growth and development in China

China has experienced tremendous growth and development in recent years, as evidenced by changes in social, economic, and technological elements. When it comes to China, the geographical aspect has always been at the forefront of debate. Many research strive to comprehend and deliver pertinent information about China's geographical situation. The disputes revolve on the topography, interactions with neighboring states, and the obstacles that the country faces in meeting people' and international expectations. China is regarded as one of the world's major economies. The efficient use of resources and other geographical considerations have contributed to the market position. The geographical advantage of China comes from their land and sea power which supports developmental efforts. Thus, there is need to examine the viability of China’s geography and some of its impacts on the social, economic, and culture of the residents.


The article “China’s Geography: A Boon or Bane?” authored by Ashish Sirsikar provides valuable information regarding the geographical factor of China. Sirsikar (3) points out the efforts of an English geographer, Sir HJ Mackinder who argued that China is powerful due to its geographical aspects such as sea and land which can be utilized for the benefit of the country. The assertions posited by Mackinder has turned out to be a reality as portrayed by the benefits of China’s geography. However, the opposing faction fails to concur with the notion proposed by Mackinder (Sirsikar 3). There is an argument that China’s geography has led to suffering, especially from external aggression. Sirsikar tries to articulate the issues in his articles based on one of Napoleon’s famous quotes that state that “The policies of such states are inherent in their geography (Sirsikar 3).” China’s predicament can be well understood through its interaction with the world. In the North, China’s neighbors include Mongolia and Russia. The East comprises of a Pacific coast which is regarded as a coastal trade that has Yellow Sea, East and South China Sea (Sirsikar 4). From a historical perspective, China struggled to manage the long coastline. However, the opening up to the world has allowed the country to focus on establishing a robust coastal region to meet the growing demand. China shares the Eastern coastal line with countries such as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and North Korea (Sirsikar 4). In the South, China shares its boundary with Myanmar, Laos, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and Kirgizstan. The south provided adequate routes for merchants and large armies. The West part of China was commonly known for Silk Road through border nations such as Kazakhstan (Sirsikar 8). China’s settling of territorial borders has provided them with an opportunity to focus on their maritime territories. Geography offers China a distinct advantage due to the historical factor as the trading route. The physical topography of China is diverse as depicted by the high plateaus, river valleys, snow-capped mountains, broad basins, sandy dunes, and rolling plains. The land stretches approximately 3123 miles across the East Asian landmass (Sirsikar 8). China’s area is at its highest in the West and lowest in the East. 70 percent of the country’s land surface comprises of mountains, plateaus, and hills with 33, 26, and 10 percent respectively (Sirsikar 8).

From the information, it is clear that the construction of an overland transportation and communication infrastructure poses a significant challenge to China. The erosion of landforms in various parts of the nation saw deposition of alluvial soils in specific regions. As a result, Chinese civilization flourished in these regions. Topography may further be divided into Northern and Southern parts represented by Mandarin and Cantonese dialects respectively. The Western part of China is sparsely populated, unlike the Eastern lowlands which are densely populated. China is categorized as the fourth largest country. However, there is a limited arable land. Only 12 percent of the land is arable (Sirsikar 15). As a result, China has focused its efforts on food systems that are maritime based. There is need to utilize the ocean’s resources through Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and Distant Water Fishing (DWF). The shift has led to regional and global implications as seen by the aggression for sovereign rights on the disputed waters (Sirsikar 15). Alternatively, China faces challenges emanating for scarce water for human consumption. The country has invested a substantial amount of money in water projects such as South-North Water Transfer Project (SNWTP) (Sirsikar 16). A significant percentage of China’s raw materials are found in the rural parts which lack essential communication and other infrastructures for exploitation. Although China continues to address some of the challenges, the appetite for resources is increasing daily due to the competition and population growth rate. Sirsikar concludes that China is a Catch 22 situation (Sirsikar 28). The nations can become a maritime and land power due to its geographical position in Asian landmass. However, the geographical state of China has created internal divisions which proves had to control and manage. Therefore, Sirsikar state that the geography is a boon or bane depending on the ability of China to address the emerging challenges.


The article conforms to the strategist thought that geography plays a notable function in determining the goals, behavior, and aspirations of a country. Sirsikar sought to examine the relationship of geography and its impacts on China’s economy. The article focus on explaining whether the geographical position of China is vital towards their activities. Moreover, the author has ensured that the disadvantages of the geographical state are clearly articulated in the article. Sirsikar has presented arguments on the impact of geography on the economic state of China. However, the report fails to introduce the China's geography adequately. There is a shortcoming in the reasoning. Sirsikar introduces the article with a geographical factor through the lens of Mackinder. There was a need to focus on familiarizing the reader with the landscape of China. One could quickly lose interest in the article due to the different introduction from the primary objective of the paper. Apart from the opening, the material is centered on the maritime power rather than the continental power. A significant percentage of the article revolves around the inability of China to control their maritime borders and some of the steps taken to manage the issues. However, Sirsikar has articulated the problems on the impacts of geographical state of China on various activities such as economy and society. The growth of China can be attributed to the geography of China. The article supports this notion by providing evidence such as the deposition of rich alluvial soils on the riverbanks where Chinese Dynasties grew tremendously. Moreover, the report connects the challenges with the landscape factors. In the past, China did not have a reliable maritime power. However, the opening up and interaction with the world has forced China to focus their efforts on improving their coastlines. Sirsikar has concentrated his efforts on the Eastern side of China. There is a non-uniform articulation of ideas concerning the geographical nature of other parts of the country such as the Northern, Western, and Southern parts. Although the article offers some of the challenges faced by China, there is little information on the solutions. For instance, Sirsikar introduces the Malacca Dilemma but fails to give a comprehensive evidence on its impacts on the country.

The article has understated the contribution of the continental towards the growth of China. Moreover, the thought that China can control regions such as Manchuria, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang has not been adequately explored by the researcher. It has become challenging for the central authority in Beijing to control other parts of the country due to the geographical patterns of the country. Sirsikar has also underestimated the importance of continental power in China by portraying the importance of coastal cities in the international trade. The exploitation of the areas around the sea has worsened the situation in China leading to income gaps. As a result, the poverty rate is high in the interior or rural parts of the country compared to the coastal regions. The article proposes that the Chinese government should close the widening gap. However, it does not provide sufficient methods of addressing the issues as means of maintaining the unity in the heartland. In this case, it is clear that geographic factors play a valuable function in the formulation of policies in any given country. The factors can either be a boon or bane depending on how the people and government handle them. The examples and illustrations provide in the article are effective. For instance, the water problem in China can be understood based on the physical topography illustrated in the article. Moreover, Sirsikar has employed the illustrations such that it can be easy to explain his main points. The reader can relate to the aspects being discussed in the article without many complications.


The article provides valuable information on the relationship between geographical factors and development of China. The landscape plays a central role in determining various aspects of a nation. Sirsikar has tried to show the impacts of the China’s geography towards the shift from continental to coastal land power. Historically, China was self-sufficient both in security, economy, and energy as evident by the active participation in the Silk Road activities. However, the growth in the population and keeping up with the globalization forced China to look for alternative ways to sustain their economy, security and energy. The international trade proved as the only viable means of addressing their respective challenges. As a result, China focused its efforts on the maritime control rather than inland control. The article failed to articulate issues that arise from the geographical factors in the inland China. There is a need for China to balance their focus based on the landscape both the continental and maritime parts. The article is persuasive as depicted by the proper articulation of issues. Sirsikar has ensured that the reader has an adequate knowledge on the geographical regions of China through examples and illustrations. Thus, the article has offered sufficient information on the internal and external information on China based on geographical factors.

Work cited

Sirsikar, Ashish. "China’s Geography: A Boon or Bane." Vivekananda International Foundation (2016): 1-29.

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