China may be divided arbitrarily into eight major regional divisions along the lines shown in the map. These divisions arise from the general west-east alignment of the mountains and major river systems, creating certain differences in climate patterns, land use, and cultural development.
The arbitrary division between North and South China roughly Follows the geographic demarcation established by the Chinling Mountain chain, which runs well south of the Yellow River and lust north of the Yangzi. Shanghai which lies almost on this arbitrary division Line, is “considered to be in“the South,’ a description that is confusing to the visitor since it is near the midpoint of the eastern seaboard and looks to be far from what might normally be considered a southern Region.
The greater proportion of a visitor’s time in China’s normally spent in the North and South regions. As adequate hotel facilities are provided in more remote areas, more visitors are traveling to the Northeast, Northwest, Southwest, Xinliang, Inner Mongolia, and even to Tibet.
The Xinjiang area is the home of peoples who were included in the Chinese stale relatively late in history. Many of them are Moslems, yet they comprise different ethnic groups such as the Uighur Turks, the Kazaks, and the Kirghiz.
Tibet was “liberated” by the Communists in 1950 and now gives its name to the southern and western areas of China. These highlands, although occupying more than a quarter of the total area of China, support less than 1 percent of the entire population.
In the Southwest the influence of the Han Chinese much less Pronounced, the mountainous, semitropical environment largely cut- ting off the indigenous groups from outside influences. The biggest ethnic-minority group in China is located in this region: the Chuang–a Thai-Speaking community numbering about seven million. They live principally in the Guang Xi Autonomous Region. The Miso is another Non-Han group living in the Southwest; they number about three railion and live mainly in the mountainous areas. Other ethnic groups in. The area are the Yao. the Yi or Lolo. numbering over three million, and the Puyi, numbering over a million.
The Northeast encompasses what was once Manchuria. The Man- Chus, who ruled China for almost 300 years until their dynasty fell in 1911, have now been almost completely assimilated and have lost their national identity. In contrast, the Koreans in the region (who number over a million) have maintained their group identity.