Great Wall Teacher Guide To China and the Chinese Culture

The land of China ranges from lowlands in the East to mountains and plateaus in the West. The main rivers flow from west to east, and some to the south.

In the eastern areas of China, near the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea, there are densely populated areas on the plains. Most of China's farm-able land lays along the main rivers, which were also the location of the ancient civilizations of China. The Himalayan Mountains are home to the world's highest point, on Mount Everest. The northern part of China also has many plateaus and arid desert land.

In northern China, the climate has comfortable daytime temperatures in the summertime. But the winters are like those in the Arctic. The central areas are more temperate, but they still have cold winters and hot summers. The southern areas of China have a climate described as sub-tropical, with mild winters and summers that are quite hot.

Dust storms are a frequent occurrence in China, since they have faced years of drought. Erosion and pollution are two common problems in China, and they are not as advanced in their ways of combating these issues as some countries are. China is a booming country, growing larger in population and in standard of living.

China has seen ethnic groups numbering in the hundreds, through all of its history. The Han is the largest group, although it is also divided into smaller groups of various ethnicities. Some ethnic groups that were originally distinct have become part of the Han, which has increased its portion of the population.

The languages in China are spoken by over 25 ethnicities. Mandarin and Cantonese are spoken in some areas, as are Tibetan and Mongolian, and some other sub-languages.

The main orthodox faith of China has centered on worshiping Shangdi. This religion has pre-dated Taoism and Confucianism, as well as Christianity and Buddhism. Ancient worship included building shrines, and slaughtering animals as sacrifices.

Chinese Christianity has been developing since the 7th century, when the Assyrian Church was introduced in eastern China. Jesuit and then Protestant missionaries helped Christianity to develop.

Judaism in China can be traced back to the 7th or 8th century, and in the early 20th century, Jews came to Hong Kong and China during those areas' periods of extreme growth. They sought refuge there from the Holocaust.

Chinese sports are many and diverse. China also developed an original form of football (known in the United States as soccer). Other popular sports include table tennis, martial arts, golf and badminton. Basketball is even becoming popular now, among the young people who live in urban areas.

The Chinese believe in keeping physically fit. The elderly still practice gigong and Tai Chi Chuan in local parks. The country's love of sports was never more in evidence than in Beijing, which hosted the 2008 summer Olympic games. This event gave people who had never ventured from their China homes a look into sports of other countries. Similarly, it gave visitors from all over the world a look into Chinese culture and tradition that they will not soon forget.

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