The Greater China Factbook is an English-language reference book which contains all the basic information about China and Taiwan, not too detailed but still comprehensive, concise and resourceful, with information about the Chinese provinces, about China's long history and so on, with all the personal and geographical names in Chinese characters. The whole book was checked by an excellent professional editor for mistakes in English grammar and style.
The book has 668 pages and comprises four parts: 1. China today [84 pages, with subchapters about population, geography, climate, government and politics, and the economy]; 2. The Chinese provinces [92 pages, including a detailed gazetteer]; 3. China’s history [272 pages, describing the history from the beginnings to the end of imperial China, plus a chronology from 1911 to 2006]; 4. Appendix [194 pages, providing information on a myriad of subtopics like the Chinese zodiac and lunar calendar, weights and measures, Chinese family names, degrees of kinship as well as excerpts from important documents]. Besides, it offers a comprehensive pronunciation guide to modern Chinese with conversion tables for the most popular Romanization and transliteration systems, and there are 54 maps.
It has now been more than eight years since the book went to press, and I keep collecting relevant information and data, and this blog is a way to share these new materials with interested users. The lists which I am posting on this blog mostly contain information I collected only after publishing my book. Downloading the lists in the blog and browsing my book would certainly be the most efficient way to get quick information about the basics in Chinese geography, history and so on.
The book was published in August 2007 by the Taiwan Elite Press in Taipei. ISBN-13: 978-986-7762-97-9; ISBN-10: 9867762975. Binding: paperback. Dimensions: 26 x 19 x 2.5 cm. Weight: ca. 1250 g.
The book online
More than two years after the contract with my publisher expired, I decided to put the entire book online for free, in its original form, including all errors and misprints.
Cover, dedication, table of contents, publishing information
Preface, acknowledgements, pronunciation guide to modern Chinese (p. 7-25)
Part 1—China Today (p. 26-109)
Part 2—The Chinese Provinces (p. 110-201)
Part 3—China’s History (p. 202-473)
Part 4—Appendix (p. 474-668)
Errata and misprints [3 pages; file last edited/updated on Thu, May 15, 2014]
For more information on The Greater China Factbook, please refer to Brian Asmus's article in the China Post (Nov. 3, 2007) and the book review from the GIGA Institute of Asian Studies in Hamburg, Germany (English translation; 2 pages / German original; 2 pages).
Another book review can be found in The China Quarterly, Vol. 198, June 2009, p. 474-475, written by Dr Lars Laamann, lecturer in the history of China at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. The China Quarterly is the leading scholarly journal in its field, covering all aspects of contemporary China including Taiwan. Unfortunately, I cannot publish the contents of Dr Laamann's book review on my blog for copyright reasons, but it can be purchased and downloaded from the CQY website.
Click here to go to the website of The China Quarterly. Click here for the table of contents of Vol. 198, June 2009.
Where to buy
Currently, the book is available in major Taiwanese bookstores like Eslite and Page One, and it can be ordered online via Books.com.tw. It can also be ordered in the US on Amazon. If unavailable in bookstores, on Books.com.tw or Amazon, write me an email, I can still get copies.