GAO Boyang and Unryu SUGANUMA
Traversing the Taklamakan Desert in Gansu Province. PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN.
As one of the world’s longest and oldest civilizations—and the world’s most populous nation, for now—China contributed to the developing study of geography as early as the fifth century BCE. With varied terrains and climates, mighty rivers, rich natural resources, and diverse ethnic and religious groups, China continues to be a land worthy of geographical scrutiny.