China is situated in eastern Asia on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean, with an area of 9.6 million square kilometers. China's continental coastline extends for about 18,000 kilometers, and its vast sea surface is studded with more than 5,000 islands, of which Taiwan and Hainan are the largest.
China's land drops off in escarpments eastward to the ocean, letting in humid air currents and leading many rivers eastward. Among the 220,000 kilometers of rivers the Changjiang (Yangtze River), Huanghe (Yellow) and Zhujiang (Pearl) are the most famous. China has beautiful scenery, with mountains and ranges, highlands, plains, basins, and hills. The highlands and hill regions account for 65 percent of the country's total land mass, and there are more than 2,000 lakes. The highest mountain peak is Qomolangma Mt. Everest), the highest in the world, 8,848 meters above sea level; the lowest point is the Turpan Basin, 154 meters below sea level.