Chinese is (basically) ideographic ("symbols representing ideas"), but not generally pictographic ("symbols representing ideas/objects directly by resembling them"). Some Chinese characters are arguably pictographic, and in many cases there was probably a pictographic stage in the historical evolution of other characters, but the bulk really aren't.
In response to the grandparent: it doesn't appear that alphabetic/phonetic languages are faster to write/read than ideographic languages like Chinese. Chinese seems to be generally faster to read, and roughly equivalent to write in many cases. It's obviously a pretty hard comparison to make, since there are so many variables, but while ideographs are generally more complicated, they're also more information dense (so you need fewer of them to communicate a given idea) and can take better advantage of the human visual system to allow recognition of more text in parallel .