China is located in Southeast Asia, along the west coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is the most populous country in the world, and the fourth largest country in terms of total area. It shares borders with 14 countries; Russia, India, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Pakistan, Myanmar, North Korea, Mongolia, Loas, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Population estimate (2019): 1,418,386,516

Capital City: Beijing

Currency used: Renminbi or Chinese Yuan

Gross National Income per capita (2012) (PPP international $): 11,850

Time zone: GMT + 8

Population growth rate (2019): 0.40%

Total fertility rate per woman: 1.60

Languages: Beijing Mandarin is the official language in China, but an additional six Mandarin dialects are spoken in different regions. It is estimated that 71.5% of the population speak Mandarin dialects, followed by Wu (8.5%), Cantonese or Yue (5%) Xiang (4.8%), Min (4.1%), Hakka (3.7%) and Gan (2.4%).

Key ethnic groups: There are 56 ethnic groups in China with the Han Chinese accounting for around 91.59%. Ethnic minority groups include Zhuang (1.27%), Hui (0.79%), Manchu (0.78%) and Uyghur (0.76).

Religion: China is officially an Atheist country, however, the government recognises five religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism. 52.2% of the population reported being religiously unaffiliated.

Literacy: 96.4%

Climate: Due to the size of the country there is a lot of regional variation and several climate types; tropical, subtropical, warm, middle and cold temperate zones, although most regions are in the subtropical zone. In the north east summers are hot and dry and winters usually freezing. In the north and central regions are characterised by frequent rainfall, hot summers and cold winters. The south east sees the most rainfall, summers are semi-tropical and winters cool.

Healthcare system


The healthcare system in China comprises public and private, for-profit and nonprofit facilities. Most township and community hospitals are public, while urban areas have both public and private secondary and tertiary hospitals. Most primary care is delivered through village doctors in rural clinics or general practitioners in rural township and community hospitals.

The quality of hospitals can vary quite significantly. In general, the highest standards can be found in private hospitals located in some of the largest cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Treatment at these hospitals can often cost up to ten times more than at public hospitals. The quality of public hospitals is often best in city-level hospitals. Some of these hospitals have “VIP” wards, which offer the best service in terms of medical technology, equipment and staff, but treatment at these wards is also more expensive. Traditional Chinese medicine is also popular and there are numerous Chinese medicine hospitals and clinics throughout the country.

Approximately 95% of the population is covered by publicly financed health insurance. This covers primary and specialist care, emergency departments, mental health care, prescription drugs, traditional medicine, immunisation and disease screenings. Private health insurance is also available and mostly used by people with higher incomes. Private insurances normally enable patients to receive a higher standard of care and a higher reimbursement, as well as coverage of treatment at certain facilities that are not covered by the public insurance.

Health statistics:

Life expectancy at birth (2016): 75/78 (male/female)

Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years: 93/67 (per 1000 population, 2016)

Total expenditure on health per capita (2014): $731

Number of doctors per 1000 population: 3.625

Nursing and midwifery personnel density (per 1000 population, 2016): 2.342

Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2017): 5.1 [4.3-6]

Maternal mortality ratio (per 100.000 live births, 2015): 27 [22-32]

Births attended by skilled health personnel (2013): 99.9%

Top 10 causes of death:

Stroke: 2,098,609 people / 22.46% of total

Coronary heart disease: 1,597,170 / 17.10%

Lung disease: 1,011,931 / 10.83%

Lung cancers: 635,640 / 6.80%

Liver cancer: 396,791 / 4.25%

Stomach cancer: 326,453 / 3.49%

Alzheimers/Dementia: 312,812 / 3.35%

Hypertension: 280,611 / 3.00%

Road traffic accidents: 268,127 / 2.87%

Influenza & pneumonia: 217,062 / 2.32%