Chinasage : All about China

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.

The name “Chinasage” came about 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 News

We keep track of news reports from China but steer clear of the headlines that are well reported elsewhere. Here are the latest couple of reports. For more stories visit news section.

Wed 22nd May

The impressive stonework of the Great Wall can not fail to impress visitors, but for a good proportion of its great length the wall is in a dilapidated state. In the dry region of the Gobi desert, rain is so infrequent that stone was not needed to protect the wall - it could be built up in layers of tamped earth.

In Ningxia province there used to be 936 miles [1,507 kms] but only 314 miles [506 kms] of Great Wall remaining. Restorer Yang Long is working slowly and carefully to restore the old tamped earth. After many experiments they have come up with a close modern alternative using the same old material and tools. Layers of earth are reinforced with layers of gravel and needle-grass. The soil is tamped by hand with iron or wooden hammers. It is a slow process, it takes Yang Long a whole year to restore just 875 yards [800 meters] of the wall. It is hoped the restored wall will be good for another two thousand years.

Ningxia, Great Wall, ruin
The ruins of the Great Wall, this section is a mud built wall that was erected during the rule of the Ming Dynasty, Ningxia. Part of the Great Wall awaiting restoration.

Read more…
Wed 15th May

Beijing already has the world's second busiest airport - Beijing Capital International. As traffic continues to expand a huge new airport has been built at Daxing (Beijing Daxing International) which is a little further out from the capital - in fact on the border of Beijing metropolitan area with Hebei province 27 miles south of central Beijing. It covers 47 square kilometers and is due to be formally opened in June before taking passenger aircraft in September.

On May 14th the first aircraft have tested it out for landing (just crew without passengers). Four different types were used (Boeing 747-8, Airbus 350, Airbus 380 and Boeing 787-9) to check suitability for all the current types large aircraft. A new expressway has been built to the airport which will have seven runways. It is expected to handle 45 million passengers by 2021 and 72 million by 2025.

Daxing airport - artist's impression
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Thu 9th May

There are clear signs of a shift of preferences for Chinese students studying abroad. A foreign degree is still seen as a passport to a good job and so wealthy families seek to get there children a university degree from a foreign university. One side effect of the Trump trade wars is that these students are looking for places other than the U.S.. This trend has also been accelerated by the scandal over the buying of places at top U.S. universities for millions of dollars. In this case millions were donated for supposedly charitable purposes but actually used to bribe admissions staff. Students with a poor academic record were able to be admitted due to made-up claims that the candidate was a gifted athlete.

The U.S. still retains top spot with 43% for aspiring Chinese students but the U.K. is now hard on the heels at 41%. These nations are followed by Australia and Canada - fluency in English is still a top requirement from parents. The fees paid by Chinese students is a very important source of income for financially strapped institutions.

Meanwhile there is an increasing trend for students to study in Chinese universities as it is building up to be the largest trading nation.

Read more…

China Sage Site updates

Here are the last few news updates about our web site. For older entries please visit our site news section.

Tue 14th May
Chinese 19th century slave labor

Many people think that slavery was abolished in the 1820s. While it is true that the African slave trade dwindled rapidly the plantation owners turned to new sources of slaves. These were the 'coolies' from India and China that were normally tricked into signing a contract and were treated just as appallingly as the African slaves they replaced. Mercifully the Chinese coolie trade came to an end in the late 1870s after the intervention of the Chinese government. The tale of these lost million people is rarely told, particularly the Chinese laborers. We have added a page summarizing this ignoble trade and also the treatment of the many Chinese immigrants to California in the late 19th century when racial discrimination reached fever pitch.

coolie,  guyana
The picture on is a tolerably fair representation of a manager's house on its brick pillars. To the left, at the bottom of the picture, is a free Coolie driving his cattle. To the right a rural constable is seizing an unhappy pigtail to convey him to the lock-up, being absent, as we see, from the band just above him, with his arms unbound. This indicates that he is trying to avoid the restraints of his indenture, and for this he is liable to punishment. Above him, on the right of the picture, is a group of Chinese, and on the left of the steps a group of Coolies, represented with their arms bound, an emblem of indentureship. They always speak of themselves as bound when under indenture. At the foot of the steps, on either side, is a Chinaman and a Coolie, from whose breasts two drivers are drawing blood with a knife, the life fluid being caught by boys in the swizzle-glasses of the colony. A boy is carrying the glasses up the steps to the attorney and the manager, who sit on the left of the verandah, and who are obviously fattening at the expense of the bound people below them. A tatwife and children look out of the windows. 1871. Image by The Coolie - his rights and wrongs available under a Creative Commons License
Read more…
Thu 18th Apr
Chinese Steles
If you visit China you will see many inscribed stones that are called 'steles'. They stand outside famous buildings, on sacred mountains, in graveyards and in their hundreds within museums. We have provided a rough overview of whats sorts of stele you may come across in China and some of the most famous ones.
Read more…
Image by Yulin Peng available under a Creative Commons license .


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. We highlight any use of the older Wade Giles system. 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 further information about 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.


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 200 podcasts totals 100 hours of audio commentary which covers every conceivable topic in Chinese history. Highly recommended.


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 2019