Chinasage : All about China

About Chinasage

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” ( zhōng guó yīng míng) or “china's age” ( 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.

Tue 15th Oct

The huge investment in Central Asia, Africa and Europe made by China since its launch in 2013 has slowed to a crawl. The figures for 2019 show there were only two loans over $1billion: $1.2billion to Egypt and $2.5billion to Pakistan. This follows a reduction in 2018 when 'only' $126 billion was spent by China. The recipients of the loans are showing reluctance to accept further money as interest payments are looking harder to repay with uncertainty over exchange rates and domestic growth. There is a growing realization that the investments do tie the recopients to China. China has less funds in the kitty to invest abroad. With the ongoing trade war with the US under President Trump there is reduced growth and a risk of a slowdown in the Chinese economy. Part of the reason for Belt and Road is to gain more markets for China's construction and development industries now that domestic demand has peaked. The total investment so far totals about $100 billion so it is a very substantial venture and has involved 160 countries creating 82 overseas industrial parks.

belt and road
Read more…
Wed 9th Oct

As part of the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the PRC the President presented ‘Friendship Awards’ to 42 foreign experts. These are the highest honors that can be awarded to a foreign national. Among them was remarkable survivor from well before the Peoples’ Republic: 104 year old Isabel Crook. She was born in Chengdu, China to Canadian missionary parents. She married David Crook in 1942 in England and went back to China in 1947. They made an intensive, thorough study of how the new communist reforms were affecting poor farmers in rural areas. Their findings showed how the poorest people were being significantly helped by the new system. They suffered, as did all foreign nationals, under the Cultural Revolution but Isabel’s love for China held firm throughout all the troubles. You can read about her incredible life on her web site .

Photograph and more about the awards can be found here .

Isabel Crook award
Read more…
Mon 30th Sep
Mao Zedong, PRC, leader
Mao Zedong makes a report at the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh CPC Central Committee. April 1949. Image by Unknown available under a Creative Commons License

1st October 2019 marks 70 years since the proclamation by Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing. Inevitably it is a time to look back at these tumultuous years. In 1949 China was bankrupt and starving after occupation and civil war, it was considered a Third World, undeveloped country that was likely to remain as such.

Most American commentators thought the Communist government would last a decade or so and then Chiang Kaishek’s Nationalists would be shortly put back in control. After 70 years the Communist party in as strong a position of control as ever. Their position is pretty much unassailable as long as the country continues to prosper. And prosper it has, it is on course to overtake the U.S. to become the number one world trading nation. Modern cities have been created or completely rebuilt, standards of living have rocketed and technological expertise is one of the highest in the world. Should the progress stall or turn into decline it is possible there might be change of type of government but there is no sign of it at present.

Foreign observers continue to be bewildered that Mao Zedong, as the founding father, is still held in such high regard (something like 75% good, 25% bad) as most in the west are taught he was an evil dictator in the same league as Stalin and Hitler. What the Chinese people understand well is that the country needed rapid transformation, piece-meal reform had been tried and failed, a strong unwavering hand was needed to turn it all around - the cut worm forgives the plow. So in spite of millions of avoidable deaths there is still a strong attachment to Mao Zedong who kept the country together through very difficult times. His proclamation and promise at the foundation 70 years ago seem to have come true: ‘We, the 475 million Chinese people, have stood up and our future is infinitely bright.’

Read more…

China Sage Site updates

Here are the last few news updates about our web site. For older entries please visit our site news section.

Tue 3rd Sep
Sounds, the Future and the oldest Thesaurus
A mixed bag of updates to the web site has now been released. Looking ahead to the future new Chinese calendars for 2021 and 2022 have been added. These includes all the public and traditional holidays. While doing this work we found an error in the lunar month calculation for 2020 which has been corrected. Our three Mandarin Chinese lessons remain popular and we have added sound effects so you can here the words pronounced - very important when getting to grips with the Chinese tones. Some time ago we added a page on the Hanlin Academy but failed to mention an even older academic institution - the Taixue which was up and running 2,000 years ago. With now added a bit about it. On the same lines there is one ancient text, may be 2,400 years old that has a good claim to be by far the oldest Thesaurus, this is the ‘Er ya’, so we've added a bit about that.
Read more…
Thu 8th Aug
The Mongol Conquest of Asia

The big new page we've added attempts to summarize the Mongol conquest of China and Asia. Although Genghis khan is widely covered elsewhere we found very few maps that clearly show the expansion of the Mongol Empire and this made it hard to understand. We've also found some nice illustrations of the Mongol people and paintings of the Mongol conquest.

We've also added a new translation of the Thousand Character Classic ; Steles; Chinoiserie and the South China Sea. If there is a topic you would like us to cover then please let us know.

Mongol, Hingary, Qadan
The Mongols in Hungary 1241. Hungary. Ink and paint on pergament. King Bela on the flight from the Mongols. The Mongol leader might be Qadan, a son of Ogedei. Painted 1358. Image by Szechenyi National Library available under a Creative Commons License
Read more…
Yellow river, river, bridge
Lower reaches of Yellow River (Huanghe)


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: 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.


We are extremely grateful to the many people who have put their photographs online for anyone to adapt and use. Without them our site would be very drab. If we are not using the image license correctly please let us know. Some pages use Javascript to create special effects such as our airport table and calendar. We are grateful to the original authors for providing their code to be used and adapted by anyone else. The online Chinese dictionary uses the definition from the CC-CEDICT project for which we are grateful for a generous free license.

Feel free to contact Chinasage to point out any errors, omissions or suggestions on how to improve this web site.

Copyright © Chinasage 2012 to 2019