's top clubs for free. Tables at such clubs usually cost 1,000 to 2,000 euros a night. They also often offer free drinks (whiskey, beer, vodka, rum, cola, etc.) and snacks (nuts, watermelon, etc.) Just contact the club manager or customer advisor on Wechat to let them know when and how many people are coming. You can get contact information from Germans and other international students in China. There is no such thing as dead nightlife at all. It is common among international students to party until 5 am. In the past (before 2012), international students were paid for their parties (about 80 euros per night). This was and still is, of course, illegal, as student visas do not allow work and risk deportation. Behind this perhaps unique rule is the fact that international students are attracted to the predominantly "white" Chinese tourists in their respective nightclubs. The Chinese often invite them to come to their tables, even inviting them for drinks and food. The "whites" are considered a status symbol. This rarely happens, however, and one should be careful not to be responsible for some of the costs later on. For travelers who like to party and stay in China for long periods of time, we recommend visiting local universities and asking international students for the Wechat contact information for the managers of their respective clubs. Especially at the end of the semester, international students will often tell you which clubs are the best and what music is playing. Note that there are no such liberal regulations in place regarding bars.

Note to those who are not fond of alcohol: Chinese people like to drink to get "yuan" and such "competition" does not harm the average European male. Their favorite beer is usually Qingdao (Tsingtao). This "yuan" drinking is introduced by the German word gānbēi, meaning "toast"; gānbēi does not necessarily mean to drink "yuan," but to drink "yuan" (yuan).

Peking Opera is a representation of famous Chinese fairy tales and myths. Peking Opera performances are highly stylized and require specialized knowledge to understand them all. Peking Opera has suffered from a decline in Chinese youth audiences over the past few years.



Accommodations are offered in every possible category and price range. Price level is also a good indicator of quality level, since the Chinese prefer to make reservations through Internet portals, where they also rate hotels. Hotel prices are higher in large cities than in small towns. In low season, hotel prices are much lower than in high season.

As a general rule, a license is required for hotels to accommodate foreigners. This rule is not always strictly observed. Those who have the opportunity to visit non-tourist countries will stay in hostels that do not have such a license. In places where the situation is tense (e.g. Xinjiang), this is not possible.

Four- and five-star hotels in China, especially in large cities, have performance and price levels that can be compared to European luxury hotels. If you don't need luxury, you can find a number of chain hotels in China that offer cleanliness and moderate comfort for around 300 yuan (about 39 euros - as of March 31, 2020) or less on booking sites such as . You can find a good room with breakfast included. If breakfast is sparsely laid out and you don't like it, I suggest booking a room without breakfast and going to a nearby restaurant. That is, of course, if they are available.

Chinese cities are large, so it makes sense to choose accommodations that are convenient to tourist attractions and transportation. For example, 5-star hotels in industrial parks often have very low weekend rates, but are far from tourist attractions and difficult to reach without a cab. With cab fares so low, it is no problem to find a restaurant located a short distance away. The only important thing to remember is to take down the names and addresses in Chinese characters to and from hotels and hostels (if you do not speak Chinese), and always use a legitimate cab (their cabs also have a cab meter). As a general rule, it is advisable to make reservations through a reliable reservation portal. If you go to a hotel without a reservation, ignore the posted room rates and ask for a discounted price in Chinese.

Generally, hotel room charges are paid at check-in. Most hotels also require a deposit, which is paid by credit card or cash. Check-in is usually a lengthy process, as police registration must also be done at the same time. Rooms have complimentary bottled drinking water and items that are charged for when used. Sometimes these items have upscale prices. Disposable toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other hygiene items of questionable quality are usually provided in the bathroom, and there are breathing masks in the closet in case of fire. Mattresses in China are usually much firmer than in Central Europe. Chinese hotels usually do not have non-smoking rooms, so the rooms smell more or less like cigarettes. If the smell is too strong or there are other problems, it is common practice to walk at the front desk and ask for another room.

When checking out, the front desk staff usually calls a maid, who checks the room for consumption of paid items or theft. Only then is the deposit returned. This extra time should definitely be planned for. If you are lucky, you may get the items left in your room returned immediately.



China is safe. There is crime, and as a tourist, it is a favorite place to go, as it is in almost any other country in the world. Therefore, wallets and valuables should be protected at all times and hotel safes should be used. Crime rates are generally low, but in some cities it is not advisable to visit at night.

Cash is preferred, but avoid carrying large amounts of cash: RMB 1,000-1,500 is the maximum, unless you are paying at a hotel, etc. ECards and credit cards work fine at most automated teller machines (ATMs). DANGER Some credit cards require activation to be used abroad.

Police are omnipresent in urban areas, but as anywhere else in the world, crime there is high, so it is best not to enter excessively dark alleys and entertainment districts. By the way, not everyone who looks like that is a cop. Most of the men in uniform belong to private security services, even public ones. That does not stop these private security services from doing a military-style goose chase that most armies in the world cannot do.

Above all, the trick with the knockout drop is repeatedly reported in the press. The supposedly nice companion you meet at a disco or hotel bar will mix a knockout drop in your drink when you go to the bathroom. This can still happen at the disco or hotel bar, but usually only in the hotel room. If you return to your hotel after 1-2 days you will find that you have been robbed and your credit cards stolen. I recommend never going on a "tour" here alone.

The same goes for nighttime walks in the pub district. Usually, there are still a few empty corners between the pub tour bases. Usually two people will approach you, one with a knife or pistol out, the other will take your wallet and leave. At this point, it is very helpful to have another person with you. If you find yourself in this situation, you should not play the hero; you should give them money. There is only a slight difference between armed robbery and murder under China's criminal law.

However, the following smuggler's modus operandi is much more common than the knockout-drop scam: You are approached by a young man or woman who speaks English, or even German, fluently and engage in lively conversation for a few minutes. They then suggest a change of location to a nearby bar or tea room. The bill can reach four figures in euros. Chatting is safe, but never make a phone call. As a tourist, it is almost impossible to escape this scam, especially in Beijing.

Be wary of street vendors as well. First, talk of bargaining and brief rejection is often used by pickpockets. Second, merchants, especially in Beijing, know that they are mostly dealing with newcomers to China. The vendors assume that tourists are unfamiliar with money, so they often give them counterfeit bills as change.

Criticism of the government can also be a problem. In particular, the Tiananmen Square incident is considered taboo in the local community. The Chinese leadership is not stupid and knows that the Chinese are talking about it. But they would not want to hear about it, at least not in the square itself. In one case, a tour guide in Tiananmen Square spoke to a group of visitors about the student uprising in a foreign language, and the plainclothes secret police understood the language. The tour guide was immediately arrested and the tour group was left without a guide.

Road traffic is a very serious source of danger. Traffic rules are almost completely ignored. Here one can see the sudden affluence of China. As yet, riding bicycles and mopeds like pigs in a china shop had no significant impact, but as cars became more popular, they led to a dramatic number of accidents that killed many within a few years. Even though only one in ten Chinese owns a car, official figures show that about 100,000 people have lost their lives on the roads. But if you have ever experienced Chinese traffic jams, you will be more surprised. The Chinese take grotesque risks, but they are not aggressive. The Chinese take grotesque risks, but they are not aggressive. Other road users are not insulting enemies and think it will be okay. It is almost "harmonious chaos." On the Autobahn, cars are repeatedly passed and overtaken at speeds of 80 to 100 kilometers per hour, one meter apart on either side. On country roads, they share lanes with everything with wheels and feet. Horns are sounded regularly, preventing many accidents. The horn should make the other party aware that you are behind them. The law of the strong and the great applies, which dictates who should retreat and give way. Roughly speaking, the order is trucks, buses, cars (sometimes cabs have priority), motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians.

As in Vietnam, when crossing the road, cross at traffic signals or zebra-zone crosswalks whenever possible. Do not rely on zebra zone crosswalks under any circumstances. Few people stop at crosswalks because of pedestrians. Cabs also often ignore red lights, and always do so when making a right turn. No driver obeys traffic rules just because there are pedestrians. If you think nothing of it, you will have your first accident at the arrival airport. Before crossing the crosswalk, make sure your car is still far enough away from the zebra zone crosswalk to avoid hitting a car directly. After that, walk at a fast but steady pace so as to be predictable to drivers. Avoid fast walking unless necessary. Observe the speed and distance of the car from the edge of your line of sight. Avoid looking directly at the driver. This is usually interpreted as the pedestrian paying attention and the driver not needing to pay attention. On the other hand, if the driver does not look directly at the pedestrian, the driver is usually careful not to hit the pedestrian.



Traveling to China can be stressful for one's health. The long journey, the time change, the sudden change in rhythm of life, the air pollution, and last but not least, the Chinese food, cause many travelers to become ill along the way. Diarrhea, vomiting, and coughing are especially common. For this reason, we recommend that you consult your physician before traveling and have a small first aid kit ready. Medicines are available in China, but not in the brands and compositions known in Europe. Those who need to take medicines on a regular basis should bring sufficient quantities with them. They should also consult their physician regarding vaccinations. Most doctors recommend getting at least a hepatitis vaccination. Also inquire about vaccinations required by the Chinese government.

While there, you must follow certain rules to maintain your health. These include not drinking tap water, not eating dodgy street food, eating lots of rice, and avoiding oily or spicy food at the beginning of your trip. As for tap water, do not rely on boiling it in the kettle provided by the hotel. Although it kills bacteria, some water is contaminated with oil and other substances that cannot be removed by this method. So, these substances are not always visible. However, water bottles are very inexpensive and are a good choice for making tea. As for water bottles, one should make sure that they are sealed in their original state. Bottled water is also recommended for brushing teeth. Food should be well cooked and hot, and fruits should be peeled. Meat should be avoided on the street and in small, unrefrigerated snacks. Fish should absolutely be eaten only fresh. Special attention should be paid to hygiene. Of course, unprotected sexual contact should be avoided.

If you become ill in China and need medical care, it is best to be referred to an English (or German) speaking doctor. There are international hospitals in large cities that cater to foreign patients. The Chinese health care system is efficient outside the big cities, but you will probably need to take an interpreter with you. Few doctors in China have private practices like those in Central Europe, so you will have to go to a hospital or clinic even for outpatient care. In any case, a fee must be paid at registration, and the cost of treatment and medication is also paid on the spot. There is little consideration for privacy, and several patients may be in the examination room at the same time. Those treated as inpatients usually come to a room with multiple beds where other patients and their relatives are located. As a foreigner, you will feel some stares. In China, intravenous infusions are common, oral medications are rarely prescribed, and a combination of herbal and Western medicines are used. Large halls are set up for IVs, nurses tend to patients, and TVs blare everywhere.

Many Chinese have a certain distrust of the health care system. They suspect that doctors prescribe treatments and drugs that are more expensive than necessary, prescribe hospital stays that are too long, and generally only care about making money for themselves. There is also a fear of counterfeit medicines. For more information, see "Practical Information" in the chapter on Tropical Diseases and Health Travel.

Toilets in China are unfamiliar to many Western visitors. For more information and tips, see Toilets in China.

According to the World Bank, 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in China. Smog is also expected to occur. Especially in susceptible cities like Beijing, and even more so in winter. The English Wikipedia article on smog in China gives a good overview of the problem and the cities affected. Therefore, it is recommended to buy a mask certified FFP2 or FFP3 in Germany. For long-term stays, air filters for one's own apartment are also worth using. The Chinese government publishes exposure values via apps and the Internet. These values are not always correct. In some cities, such as Beijing, measurements from the U.S. embassy or consulate can be used as a reference. Xiamen, for example, is a city with very clean air and roads, and at the same time very green.



China is a paradise for smokers. Most Chinese men and, increasingly, a minority of Chinese women smoke. Cigarettes are cheap, even Western brands are inexpensive. With few exceptions, smoking is ubiquitous, and no-smoking signs are largely ignored. The government's half-hearted efforts to reduce tobacco abuse among the population seem to have little effect.

On airplanes, high-speed trains, and better yet, in hospitals, smoking is truly taboo. Staff members are strictly prohibited from smoking. In air-conditioned trains, buses, cabs, elevators, and other enclosed spaces, smoking is not permitted but is tolerated by the staff. If a foreigner asks a Chinese smoker to stop smoking in these places, he or she can expect support from the non-smoking Chinese.

Smoking is the norm in restaurants, nightlife, hotel rooms, etc., and as a foreigner, there is probably nothing you can do about it. However, there are many non-smoking restaurants. Many hotels offer non-smoking rooms.


Climate and travel time

The central region around Shanghai and Nanjing has about the same climate as southern Spain and Cyprus, with temperatures around 0°C and very little snow.

The further north you go, the colder the climate becomes. Beijing's climate is probably comparable to that of Poland, with really cold weather for 3-4 months, but still warm in summer. On the other hand, in the more inland regions of Outer Mongolia, the winters can get down to minus 30 degrees Celsius, but the summers are quite pleasant.

If you prefer a warmer climate, but not hot, we generally recommend the following climates
Winter: Winter: Southern China, including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
Late fall to early spring: Southern China, up to Shanghai, weather permitting.
Autumn to Spring: Central China, up to and including Shanghai and Nanjing.
Early fall/late spring: Beijing, Inner Mongolia, south to Shanghai, weather permitting.
Summer: warm with temperatures above 40°C in the northern regions and throughout China.

Xiamen is especially worth visiting in summer and autumn. Autumn (September-October) is particularly suitable. Roughly from May to October. In the background, temperatures can drop sensitively to around 13-17°C from November to April. heavy rains can occur from February to April. Summers are quite hot (over 30°C) and humid, while temperatures in September and October are very pleasant, ranging from 23°C to 28°C. There is often a pleasant breeze. Xiamen has very clean air, lots of greenery, and many beaches.


Rules and respect

If someone has made a mistake, you can blame that person, but it must be done politely and always with a solution that is acceptable to both parties. Also, one should not criticize the Chinese interlocutor directly, but through flowers if possible. Also, this criticism should be done only in one-on-one conversations and not in front of others.

While sniffing in public is perfectly normal in Germany, it should not be done in China. If you must blow your nose, you should take a handkerchief and look away from the other person or table. In tourist areas, it is more tolerated, but at least you should throw your handkerchief away without putting it in your pocket.

The Chinese, on the other hand, spit on the floor with the utmost glee and volume on the street or right outside the store or office where they work. This spitting on the ground persists even though it is not popular among the Chinese.

Burping is also considered completely normal. In restaurants, especially for non-Chinese food, it is common for the food you order not to be served. Ask if the waiter speaks English or if you speak Mandarin. Naked criticism is not appropriate.

Children China is a very child-friendly country. If you travel with children, you will find that the Chinese are more sociable than you might expect. Children are considered status symbols, and blonde children attract a lot of attention in tourist areas. Photographs with Europeans are very popular with Chinese from the western provinces. Everyone wants to touch the beautiful blonde hair, and they are eager to explain that your child is beautiful. Of course, all this is done with the consent of the parents and always with the utmost respect. In any case, there is no sense that you are being made a spectacle; on the contrary, it is as if everyone wants nothing more than to get to know you. The children themselves cope with the clamor surprisingly well.

Nudity in public is frowned upon. Even going topless on the beach is not appropriate.

After several wars between China and Japan and a very brutal Japanese occupation of China, historical relations are strained to this day. This should be taken into account in the discussion. In any case, the Chinese are of the opinion that the Japanese copied their culture from the Chinese.

Tipping was completely unknown until a few years ago. Thanks to foreign tourists, the Chinese in commercial establishments and tourist attractions now know what tipping is and accept it even if they do not expect it. In rural areas, tipping should still be saved today, and it can definitely be taken as an insult. Especially in large hotels and restaurants in Europe and the United States, a tip of 10% to 20% of the price is uniformly calculated. Unfortunately, this bad practice is becoming more and more common.


Post and telecommunications

It is helpful to speak even a smattering of Mandarin Chinese, especially if you are planning an extended trip to the western provinces. In the north, Russian (the official first foreign language in schools) is helpful, and in the south, French can also be a point of reference.

Internet is available free of charge in any hotel, either by cable or wireless LAN. Connections are fairly fast, at least the first time you access it. However, once you try to open a system-critical page, the network becomes unbearably slow; ARD and ZDF online are partially blocked, but most newspaper portals are accessible. Google and Facebook do not work at all. Wikivoyage is not a problem. In particular, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, search engines and porn sites are blocked. To get around this, a paid VPN is recommended. Free VPNs should be avoided for a variety of reasons. However, China's Internet restrictions are becoming increasingly strict, and VPN providers are also partially or completely blocked. Of course, you will need to check before you leave in order to take advantage of any promotions.

If you do not bring your own laptop. Mid-range and higher hotels usually have so-called business centers, where Internet PCs are also available. However, they are expensive (usually 1 RMB per minute) and the connection is slow. It is not suitable for more than short emails. On the other hand, if you want to bring your own device and type Chinese characters, you can install a free program (so-called IME), which is often available on the Internet or in the OS.

The keyboard still has the QWERTY sequence of Latin characters. However, when you open the program's interface, everything will be in Chinese. Of course, if you type in the desired website in the address line, it will appear in the desired language. The problem arises when the computer reports a question, which is then only in Chinese, and the Y and N characters only indicate that it is a yes/no question. This is often used to verify that a password has been saved. If you want to delete your password or browser history at the end of a session, you must operate the Chinese menu. For security reasons, e-mails should be redirected to an e-mail account specifically set up for the trip so that they can be deleted after the trip. In addition, online banking at hotels and Internet cafes should be avoided at all costs. Not least because of the prevalence of the old Internet Explorer 6.

Incidentally, when the Chinese themselves use Latin characters to pronounce Chinese characters on their computers and cell phones, a list of candidate Chinese characters is displayed as they type. This sounds tedious, but since the Chinese language is practiced and whole syllables or words can be selected directly, this allows them to write much faster.

As already mentioned for areas such as food and transportation, I would recommend using various apps such as Pleco (Pleco Software), Taxisapps, Wechat, etc. There are also many great map apps that can be used in offline mode.

Cell Phones: It used to be impossible to use your own cell phone in China because China uses its own cell phone standards that are incompatible with Western cell phones. This has improved as models from Chinese manufacturers are now available in Europe and these phones can be used in China. However, models from Western manufacturers still cannot be used in China (exception: iPhone). Purchasing a SIM card in China, even if it is possible without problems, should be discouraged, as it would mean "enjoying" Chinese censorship. If you surf the Internet only by roaming via a provider in your own country, there is no problem.

Postage for a postcard to Europe is RMB 4.50. Postcards are best given at the hotel, but a fee of several yuan may be added. Mailing time to Europe is about one week.

China has a number of television stations, most of which are broadcast by the state-run CCTV; CCTV News, also known as CCTV 9, is broadcast in English and provides minimal information on world events. On non-Chinese issues, the information can be informative but otherwise one-sided. German soccer results are also reported there, and sometimes matches are broadcast live on other channels, but in those cases it is at night due to the time difference. Depending on the hotel, there are also BBC and CNN news channels, and occasionally Deutsche Welle TV. Chinese TV stations are mostly military and historical films. Sometimes there are German TV series, but of course they are dubbed by Chinese state TV.



Ancient China

According to legend, the origins of Chinese civilization can be traced back to the Three Emperors and Five Emperors, although most modern historians regard them as mythical figures.

The recorded history of Chinese civilization can be traced back to the Yellow River basin, which is said to be the "cradle of Chinese civilization. The Xia Dynasty (Xia dynasty, ca. 2070 B.C. - 1600 B.C.) was the first dynasty described in ancient historical chronicles, but to date, no undisputed evidence of its existence has been found. Some archaeologists have linked the Erlitou settlement to the Xia dynasty, but this is disputed.

The Shang dynasty (Shang dynasty, ca. 1600 B.C.E. - 1046 B.C.E.), the first archaeologically confirmed dynasty in China, only ruled the Yellow River basin. At least in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River around Taihu Lake, there is the Liangshu culture, and further upstream in Sichuan Province there are major sites at Sanxingdui. Shang and Sanxingdui were Bronze Age cultures, while Liangshu was the last Neolithic culture in the region.

Shang was succeeded by the Zhou Dynasty (1046 B.C. - 256 B.C.), which extended its empire southward to the Yangtze River basin. The Zhou adopted a feudal system, with feudal lords ruling their respective territories with a high degree of autonomy and maintaining their own armies, while paying tribute to the king and recognizing him as the symbolic ruler of China.

During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 B.C. to 476 B.C.), feudal lords of numerous small fiefdoms vied for power, which later stabilized into seven large states during the Warring States Period (475 B.C. to 221 B.C.). This turbulent period produced some of China's greatest thinkers, including Confucius, Mencius, and Laozi (also spelled Laozi), who made significant contributions to Chinese thought and culture.


Imperial China

China was unified in 221 B.C. by Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi. His Qin Dynasty (Qin Dynasty, 221 B.C. - 206 B.C.) established a centralized Chinese government and unified weights and measures, Chinese characters, and currency. The Han Dynasty (Han Dynasty, 206 B.C. - 220 A.D.), after a period of rebellion and civil war, seized power in 206 B.C. and ushered in the first golden age of Chinese civilization. To this day, the majority of Chinese use the word "Han" to describe themselves, and Chinese characters continue to be referred to as "Chinese characters" (汉字 hànzì) in Chinese. The Han Dynasty presided over the beginning of the Silk Road and the invention of paper. The empire expanded further south, incorporating present-day Fujian and Guangdong provinces and northern Vietnam.

The collapse of the Han dynasty in AD 220 led to the political turmoil known as the Three Kingdoms Period (三国时期, 220-280), which split China into three states: Wei (魏, 220-265), Shu (蜀, 221 -263) and Wu (吴, 222-280). The Jin Dynasty (265-420) unified China in AD 280, but the unification was short-lived and China quickly fell back into civil war and division. from AD 420 to 589, China was divided into the Southern and Northern Dynasties. in 581, the Sui Dynasty unified China. The Sui Dynasty was famous for its large-scale public works projects, including the technological feats of the Grand Canal, which gradually developed into a canal connecting Beijing in the north and Hangzhou in the south. Some sections of the canal are still navigable today.

In AD 618, the Sui Dynasty was replaced by the Tang Dynasty (618-907), which ushered in the second golden age of Chinese civilization, including the flowering of Chinese poetry, the rise of Buddhism, and state rule after the collapse of the Tang Dynasty in AD 907, China was again divided and unified in AD 960 during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) In 1127, the Song drove south of the Huaihe River by the Jurchen and continued to rule as the Southern Song Dynasty, based in Linan (临安嶺南, now Hangzhou). Although militarily weak, the Sung dynasty was China's economic golden age, achieving a high degree of commercial and economic development unmatched in the West until the Industrial Revolution. The Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368, one of the four divisions of the Mongol Empire) defeated the Yulchins, conquered the Song in 1279, and ruled a vast empire from Kambalik (the Great Capital, now Beijing).

After defeating the Mongols, the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) re-established Han rule. Trade and exploration flourished during the Ming dynasty, and Zheng He made numerous voyages to Southeast Asia, India, and Arab countries, reaching as far as the eastern coast of Africa. Beijing's famous structures, such as the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven, were built during this period. The last dynasty, the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), was Manchu in origin and incorporated Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Tibet Autonomous Region into its western part, expanding the Chinese Empire almost to its present boundaries.

The Qing dynasty declined in the 19th century, and China was often described as the "sick man of Asia" (東亞病夫/东亚病夫). Devoured by Western powers and Japan, the Chinese called this period "the century of humiliation. The West and Japan established their own treaty ports in Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Tianjin. China lost several territories to foreign powers, including Hong Kong to the British and Taiwan to Japan, and lost control of Vietnam, Korea, and Ryukyu, its tributaries. It was also during this period that the stereotypical appearance of Chinese people, such as pigtails, Manchu hairstyles, and magua (a type of Manchu clothing), took root abroad due to the rapid increase in foreign exchanges after the ban on the sea. The turmoil of the late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China period led to the emigration of many Chinese, who established overseas Chinese communities in various parts of the world. Most of the overseas Chinese who emigrated before World War II were from Fujian, Guangdong, and Hainan provinces, and it is natural to go to these provinces if one wants to explore the heritage of the overseas Chinese.


End of the empire (1911), republic (until 1914), beginning of the dictatorship of Yuan Shikai

Around 1800, China had achieved its greatest expansion and economic power, producing about one-third of all the world's goods. In terms of domestic and foreign policy, however, the Chinese empire in the early 19th century was relatively unstable and weak. As in Europe, the population was growing rapidly, but industrialization only began much later because of China's isolation from the outside world. The amount of arable land per capita was declining. The Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864) was considered the most disastrous war of the 19th century, and the Muslim uprisings were no less cruel. After the forced opening of the country, the balance of trade turned negative. Whether in the First or Second Opium Wars, the Sino-French War of 1885/86, or the Sino-Japanese War of 1895, the Qing Empire could do little to counter increasingly aggressive foreign powers. Vast areas of northern Manchuria and East Turkestan were lost to the Russian emperor through the Treaty of Aigun in 1858 and the Treaty of Beijing in 1860. In addition to these humiliating defeats, unequal treaties were signed, and in the 19th century China became increasingly ethnically heterogeneous, losing territory and paying large reparations to foreign countries.

Foreign pressure on China led to self-liberation movements, modernization of the educational system and military, and the first Chinese began to study abroad. Industrialization also began, but this was largely driven by foreigners. However, the Hundred Days Reforms initiated by Emperor Guangxu ended in failure. Not an anti-government uprising, but a movement against the imperialist powers, the "Yihe Dan Rebellion," which the Chinese government tried to encourage, gathered forces with the goal of expelling all foreigners. Misunderstood as an "uprising," this battle of "boxers" (first they were trained in traditional martial arts) led to war between China and eight nations: the German Empire, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Austria-Hungary, Russia , and the United States. After the suppression, the victorious powers forced the imperialists to make further concessions in the so-called "Yihe Dan Protocol" of 1901. In this environment, Sun Yat-sen founded the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance in Tokyo in 1905, which became the forerunner of the Kuomintang. He called for the establishment of a republic, the end of the Qing dynasty, the building of a nation-state, and land reform. 1911 saw the outbreak of the Wuchang Uprising, followed by the Xinhai Revolution, which deposed Emperor Puyi. This ended the succession of several dynasties that had ended with Qin Shi Huangdi in 221 B.C. At the end of 1911, Sun was elected provisional president of the Republic of China in Nanjing. The proclamation of a republic was endorsed, especially in the larger cities. It was short-lived, however, and Yuan Shikai dissolved the Congress in 1914 and ruled as a dictator.


Republic of China era (until 1949)

Yuan Shikai had sufficient military forces under his command to avoid the collapse of China. However, Yuan Shikai was unable to stop the advance of foreign powers. Attempts at civil society were suppressed and the Kuomintang was banned in 1913. Thus, during this period, the domestic elite turned their backs on the state and pursued their own interests. Yuan Shikai himself ascended the throne as emperor on January 1, 1916, but Japan deliberately weakened Yuan Shikai by issuing twenty-one demands. The central government lost control of Chinese politics, the country was divided, and local military governors and hundreds of warlords vied for influence with shifting alliances. Chaos and misery reigned, and the population suffered oppression. Mongolia and Tibet declared independence. But the period of division was also a creative period of intellectual climate change through conflict with Western ideas. The May Fourth Movement became the starting point for many political and intellectual currents, and schools and universities were established. Capital and knowledge from abroad flowed into the treaty ports, laying the foundation for economic development.

After the October Revolution in Russia, China was also attracted to socialist and communist ideas, and in 1921 the Communist Party of China was established. Because China lacked the industrial base for a proletarian movement, the Comintern supported both the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. As part of the First United Front, both parties worked together against the warlords and Japanese expansionism. With Soviet assistance, the Whampoa Military Academy was established in 1924 and produced a number of officers who would play important roles in later Chinese history, including Chiang Kai-shek and Zhou Enlai. after Sun Yat-sen's death in 1925, tension on the united front delayed progress in the northern campaign. After securing Shanghai in March 1927, Chiang Kai-shek sent several thousand (supposedly) communists, and on April 12, 1927, he suppressed the strike and collapsed the united front. Chiang, who had taken control of the army within the Kuomintang, outflanked the left faction of the party and established a rebel government in Nanjing; In June 1928, Chiang Kai-shek's troops succeeded in capturing Beijing, and China was initially unified.

Communists, pushed out of the countryside, revolted in several cities and attempted to set up Soviet districts. However, uprisings in Nanchang in August 1927, Canton in December 1927, and Changsha in 1930 were suppressed. Meanwhile, after the Autumn Harvest Uprising, Mao managed to seize large mountainous areas in Hunan and Jiangxi and established a Soviet republic with a strategy adapted to the rural situation. Surrounded by Kuomintang forces, he was forced to retreat in 1934, and the CP leaders retreated with the Long March to the northern part of Shaanxi, arriving a year later ideologically unified and united. During this march, Mao Zedong won the intra-party struggle and was elected President of the Central Committee.

Japan, which had been stationed in northeastern China since the Yihe Dan Rebellion of 1901, occupied Manchuria from the warlord Zhang Xueliang in 1931 and established a Manchukuo province; In 1933, Japanese troops occupied Jehol. In view of the Japanese threat, the Communists demanded an alliance of all parties and all armies. Chiang, however, preferred first to consolidate KMT rule in the CP, and in December 1936 Chiang was forced to agree to a second united front. This united front was formed after the Ruho Bridge Incident occurred and the Sino-Japanese War broke out openly. Despite the united front, Chiang deployed his most powerful forces against the CPC. The united front was correspondingly weakened, and Chiang Kai-shek's army, despite support from the United States and the Soviet Union, was poorly organized and morale low. This allowed the Japanese to occupy the Great Plains and coastal areas of China. In Nanking, weeks of mass killing ensued. However, they were unable to gain permanent control over the conquered areas. Chiang Kai-shek's regime was forced to retreat to Chongqing.

Immediately after the Japanese surrendered, Mao Zedong held sterile settlement negotiations with Chiang in Chongqing. The Kuomintang then attempted to bring the whole country under their control, but their army was undisciplined, had no clear mandate, their representatives were corrupt, and were feared by the people. However, the KMT won the parliamentary elections held in 1947. Meanwhile, the People's Liberation Army had enough supporters among the people. They conquered Manchuria in 1948, Nanjing in April 1949, and Shanghai in May 1949. The Kuomintang government fled to the island of Taiwan, which it had occupied in 1945, and established a dictatorship by wiping out the local elite.


Mao Zedong Glory (1949–1976)

On October 1, 1949, the People's Republic of China was proclaimed. This marked the end of national government in mainland China. The seizure of power by the Chinese Communist Party was not a coup d'etat brought from outside, but an uprising supported by a broad majority. The first phase of land reform following the proclamation of the People's Republic took place between 1949 and 1952, when nearly half of the agricultural land was distributed to some 120 million peasants. In 1950, the Communist Party passed the Marriage Law, which, in addition to the Constitution, enshrined equality between men and women. In particular, the right of women to decide for themselves whether or not to marry, the prohibition of dowry demands on brides and cohabitants, the introduction of a minimum age for women, the abolition of child and forced marriage, or the legalization of divorce and the consistent regulation of property division between spouses, permanently improved the situation of Chinese women. However, overthrowing traditional rural cultural practices and educating rural women about the law ran into insurmountable hurdles: in 1949, active and passive women's suffrage was introduced, and in 1950, the Chinese government introduced the "Women's Suffrage Law," which allowed women to vote for themselves and for their husbands.

In February 1950, Beijing signed a Friendship and Assistance Treaty with the Soviet Union. As the CP concentrated its activities in rural areas during the civil war, priority was given to the development of the urban economy. To this end, under the slogan "New Democracy," a "four-person coalition" was formed consisting of workers, peasants, petty bourgeoisie, and national bourgeoisie. At the 8th Party Congress, Mao was unable to find a majority with values such as activism, altruism, unity with the popular masses, and renunciation of consumption, and confirmed the path of imitating the Soviet model of development in favor of heavy industry.

Mao initiated the shift away from the Soviet model in his speech on the "Ten Great Relationships" in April 1956; in May 1957, he launched the Hundred Flowers Movement to mobilize the intelligentsia; and in May 1956, he launched the "Hundred Flowers Movement" to mobilize the masses. When calls for healthy criticism of the party and individual party leaders were met with criticism of the party and its leaders, the party countered with a "right-wing dissident movement" that resulted in the execution of 400 critics and the sending of 500,000 people to labor camps In 1958, the Great Leap Forward policy was announced and secession from the Soviet Union became definitive. As part of this campaign, nearly the entire rural population was assembled into 26,000 people's communities, organized on military principles. The "production battle" between agriculture and heavy industry was to be carried out simultaneously. However, due to planning errors, confusion, and natural disasters, some 30 million people died to death during the three years of hardship from 1960 to 1962. Liu Shaoqi took over the task of rebuilding the economy in 1963-1964, but his actions were criticized as "revisionist."

In the early summer of 1966, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution under the pretext of correcting undesirable developments and cleaning up the bureaucracy. Young people were organized into the Red Guards, and a wave of terror began against state representatives, decision makers, and intellectuals. Schools and universities were sometimes closed for several years. China became even more closed to foreign countries: in 1968, the "Go to the Countryside Movement" began, in which 15 million young urban dwellers were to be engaged in agriculture. President Liu Shaoqi and many other high-ranking party officials were criticized as "revisionists" and removed from office. However, even during the Cultural Revolution phase, the growing fear of a Soviet attack after the Sino-Soviet confrontation necessitated the normalization of relations with the United States. After President Nixon's visit in 1972, Beijing established diplomatic relations with Washington and took over Taiwan's seat at the U.N. The Cultural Revolution ended after Mao's death in September 1976 and the arrest of the "Gang of Four" in October.


Reform and opening up (1976/1980 to 1999)

When Mao died, his supposed successors were already dead: Lin Biao died in 1971 in a suspected coup attempt, and Deng Xiaoping was demoted after the death of Premier Zhou Enlai and his involvement in the 1976 Tiananmen Square incident. Thus, the previously little-known Hua Guo Feng was chosen as Mao's successor. Hua and his supporters, who stood for the continuation of Mao's policies, were outflanked and deposed by Deng by 1980, and in December 1978 the "four modernization" lines closely associated with Deng's name were confirmed by the Party leadership. Victims of the Cultural Revolution and other excesses were rehabilitated and economic freedom was expanded. To improve economic efficiency, a market economy gradually replaced the centrally planned economy introduced from the Soviet Union. A peace and friendship treaty was signed with Japan, a former enemy, and foreign investment was gradually allowed. Deng Xiaoping visited the United States, which subsequently became an important diplomatic partner. Special economic zones identified areas where market economic mechanisms could be experimented with, and 14 coastal cities were opened up again in 1984.

However, the expansion of economic freedom did not coincide with the expansion of individual freedom. Already in parallel with the Party Congress in December 1978, the people had expressed their dissatisfaction with the restrictions on freedom at the "Wall of Democracy. The "Campaign Against Intellectual Pollution" was directed against intellectuals who had gradually expanded their freedoms. The adverse effects of economic reforms-increasing inequality, corruption, inflation, and lack of social security-increased the potential for protest, which broke out when a memorial rally for General Secretary Hu Yaobang, who stepped down in 1987 and died in the spring of 1989, led to a renewed demonstration in Tiananmen Square. The demonstrations were radicalized in parallel with Gorbachev's violent end of diplomatic normalization negotiations in Beijing in early June. From the Chinese side, the colonial return of Hong Kong and Macau under the "one country, two systems" principle was a further step towards ending Chinese colonization. In addition, relations with Russia have been restored.

Although the undesirable side effects of economic reforms were controversial within the Party leadership, the Deng era was one of relative consensus. Rapid economic growth had sharply reduced the number of poor people from 250 million in 1979 to 45 million in 1999, justifying the measure. Deng Xiaoping was succeeded by Jiang Zemin, and under Jiang and his successors, the CCP sought to quell the protests that still potentially existed by resolving disputes and applying the law. Since then, challenges that the Party and state leadership have had to face include the social conditions of migrant and factory workers, the rapid aging of society due to the "one-child policy," and demands for the rule of law and the fight against corruption and state arbitrariness.


Development into a world power (21st century)

During the first two decades of the 21st century, China experienced unprecedented economic growth: from 2000 to 2019, the Chinese economy grew on average 8.9% annually. China's share of world trade doubled and its gross domestic product increased six-fold during this period. This has had a positive impact on the quality of life of more than 200 million Chinese, lifting them out of absolute poverty.

Backed by a foreign policy aimed at economic expansion, China also began to underpin its claim to power in the world with massive development loans to Africa and the One Belt, One Road project.

In the 2010s, China began attempting to systematically re-educate the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. From China's perspective, the decade was also marked by a confrontation with the Hong Kong protest movement in 2014, which was revived by protests starting in 2019.

In 2020, an epidemic broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan, leading to a global pandemic. While Western countries were suffering from the growing damage of the pandemic, China was spared the second wave in the fall of 2020 and was able to return to normal daily life.

With the 14th Five-Year Plan from 2021 to 2025, adopted in March 2021, and its associated long-term goals through 2035, the KPC is shifting its economic focus to domestic market development. This is the expansion of research and development, especially basic research, and the strengthening of the supply of manufactured goods and services for national consumption. It is noteworthy that all key figures remain on target for the first time, with a clear divergence due to market forces. In addition, targets have been set for the development of energy supply and climate policy.


Physiographic characteristics

Geographical position

China is located in East Asia. To the east, it faces the West Sea of the Pacific Ocean. It borders the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Russia to the northeast; Mongolia to the north; Russia and Kazakhstan to the northwest; Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan to the west; Gilgit-Baltistan, India, Nepal, and Bhutan under Pakistan rule to the southwest; Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam to the south. It shares borders with Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam in the south. China covers an area of 9.6 million km². It is the fourth largest in Asia, after Russia, Canada, and the United States (depending on the method, the area of the United States may be greater or less than that of China). China's unified time zone is UTC+8.

China is bordered by the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea. The island of Taiwan is separated from the mainland by the Taiwan Strait. It is about 4.5 thousand kilometers long from west to east (from the Pamir Plateau to Shanghai) and about 4.1 thousand kilometers long from north to south (from the Amur River along the Russian border to the southern tip of Hainan Island).



China's topography is extremely diverse, with high mountains, plateaus, depressions, deserts, and vast plains. Mountains, highlands, plateaus, deserts, and semi-deserts occupy more than 2/3 of the country's land area. Three major geomorphic regions are usually distinguished:
The Tibetan Plateau, which is more than 2,000 meters above sea level, is located in the southwestern part of the country;
The belt of mountains and plateaus between 200 and 2000 meters above sea level is located in the north;
The low-altitude plains and low mountains in the northeast, east, and south are located below 200 meters above sea level, where most of China's population lives.

The Great Plains of China, the Yellow River basin, and the Yangtze River delta are united near the coast, extending from Beijing in the north to Shanghai in the south. The Pearl River (and its major tributary, the Xijiang) basin is located in southern China and is separated from the Yangtze River basin by the Nanling Mountains and the Wuyi Mountains (a Chinese World Heritage Site).

From west to east, the Chinese relief forms three steps. First, the Tibetan Plateau, which is more than 4,000 meters above sea level. Here the vegetation changes dramatically, and in a relatively short distance the natural zone changes from high mountain cold deserts to subtropical forests. The last step is the fertile plains, which occupy less than 1,500 meters above sea level.



China's climate is very diverse, ranging from subtropical in the southeast to abruptly continental (arid) in the northwest. On the southern coast, the weather is influenced by the monsoons, which are caused by differences in the absorption characteristics of the land and ocean. Seasonal air movement and associated winds result in large amounts of moisture in summer and considerably drier in winter. The arrival and departure of the monsoon largely determines the amount and distribution of rainfall throughout the country. Because of the great variation in latitude, longitude, and altitude throughout China, there is a wide variety of temperatures and weather regimes, even though most of the country is in the temperate climate zone.

More than two-thirds of the country is covered by mountain ranges, highlands, plateaus, deserts, and semi-deserts. About 90% of the population lives in only 10% of the country's land area, in the coastal areas and flood plains of major rivers such as the Yangtze, Yellow, and Pearl Rivers. These areas are in severe ecological condition as a result of long-term intensive agricultural cultivation and environmental pollution from industry.

Heilongjiang Province in the northernmost part of China has a temperate climate similar to that of Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, while Hainan Island in the south has a tropical climate. The temperature difference between the two regions is large in winter but small in summer. In the northern part of Heilongjiang Province, winter temperatures drop to -38°C, and the average January temperature is around -16°C. The average July temperature in this region is 20°C. In southern Guangdong, average temperatures range from 10°C in January to 28°C in July.

Precipitation varies more than temperature. Much rain falls on the southern slopes of the Qinling Mountains, reaching a maximum during the summer monsoon season. As one moves north and west of the range, rainfall becomes less likely. The northwest is the driest, with desert areas (Taklamakan, Gobi, Ordos) receiving little precipitation.

The southern and eastern parts of China are often hit by destructive typhoons (about five times a year), as well as floods, monsoons, tsunamis, and droughts. Each spring, China's northern regions are covered with yellow sand. Yellow dust originates from the deserts in the north and is carried by the wind towards Korea and Japan.



China is endowed with various types of fuel and unprocessed mineral resources. Reserves of petroleum, coal, metal ores, and precious metals are of particular importance.

China has many mineral reserves. Coal is China's main source of energy, and although China is behind several countries in terms of its reserves, it ranks first in the world in terms of production, producing 356 million tons in 2013. The reserves are mainly concentrated in northern China. Northwest China also has significant resources. Other regions, especially the south, are scarce in coal. Most of the reserves are coal. Coal deposits are mainly located in northern and northeastern China. The largest coal reserves are concentrated in Shanxi Province (30% of total reserves), in the Datong and Yangquan coal mines. China is also the world's number one importer of coal, with 320 million tons imported into China in 2013.

Another important source of energy resources is oil. In terms of oil reserves, China occupies a prominent position among the countries of Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. Petroleum deposits are found in various regions, the most important being Northeast China (Sungari-Nongni Plain), coastal areas, terraced fields in Northern China, and parts of the interior (Dungaria Basin, Sichuan Province).

China has been the world's largest gold producer since 2007; in 2013, Chinese gold production increased by 6.23% over 2012, reaching 428 tons. Chinese companies continue to actively develop mines at home and abroad.

China also has very large shale deposits from which shale gas can be extracted; In 2015, China plans to produce 6.5 billion cubic meters of shale gas. By 2020, China plans to produce 60 to 100 billion cubic meters of shale gas annually.


Rivers and lakes

China has many rivers, with a total length of 220,000 km. More than 5,000 of them carry water over an area of more than 100 km² each. China's rivers form internal and external water systems. The external rivers are the Yangtze, Yellow River, Heilongjiang (Amur), Pearl River, Lancang (Mekong), Nu River, and Yalu River, which lead to the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Arctic Ocean, with a total runoff area of about 64% of the country's land area. Inland rivers, although few in number, are quite far apart from each other and shallow in most areas. These rivers flow into inland lakes or into deserts and salt marshes, which account for about 36% of the country's land area.

China has many lakes, covering a total area of about 80,000 square kilometers. There are also tens of thousands of artificial lakes (reservoirs). Most of the lakes are located on the Tibetan Plateau and in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The largest freshwater lakes, Poyang Lake, Dongting Lake, and Taihu Lake, are also located in the Yangtze River basin. Many large salt lakes in western China are inland lakes, the largest being Lake Kukunol (Qinghai Province). Most inland lakes are dry.



China is home to more than 500 species of bamboo, making up 3% of the country's forests. Bamboo thickets, found in 18 provinces, are not only a habitat for many animals, but also a source of valuable raw materials. Their woody culms (stems) are widely used in industry.



They include the Amur tiger, the David's monkey, the giant panda (found only in China), the red-crowned crane, the Birch's mantis snake, and the praying mantis.

China's Fauna China ranks first or second in the world in terms of the number of wildlife species. It is home to about 6,300 species of vertebrates and 3,862 species of fish, which is about 10% of all species on the planet. It is home to rare animals such as the golden monkey, South China tiger, brown hen, red-footed ibis, beluga whale, and Chinese crocodile, which represent the fauna of the planet.


Culture and art

Chinese culture is among the oldest and most original in the world, and has greatly influenced the development of the cultures of many neighboring peoples who later inhabited the vast territories of Mongolia, Tibet, Indochina, Korea, and Japan.

Calligraphy elevated ordinary Chinese characters to an artistic level and has traditionally been equated with painting and poetry as a method of self-expression. Because hieroglyphic images are limited to a small number of features (lines), their thickness, bending angles, and the dynamism they impart to the picture determine the artist's individual style. The main elements of calligraphy, which the Chinese call the "four treasures of knowledge," are ink, stone (ink), brush, and paper.

Astronomy: Astronomers observing the sky in ancient China developed their own understanding of the sky. Chinese constellations are referred to in traditional Chinese culture and are very different from modern constellations based on ancient Greek astronomy.
The asteroid (139) Ruihua, discovered by Canadian-American astronomer James Watson in Beijing on October 10, 1874, was named after China. Translated into Chinese, the asteroid's name means "Chinese Happiness Star."

Chinese astrology: each year has a special symbol and is associated with one of the 12 animals that repeat the astrological cycle. On the eve of the New Year, the Chinese usually talk about the coming of the "Year of the Dog," for example. In Chinese astrology, a person born under the sign of an animal has characteristics specific to that animal.


Chinese inventions

Printed books, porcelain, silk, mirrors, umbrellas, and paper kites are just a few of the everyday items invented by the Chinese and still used by people around the world today. The Chinese developed the art of making porcelain 1,000 years before Europeans. And two of China's most famous inventions came from philosophy. Taoist alchemists, in their search for the elixir of immortality, accidentally derived the formula for gunpowder.

Printing: The invention of movable type did not have a major impact on Chinese society, and most printers continued to use the previous type. In Europe, the invention of movable type revolutionized the It is easier to manipulate the 30 different types of type printed in the Latin alphabet than the more than 3,000 different characters used in Chinese newspaper production. Printing hieroglyphics on a single printing plate requires more labor and expense.

Chinese Porcelain: Even though ceramics had long been known in China, it was not until the Bronze Age (1500-400 B.C.) that they acquired a particularly potent glue and learned to build high-temperature firing kilns. Full-scale porcelain did not appear until the Sui Dynasty.



The influence of Chinese philosophy, part of Eastern philosophy, on the cultures of China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam is equivalent to the influence of ancient Greek philosophy on Europe. Common: Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism, Buddhism.



In contrast to Western European literature of the New Age, literary texts in China occupied a secondary place relative to literature of historiographical and ethical-philosophical orientation, as a direct consequence of the dominance of Confucian ideology.

The absence of the most ancient layer of epic oral creativity and the fragmentation of mythological ideas are striking. It is assumed that Confucian ideology was also involved in their eradication; traces of their existence are found in the folklore of Chinese national minorities.

A distinctive feature of the hierarchy of Chinese literary genres is the low position of drama and its relatively late emergence. The memoir and epistolary genres turned out to be underdeveloped relative to the European tradition, but their place was taken by the so-called. genre of biji “notes”, close to essays.


Music and dancing

The music of China dates back several thousand years of its development. She was influenced by the musical traditions of the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and Southeast Asia. It also absorbed elements of the music of the peoples who were part of the Chinese state (Uyghurs, Tibetans, Mongols, Jurchens, Manchus, etc.), and in turn had a significant influence on the music of Korea, Japan, some peoples of Southeast Asia and the Basin Pacific Ocean. Since ancient times, Chinese music has developed under the influence of religious and philosophical-ideological doctrines.



There is an assumption that cinema in China was originally viewed as a form of ancient art, shadow theater, which is why the film in Chinese is called “electric shadows.” The first demonstration of “moving pictures” in China took place on August 11, 1896 in Shanghai, a city that for many years became the center of Chinese cinema. The first film company in China, China Cinema Company, aka Asia Film? was founded in 1909.

After the formation of the PRC in 1949, the new authorities began to pay special attention to cinema (and starting in 1951, old Chinese films, as well as film production from Hollywood and Hong Kong, were banned), while the strengthening of ideological control after Mao Zedong announced a course to fight right-wing elements noticeably weakened artistic value of Chinese films. During the Cultural Revolution, film production was subject to severe restrictions. Almost all films made before were banned, and some directors were subjected to repression.

The mid-1980s were marked by the emergence of the so-called. “the fifth generation of Chinese film directors” (the first, after the Cultural Revolution, to graduate from the Beijing Film Academy). PRC filmmakers who emerged in the 1990s are called the “sixth generation of Chinese cinema” (they are also sometimes called the “returning generation of film enthusiasts”, as the lack of large budget funding or other forms of support led to the fact that low-budget films were quickly made, often using the cheapest means). After the reunification of Hong Kong and Macau with the PRC (1997), more and more joint films began to appear, work on which was carried out jointly by representatives of the PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwan.


Mass media

Foreign broadcasting:
China Radio International is China's international public radio station based in Beijing, broadcasting on short and medium wave, VHF (FM), satellite and the Internet. Radio China International broadcasts in 62 languages, including Russian.
CCTV-Russian is an international television channel of China Central Television (CTK), broadcasting in Russian. Thanks to the launch of the CCTV-Russian television channel, Chinese television and radio broadcasting abroad has become the absolute leader in the world in the number of foreign languages broadcast and the number of individual television channels in foreign languages.


Science and technology

Printed books, porcelain (see Chinese porcelain), silk, gunpowder, magnetic compass, mirrors, umbrellas and kites are just a small part of those everyday items that were invented by the Chinese and which people still use today all over the world.

Now China is a leader (along with the United States) in significant areas of science. In 2020, China spent $582.8 billion (PPP) on research and development (R&D), which is slightly less than the US spent ($720.9 billion), but more than the total expenditures of Japan and Germany , South Korea, France and Great Britain. R&D expenditures in 2022 reached 3.09 trillion yuan (about $456 billion in nominal terms), which amounted to 2.55% of the state's GDP. World leader in the number of patent applications. A feature of China has been the active use of “foreign brains”: the number of foreign scientists in the research centers of the Celestial Empire increased from 1989 to 2009 from 2.5 thousand to 480 thousand people (in total, about 1.6 people worked in China at the end of the 2000s million scientists). In 2022, China rose to 11th place in the Global Innovation Index, overtaking France. China is home to 21 of the world's 100 leading science and technology clusters, three of which are in the top ten rankings: Shenzhen - Hong Kong - Guangzhou (2nd place), Beijing (3rd place) and Shanghai - Suzhou (6th place).
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is engaged in the development of mathematics, physics, chemistry, medicine, geosciences, information technology, biotechnology, etc.
The Chinese Academy of Engineering Sciences is involved in mechanical engineering, metallurgy, construction, agriculture, light and heavy industry, and transport.
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) focuses on economics, history, philosophy, law, international relations, sociology.
The China Academy of Space Technology is the country's main spacecraft development and production center.

China's Space Program: With a multidisciplinary space program, China has become the world's third-largest space superpower with independent manned missions since 2003. Since 1990, the PRC began commercial launches and in 1990-2012. Chinese launch vehicles launched 43 foreign satellites into orbit. Since 2010, second only to Russia, China has carried out more space launches annually than the United States. As of July 2012, China ranked third in the world (after the United States and Russia) in the number of functioning artificial Earth satellites (96, including 87 launched into orbit by Chinese launch vehicles). In 2021, China launched its own orbital station.