China - Snapshots in Time

China is a country that is rarely out of the headlines, whether for its rapid industrial growth, its politics or more recently the advent of the Beijing Olympics. The images we see are of a country rich in history and culture, with a diverse range of peoples and environments within its extensive borders. Being the third largest country in the world and home to approximately one fifth of the world's population, it has long sparked the imagination of many a traveller.

The country has been traversed by emperors, kings and generals throughout history due to its critical position in the heart of the continent of Asia and is consequently home to a variety of peoples from the Han Chinese to Tibetans and Mongols, with most people speaking Mandarin or standard Chinese.

To learn more about China and its fascinating history, you can download factsheets for background information on each of the key questions below, in either Word or Pdf format. Use these with the associated downloadable activities to investigate each area in the classroom.

Find out more about China:

World map


Where in the world is China? [Word] [Pdf]

Discover the importance of the Yangtze River. [Word] [Pdf]

Why is there a historical collection of photographs at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)? [Word] [Pdf]
Isabella Bird Bishop

Who was Isabella Bird Bishop? [Word] [Pdf]

What was the Cultural Revolution and what impact did it have on the people? [Word] [Pdf]

What are the views of the Chinese community in London? [Word] [Pdf]


Discover detailed information about how to use resources with students and relevant curriculum links for this theme in the Teacher's Area.

This theme was developed with support from King's Cross Neighbourhood Centre, Soho Family Centre and Camden Chinese Community Centre in London. Workshops were conducted with these groups exploring some of the themes raised within these resources.

The photographs in the gallery form part of an exhibition exploring and expanding upon the themes raised in these resources. The exhibition entitled 'Seeing China: Community Reflections' is available for free hire by schools. Please contact v.patel@rgs.org for further information.

An education pack exploring China's past and its human and physical geography has recently been developed. The pack entitled 'Seeing China: Snapshots of the past and present' contains activities for students from the ages of 8 to 12 and can be downloaded in sections here:

Seeing China - Introduction to pack
Seeing China - Activity 1
Seeing China - Activity 2 (part 1 & part 2)
Seeing China - Activity 3 & Record Table
Seeing China - Activity 4
Seeing China - People's Poetry
Seeing China - Image Cards
See9ing China - Archive map of China