China stretches some 5,026 kilometres (3,123 mi) across the East Asian landmass bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam in a changing configuration of broad plains, expansive deserts, and lofty mountain ranges, including vast areas of inhospitable terrain. The eastern half of the country, its seacoast fringed with offshore islands, is a region of fertile lowlands, foothills and mountains, deserts, steppes, and subtropical areas. The western half of China is a region of sunken basins, rolling plateaus, and towering massifs, including a portion of the highest tableland on earth.
A province, in the context of Chinese government, is a translation of sheng (省), which is an administrative division. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) currently controls 22 provinces. The PRC also claims, but does not control, Taiwan as a 23rd province. The Republic of China (ROC) controls Taiwan, as well as some offshore islands including Kinmen and Matsu, which form Fujian Province, Republic of China and was part of an originally unified Fujian province