We're building an exciting new information source all about China. We found other sites were poorly structured, too detailed (such as Wikipedia) or just too old-fashioned. What we thought was needed was a carefully constructed set of pages with strict editorial control so that links and pages are consistent, up-to-date and easy to navigate without clutter.
The name “Chinasage” came about because this can be read as either “china sage” (中国英明zhōng guó yīng míng) or “china's age” (中国时代zhōng guó shí dài) , which promotes our new knowledge resource at a time when China has come of age in the World.
China Sage News
We keep track of news reports from China but steer clear of the headlines that are well reported elsewhere. Here are the latest couple of reports. For more stories visit news section.
Last week saw some relaxation of the lock-down across China. It seems that the understandable urge of everyone to get back to normal after two months of restrictions proved too tempting. Some restrictions such as the re-opening of cinemas has been re-imposed in some places as well as the movement of people over provincial borders ➚. The city at the center of the outbreak, Wuhan, is due to relax lock-down restrictions on April 8th. The world will be watching to see if the figures of infecting people in China continue to stay very low when the restrictions are lifted.
One of the strange repercussions of continued isolation is that the number of cases of injuries to children has increased. In quite a few cases bored children are falling off skyscrapers ➚. Another effect has been the vast improvement in air quality ➚ seen not only in China but throughout the world. Perhaps a long term benefit will be that no-one will need convincing that pollution is a real issue that has to be tackled.
The problem with this virus is that some people are asymptomatic carriers. Once you move away from assuming everyone might be infected these carriers may unknowingly start off a new outbreak. These people are not detected by the widely used temperature test. China has now started monitoring these asymptomatic carriers ➚ in a bid to understand the implications. On April 1st as many as 130 were identified. One study ➚ even suggests that this corona-virus has been around undetected for years and it has only been a chance mutation that makes it potentially lethal that has caused the pandemic.
The Chinese festival of Qing Ming falls on Saturday April 4th this year. As the festival normally involves the whole extended family gathering to visit graves it is not compatible with current distancing rules. The government is asking people not to visit the graves, and blocking access to cemeteries ➚, a break in a ritual that goes back thousands of years. In the famous Babaoshan cemetery in beijing suitably protected workers are providing the tomb cleaning service on behalf of families.
As most Chinese people consider the domestic outbreak beaten they are understandably keen not to let travelers bring the disease back into the country ➚. So anyone who looks 'foreign' is now subject to a wary look and some cases refusal to provide services for. This is the reverse of the situation in the US and UK a month ago when anyone who looked Asian was subject to the same kinds of suspicions and in some cases violence. Foreign travelers are still being forced into 14-day quarantine ➚ on arrival when they are not permitted to meet anyone.
The only long-term solution must be testing of everybody so that all asymptomatic carriers can be detected and isolated. However the tests are not 100% accurate and providing a repeated test for a population of over 1 billion is just not easy to do. The main hope is that all the key workers can be tested and any new infections quickly tracked down.
While India and the UK step up isolation measures China in now slowly relaxing controls. The only new cases of Covid-19 in the last week have been amongst people coming into the country that have tested positive during the 14 day enforced quarantine.
The most eye-catching relaxation is the opening of the Great Wall at Badaling near Beijing to tourists. Tourists are temperature tested on arrival and tagged by their QR code. They also need to keep their six feet distance from one another. It must be a good time to see the wall as it is usually immensely crowded.
Schools in the island province of Hainan are planning to re-open on April 7th after a long break.
In Xinjiang province, that has only ever had 76 cases and no new ones for five weeks bazaars and businesses are starting to re-open.
In the province at the center of the Chinese outbreak, Hubei, the very strict lock-down has been ended with no new cases reported for over a week. However people need a 'green' health code pass to be allowed to leave the province.
Many Chinese are attributing their speedy recovery down to the use of traditional herbal remedies. The most popular remedy is blended from over twenty herbs, including ephedra, cinnamon twigs and licorice root. It is drunk as a soup and has won over many skeptics. About 85% of recovering patients are given the soup. and some figures suggest a boost of numbers recovering by 33%.
China has switched to stop possible infection coming into the country rather than containing it within its boundaries. Foreign travel into China remains very restricted with 14 day quarantine isolation before being allowed to move around the country.
The only exception to the improving picture is in Hong Kong where the number of infected people is still increasing and running at 40 new cases per day. Some have blamed this on a distrust of government following months of unrest there.
If you are stuck indoors for long periods time drags. In China people have been using the ubiquitous smartphone to keep tabs on the antics of the most Chinese of creatures - the Giant Panda. The most popular web site iPanda.com has received 700 million hits since January 25th and over 200 million videos have been watched of the playful pandas.
Here are the last few news updates about our web site. For older entries please visit our site news section.
Fri 21st Feb
We've updated one or our earliest written pages to provide much more information about that great treasure of China - jade. We cover the Imperial jewel the Heshibi and have found some fine illustrations of jade objects that people have kindly uploaded for use on web sites.
Jade dish with two fishes among reeds, China, late Ming period. British Museum, room 33b ( the Selwyn and Ellie Alleyne Gallery). Image by Vassil ➚ available under a Creative Commons License ➚
We can not ignore the news story that is dominating the world's news web pages. The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has the potential to become a major pandemic but so far containment within China seems to be working. It was first recorded on the very last day of 2019 in Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei province. To give information and advice we have put together a web page all about the outbreak from what we believe are trusted, authoritative sources. We aim to keep the page updated frequently until the outbreak is under control.
We use a consistent style for links within Chinasage. An internal link taking you to another page within our site is shown like this while a link to a page on any other web site is shown like this ➚.
We use Chinese characters wherever appropriate. Most browsers should display both the characters and the pinyin correctly. We highlight any use of the older Wade Giles system. Except where stated all characters are the modern simplified form used in the People's Republic rather than the traditional ones (pre-1970s). To help you learn Chinese characters many of the very common characters are highlighted thus: 中 hovering the mouse over the character pops up a box showing further information about the character.
Dates are given using the BCE/CE ➚ (Before Common Era and in Common Era) year convention rather than BC/AD. If a date is not followed by BCE or CE it should be taken as CE.
All the text on the Chinasage web site is our own, we do not copy and paste from other web sites. We research each topic from a number of separate sources. The only exception to this are quotations and image credits. All text is our copyright and can not be used/copied without our permission. We are independent of any other company or government, the opinions expressed are our own. We do not receive funding from any external agency or organization.
Teacup Media (China History Podcast)
We are delighted to be able to promote links to Laszlo Montgomery's excellent Teacup Media ➚ series created over the last six years. Lazlo Montgomery ➚ has in depth knowledge of building commercial contacts with China over 25 years. This set of 200 podcasts totals 100 hours of audio commentary which covers every conceivable topic in Chinese history. Highly recommended.
Feel free to contact Chinasage to point out any errors, omissions or suggestions on how to improve this web site.