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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Wed 14th Nov

The Romans and China

Trading contacts between Han China and the Roman world were extensive. At this time much of the trade took the overland Silk Route through Central Asia. In the Han dynasty the Romans were known as the Great Qin (Da Qin 大秦 named after the western Qin people who had unified China in the Qin dynasty. Silk was one of the main exports from China.
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On this day

976 Emperor Taizu no longer ruler 976 (1,042 years ago)
1908 Emperor Guangxu no longer ruler 1908 (110 years ago)
2012 Wen Jiabao no longer Premier PRC 2012 (6 years ago)
2012 Hu Jintao no longer President PRC 2012 (6 years ago)
2012 Hu Jintao no longer General Secretary Communist Party 2012 (6 years ago)
2012 Hu Jintao no longer Paramount Leader 2012 (6 years ago)


rén yǔ, huǎng yán pà lǐ [ni ren pa yu, huang yan pa li]
clay figure fear rain, lie speech fear logic
A mud figure fears rain; a lie fears truth
Over time lies will eventually be laid bare
Truth will out
Tue 13th Nov

Deng Xiaoping in France

One of the pivotal periods of Deng Xiaoping's life was the time he spent as a student, worker and communist revolutionary in France [1920-26]. The influence on his outlook and world view must have been crucial to his later actions as Paramount Leader [1978-92]. He retained his love of French food, particularly croissants. He was also a fan of soccer.
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Kàn fēng shǐ duò [kan feng shi duo]
look wind steer rudder
Steer the boat wherever the winds lead
Not sticking to the big plan. A fickle mind
Mon 12th Nov

Chinese Imperial Ideal

To some of the first European visitors to the Ming dynasty Imperial court the system seemed as close to the ideal of fair and just government. The Emperor was advised by the top intellectuals and was seen to take great care to rule the people wisely. This was close to the Socratic plea for rule by a Philosopher King as described in Plato's book The Republic. The Imperial court was imbued in high culture: painting, music, literature and calligraphy not the selfish, profane excesses of the monarchs back home in Europe.
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On this day

1866 Sun Yatsen born at Cuiheng Guangdong 1866 (152 years ago)
1969 Liu Shaoqi died 1969 (49 years ago)


Bù bù gāo shēng [bu bu gao sheng]
step step tall ascend
Step by step promotion
Congratulation on promotion or a new job
Sun 11th Nov


One of the place names that have changed dramatically is the port city of Amoy. The old name is still seen on many commercial products. The official PRC name is Xiamen 厦门 meaning 'mansion gate'. The name 'Amoy' comes from the local Fujian Min Nan dialect. The original Chinese name was 下門 Xiamen or 'lower gate' so that name has changed too.
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Nǐ sǐ wǒ huó [ni si wo huo]
you die I live
Fight to the death
To fight to the bitter end
Sat 10th Nov

The name of Confucius

The name in Chinese is 孔子 Kǒngzǐ or 孔夫子 Kǒngfūzǐ meaning “Master Kong” as Kong is the surname. His descendents, now in the 83rd generation still live at his birthplace Qufu, Shandong. Confucius is the Wade-Giles approximation of the name in English.
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Dú mù bù chéng lín, dān xián bù chéng yīn [du mu bu cheng lin, dan xian bu cheng yin]
only tree no accomplish forest , single string no accomplish sound
A single tree does not make a forest; a single string can not make music.
Many things require people to work together to achieve an end
All pull together
Fri 9th Nov

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Xinjiang, Urumqi, muslim, mosque
Mosque in Xinjiang

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