Home / ASIA / China
Ten interesting facts about China
1. The Chinese call their country Zhongguo, which literally translates into “middle kingdom.” Beijing means “northern capital.” Shanghai, on the other hand, means “above the sea.”
2. China holds the record for having the largest population in the world, with the Chinese making up one-fifth of the world’s population – but the Chinese people use just around 200 family names.
3. More than 150 Chinese herbs are labeled for use in infertility treatments.
4. Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world.
5. There are 40,000-plus characters in the Chinese language. An educated adult will only get to learn 5,000 of them. You need to know 900–2,000 Chinese characters to be able to read a Chinese newspaper.
6. At present, many Web sites such as Google and Facebook are blocked by what is called the Great Firewall of China. Other sites that cannot be accessed in China are Amnesty International, BBC news, and Dalailama.com.
7. It is illegal for Chinese hospitals to tell expectant parents the sex of their child. This is to prevent abortion, since many parents still prefer to have boys rather than girls. China still implements the one-child policy.
8. Catsup was originally made in China, not as a tomato-based condiment but as a pickled fish sauce call ke tsiap.
9. Sixty-eight percent of all the pirated goods in the world originate in China.
10. Flights to HongKong from the mainland are still classified as international flights.
Currency Renminbi (yuan) (¥) (CNY)
Time China Standard Time (UTC+8)
Ctry Code 86
Area 9 640 821 km2 / 3 704
|Currency||Renminbi (yuan) (¥) (CNY)|
|Time||China Standard Time (UTC+8)|
|Area||9 640 821 km2 / 3 704|
Best Places to See in Beijing
Tourists marvel at sheer enormity of the Tiananmen, the biggest public square in the world. The great Chairman Mao surrounded the famed square with Soviet-style government buildings and landmarks of epic proportions. A memorial hall for Chairman Mao now lies at the South, where people still lay down flowers at the feet of Mao’s statue. At the center of the square is the Monument to the People’s Heroes where historic events are recorded. The Great Hall of the People is where China’s politicians meet and decide the fate of its citizens; and then there’s the Chinese National Museum where the entrance is free.
The Forbidden City is right next to the Tiananmen Gate is the Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum. This massive complex is the ultimate peek at the grandeur of the ancient society. Despite the modernization of the capital, the home of the Imperial Ming and Qing Dynasties is still untouched by the outside world. Only 40% of the preserved Chinese monument is open to the public but tourists can still have worthwhile time viewing the oriental courtyards, the 7.9-meter city wall with the massive Meridian Gate, the front court, the bridges, the marble terraces and many other palace features. The Palace of Heavenly Purity once served as the audience hall for the Emperor. It is one of the structures that tourists can marvel at in the Forbidden City.
Dongcheng District is where one can drink in Imperial Chinese history. Tourists also flock the old temples of Beijing for its antiquity and beauty. Zhihuasi or the Temple of Wisdom is one of the oldest and largest Buddhist temples in the city. Built in 1443, the wooden structure now houses the Ancient Music Center and the Beijing Cultural Museum. The Tongjiao Temple was once used by the emperor’s eunuchs. It is used by the nuns but tourists are welcome to view the historic landmark. Confucius Temple once housed China’s wisest men. Modern Beijingers use its courtyard now to relax or just observe sketchers practice their skills.
There are also many parks around Dongcheng. On the west side of Tiananmen is a beautifully landscaped bamboo park. Tourists can rent paddle boats and cruise around the moat of the Forbidden City. Children can enjoy in the mini amusement park where there’s a playground and rides. The Changpu River Park features a small stream where it is relaxing to walk along or have a good run. Other recreation and rest venues are Ditan, Liuyin and Qingninanhu Park.
China is a country of exotic mystique: It is the home of kungfu, feng shui, and dimsum. It is also the birthplace of inventions that have hugely influenced the future of the modern world: paper and the printing press, the compass and the gunpowder.
With all these things in mind, one would reasonably expect any trip to China to be quite fulfilling for both the mind and soul. As one of the ancient civilizations in the world, this country holds wondrous tales of cruel emperors and fearsome empresses, dynasties, wars, eunuchs, gods, and amazing ancient technological advances to fascinate even the most jaded eyes.
But not everything in China is about wonder and fascination. There are also plenty of things to keep you well grounded in the everyday world.
For one, while you are touring, you will most likely be followed around by some street vendors who can be very aggressive in selling to foreign tourists. Don’t let yourself be bullied by their persistence. This early, practice saying bu yao, the Mandarin term for telling people that you don’t want what they are offering.
Incidentally, while Mandarin is the national language of China, there are many other dialects you will hear as you travel across the country. Hokkien is widely spoken in Taiwan, and the Fujian province. Cantonese, on the other hand, is the lingua franca of Guangdong province and its neighboring areas, as well as HongKong and Macau, beyond the mainland.
Despite the Chinese government’s efforts to teach English to their citizens, many Chinese are still not quite skilled in comprehending spoken English. To make communication easier, make sure you bring a pen and paper with you wherever you go in China because the Chinese can understand written English better than spoken one.
There are several major religions currently being practiced in China: Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, and Islam. Majority of the Chinese are Buddhists – a fact made quite obvious by the 13,000-plus Buddhist temples scattered all over the country. Taoism, a religion or philosophy that – unlike Buddhism – actually originated in China, ranks second; there are only 1,500 Taoist temples in existence today. Islam and Catholicism are not as widespread as these first two, but they are still major religions in the country.
China is a communist party–led state, which means that – in principle, at least – all citizens are deemed equal, and that China is a classless society.