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 Oct

1919 Zhao Ziyang born 1919 (99 years ago)

Time in China

clearBeijing weather
Clear
50 ° F / 10 ° C
Oct 16th 2018 at 8:00pm UCT
Wunderground data source

Long March

The famous Long March of the Communists started at Jinggangshan, Jiangxi where they were encircled by Nationalist forces. On 16th October 1934 about 100,000 troops attempted to break out, most died in the attempt. 36,000 began the Long March of 8,000 miles [12,875 kms] through mountainous Western China. About 10,000 finally arrived on 22nd October 1935 at Yan'an Shaanxi.
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Song dynasty

Song dynasty

History

The Song dynasty is a period of Chinese refinement and peace rather than military prowess. Great strides were taken in the creative arts and literature. Prosperity from the growing trade by sea rather than overland fueled the building of huge cities. The eventual conquest by the Mongol hordes brought the dynasty to a tragic close.
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.
The Chinese Language

The Chinese Language

Language

The Chinese language is rightly treasured as the country's greatest accomplishment. Our language section introduces the historical and linguistic background that greatly adds to the appreciation of China. The written script has fascinated Western scholars for centuries. In the language section we include some introductory lessons, a guide to how it is written and some of the oldest classical texts.
Chinese Silk

Chinese Silk

Culture

Along with porcelain and tea, silk is one of China's important innovations. Just like other great inventions the secret was closely guarded for centuries. Fabulous fine cloth was an important export as far back as the early Roman Empire.
Thu 11th Oct

Shadow puppets brought up to date

One of the oldest traditional art-forms in China is shadow puppetry. In this form 'flat' and articulated figures are held up against the back of a lighted sheet. From in front the figures can be made to act in natural way. The skill to handle the puppets takes a long time to develop and it is a custom under threat with so much competition from modern alternatives.

In a new twist to the tradition Ding Yongfa has come up with stories about current events rather than age-old historical dramas. As fifth generation puppeteer Ding is a real expert of the techniques and has introduced a puppet show on the current drive to root out corruption. Local administrators welcome the idea as it should help educate a new generation about the evils of graft.

shadow puppet,  traditional art-form, customs
An intricate shadow puppet of a young lady in a house. Available under a Creative Commons License

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The State of China Atlas

book cover Geographical information can be dull and hard to interpret, this heavily illustrated book brings the subject to life with many colorful graphs and diagrams. There have been a number of published editions to keep the information up-to-date. It covers all the main economic and geographic data as well as government organization and the legal system. A very useful way to see how China compares to other countries and how different are the regions that make up China.
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Chronicles of the Chinese Emperors

book cover A lavishly illustrated delight. Covers all the dynasties in time order with every emperor getting a mention. The most attractive feature are the illustrated panels covering related cultural topics. It is a most commendable factual account of Chinese history. The only things it lacks, may be, are overviews of the time periods and putting events into a global context. As it is titled a 'chronicle of emperors' one would not expect it to cover the lives of ordinary Chinese people but all major developments are covered.
More details...

The State of China Atlas

book cover Geographical information can be dull and hard to interpret, this heavily illustrated book brings the subject to life with many colorful graphs and diagrams. There have been a number of published editions to keep the information up-to-date. It covers all the main economic and geographic data as well as government organization and the legal system. A very useful way to see how China compares to other countries and how different are the regions that make up China.
More details...

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
giant panda, wildlife
An adult Giant Panda eating bamboo

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