Chinasage : All about China

We hope China sage's information will be of use to everyone with an interest in the World's most important nation. We cover China's provinces, history, language and traditions. China sage remains under active development; please check back regularly to look at the revised and expanded information.

Events for 23rd Aug

551BCE Confucius born 551BCE (2,569 years ago)

Fact of the day

100 Names
An old name for China is to call it the 'Hundred Names' reflecting the fact that the Han Chinese have very few different family names. Of these ‘Li’ is the most common worldwide (92 million in China). In China ‘Wang’ may be slightly more common (93 million). Traditionally a man could not marry a woman with the same family name as it was assumed they must be related.
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Time in China

Current weather

mostlycloudyBeijing weather
Mostly Cloudy
79 ° F / 26 ° C
Aug 22nd 2017 at 8:30pm UCT
Wunderground data source

We're building an exciting new information source all about China.

We found other sites about China were poorly structured, too detailed (such as Wikipedia) or just too old-fashioned. What we thought was needed was a carefully constructed set of pages with strict editorial control so that links and pages are consistent, up-to-date and easy to navigate without clutter.

Our first release included descriptions of each province that makes up China, this was followed by the dynasties that follow China's history and we are now adding all sorts of features on traditions and culture. We hope you find the site the best place to start your study of China. We plan to release further pages on news, key figures, cultural background and anything else we hope you will find relevant to understanding this vast country.

If you think you know about China, check out your knowledge with our Quiz section, all the answers to the questions are somewhere on the web site. Our source section has full reviews and descriptions of over a hundred books about China that have been used as reference material for these pages.

We chose the name “Chinasage” for the web site because this can be read as either “china sage” ( zhōng guó yīng míng) or “china's age” ( zhōng guó shí dài) , which promotes our new knowledge resource at a time when China has come of age in the World.


Women in China

Gender equality in China has been a long time coming. Traditions dating back thounsands of years are hard to shift. There has yet to be a woman appointed to the top rung of government committee. Change really only started to come after the foundation of the Peoples Republic in 1949. Our page on attitudes to women covers the few Imperial women leaders, marriage and concubines as well as foot binding.
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Battle of Talas

During the Tang dynasty the extent of Chinese ruled territory spread west through Central Asia. The decisive battle at Talas in 751 with the Arab Abbasid Caliphate led to the defeat of Gao Xianzhi and the end of Chinese western expansion.
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Fri 9th Jun

Recycling quotas slipping

Like most industrialized countries, China has its problems with waste. A new report reveals that rules requiring waste to be separated out for potential recycling for 17 years. As a vast and rapidly growing city Beijing generates a huge amount of waste, much of which goes to landfill. Beijing is now using incinerators to relieve pressures on a dwindling number of holes in the ground to fill with garbage. New initiatives are starting to enable much more rubbish to be sorted and potentially recycled.

The story is very much in line with environmental initiatives in China, the government continues to talk about the importance of preserving the environment but the implementation is, putting it diplomatically, rather patchy. A recent story in the Guardian gives a distressing tale of how water quality regulations have been widely ignored. In 2015 85% of the water in Shanghai's rivers was undrinkable and 56% was unfit for any purpose. Clearly a lot needs to be done so that the regulations start being more widely obeyed.

garbage
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Thu 3rd Aug

Border frictions with India

The shadow of the past continues to complicate the often fractious relations between the two most populated countries India and China. The current dispute is over a new highway being built in the 'Chinese' portion of land in the area bordering Nepal, Bhutan and India. The land borders were drawn up by the British and negotiated with the then Republican government in China not the current People's Republic and that is one of the problems; the Chinese perspective is that they never agreed to the line of the current border.

India, it is claimed moved up to 400 armed border forces 100m into Chinese territory at Doklam to obstruct a new road. Latest news suggests India has withdrawn many of these forces but tensions persist.

The current troop movements bring to mind the brief and little known Sino-Indian War in 1962 which had 2,000 casualties. The border dispute was over different territories along the border and China won that war. It all suggests that poor relations between China and India persist, China has always chosen Pakistan as its preferred ally in the region.


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Thu 27th Jul

Summer heat and rains

As Shanghai swelters with a sustained heatwave, Shaanxi north of China has been subject to extreme flooding. The pandas at Shanghai zoo have struggled with temperatures of over 40°C (104°F) and gone into a state of stupor. China has always been subject to extremes of climate: heat, drought, flood and cold and although there has been huge investment in infrastructure, the country struggles to cope at this time of year.

To alleviate drought, China is busy constructing ambitious water transit pathways which will bring vast amounts from the wet south to the dry north. There are three routes. One is in mountainous Qinghai where it will bring waters of the Yangzi to the headwaters of the Yellow river. The second from the Han river in Hubei north to Beijing and the third follows the route of the old Grand Canal. In total 44.8 billion cubic meters of water per year will be diverted. The project is not expected to be completed before 2050.


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How to get on in China

If you are traveling to China it is essential to know the customs and general etiquette so that you do not unknowingly cause offense. Our customs page covers all areas including giving gifts, banquets, sealing business deals and how to behave in public. Any attempt at understanding Chinese sensibilities will create a good impression.
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Fri 9th Jun

Recycling quotas slipping

Like most industrialized countries, China has its problems with waste. A new report reveals that rules requiring waste to be separated out for potential recycling for 17 years. As a vast and rapidly growing city Beijing generates a huge amount of waste, much of which goes to landfill. Beijing is now using incinerators to relieve pressures on a dwindling number of holes in the ground to fill with garbage. New initiatives are starting to enable much more rubbish to be sorted and potentially recycled.

The story is very much in line with environmental initiatives in China, the government continues to talk about the importance of preserving the environment but the implementation is, putting it diplomatically, rather patchy. A recent story in the Guardian gives a distressing tale of how water quality regulations have been widely ignored. In 2015 85% of the water in Shanghai's rivers was undrinkable and 56% was unfit for any purpose. Clearly a lot needs to be done so that the regulations start being more widely obeyed.

garbage
Read full story...

China Sage Site updates

Here are the last few updates made to the web site. For older entries please visit our site updates page.

Fri 12th May

For much of the last two thousand years China was by any standard the most advanced nation on Earth, and yet by the early twentieth China was classed as a third world country needing massive food aid to alleviate famine. The reason why China did not maintain a lead in science and technology has puzzled scholars; in particular it was Joseph Needham who posed his famous question ‘Science in general in China - Why did it not develop??. Many answers have been proposed but none of them seem to totally fit the bill.

Fri 17th Mar

We've been through all the web pages and updated the list of references. We continue to receive requests for citation and it is important that we clearly present all our sources. We found that some source references were missing and some mentioned that were not actually used by the text. All the source references are stored in a knowledge database - no notes or card references and so we can quickly trace back to the source of facts.

At the same time we have continued to improve the web site content as soon as new material is researched and added.

Mon 16th Jan

The story of the isolated community of Jews in China was a sensation in Europe and America of the late 19th century. At the former Chinese capital of Kaifeng a community had lived at peace with the local Chinese for one thousand years. They had built their synagogue in the Chinese style and held the sacred Torah. The community grew to about one thousand before coming to an end in the early 19th century.

Kaifeng, jews
Jews of K'ai-Fun-Foo (Kaifeng Subprefecture), China. A picture from the public domain en:Jewish Encyclopedia. Available under a Creative Commons License
Thu 22nd Dec 2016

As another year comes to close, we at Chinasage have been working hard on a new look for our web site. As more and more people use smartphones rather than desktops to access the web we have developed a solution that should be both faster and more attractive for all users.

We surveyed many leading web sites and looked at how they have solved the problem of providing information in an attractive manner. We decided that we wanted to promote other content on the web site rather than relying on users exploring the sire using old fashioned navigation bars, so we have littered many pages with little boxes advertising related content elsewhere. We hope you like the new design, if you experience any difficulties in using the it - it may not work well with your particular browser - please let us know so we can investigate.

emblem
Wed 19th Oct 2016

We've added a major new article on China's population. The number of people in China has been a major concern for many years. With 20% of the world's population, China governs more people than any government has ever done before. With the imposition of the much hated 'One Child Policy', the only policy of its kind ever enacted, the population projections show the total numbers leveling off in about ten years time before a gradual decline. The issue of population in China is not a new one, it has been the most populated country throughout much of the last two thousand years.

China population chart 1-2100
Tang dynasty, Sancai, porcelain
Photo by Rosemania , Palace Museum, Beijing. Sancai horse, Tang Dynasty, 618-907 A.D. Available under a Creative Commons license .

Conventions

We use a consistent style for links within the site. An internal link taking you to another page within our site is shown like this while a link to a page on any other web site is shown like this .

We use Chinese characters wherever appropriate. Most browsers should display both the characters and the pinyin correctly. Where the older Wade Giles system is still used we make sure this is highlighted. Except where stated all characters are the modern simplified form used in the People's Republic rather than the traditional ones (pre-1970s). To help you learn Chinese characters many of the very common characters are highlighted thus: hovering the mouse over the character pops up a box showing derivation and usage information for the character.

Dates are given using the BCE/CE (Before Common Era and in Common Era) year convention rather than BC/AD. If a date is not followed by BCE or CE it should be taken as CE.

China sage authorship

All the text on this web site is our own, we do not copy and paste from other web sites. We research each topic from a number of separate sources. The only exception to this are quotations and image credits. All text is our copyright and can not be used/copied without our permission. We are independent of any other company or government, the opinions expressed are our own. We do not receive funding from any external agency or organization.

Teacup Media (China History Podcast)

We are delighted to be able to promote links to Laszlo Montgomery's excellent Teacup Media series created over the last six years. Lazlo Montgomery has in depth knowledge of building commercial contacts with China over 25 years. This set of 175 podcasts totals almost 100 hours of audio commentary which covers every conceivable topic in Chinese history. Highly recommended.

Acknowledgments

We are extremely grateful to the many people who have put their photographs online for anyone to adapt and use. Without them our site would be very drab. If we are not using the image license correctly please let us know. Some pages use Javascript to create special effects such as our airport table and calendar. We are grateful to the original authors for providing their code to be used and adapted by anyone else. The online Chinese dictionary uses the definition from the CC-CEDICT project for which we are grateful for a generous free license.

Feel free to contact Chinasage to point out any errors, omissions or suggestions on how to improve this web site.

Copyright © Chinasage 2012 to 2017