provinces, which may be compared in a general way to our states. The provinces are, however, generally larger than the states and on the whole much more populous. There is still greater dissimilarity in government because, whereas our states are representative democracies, the Chinese provinces were, at least until within a year or two, satrapies ruled absolutely by imperial governors or viceroys.
Not a few people in America picture China as a vast fertile plain, perhaps like the upper Mississippi valley, densely populated and intensively cultivated. In fact, however, it is so generally mountainous, that less than one tenth of its surface is even moderately flat. On the west, especially, it is ribbed with cordilleras from which its two great rivers, the Yang-tze-Kiang and the Huang-ho flow eastward to the Pacific.