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 19th Feb

Long cold winters

China's climate can be surprisingly cold in winter, and not just in the far north-east that borders Siberia. In the winter of 2015 snow caused disruption as far south of Guangzhou. Record low temperatures are in the furthest north-east at -22°F (-30°C) where many goods can be bought in frozen form. Tibet is generally cool, only reaching about 60°F in summer it is the south-east coast that is hottest with temperatures typically 90°F (34°C).
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On this day

1997 Deng Xiaoping died 1997 (22 years ago)

Proverb

Diǎn shí chéng jīn [dian shi cheng jin]
touch stone accomplish gold
Turn stone into gold
To turn something of little worth into something of value
Mon 18th Feb

Jade

The Chinese prize the mineral jade above gold. It is associated with many ancient traditions and customs. Originally the precious mineral was mined in the Kunlun mountains of southern Xinjiang. In ancient times kings and emperors were buried with their bodies encased in hundreds of tiny jade fragments linked with gold wire - this was intended to keep the body inperishable.
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On this day

1294 Kublai Khan no longer ruler 1294 (725 years ago)

Proverb

堤,溃
Qiān lǐ zhī dī, kuì yú yǐ xué [qian li zhi di, kui yu yi xue]
thousand mile's dyke, river goto ant hole
An ant may destroy an entire dam
Take full attention to detail to avoid catastrophe
Spoil the ship for a ha'pworth of tar
Sun 17th Feb

Dunhuang caves

The Mogao caves near Dunhuang are a famous visitor attraction in Gansu province. Over hundreds of years a series of caves were dug and decorated with Buddhist emblems. There are 2,300 painted statues and murals. Dunhuang used to be the last place before entering China on the Silk Road from India. Western archaeologists plundered the site in the late 19th century including the oldest printed book in the world: The Diamond Sutra.
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On this day

763 An Lushan Rebellion ended 763 (1,256 years ago)

Proverb

针毡
Rú zuò zhēn zhān [ru zuo zhen zhan]
like sit needle carpet
Like sitting on a carpet of needles
To feel tense and uneasy
Sat 16th Feb

Land of fish and rice

The low lying province of Jiangsu is crisscrossed by canals and water channels. Here the mighty Yangzi river meets the sea. The rich soil has made it the important 'bread basket' for the whole country over the centuries. Recent industrialization has however pushed agriculture away from some of the best land. It remains a densely populated and prosperous area - the 6th richest by GDP.
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On this day

1921 Hua Guofeng born at Jiaocheng Shanxi 1921 (98 years ago)

Proverb

弹琴
Duì niú tán qín [dui niu tan qin]
face ox play musical qin
To play a qin (a traditional Chinese musical instrument) to a cow
To address an inappropriate and unappreciative audience
Pearls before swine
Fri 15th Feb

Land of fish and rice

The low lying province of Jiangsu is crisscrossed by canals and water channels. Here the mighty Yangzi river meets the sea. The rich soil has made it the important 'bread basket' for the whole country over the centuries. Recent industrialization has however pushed agriculture away from some of the best land. It remains a densely populated and prosperous area - the 6th richest by GDP.
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On this day

1823 Li Hongzhang born 1823 (196 years ago)

Proverb

鼎烹
Niú dǐng pēng jī [niu ding peng ji]
ox cauldron boil chicken
Cooking a chicken in a pot designed for an ox
Inappropriate level of preparation. A minor event does not require such large preparation
Thu 14th Feb

Land of fish and rice

The low lying province of Jiangsu is crisscrossed by canals and water channels. Here the mighty Yangzi river meets the sea. The rich soil has made it the important 'bread basket' for the whole country over the centuries. Recent industrialization has however pushed agriculture away from some of the best land. It remains a densely populated and prosperous area - the 6th richest by GDP.
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On this day

1871 Emperor Guangxu born 1871 (148 years ago)

Proverb

Tù sǐ gǒu pēng [tu si gou peng]
rabbit dog cook
Trusted helpers are dispensable after their mission is complete
Watch your back. Once the job is done you may be sacked
Ming dynasty, porcelain, plate
Photo by Anonymous, Chinese plate, Ming dynasty, Yongle period 1403-1424, porcelain with under-glaze blue, 23 inches [58 cms] diameter, Honolulu Academy of Arts. Available under a Creative Commons license .

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