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谈何容易tán hé róng yì Not as easy as it seemed 有何不可yǒu hé bù kě Anything may be possible
Writing Chinese phonetically
Because the Chinese language is character not phonetically based it is hard to write down Chinese with a Western alphabet A-Z. British scholars Wade and Giles made a creditable attempt at the end of the 19th century but it had some glaring problems. Perhaps because it was a 'foreign' system the new Peoples Republic set about creating their own system - pinyin, which seems only fair. The repercussion is however that old books use the Wade Giles system and modern ones Pinyin. Some web sites use a mixture if they are referring to historical events. It is still the case that if you want to read about Chinese history you should be broadly familiar with Wade-Giles. Read More
The building of railways became a competitive scramble between foreign powers in the late 19th and early 20th century. Railways were seen as the key first step in opening up inland China for trade. Britain, France, Germany, Japan and America all invested in the building of them only for the investment to be lost in the following years of turmoil.
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