The People's Republic of China (in Chinese 中华人民共和国, i.e. Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó) is a very large country in the east of Asia (the third largest in the world) with a total surface of 9596960 sq. km. China is also with currently 1.3 billion inhabitants the most populous country in the world. Its official language is Chinese although there are 56 distinct ethnic groups, each with its own language.
China is one of the oldest civilisations in the world with a history spanning back to 5000 years ago. China originated in the third millenium BC as a series of separate states which were finally unified in a large empire in 221 BC. China has since then been ruled by a series of dynasties until 1911, when it became a republic. The Communist Party of China has been ruling the country since 1949. Currently China is going through a very rapid growth phase with yearly growth rates exceeding 10%, which is rapidly transforming China from a developing country to a developed country. As a side effect of this rapid economic growth, China is currently suffering from a severe pollution problem, with polluted skies and waterways. The continued expansion of deserts, particularly the Gobi Desert, is also a cause of concern.

Western China
Tibet photo gallery  - 157 pictures of Tibet
Yunnan photo gallery  - 313 pictures of Yunnan
Xinjiang photo gallery  - 396 pictures of Xinjiang
157 photos of Tibet including its capital Lhasa, the Lhasa valley and the Ganden and Drepung monasteries
313 photos of a large and very varied province in the southwest of China. The gallery includes photos of Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Xizhou and Zhongdian.
396 photos of Xinjiang, a large province in the west of China with deserts, towering mountain ranges and a rich culture
Gansu photo gallery  - 71 pictures of Gansu
71 photos of Gansu, a partly desertic province in northwestern China along the Silk Road, containing the city of Dunhuang

Northern China
Beijing photo gallery  - 220 pictures of Beijing
Liaoning photo gallery  - 53 pictures of Liaoning
220 photos of Beijing, the capital of the People's republic of China and of the Great Wall. Gallery updated in Oct. 2008 with 62 new photos.
53 photos of Liaoning, a province in China's northeast

Eastern China
Shanghai photo gallery  - 148 pictures of Shanghai
Zhejiang photo gallery  - 51 pictures of Zhejiang
Shandong photo gallery  - 57 pictures of Shandong
148 photos of China's largest city on the banks of the Huangpu river.
51 photos of Zhejiang, a small prosperous coastal province in eastern China, home to Hangzhou one of the most elegant cities in China
57 photos of the province of Shandong in eastern China, where the Chinese philosopher Confucius was born

Central China
Chongqing photo gallery  - 65 pictures of Chongqing
Shaanxi photo gallery  - 93 pictures of Shaanxi
Sichuan photo gallery  - 37 pictures of Sichuan
Three Gorges photo gallery  - 81 pictures of Three Gorges
65 photos of Chongqing, the largest of China's four provincial-level municipalities and the starting point for cruises along the Yangtze river to the Three Gorges area
93 photos of Shaanxi province with Xian and the terracotta army
37 photos of Chengdu and of the Giant Panda Breeding Centre
81 photos of the region between Fengjie and Yichang, a 200km stretch of the Jiangze river with steep gorges, and of the Three Gorges dam
Hubei photo gallery  - 9 pictures of Hubei
9 photos of Hubei, a province in southern China along the Jiangtze (Chang Jiang) river

Southern China
Hong Kong photo gallery  - 100 pictures of Hong Kong
Macau photo gallery  - 162 pictures of Macau
Guangxi photo gallery  - 99 pictures of Guangxi
100 photos of Hong Kong, a former British colony in southern China and a major commercial centre
162 photos of Macau, a former Portuguese colony in southern China with a rich cultural heritage
99 photos of a province in southern China, north of Hong Kong. The gallery includes photos of Guilin, the nearby Reed Flute cave, the Li river, Yangshuo and the Yulong He river.
Guangdong photo gallery  - 141 pictures of Guangdong
Hunan photo gallery  - 11 pictures of Hunan
141 photos of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, two boom towns in the southern China Guangdong region.
11 photos of Hunan, a province in southern China along the Yangze River, home to Mao Zedong
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