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 17th Aug

1926 Jiang Zemin born at Yangzhou Jiangsu 1926 (92 years ago)

Time in China

clearBeijing weather
Clear
73 ° F / 23 ° C
Aug 16th 2018 at 4:30pm UCT
Wunderground data source

Hong Kong

The Chinese name for Hong Kong is Xiāng Gǎng meaning fragrant harbor. Hong Kong island was a British possession from 1842 until 1999 and runs on a semi-autonomous basis until 2049.
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The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

China

The iconic vision of the Great Wall snaking its way up mountainsides is known the world over. The true story behind the wall is more interesting than the widespread myths. Although it stands for China's enterprise and indomitable spirit, it in the end proved a monumental waste of human endeavor.
Growing rice in China

Growing rice in China

Culture

The cultivation of rice for food has been carried out in China for the last 10,000 years. Over this time about 50,000 different varieties have been bred selectively for every possible soil and climate type. Recently it has proved cheaper to import rice rather than grow it in China, so rather surprisingly China is a major importer of this staple food.
Chinese Chess

Chinese Chess

Culture

Like most other things the Chinese invented their own version of the chess board game. There are strong reasons to suppose that the Chinese game Xiangqi or 'elephant game' is closer to the original form. The absence of a 'queen' piece and the strange rules for 'cannons' make this just as challenging a game as the version played in the West.
Delicious Chinese food

Delicious Chinese food

Culture

All about the history, health benefits of Chinese cuisine; also the etiquette of formal banquets. We also highlight the many regional specialities that can be found throughout China.

Forbidden City

The Forbidden City in Beijing was built at the start of the Ming dynasty by Emperor Yongle in 1406 requiring 200,000 builders; the walls are 30 feet high and the surrounding moat 165 feet wide.
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Wed 8th Aug

Double clean-up in Shanxi

Shanxi province is rich in coal deposits and for many years has the reputation as the most polluted areas on Earth. Although the government in Beijing has set targets to curb air pollution the problem persisted. The reason has become clear and it is a familiar story. Local officials in Linfen cheated the system so that pollution monitoring systems would give lower readings and so show they were meeting the improvement targets. Sixteen officials have now been tried and found guilty of fabricating data in May this year. There are now moves to get a real grip on this problem. It exemplifies a common weakness of governance in China, particularly on environmental issues, central government may set out bold and ambitious targets but it is down to local officials to make sure they are implemented. At the local level economic growth trumps any wider environmental considerations.

smog
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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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The Complete Confucius

book cover Understanding the teachings of Confucius is essential to understanding both Chinese history and the future. This modern translation of the old sage's work from 2,500 years ago. It includes not only the Analects of Confucius but also The Doctrine Of The Mean and The Great Learning.
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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.

Mon 16th Jul

With some trepidation we decided to add a description of the Imperial Chinese system of justice. It had a deservedly bad reputation for cruelty for centuries. One approach to criminal justice is to make the punishment so painful that the deterrent effect makes people fear the consequences for even a minor crime. For centuries in Imperial China this is how the huge population was kept law abiding. Rumors of the tortures that couldbe used against malefactors did the trick and the country was seen as largely law abiding. The ancient system although heavily reformed still lives on to the present day in the general approach to justice.

torture,  fingers
The punishments of China: illustrated by twenty-two engravings: with explanations in English and French. Image by George Henry Mason available under a Creative Commons License
Thu 28th Jun
The leading academy for scholarship in China and probably the world lasted from 725 until 1911. The Hanlin Academy was an imperial institution that chose its members from candidates who did best in the top level examinations. This pool of talent from all over China helped the Emperor administer the country in all sorts of ways. On one occasion it was tasked with writing an encyclopedia of all human knowledge. The work took thousands of scholars five years to write into eleven thousand volumes - the largest ever written document. It fell into decline in the late Qing and became the victim of a fire during the Boxer Rebellion. It stands as testimony to the prestigious place of scholarship in China from a very early date.
Mon 21st May

We've upgraded the festival page so that it shows the upcoming festivals in date order rather than needing you to scroll down to the current day in the year. We've also included our month calender at the top for convenience. Please let us know if we are missing a festival or have a date incorrect.

Dragon boat festival, Guangxi, people, boat
A dragon boat crew in Guangxi
Huangshan, Anhui, mountain
Huangshan mountain with Pinus hwangshanensis trees, Nov 2010
Image by Peter05031960 available under a Creative Commons license

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