China: An Island Nation?


China isn't embracing rum cocktails with little umbrellas in them (as far as I know). But given the realities of Chinese geography–shared land borders with 14 other countries, but most of the population clustered away from those borders in the Han "heartland"–they might at least consider adopting some of the better features of island nations (say, hammocks and tropical fruit) to balance out the troublesome isolation:

From Strange Maps:

Only in three places are the Chinese borders naturally permeable: at the Vietnamese frontier, via the Silk Road, and near Russian Far East. Hilly jungles separate China from Laos and Burma, the Himalayas shield it from the Indian subcontinent, almost impassable deserts divide it from Central Asia and the forbidding expanses of Siberia have never appealed to Chinese expansionism (until now, as the Russians fear).

With the exception of the Ming dynasty's sponsorship of admiral Zheng He's naval expeditions (as far away as Sri Lanka, Arabia and Africa) in the early 15th century, China has never attempted to be a naval-based power – so for most of its history, China's ports on the Pacific were hardly windows on the world either.

Check out the original article on Investors Insight, with lots more maps clarifying and expanding on the one above.