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China - Geography

China

The third-largest country in the world, China is bounded to the north by the deserts of Mongolia, to the west by the inhospitable Tibetan plateau and the Himalaya, and to the east by the East and South China seas. China's 22 provinces and five autonomous regions are governed from Beijing, along with some 5000 islands. Hong Kong and Macau have returned to the fold as Special Administrative Regions (SAR). Disputed territories are dotted near and far around China's southeast coast. Taiwan - a festering dispute that flares up from time to time - is the best known. Then there's the oil-rich Spratly Island group, which every country in the region wants to suck dry, the Diaoyutai Islands (known as Senkaku to the Japanese), the Paracels (or Xisha, if China gets its way), and the Pescadores (or Penghu).

The statistics for population and area refer to mainland China.

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