Chinasage Diary

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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Tue 21st Jan

Xi'an incident

The leader of Free China and the Republican party Chiang Kaishek was kidnapped by his own generals at the Hot Springs, Xi'an on 12th December 1936. The event brought to a head the dispute between the Communists and Republicans about the reaction to the Japanese who had by then invaded most of northern China. Talks with Zhou Enlai and others forced Chiang to form the first United Front against Japan.
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On this day

1949 Chiang Kaishek no longer President Republic of China 1949 (71 years ago)
Mon 20th Jan

Concubines

In Imperial China a man would marry one woman but he could also take concubines. They acted as a subordinate class of women under the control of the wife. However, if a concubine produced children these were treated just the same as the wife's children. Dowager Empress Cixi is the most famous concubine.
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On this day

1955 Battle of Yijiangshan Islands 1955 (65 years ago)
Sun 19th Jan

China's Sorrow

The Yellow River has a heavy load of alluvia that it carries from the loess plateau in Shanxi, this load makes it very prone to silting up with a high risk of flooding. More lives have been lost due to flooding of the Yellow River than any other river. In 1931 for example it is estimated that 2 million people lost their lives. It has long been known as ‘China's Sorrow]’
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Sat 18th Jan

Man riding a hen

On top of the roof of important traditional buildings in China there can often be seen a line of bizarre animals and the outermost is often the figure of a man riding a hen. This figure, made of glazed terracotta, is aimed at protecting the house from storms. The origin could be rooted in the fact that a man cannot ride a hen and a hen cannot fly so this absurdity leads to the impossibility that the house itself can be damaged.
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On this day

1955 Battle of Yijiangshan Islands 1955 (65 years ago)
Fri 17th Jan

Eating snakes

With periods of mass starvation only sixty years ago, when people resorted to eating grass and tree bark to keep alive, it is not surprising that the Chinese will have a go at eating just about anything. Snake meat is considered quite a delicacy and there are restaurants that specialize in serving many types of snake meat.
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On this day

2005 Zhao Ziyang died 2005 (15 years ago)
Thu 16th Jan

Yuan Shikai's Imperial dream

Dowager Empress Cixi turned to General Yuan Shikai in times of crisis. In 1900 it was he that suppressed the Boxer Rebellion. When the dynasty fell in 1911 it was Yuan Shikai rather than Sun Yatsen who came to lead the new Republic of China. The western powers, perhaps swayed by his actions against the Boxers, backed him rather than the revolutionary Sun from southern China. However it soon became clear that Yuan's ambition was to found his own new dynasty rather than embrace republicanism. Southern China swiftly rose is revolt against the new Hongxian Emperor and another long conflict was only averted in 1915 when he died of kidney failure. He ruled as Emperor for only 83 days.
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On this day

1987 Zhao Ziyang became General Secretary Communist Party 1987 (33 years ago)
Great Hall of the People, Beijing, Tiananmen Square, NPC
Great Hall of the People, Beijing where the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China convenes. January 18, 2003 Photo by Allen Timothy Chang, available under a Creative Commons license .

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