The Chinese Empire contains nearly four and one-half million square miles, divided into China Proper, with 1,554,000; Manchuria, 380,000; Mongolia and Zun-garia, 1,462,000 ; Thibet, 661,500, and Eastern Turkestan, with 580,000 square miles. This territory is bounded on the north and west by Asiatic Russia; on the south and west by British India, and on the southeast and east by Indo-China and the Pacific Ocean. The government is a despotic monarchy.
From the above table it will be seen that China, with an area only one half larger than that of the United States, has a population almost equal to both the British and Russian Empires, with all their colonies and subject territories. In fact, if we leave out England's Asiatic subjects in India, China has more people than the Russian and British Empires, together with the United States, France, and Germany thrown in for good measure.
This vast and marvelous country, with its teeming millions, had in 1900 only 269 miles of railway, against North America's over 200,000 miles. With her boasted ancient civilization, China is the least progressive of all nations, and at the same time, perhaps, her people are the most universally energetic and frugal in habits. It would be wild to state what leaps and bounds this country must make in progress if the flood of Anglo-Saxon enterprise, education and business methods rolls in upon it as it now seems certain to do during the first quarter of the twentieth century. The food of the people consists chiefly of rice and fish, and it has already become proverbial in America that five Chinamen can live on what is required to support one white man. As throughout all Asia, there are practically no wagons or wagon-roads in China. Produce from the interior must be brought in wheelbarrows, on beasts of burden, and on the backs of laborers, to the rivers and seaboard.
The trade between China and Russia is now conducted by caravans; that with Great Britain, Australia, the Philippines, and the United States, by means of ships. Where rivers and canals (which are numerous) penetrate the country, freight and traveling is done by boats. The leading exports of China are tea, porcelain and pottery. The soil is exceedingly fertile, and agriculture is the chief occupation of the people. Sheep and cattle raising has latterly received considerable attention, and the wool market of the world has been affected by Chinese competition. Their latitude and climate enable them to put upon the market in crops and animals very similar products to those of the United States and Canada.
When the Chinese learn western methods of farming and stock-raising, as well as of business and manufacture, the world's commerce will feel the power of this multitudinous race. With the opening of China, which promises to come early in the new century, following the invasion of the European and American forces in 1900, and its troublous times with Russia in 1901, the investment of foreign capital becomes far more inviting than it has ever been in the past. The cheapness of labor there offers another inducement to capital, while the tractable and industrious nature of the Chinese native makes him a desirable apprentice in every branch of manufacturing.
The Religion of the bulk of the Chinese is Buddhistic. The higher classes are Confucians. There are also estimated to be 1,000,000 Roman Catholic Christians and 50,000 Protestant Christians, and 30,000,-000 Mohammedans in the Empire.