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Facts about China that you need to know!

  1. China is the world's fourth largest country after Russia, Canada, and the U.S.A. It is the world's most populated country – with over 1.35 billion people. One in every five people in the world is Chinese!



  2. Beijing is the capital with a population of over 21 million - it’s China’s second largest city and is the nation's political and cultural centre. Shanghai is China’s most populated city and officially the most populated 'proper' (discounting metropolitan areas) city in the world.
  3. Did you now that mountains make-up one-third of China's land area? Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth, sits on the border between Nepal and China.
  4. At 3,915 miles long, China’s Yangtze river (literal meaning: ‘long river’) is the third longest in the world and the longest river in Asia. Shanghai is located in the Yangtze River Delta. The Yellow River is called ‘the cradle of Chinese civilization’ and is China’s second longest – it gets its name from the colour of its muddy water.
  5. The renminbi (literal meaning 'people's currency’) is the official currency and the yuan (literal meaning ‘round object’ or ‘round coin’) is the basic unit of the renminbi, but is also used to refer to the Chinese currency generally. The distinction between the terms ‘renminbi’ and ‘yuan’ is similar to that of ‘sterling’ and ‘pound’, which refer to the British currency and its primary unit.
  6. The Chinese national flag was adopted in 1949. The red in the flag symbolizes the revolution, the large star symbolizes communism and the four little stars represent the Chinese people. The position of the stars represents the unity of the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party.
  7. China has more English speakers than the U.S.A.
  8. Kong Qui (born in 551 B.C), better known as Confucius, produced teachings focusing on creating ethical models of family and public interaction, and setting educational standards. Confucianism became the official imperial philosophy of China.
  9. China’s history can be classed in terms of dynasties. Chinese tradition states that the first dynasty was the Xia (around 2100 BC). The dynasty was considered mythical until excavations were found in 1959. However, it is possible that these sites are of another culture from the same period. The succeeding Shang dynasty is the earliest to be confirmed by historical records.
  10. In 1271, Kublai Khan, the grandson of Ghengh Khan, founded the Yuan Dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the next ruling dynasty of China for 276 years (1368–1644) following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty.
  11. The Qing dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912. The Republic of China replaced this last dynasty in 1912, and ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949.
  12. The Chinese Civil War began in 1927, and ended when major active battles ceased in 1950. The government lost and relocated to Taiwan and maintained control only over a few islands. The Communist Party of China was left in control of mainland China. On 1 October 1949, Mao Zedong (translated as Mao Tse-tung and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao) proclaimed the People's Republic of China.
  13. China has the worlds second-largest defence budget and is a recognized nuclear weapons state. It also has the world's largest army.
  14. China is about the same size as the continental USA but it only has one official time zone – continental USA has four. After the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the People’s Republic of China abolished their five time zones and established one single time zone called Beijing Time or China Standard Time for the whole country. Hence, sunrise can be as late as 10pm and if crossing the Chinese and Afghanistan border, you’ll need to adjust your watch by 3.5 hours.
  15. Since economic reforms in 1978, China has now become the world's second-largest economy by nominal total GDP. China is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods.
  16. The Great Wall of China is officially 13,170.7 miles long. Nearly a third of the wall has disappeared and since 1644 (with the overthrow of the Ming Dynasty) no further work has been done on the wall except (recent) restoration for tourism. And no, the Great Wall of China cannot be seen from space!
  17. China is second only to Italy for UNESCO World Heritage sites with 48.



  18. The Terracotta Army is a collection of around 8,000 terracotta sculptures built to guard Qin Shi Huang (the first Emperor of China) in his afterlife. Discovered in 1974 by local farmers in the city of Xi’an, they took over 700,000 people 37 years to build.
  19. The Chinese zodiac assigns an animal to each year in a repeating twelve-year cycle. In order, the animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. 2016 is the year of the Monkey.
  20. Hong Kong has more skyscrapers than any other city in the world.
  21. There are several major families of the Chinese language, the main ones being Mandarin, Cantonese, and Wu. More people speak Mandarin ‘as their first language’ than any other language in the world.
  22. White (not black) is the Chinese colour for mourning. Red is considered to be lucky - Chinese brides often wear red! The number 8 is regarded as the luckiest number in Chinese culture - 'Ba' in Chinese meaning eight, sounds similar to the word 'Fa' which means to make a fortune.
  23. Giant pandas are usually found in the dense bamboo forests in the misty mountains of central China – they are found nowhere else in the wild on Earth. They are an endangered species with around 1,500 remaining in the wild. A giant pandas diet is almost exclusively bamboo. Their lifespan is uncertain but zoo pandas have lived up to 35 years of age.
  24. The ‘four great inventions’ of the ancient Chinese are printing, paper making, gunpowder, and the compass. Other Chinese inventions include ice-cream, the mechanical clock, tea, porcelain, silk, the suspension bridge, the waterwheel, paper money and the wheelbarrow. Kites were also used to frighten enemies in battle! For centuries, the Chinese led the world in science, astronomy, technology and maths.
  25. Table tennis or ping pong is the national sport of China, although it originated in Britain. Stamp collecting is the number one hobby with Chinese investors make up one-third of the global stamp collecting market.
  26. Officially, China is the least religious country in the world - nearly 50 per cent of its population are atheists. During the Cultural Revolution (1967-1977) all religious relics and temples were destroyed, but since the 1980s there has been a rebuilding program of Buddhist and Taoist temples. There are five religions recognized by the state: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism.
  27. CN is China’s top top-level domain. However, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube are many news websites are blocked by Chinese government firewalls. The international dialling code is 86.
  28. In 1556, an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck Shansi, China, killing 830,000 people. The 1976 Tangshan earthquake was the third deadliest of all-time with 242,000 estimated deaths. The 2008 Sichuan earthquake killed 68,712 people and left 18,392 missing.
  29. In 2008, Zhai Zhigang was the first Chinese astronaut to make a spacewalk.
  30. The Three Gorges Hydroelectric Dam which spans the Yangtze River is the largest dam in the world. It is also the most controversial because of massive issues with human rights violations, dramatic environmental changes and corruption.
  31. Introduced between 1978 and 1980, China’s one-child policy was formally phased out in 2015. China’s ‘one child’ policy has created a significant gender imbalance - there are currently 32 million more boys than girls in China as a result of female infanticide. In the future, tens of millions of Chinese men will be unable to find wives!
  32. The Forbidden City, located in the centre of Beijing, was the Chinese imperial palace from 1420 to 1912. It now houses the Palace Museum.
  33. In the Boxer Rebellion (1898-1901), the Boxers and Qing government’s Imperial Army were defeated by an Eight-Nation Alliance of the British Empire, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and Austria-Hungary. It was a war against the spread of Western and Japanese influence. The Boxers were a secret group called the ‘Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists’ so called because of their use of weapon less martial arts.
  34. The Olympic Games in Beijing, 2008, were the most expensive in history. China won the most gold medals (51) at these games and the second most medals in total behind the U.S.A. – China came top of the medal table by virtue of gold medals being worth more points!
  35. Zeng Jinlian, born in China in 1964, is the tallest woman in recorded history. Measuring, nearly two inches over eight feet, she remains the only woman on record to top eight feet. She died in 1982, at the age of 17.

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