Your daily snippet of information about China. Our diary has a daily fact, proverb and a reminder of upcoming festivals and holidays in China.
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Chinese PolitburoThe top layer of government in China is the ‘Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party’ or SCP. The seven (previously nine) members are drawn from the Politburo of the Communist Party of 25 members. No woman has ever been a member of the SCP. All the key offices of state are held by members of the SCP (President, Premier etc.)
On this day1931 Lin Sen became President Republic of China 1931 (87 years ago)
Last EmperorThe last Chinese Emperor Xuantong (better known as Puyi) ruled from 1908 (at the age of three years old) until he was forced out of the Forbidden City in 1924. During the period from 1912 until 1924 China had both a President and Emperor, although the Emperor had no power he was allowed to retain his title and privileges. He soon fled to the Japanese legation and then with Japanese help he was installed as 'puppet' Emperor/King of Manchuria 1932-45. After WW2 he was then put on trial in Japan and then imprisoned by the new Communist government. After rehabilitation he was released and served as a gardener and librarian in Beijing until his death in 1967.
On this day1857 Second Opium War 1857 (161 years ago)
2013 Moon Landing 2013 (5 years ago)
2013 Landing on the Moon 2013 (5 years ago)
The YangtseThe Yangzi (Yangtse in old spelling) 长江 is the third longest river in the world (3,915 miles [3,915 miles]) after the Nile 4,132 miles [4,132 miles] and Amazon 3,977 miles [3,977 miles]. Unlike these other mighty rivers the whole of its length is entirely contained within China. Its source is in southern Qinghai and then it bends south and then north before heading east through the Yangzi gorges and then on out to the sea near Shanghai.
Yangzi damThe great three gorges dam (Sanxia Daba) is located upstream of Yichang in Hubei province. The huge lake created has allowed boats to sail much more safely up to Chongqing as well as holding back flood waters that used to bring ruin to the lower Yangzi area.
On this day1936 Xi'an Incident 1936 (82 years ago)
Common languageBecause written Chinese characters are not phonetic it is possible to pronounce the same character in many different ways. This is how the different Chinese languages have developed. Even though Mandarin is the pre-eminent one, Cantonese, Wu and others are spoken by many millions, and yet the remarkable thing is that they can intercommunicate by just writing down what they say - because the written form is the same.
Doing nothingThe Daoists have a strange doctrine of wuwei 無爲 which can be translated as 'inaction' or 'doing nothing' that has had deep cultural impact. It is not to be interpreted directly as bland acceptance but of not resisting the inevitable. The importance is to survive rather than oppose, to 'go with the flow'. The chief example given is of bamboo bending in the wind rather than trying to block it and be broken by it. This doctrine is used in Martial Arts so that the practitioner redirects an opponent's attack rather than trying to block it. Westerners can find this concept challenging as Chinese people may not stick to principles when circumstances suggest an alternative action avoids conflict.
On this day220 Han dynasty ended 220 (1,798 years ago)
Tropical garden on Hainan island
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