China not only has the world’s largest population (over 1.3 billion), but it also is an extremely large country (more than 9.5 million square kilometers) with immense physical and cultural diversity. In fact, China should be viewed as an assemblage of pieces much like Europe. Anyone who tries to teach the geography of China faces the dilemma of either being very general (almost superficial) or delving into so many aspects and details as to be unable to complete the task in a single semester. How does one integrate three thousand years of history, language, local cultural practices, diets, architecture, et al. with basic physical geographies and economics that range from subsistence farming and herding to sophisticated electronics and computer industries in cities like Shanghai or Shenzhen?
UNDERSTANDING THE GEOGRAPHIES OF CHINA: An Assemblage of Pieces