Chinasage Diary

Your daily snippet of information about China. Our diary has a daily fact, proverb and a reminder of upcoming festivals and holidays in China.
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Today Wed 26th Sep

Jesuit mission

The Jesuit mission to China in the Ming dynasty was partially successful. The leader Matteo Ricci studied Chinese language and culture extensively and was admired by the Chinese for his scholarship. The Jesuits brought a more precise knowledge of astronomy which further impressed the Imperial court.
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Ròu bāo zǐ dǎ gǒu [rou bao zi da gou]
meat wrap child hit dog
Hitting a dog with a meat bun
To use a self defeating method to solve a problem

Current weather

clearBeijing weather
70 ° F / 21 ° C
Sep 24th 2018 at 4:30am UCT
Wunderground data source


28th Sep 祭孔大典 Confucius’s Birthday (Modern)
1st Oct 国庆节 National day
8th Oct Cold Dew (Lichun calendar)
17th Oct 重阳节 Chong Yang Festival
23rd Oct Frost descends (Lichun calendar)
See full calendar

Tue 25th Sep

Martial arts

The martial arts are one of China's most familiar cultural exports. They are well represented in many action films from China and Hong Kong. Some forms of martial art were further developed in Japan and are now known by the Japanese names: karate, judo and taekwando. The most widespread and gentler form is Taichi or more correctly Taijiquan, the system of movements builds muscle tone and improves posture and breathing. Many Chinese use Tai Chi as their daily morning exercise.
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On this day

1711 Emperor Qianlong born 1711 (307 years ago)
1881 Lu Xun born at Shaoxing Zhejiang 1881 (137 years ago)


Yǒu yǎn bù shí tài shān [you yan bu shi tai shan]
have eye not know great mountain
To fail to see the great Taishan mountain
To be too arrogant or ignorant to acknowledge true talent
Mon 24th Sep

Largest city

The modern city of Xi'an stands on the site of the great city of Chang'an, the largest city in the world for many centuries. It had a vast city wall and the population was over one million. It reached its peak during the Tang dynasty with traders living in the cosmopolitan city attracted over the Silk Road that ended here. Vast quantities of food needed to be brought from southern China to feed the city's population.
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Shí nián shù mù, bǎi nián shù rén [shi nian shu mu, bai nian shu ren]
ten year establish timber, hundred year establish person
It takes ten years for a tree to grow but it takes a hundred years for talents to be nurtured
Studying may be slow and arduous but will be worth it
Sun 23rd Sep

Many writing styles

The Chinese art of calligraphy has many different styles. There are ancient styles such as the Small seal script that dates back 2,000 years and then there is the grass script for faster writing. Calligraphy is considered one of the highest artistic accomplishments; the meaning of a character can be reinforced by the style of strokes used to write it. However, works of calligraphy can be hard to read and so styles that use clearer character outlines are used in books and newspapers. Recently a 1,000 year old piece of calligraphy fetched over $30 million at auction.
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On this day

1215 Kublai Khan born 1215 (803 years ago)


Lóng zhēng hǔ dòu [long zheng hu dou]
dragon war tiger battle
Bitter fight between a dragon and tiger. An evenly matched big fight
Struggle between two equal leaders
Sat 22nd Sep

Red eyebrows

The red eyebrow 赤眉 rebellion was a grass roots rebellion fuelled by famine and high taxes. They showed their loyalty to the cause by painting their eyebrows and/or foreheads red. This was 2,000 years ago in the troubled reign of Wang Mang. Perhaps red was chosen as it was the dynastic color of the Han dynasty which Wang Mang had overthrown and the rebels sought to restore.
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Kǔ jìn gān lái [ku jin gan lai]
bitter exhuast sweet arrive
Bitterness over, happiness arrives. At the end of suffering comes relief
After troubles comes happiness
The darkest hour is just before the dawn
Fri 21st Sep

Boys better than girls

There is still a preference for girls rather than boys, illegal gender selection is building up, there are now 119 boys for 100 girls. Traditionally boys stayed at or near home and worked with their family while girls left the village to be married off to another family. For a family to continue it therefore needed boys. Boys were also needed in the important ancestral rituals. Nowadays with severe birth control policies, couples prefer boys in order to continue the family line.
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On this day

690 Empress Wu Zetian becomes Emperor 690 (1,328 years ago)


Xiāng xiāo yù sǔn [xiang xiao yu sun]
fragrant vanish jade broken
Fragrance is dissipated; jade is broken
Spoken of on the death of a beautiful young woman
Whom the Gods love die young
Thu 20th Sep

Ancient observatory

Near to the great Song mountain in Henan lays the Gaocheng observatory that has been active for three thousand years. Astronomical observations were key to setting the Chinese calendar. The main instrument is a stone gnomon that allows heights of stars and planets to be measured to great accuracy.
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Yǎn gāo shǒu dī [yan gao shou di]
eye high hand low
Eyes look up but the hands go down
To have high ambitions but possess limited skills
Xinjiang, Urumqi, road
Expressway into Urumqi, Xinjiang
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