It possesses a population of 18.46 million (2008), half of the people live on the outskirt of the city.
The permanent residents of Beijing come from all of China's 56 ethnic groups. The Han nationality accounts for 96.5% of the total. The other 55 ethnic minorities claim a population of more than 480,000, most of them are from Hui, Manchu, and Mongolian nationalities.
Beijing is a city with four distinct seasons. Its best season is late spring and autumn. But autumn is taken as the golden tourist season of the year since there is sometimes in the spring of recent years, a yellow wind. The climate in Beijing is of the continental type, with cold and dry winters, due to the Siberian air masses that move southward across the Mongolian Plateau. The summers are hot owing to warm and humid monsoon winds from the southeast bringing Beijing most of its annual precipitation. January is the coldest month and July is the warmest.
In Beijing potted chrysanthemums may be seen year round. They flower in summer and fall naturally but can be forced to bloom any time of year. During the Qing dynasty, there were 400 rare strains of chrysanthemum. Beijing's flora-culturists now boast more than 1000 varieties.
The city has many places of historic interest and scenic beauty, including the Forbidden City--the largest and best-preserved ancient architectural complex in the world; the Temple of Heaven - where Ming and Qing emperors performed solemn rituals for bountiful harvests; the Summer Palace - the emperors' magnificent garden retreat; the Ming tombs - the stately and majestic mausoleums of 13 Ming Dynasty emperors; and the world-renowned and genuinely inspiring Badaling section of the Great Wall.
Beijing is famous for its roasting duck. It is quite crisp. The way slice the duck is a kind of art. Beijing specialties are various, including Beijing Duck, Cloisonne, Preserved Fruit and so on.