Chinasage : All about China



About Chinasage

We're building an exciting 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 news stories, for more visit our news page.

Thu 4th Mar

A new package of regulations has been brought in to help protect the fragile ecosystem along the Yangzi (Yangtze) river. The world's third longest river and the world's second in relation to water flow has had mounting pollution problems. The new laws hopes to co-ordinate controls of development and protect wildlife among the nine provinces through which the mighty river flows. Fishing will now be banned in some areas so the delicate ecological system can regenerate.

Yangzi River, river, boat
Barge on the Yangzi river near the Three Gorges dam

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Thu 25th Feb

The Lantern Festival on 26th February this year marks the final end to the traditional fortnight of Spring Festival celebrations. However most people have been back at work for some days already.

The ancient roots of this important festival is that the lanterns light the way for the ancestral spirits to go home to their tombs after joining the family for the festivities. Many bright, colorful lanterns are made of lucky red paper and some have riddles painted on them to entertain everyone and dragon dances are frequently performed. The most common form is hexagonal in design.

A long time ago the rich made lanterns the size of a brightly lit room where the host would entertain his guests.

lantern festival, festival, fujian
Lantern Festival, Daoist parade of gods (Ngi?ng-s?ng) in Luoyuan, Fuzhou. Image by LuHungnguong available under a Creative Commons License

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Fri 19th Feb

‘Miss grandma’ and her sister have been making a new painting in the traditional Chinese style every day for many years. In a number of short Tiktok videos you can see how the 108 year old paints a variety of subjects with great skill.

In one quick video she paints a picture of plum blossom - a common motif at the continuing Spring Festival. Although many workers will return to work after a week of muted celebrations due to Covid, the traditional festival lasts two weeks, ending on the Lantern Festival on Friday 26th February.

Painting of plum blossom
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Wed 10th Feb
Good Fortune for the year of the Ox

Everywhere in China the characters for Good Fortune fú and the Ox niú will be seen during the next week to welcome in the Chinese New Year of the Ox on February 12th.

Just in time for the celebration has been the news that China’s Mars explorer Tiān wén-1 (‘Astronomy-1’) has successfully entered orbit and will hope to send a lander to the surface in the summer.

Less seriously some students have been turning robots into service to help celebrate the Spring Festival. Tianjin University staff and students have programmed a robot to paint the character for good fortune based just on the eye movements of the operators.


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Chinasage Site updates

We continue to improve the web site as you can see from these updates and upgrades, for older entries please visit our site news page.

Mon 15th Feb
Jiang Ziya and more updates

With continuing restrictions due to Covid19 (third lockdown) the ambitious plans for development have been put on hold again. However the lockdowns have not prevented me from working in the information on this web site. Having covered the basics of information about China (history, geography, traditions) the scope for brand new areas is becoming increasingly limited. Although every now nad again a new topic does present itself. In the latest case that is about a semi-legendary figure from the foundation of the Zhou dynasty over 2,000 years ago. In this case it was Laszlo Montgomery 's video series that was the initial stimulus and then I discovered a recent film about Jiang Ziya has been produced and widely watched.

Together with this short topic the main emphasis has been on improving one hundred of the most popular pages of the web site. As ever countless errors and omissions have crept in over the years and they were due for another careful review.

Jiang Ziya animated film

A scene from the animated film (2020) 'Jiang Ziya',
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Tue 12th Jan
Chinese Gordon

The role of the British in 19th century China is normally seen as one of exploitation. In the case of General Gordon this does not seem quite accurate. Gordon worked as a mercenary for the Qing forces against the Taiping rebels and earned a lot of respect from Li Hongzhang and other Chinese leaders. His exploits earned him the name ‘Chinese Gordon’ in Britain long before he became the doomed hero of Khartoum fame.

general gordon
Major Gen. Chas. George Gordon engraved by J.J. Cade, New York. c.1900. Image by MS Hyde 76, Houghton Library, Harvard University available under a Creative Commons License
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Hainan, Guanyin, Sanya, deity
Statue of Guanyin (Guanshiyin or Avalokitesvara), Goddess of Mercy, Sanya, Hainan

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. 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.

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 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 ten years. Laszlo Montgomery has in depth knowledge of building commercial contacts with China over 30 years. The set of 250 podcasts totals 130 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. We are grateful to Kim Dramer for permission to use her short videos all about Chinese culture and traditions. 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. Sound files kindly provided by shtooka.net under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License.

Feel free to contact Chinasage to point out any errors, omissions or suggestions on how to improve this web site.