October QuizA monthly quiz of general history, traditions, geography questions for October
1. The ancient examinations required learning the Confucian classics by heart, which consist of how many characters?
Passing the grueling Imperial Examinations was a lifelong study. At examination candidates were expected to be able to provide exact recall of passages of text. For comparison the whole Christian Bible is about 800,000 words
2. Which city was known as Britain's front door into China?
Britain was the main player in the early development of Shanghai as a trading center.
3. Between the whole period 1990 to 2007 what was China's average annual economic growth rate?
The economic growth rate of China has been spectacular since 1990.
4. Maotoi is a famous Chinese liquor, where in China is it made?
Maotai Liquor is distilled from a wheat and sorghum base; it is famous throughout China and beyond. It is distilled at Maotai, a town in northern Guizhou.
5. The downfall of the Sui dynasty is mainly attributed to the failed military campaign to conquer which country?
6. Which province is the hottest in July?
7. When did China launch its first satellite?
Mao Zedong made rocket research an early development goal. So, when the space race between the USSR and USA was at its height, China launched its first large satellite into orbit on April 24th 1970.
8. In a traditional betrothal what event could result in breaking off the engagement?
Joining the army
Seeing each other
In the old traditional system it would be the parents of the couple who would arrange the marriage often when the couple were very young. Often the bride and groom would not see each other before the wedding day and if they happened to do so earlier this could give grounds for breaking off the marriage.
9. Blue and white porcelain is mostly associated with which dynasty?
10. Wuhan was formed out of Wuchang, Hankou and which other city in 1926?
Wuhan stands at the confluence of the Yangzi and Han rivers. Wuchang was on the south bank of the Yangzi, Hankou and Hanyang on the north bank. The three nearby cities were merged in 1926.
11. 'Sinkiang' is an old spelling of which Chinese place?
In the old Wade-Giles system of spelling of Chinese names 'k' was often used in place of 'j'. The pinyin use of 'x' does not give much of a clue that it is a hard 's' sound 'hs'.
12. The British embassies to China led by Lord Maccartney and Lord Amherst both foundered on which problem?
Performing the kowtow
Up until the 1793/4 embassy of Lord MacCartney foreign visitors were content to perform the formal kowtow before the Emperor.
13. Yang Guifei was a concubine who became infatuated by which Emperor?
The great Tang Emperor Xuanzong after achieving much in his early years was besotted with Yang Guifei (aka 杨玉环) while in his sixties. She was born in Sichuan and became a Daoist priestess just at the time that Imperial court turned from Buddhism to Daoism.
14. Where in China did Britain invade in 1903?
To consolidate the grip on India and counter Russian threats, the British made sure that neighboring countries like Tibet and Nepal posed no threat. Captain Younghusband was sent to impose control and the Union Jack was flown in Tibet until 1949.
15. What proportion of those who set out on the Long March reached the destination?
Many people died on the Long March 1934-35 but many also joined for only part of the journey. 53% of the marchers were under 23 years old - so mainly very young.
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