Interesting Facts about China

China is the world's largest economy. Thanks to their undervalued currency (which is deliberately deflated), China's economy is actually larger than the USA if you take the deflation of their currency into account.

The Mandarin word for China in Zhongguo which means middle country, implying China is the centre of the world.

The exact population of China is unknown. Many of its people are "undocumented" by their own government. Its official population ranges from 1.3 billion to 2 billion people.

24% of the world speaks Chinese (there are over 200 different Chinese languages and regional dialects). The official state language is Pu-tong-hwa (Mandarin).

According to economists, China will become the world's wealthiest nation by the year 2012.

The Great Wall of China is NOT visible from outer space. Its too thin. Its just a myth that it can be seen. The only man-made structures visible from space are: The Pyramids of Giza and the Hoover Dam.

Tea, popularized by the Chinese was first bagged and shipped around the world in 1903.

China manufactures 60% of the world's bicycles (the United States buys 86% of the world's bicycles).

Gunpowder was first discovered in China where it was used to create fireworks, signal flares and small missiles used for military purposes.

In September 2005 China surpassed Canada as the #1 exporter of goods to the United States.

As of January 2006 30% of China's exports are now electronics.

China is one of the few countries where fossils of homo gigantus have been found. Homo gigantus is more commonly called "Big Foot".

During the period of 1990 to 2005 Chinese export to the United States increased 1600 per cent. Thats 16 times more exports in only 16 years.

Tsingtao Beer, brewed since 1903, makes up more than 50% of China's beer exports.

Chinese President Hu Jintao's first visit to the United States was part of a world tour. He also visited Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Nigeria.

Chinese President Hu Jintao loves Starbucks coffee (and so does Bill Gates).

Whenever George W. Bush mentions China, he likes to mention their appalling human rights record in an attempt to make his own government look better by comparison.

Chinese believers in Falun Gong are routinely executed and have their organs sold on the black market. The Chinese government also uses Falun Gong prisoners to conduct medical experiments. Some countries now ban organ exports from China due to their illegal practices.

The United States has a $202 billion annual trade deficit with China. That is basically $202,000,000,000 of American wealth that is shipped over to China every year (and each year the trade deficit grows).

The United States has $7 trillion national debt, much of which has been loaned to the USA from wealthy Chinese banks.

Paper was first invented in China in 105 AD. It was a closely guarded secret and didn't reach Eurupe until the 8th century.

Paper was invented by the eunuch Ts'ai Lun. According to the official history of the Han dynasty (3rd century A.D.), Ts'ai Lun was given an aristocratic title after he presented Emperor Ho Ti with samples of paper. In 751 A.D., Chinese papermakers were captured by the Arabs at Samarkand, and by 794 A.D. several state-owned paper mills operated in Baghdad. The Arabs were manufacturing paper in Spain around 1150. It was not until 1590 that the first English paper mill was founded, at Dartford.

China exported $9 million US worth of garlic and ginseng to South Korea in 1999.

China exported $593.4 billion US in 2004. They exported only $474.7 billion in 2003.

In 2001 China exported $365 million worth of machinery/electronics to Canada.

In 2004 the Chinese government spent $700-million to build a new oil pipeline to Afghanistan. It is now waiting for the Unites States to attack Iran and finish building the rest of the pipeline which will bring oil from Iraq all the way across Iran and Afghanistan to the new oil pipeline.

China exported #134 million US in textiles (hats, clothes, umbrella, ect) to Canada.

In 550 AD, two Chinese monks smuggled silkworms out of China and started the western world's silk boom.

Shi Huang-Ti was the first emperor of China and founder of the Qin dynasty. Had he been a European ruler, he would likely be considered great today. The Chinese, on the other hand, have given him a black reputation for his ruthlessness, his massive conscription of labour, his wars, his harsh laws, and his burning of books in 213 B.C. [ China | Royalty ]

Chinese Emperor Shi Huang-Ti built a network of 270 palaces, linked by tunnels, and was ao afraid of assassination that he slept in a different palace each night.

In 213 B.C., the Chinese emperor Shi Huang-ti ordered the burning of all of China's books, except for a select few on subjects such as agriculture and medicine. He ordered the burning because people used several of those writings to criticise the emperor, and also because Shi Huang-Ti styled himself as the "First Emperor". Vast numbers of valuable works were lost and it was only through the efforts of a few brave teachers and scholars that any of the earlier literature of China survived. It was nearly 150 years before it was safe to bring the surviving books from their hiding place. [ China | Royalty ]

The Ch'in Dynasty (221-207 B.C.) buried alive many scholars in its programme to suppress learning and Confucianism.

A terracotta army of six thousand men and horses was buried with Shi Huang-Ti, China's first emperor, at Xianyang.

The purpose of the Great Wall of China, the monumental fortification separating China from Mongolia, was not especially to keep out the Huns from the north. The Huns could easily find places along the stretch that they could scale with ladders. But they couldn't get their horses across. Without their horses, they weren't very effective warriors.

The Chinese physician Hua T'o, born sometime between 140 and 150 A.D., was the first doctor known to perform surgery under general anaesthetic. The potion used to render his patients unconscious was a mixture of hemp and strong wine called ma fei san. Prior to the communist revolution, a national holiday commemorated his birth. [ China | Medicine ]

The Sui, who ruled China briefly around 600 A.D., devoted much of their reign to constructing the Grand Canal, a waterway 100 feet wide, lined with roads and trees, and stretching for 1,000 miles. The canal was completed in less than 25 years, at a terrible cost in human life. Almost 5.5 million people were involved in the construction, and it has been estimated that 2.5 million died due to the harshness of the working conditions. The canal, extending from Peking to Hangchow, is as navigable today as when it was built almost 1,400 years ago.

Fingerprinting was used in China as early as 700 A.D.

Liu Ch'ing, who became the governor of China's Shansi province in 955 A.D., was born with two pupils in each eye.

The brightest astronomical event in historic times was the supernova of 1054, which produced the Crab Nebula. The supernova was far brighter than Venus. It was bright enough to be visible in daylight and to cast a shadow at night. We know of it through the astronomical records of China, Japan, and the Middle East.

In Kublai Khan's China, anyone who had crops struck by lightning was excused taxes for three years. This was not selfless charity, as the Chinese believed that lightning was a sign of God's disapproval. So, if the Khan had accepted money from someone who had incurred God's wrath, he could have brought ill fortune upon himself.

Cheng Ho, court eunuch and great admiral of the Ming Dynasty, led Chinese fleets on seven voyages of conquest and diplomacy, between 1405 and 1433. As a result of Cheng Ho's voyages, which ranged as far as West Africa, 36 countries sent tribute to China. However, in 1433, the eunuchs' opponents gained the upper hand in a power struggle in the Chinese court, and the fleets stopped, shipyards were dismantled, and outbound shipping was forbidden. Had these voyages continued, it is possible that the Chinese would have "discovered" America before Columbus.

The first Ming Emperor, Hung Wu, was so afraid of the malign influence of a former ruler's vital force, a force he believed resided in Peiping, the former Yuan Dynasty capital, that he ordered the city leveled, in 1368. But first he had his officials catalogue the beauty and grandeur of the Yuan Great Interior, the imperial palace.

The Ming Emperor Hung Wu (1368-98) has been called the harshest and most unreasonable tyrant in all of Chinese history. He had so many people executed that, midway through his reign, government officials got into the custom of saying their last goodbyes to their families if they were required at a morning audience and of exchanging congratulations with fellow officials if they survived until evening.

In one ten-day period late in his reign (1368-98), the first Ming Emperor, Hung Wu, had to approve 1,660 documents dealing with 3,391 separate matters.

Among the important devices in naval technology developed by the Chinese are: the stern-post rudder, which appears on a pottery model of a boat dating from the first century A.D.; watertight compartments; and the paddle wheel, descriptions of which date from the fifth century A.D.

It is not true that the early Chinese used gunpowder only for fireworks. They had forms of guns (invented in 1288), bombs, grenades, rockets, land mines, and other arms.

How to manufacture porcelain, or "china", was a mystery known only to the Chinese until around 1700. Although imitation porcelain was made earlier in Italy, it was Johann Friedrich Böttger, of Saxony, who made true porcelain (the Dresden china) for the first time in the Western world.

More Interesting Facts about China

Ice cream was invented in China around 2000 BC when the Chinese packed a soft milk and rice mixture in the snow as a treat.

China is the fourth largest country in the world. China is sometimes a day ahead of the United States.

The Chinese year is based on the cycles of the moon. This is called a lunar schedule. A complete cycle of the Chinese calendar takes 60 years. The Chinese calendar dates back to 2600 B.C. It is the oldest known calendar.

Each year is represented by an animal. There are twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac.

According to readings Buddha named the years after the twelve animals that came to visit him before he left the earth. The Chinese believe that you have some of the characteristics of the animal representing the year in which you were born.

When a Chinese child loses a baby tooth, it doesn't get tucked under the pillow for the tooth fairy. If the child loses an upper tooth, the child's parents plant the tooth in the ground, so the new tooth will grow in straight and healthy. Parents toss a lost bottom tooth up to the rooftops, so that the new tooth will grow upwards , too.

It is considered good luck for the gate to a house to face south.

We know that the Chinese grew rice as long as 5000 BC Archaeologists have found rice grains with farming tools and pots from that period.

Long ago, silk making was a closely guarded secret. Anyone who gave the secret away could be killed.

At one time, Chinese patriots hoped to rid themselves of hated foreign conquerors. To announce the time of an uprising, the patriots hid messages in moon cakes.

Red is considered a lucky color in China. At one time wedding dresses were red. New Year's banners, clothing, and lucky money envelopes are still red.

Fourth graders are expected to know 2,000 of the over 40,000 written Chinese characters. By the time they leave college, they will know 4,000 or 5,000 characters. Each character is learned by looking at it and memorizing it.

The Great Wall of China was started over two and a half thousand years ago and is more than 5,000 km long.

One-fifth of the world's population lives in China.

Chinese cuisine can be divided into northern, eastern, southern (Cantonese) and central and southwestern (Sichuan).

Chinese people live in modern buildings in the towns, farmhouses in rural areas; houses made of bamboo and even caves in the mountains and sampans (houseboats) on the rivers and in harbours.

Chinese wildlife includes tigers, leopards, snow leopards, monkeys, yaks and giant pandas. The birdlife includes peacocks, parrots, cranes and storks.

Cormorants are used by some fishermen on the rivers to catch fish for them.

Bamboo is a very fast growing plant which can grow up to one metre a day. Its eaten by Pandas.

Thousands of years ago the Chinese had developed a calendar, writing, the wheel and a thriving silk industry and was advanced in astronomy and mathematics. It was the first to invent gunpowder hich was used for fireworks.

Crops include rice, wheat, maize, millet, sorghum, soya beans, rapeseed, sesame, sugar, tea (20% of the world's supply) as well as potatoes, peanuts, pineapple, bananas and vegetables, honey and eggs, poultry and pork. Cattle, sheep and camels are farmed (camel hair is used for good quality paint brushes).

China is among the world's largest producers of cotton and Silk production has been an important part of the Chinese economy for thousands of years.

When a Chinese bystander ashore was killed accidentally by a cannon salvo of greeting from an England ship, during the early days (1830's) of the China-Western trade, the England were forced to turn over to China the hapless gunner, who was promptly strangled. (Strangling was thought by the Chinese to be a less severe punishment than other forms of execution, because the body would not be permanently disfigured.)

In 1985 the Chinese press announced the discovery of a strip of land 1,000 metres by 15 metres, running down from a hill to a river, in Huanre County, Liaoning province. In winter when the surrounding temperature dips to -30° Celsius, the strip remains at 17° Celsius. In summer the reverse occurs, and the strip freezes to a depth of 1 metre. The locals use the strip for growing vegetables in winter and as a refrigerator in summer.

"May you live in interesting times." - Chinese curse.

Three of the world's ten longest rivers have their source in China, and a further three have their source in Mongolia.

The Chinese city of Chinkiang, now 150 miles inland, was once a seaport. Silt of the Yangtze River has built up the land for that distance.

The world's largest billboard is 300 metres long and 45 metres high. It is in southeast China, overlooking the Yangtze River at Chongqing. However, this area is so continually foggy that no-one has advertised on it since 1998, so China has decided to tear it down.

Some nineteenth-century Chinese warlords had an interesting way of fighting their battles. The rivals would meet in a tent and have an elaborate tea ceremony, during which each leader would drop hints at to the size of his army, the size and firepower of his weapons, and his chances of victory. Then the two would balance accounts, with one usually admitting that, because his enemy was stronger and deserved the victory, that he himself would accept the role of loser and pay reparations. The two armies then went their separate ways without loss of life.

Chinese Art History

Chinese Landscape Paintings

Dong Qichang

Gong Xian

Hua Yan

Huang Gongwang

Huang Tingjian

Giuseppe Castiglione

Ni Zan

For more info about China:

The Chinese Working Women's Network

Biographies of Asian Feminists Nellie Wong and Merle Woo

Chinese Women Adjusting To A New Society

Beijing 95: A Pale Green

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