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Country Background Information: China

Chinese Flag

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Key country facts


great wall of china

The Great Wall is one of the most popular historial attractions in China. Built from 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD as a military defence, the Wall extends to 20,000 km. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.


On the central coast of China is its biggest city and financial centre; Shanghai. While the city booms economically, its coastal location makes it vulnerable to extreme weather such as flooding. This threatens infrastructure, people, businesses and other economic activities.

panda bear

Pandas are native to China. Despite being a popular conservation icon, giant pandas remain vulnerable to climate change and habitat destruction.


Urban pollution, including haze and smog, is one of the biggest problems in major Chinese cities. This is caused by smoke from the many vehicles, steel factories, and coal-fired power plants. According to recent research, greenhouse gases potentially contribute to the increasing severity and frequency of haze, exacerbating health risks in cities. Source: Flickr / Thomas Galvez

factory workers

Around 30% of China’s population are employed in industry including mining, iron, steel, aluminum, machinery, and textiles. China is the largest exporter of goods in the world. This also makes it the biggest ‘carbon exporter’: it emits a significant amount of greenhouse gas through making goods for other countries. Source: Flickr / Chris

city people

China has the largest population of any country in the world. With over 1 400 million people, about 20% of the world’s population live in China. However, low birth rates due to government policy and personal choice mean their population is ageing rapidly.

power plant

As part of its efforts to reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants and to shift to non-fossil fuel energy source, China is increasing its investments in nuclear energy. It currently has 45 nuclear power reactors and is building 12 more. Source: Flickr / Shubert Ciencia

cement factory

China’s manufacturing sector contributes about 40% to its GDP. The cement industry in particular, is one of its largest, along with steel and chemical fertilizers. These however are also carbon-intensive industries and are the largest sources of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. China is the world’s biggest carbon emitter with emissions increasing through 2018 and the first half of 2019. Source: Flickr / Jonathan Kos-Read

gorges dam

The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric dam built along the Yang Tze River. 660 km long with a 22,500 MW capacity, it is the largest power station in the world. Because of social and environmental issues surrounding its construction, it is also considered by campaigners as the most controversial power station. Source: Flickr / Harvey Barrison

rice fields

425 million are employed in agriculture, producing food for 20% of the world’s population. Crops include rice, wheat, potatoes, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, cotton and soybeans. About 74% of their total nitrous oxide emissions (a greenhouse gas) come from fertilizer applications.