China sage : Updates

update http://www.chinasage.info/updates.xml News of all updates to this web site are available as a news-feed so you can receive notifications of all the changes (on average one a month) automatically in your browser. Click on the RSS button to add it to your browser or copy and paste the link.

motif
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
Wed 9th May

We've been busy giving the web site a crisper, less cluttered look. We've changed the top menu colors and font, simplified the graphics and spent effort making pages work better on the smaller mobile screen. The top level drop menu is now mulit-level allowing quick navigation to popular pages. If we've broken anything that you liked, let us know. Your comments on the new look will be much appreciated.

Thu 26th Apr

All about the strange version of English/Chinese used for trading in southern ports (c. 1750-1880). The language has Chinese features but is widely thought of as a simple form of English designed by the British for the Chinese to use but the real story is a lot more complex than that.

pidgin
The Red-haired glossary,. c. 1835. Available under a Creative Commons License
Tue 10th Apr

Even though China is the most populous nation on Earth (although soon to be overtaken by India) there is still room for wildlife away from the heavily populated regions. As China has deserts, snow fields, high mountains, tropical rain forests and vast grasslands the range of opportunities for wildlife is remarkably diverse. In our brief survey of the main regions within China and the more remarkable creatures and plants living there we are immensely grateful to people who have posted their entrancing photographs for public use.

snow leopard, chinese wildlife
Portrait of a male snow leopard (Panthera uncia) of the Rheintal zoo. Modifications made by Niabot . Image by Tambako available under a Creative Commons License
Fri 30th Mar

The yin and the yang is the best known concept from ancient Chinese wisdom. It is now used by everyone - and often incorrectly as it is about alternatives and balance rather than opposites. We've taken our short description of yin-yang out of the Feng Shui section, greatly expanded it and given it a section all to itself.

Taiji figure of yin and yang
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 https://www.chinasage.info for this web site.

Xinjiang, landscape, river
Kanas national park in Xinjiang
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.

airplane
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.

emblem
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
China motif
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