China sage : Updates

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Tue 6th Mar

Korea is never far from the news these days and with the Winter Olympics just over it seems an opportune time to take a look into China's relations with Korea. It's unfortunately all too common for people not to know why we have ended up with a divided Korea, and that this division is certainly not of the Korean peoples choosing.

China has exerted a strong influence over Korea in the last two thousand years and shares many cultural traditions. There have been time when China invaded Korea but also times when China intervened to defend it from other invaders. In this new article we concentrate only on the history of foreign relations with Korea from the Chinese perspective.

Korea,  Japam
Japanese Empress Jingu (169-269CE) setting foot in Korea. Painting by 1880 Yoshitoshi . Available under a Creative Commons License
Thu 1st Feb

We've added some extra entries into our extensive guide to Chinese Symbolism. These include: Onions, Rhinoceroses, Ice and Hats.

And now we've just completed a scan on all the 2,864 unique references to other web site. Even over a year many web sites have shutdown or been relocated, some have re-organized their content. In this latest scan we've changed many URLs to use the secure form (https://) as that is now becoming standard. You can already use for this web site.

Xinjiang, landscape, river
Fri 22nd Dec 2017

As we approach the end of 2017 it seemed appropriate to publish more information about Chinese New Year, which is late in coming this year - it is not until February 16th. We describe the traditions and customs associated with the various days of the long festival. The Chinese people have never needed much excuse for a festival and will also celebrate Christmas Day and New Years Day, mainly in the cities.

lanterns, new year
Chinese New Year, Saigon, Vietnam. Image by falco available under a Creative Commons License
Mon 18th Dec 2017

In preparation for 2018 we've now made our whole year at a view available online, as a PDF and as a graphics file for you to download and print. It shows all the festivals, lichun calendar and public holidays as well as all the Chinese months and days.

At the same time we've upgraded many of the graphics on the web site as some were a bit too grainy (due to heavy image compression).

Wed 13th Dec 2017

The relations between China and Britain were at a low ebb after the second Anglo-Chinese (Opium) war of 1858-60. They suffered a further fall after the debacle involving the purchase from Britain of a flotilla of boats to help put down the Taiping Rebellion raging in southern China. However Britain chose to misinterpret their instructions and wanted it to be a British commanded and manned fleet only under very vague Chinese control. The Chinese were appalled and the flotilla was rejected and sent back to the U.K. with much hostility and further distrust as its legacy.

opium war, sea battle, junk, boat, ship
The East India Company iron steam ship Nemesis, commanded by Lieutenant W. H. Hall, with boats from the Sulphur, Calliope, Larne and Starling, destroying the Chinese war junks in Anson's Bay, on 7 January 1841. Image by Edward Duncan available under a Creative Commons License
Mon 27th Nov 2017

We hit an obscure technical issue in our quiz implementation, so we have had to go back and re-design them using different technology. They work pretty much as before but they should load more quickly and be easier to play on mobile devices. There are now 14 quizzes each of 15 questions of different levels of difficulty. Each time you play them the questions are asked in a different order with a different selection of possible answers.

rice, paddy fields
Terraced rice fields in Yunnan, China. The reflected sky is glinting on the fields. Photo by Jialiang Gao available under a Creative Commons license .
Wed 15th Nov 2017

Our popular guide to China's top 80 airports has been updated. In the last two years 17 new airports have become busy enough to enter the ratings as top Chinese airports. Quite airports have also added an extra terminal to cope with the spiraling demand for air travel.

An Air China Boeing 747 taking off from Beijing Capital Airport. Photo by Thomas Fanghaenel , available under a Creative Commons license .
Mon 6th Nov 2017

Our popular quizzes have been updated and extended. Three new ones have been added : two more intermediate difficulty level quizzes on general knowledge about China and another history quiz. At the same time we have taken steps to improve the look and performance of the web site. We've also split out very long list of book sources (130) into seven separate pages.

Fri 12th May 2017

For much of the last two thousand years China was by any standard the most advanced nation on Earth, and yet by the early twentieth China was classed as a third world country needing massive food aid to alleviate famine. The reason why China did not maintain a lead in science and technology has puzzled scholars; in particular it was Joseph Needham who posed his famous question ‘Science in general in China - Why did it not develop??. Many answers have been proposed but none of them seem to totally fit the bill.

Fri 17th Mar 2017

We've been through all the web pages and updated the list of references. We continue to receive requests for citation and it is important that we clearly present all our sources. We found that some source references were missing and some mentioned that were not actually used by the text. All the source references are stored in a knowledge database - no notes or card references and so we can quickly trace back to the source of facts.

At the same time we have continued to improve the web site content as soon as new material is researched and added.

Mon 16th Jan 2017

The story of the isolated community of Jews in China was a sensation in Europe and America of the late 19th century. At the former Chinese capital of Kaifeng a community had lived at peace with the local Chinese for one thousand years. They had built their synagogue in the Chinese style and held the sacred Torah. The community grew to about one thousand before coming to an end in the early 19th century.

Kaifeng, jews
Jews of K'ai-Fun-Foo (Kaifeng Subprefecture), China. A picture from the public domain en:Jewish Encyclopedia. Available under a Creative Commons License
Thu 22nd Dec 2016

As another year comes to close, we at Chinasage have been working hard on a new look for our web site. As more and more people use smartphones rather than desktops to access the web we have developed a solution that should be both faster and more attractive for all users.

We surveyed many leading web sites and looked at how they have solved the problem of providing information in an attractive manner. We decided that we wanted to promote other content on the web site rather than relying on users exploring the sire using old fashioned navigation bars, so we have littered many pages with little boxes advertising related content elsewhere. We hope you like the new design, if you experience any difficulties in using the it - it may not work well with your particular browser - please let us know so we can investigate.

Wed 19th Oct 2016

We've added a major new article on China's population. The number of people in China has been a major concern for many years. With 20% of the world's population, China governs more people than any government has ever done before. With the imposition of the much hated 'One Child Policy', the only policy of its kind ever enacted, the population projections show the total numbers leveling off in about ten years time before a gradual decline. The issue of population in China is not a new one, it has been the most populated country throughout much of the last two thousand years.

China population chart 1-2100
Thu 22nd Sep 2016

The amazing discovery of the 'oracle bones' in the early twentieth century started to change the way Westerners thought about Chinese heritage. For here at the ancient capital of Shang dynasty China was a treasure trove of ancient writings. Not only did they prove that China had an independent written language way back in the Bronze Age but also that the ancient historical journals were proven amazingly accurate. The position of China as an ancient and continuous civilization was at last confirmed by even the most skeptical of Western historians. And it all started with one man's trip to pick up some medicine.

oracle bone, shang dynasty, early writing
Pieces of oracle bone engraved with early Chinese writing. Shang dynasty. Collection of Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University. Donated by H. L. Dudley Buxton, 1923. Image by BabelStone available under a Creative Commons License
Mon 19th Sep 2016
podcast motif

We have scattered throughout the site links to audio Teacup Media/China History Podcasts by Laszlo Montgomery. Laszlo has produced over a hundred excellent podcasts of half an hour to an hour on all aspects of Chinese History.

Wed 14th Sep 2016

More updates and corrections to our quick guide to the most common Chinese characters. We have added more characters and updated others. The main character index is now indexed by first letter of the pinyin. Thanks to Wikimedia Creative Commons, many of the individual entries now have animated graphics showing the order in which the strokes to make each character are made.

Here is the one for the character for yellow 'huang'

yellow character,huang
Mon 22nd Aug 2016

The study of the written Chinese language - the characters - is a really fascinating subject. Each stroke that is made has some meaning. Most of the frequently used characters are very old and tell a story. They are made up of a 'radical' part and a part that either contributes to the meaning or hints as to pronunciation. We have started with over 600 characters and hope to soon build up the number of entries - you need a couple of thousand to read a newspaper. We provide a much fuller range of characters in our free online dictionary.

Chinese character,star,xing
Mon 18th Jul 2016
A visitor kindly pointed out that some of our pinyin had the tone marks over the incorrect vowel. If there are several vowels in sequence the rule for placement is rather odd (as in the case of 'xiao'). The rule is that the tone mark always goes over the 'a' or 'e' if there is one in the sequence, In all other cases (except one) it goes over the last vowel, so in 'ui' it goes over the 'i'. However there is one special case, for the combination 'ou' it goes over the 'o' not the 'u'. We hope we have corrected the offending instances.
Wed 18th May 2016

We have performed another scan of every single page on the web site and made a few corrections here and there. More cross-links to related topics have been added and the quality of the text improved. One or two embarrassing mistakes were found which have now been corrected.

Fri 22nd Apr 2016

As much of this web site covers history and traditions it could be considered to be stuck in the past. We made the decision not to cover current affairs in China as we are not journalists and all we would be able to do was re-publish information produced elsewhere. However we felt it important to put down our general feelings about the direction that China is taking because so much is rooted in traditions and history and also we believe much that is written about China's future is misinformed.

Gansu, Lanzhou, modern housing
Lanzhou city skyline, Gansu
China motif
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Chinasage is a new web resource, started in 2012, pages will be added, enhanced and re-formatted regularly. Please check back soon for updated information about China.

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