General trend of the topography of China: High in the west and low in the east
The Chinese terrain is generally high in the west and low in the east with roughly three levels ladder-like distribution.
The first level of the terrain ladder is the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau with an average elevation of more than 4,000 meters. Its northern and eastern edge is boardering the Kunlun Mountains, the Qilian Mountains, Hengduan Mountains making it a dividing line between two ladder.
In the second level of ladder of the terrain, there are large basins and plateaus at 1000-2000 meters above sea level, Greater Xing’an Mountains, the Taihang Mountains, Wushan and Xuefeng mountain sitting in the east is the dividing line between the second level and the third level of the ladder.
Vast plain land with hills and low mountains at the altitude of 500 meters or less are the major features of the last level of the terrain ladder in China.
China’s two major rivers, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River starting from the western Qinghai-Tibet Plateau running east through nine and ten provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, respectively, into the Bohai Sea and the East China Sea. The flow of China’s major rivers all reflects the general trend of the topography of China, i.e. high in the west and low in the east.