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China stretches some 5,000 kilometers across the East Asian landmass in an erratically changing configuration of broad plains, expansive deserts, and lofty mountain ranges, including vast areas of inhospitable terrain. Mountains, hills, and highlands cover about 66 percent of the nation's territory, impeding communication and leaving limited level land for agriculture. In the southwest, the Himalayas and the Kunlun Mountains enclose the Plateau of Tibet, which encompasses most of Xizang Autonomous Region (also known as Tibet) and part of Qinghai Province. It is the most extensive plateau in the world, where elevations average more than 4000 meters above sea level and the loftiest summits rise to more than 7000 meters. Highest peak is the Mount Everest reaching 8848 meters above sea level, also the highest mountians in the world.
The Yellow River and the Yangtze River, two of the world's greatest rivers, flow across China.
Beijing (formerly Peking) is the capital of China with a history of over two thousand years. Shanghai is China's largest and most prosperous city. Other important port cities are Wuhan, Nanjing and Dalian (Canton).
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