Chinasage : All about China

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China sage's information will be of use to anyone wanting to learn more about world's upcoming nation. We cover all about China's history, traditions, language and provinces. China sage is in active development – check back to see new and expanded information.

We have descriptions of each Chinese province , and the dynasties but just as importantly we cover all sorts of cultural traditions. We hope you find the site the best place to start your study of China. We plan to continue to improve and extend our coverage.

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.


Events for 23rd Sep

1215 Kublai Khan born 1215 (803 years ago)

Time in China

clearBeijing weather
Clear
64 ° F / 18 ° C
Sep 20th 2018 at 11:30am UCT
Wunderground data source

Imperial Number

The number 9 has long been associated with the Emperor. It is a strongly yang number as it is 3 x 3 with 3 itself a yang number. The Forbidden City was reputed to have 9,999 rooms.
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Treaty Ports in China

Treaty Ports in China

History

All about the exploitation of China by foreign powers from the Ming dynasty to the foundation of the PRC in 1949. The establishment of foreign enclaves within most Chinese cities one hundred years ago led to many frictions with the foreign powers, particularly Britain. The treaty port system forcibly opened up cities to foreign trade in lat Qing dyansty China.
All about bamboo

All about bamboo

Culture

The most versatile of plants is the bamboo, it is used for food, baskets, tubes, scaffolding, musical instruments and more. In China it even forms some of the forests.
Traditional and Simplified

Traditional and Simplified

Language

When you start learning Chinese you soon across the fact that there are two written forms still in use, the simplified form used in China and the old, traditional form still used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and other overseas Chinese communities. With 4,000 years of use the written Chinese language has many archaic features. On formation of the Peoples Republic an ambition reform programme of the script was instigated which has made the learning of the characters far easier.
China's name

China's name

Culture

Why do we call the country of China 'China'? It is not the name used by the Chinese people themselves. In fact there are a number of names used in the 'Middle Kingdom' that reflect the country's rich cultural and historic heritage.
Wed 1st Aug

China in Africa

China's investment in China is so huge that it is considered by some as a form colonialism. China's Belt and Road Initiative is intended to open up trading routes not just through Central Asia to Europe but also the old sea routes to East Africa.

Bagamoyo in Tanzania is planned to be transformed from a sleepy fishing village to Africa's largest port. The $10 billion investment will handle burgeoning trade from East Africa to China via Sri Lanka and India.

To enable the port to reach into Africa new railways are being built. A 470km railway from Ethiopia to Djibouti is part of the master plan.

However this grandiose project has an unhelpful precedent. In the 1970s Mao Zedong invested in a railway in Tanzania. The 1,100-mile railway now lies in a decayed state with the grand Dar Es Salaam station falling into decay. The larger scale Chinese investment into not just Tanzania but also surrounding countries heralds an ambitious move to open up Africa to trade. Early signs are showing that the investment is welcomed and may well bring much needed prosperity to the whole region.


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Chinese Tortures

Chinese Tortures

Culture

China since early Imperial times has had a system of brutal punishments for crime. Torture was routinely used to extract a confession and there was no defence attorney to help you. For high treason a particularly gruesome and painful death was devised - death by a thousand cuts. Even today China uses the death penalty more frequently than the rest of the world put together.

Symbols of China

book cover A lavishly illustrated book covering all aspects of China not just 'symbols': traditions, scenic sights, festivals, arts, legends and famous figures. The text descriptions are a little short but it does give a very good general overall coverage and the photographs and illustrations are very good.
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The Cambridge Illustrated History of China

book cover Cambridge University Press produce a mammoth in-depth history of China, this can be considered an abridgement of this work. It has copious illustrations and useful panels describing key parts of Chinese culture and history. It covers the whole time period from pre-history to the present day - a lot to cover in one book. It is a fascinating and engaging read and to be recommended as a key reference work.
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About Chinasage

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

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.

China Sage Site updates

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

Wed 19th Sep

With the centenary of the May 4th Movement coming up next year it seems a good time to look back on the events of 1919. After World War I China underwent ignominious treatment under the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Shandong province which had been leased by Germany was to be handed to Japan rather than returned to Chinese control. Anti-Japanese fervor had already been brewing over the 21 Demands which a supine Chinese government had accepted. It looked like not only Shandong but Fujian province would be lost too.

In the first mass urban protest in China student led demonstrations eventually caused the government to reverse its pro-Japanese polices and China refused to sign the Versailles Treaty. The May Fourth Movement pioneered the use of vernacular Chinese in magazines and pamphlets and just as importantly women began to take an equal part in reformist organizations.

May 4th Protest,  Beijing,  Tiananmen Square
29th November 1919. More than 30,000 male and female students from 34 schools in Beijing gathered in front of Tiananmen Square to denounce the Japanese imperialists for killing the people of Fuzhou and protesting against Japanese ships invading Fuzhou. After the meeting, demonstrations were held, and slogans such as "Strive for Fujian" and "Resist Japan" were sloganed along the way, and more than 100 kinds of flyers were distributed, totaling 78,000. When the brigade went through the General Chamber of Commerce, it also sent representatives to the inside to ask the Beijing Business Bank to boycott Japanese goods and to break the Japanese economy. Image by Sidney D. Gamble available under a Creative Commons License
Tue 11th Sep
Leibniz
Gottfried Leibniz. Available under a Creative Commons License

The high point of Western appreciation came in the early 18th century. One man was a real fan of China - Gottfried Leibniz and many of his great discoveries (monads, calculus, binary arithmetic) were inspired by Chinese civilization. After his time though relations soon deteriorated.

Tue 28th Aug

The early contacts between the UK and China are revealing about attitudes back in the 17th century that seem to have changed little. The first few attempted contacts were purely to open up trading opportunities which were at this time chiefly wool. When the information started coming back from the Jesuit mission to Beijing the intellectuals in Britain were intrigued. There followed half a century of avid interest in all things Chinese. This new article looks at two people with differing interests in China John Weddell and John Webb.

Thomas Hyde
Thomas Hyde (1636-1703), Oriental scholar by Francis Perry (died 1765), Engraver. National Portrait Gallery. Available under a Creative Commons License
Buddhism , Dali, Yunnan, temple
Chongsheng Temple, Dali, Yunnan

Conventions

We use a consistent style for links within Chinasage. 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.

Authorship

All the text on the Chinasage 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 2018