Beijing Province, also known as Peking, is the capital of the People’s Republic of China. Recognized as a cultural, political and education center, Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympic Games. The city has a population of approximately 22,000,000 people. With 16 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties, Beijing ranks 26th in population but 4th in density as compared to other parts of China. There are a number of ethnic groups in Beijing, among them are Han, Manchu, Hui and Mongol. Han, like Shangdong and other provinces, makes up more than 90% of the total population.
Located in northern China, Beijing is shielded by mountains to the north and west that protect it from the encroaching desert. The city’s climate is dry and sees little rain, due in part to its proximity to the Mongolian steppe. The moderate amount of precipitation (approximately 570 mm, or 22.4 inches annually) falls in the summer months during monsoon season where it is hot and humid. The winter months are short and typically dry, cold and windy.
Mount Dongling, part of the Xishan ranges, is the highest point in Beijing with an altitude of 2303 meters. Major waterways include the Grand Canal of China and the major rivers: Yongding and Chaobai. The Great Wall of China stretches across the northern part of the municipality, once erected to protect and defend the city against desert nomads. South-central Beijing is home to urban areas which radiate in concentric ring roads which pass through a number of smaller towns. At the heart of Beijing is Tian’anmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace) and Tian’anmen Sqaure, directly south of the Forbiddens City, the former residence of the emperors of China.