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 news stories, for more visit our news page.

Wed 13th May

In recent years a new 'festival' has been added to the calendar. This is on 20th May each year and is the day when young unmarried couples indulge in a little romance. It is all because the number 520 in Chinese ( wǔ èr líng) can sound vaguely like 我爱伱 wǒ ài nǐ 'I love you'. So far this has only really caught on in cities where stores have made it another trading bonanza.

With China just emerged from lock-down, when some couples have been forced to keep apart, it has taken on more importance. Another reason for 2020 being special is that the year expressed as 二零二零 èr líng èr líng sounds a bit like 爱你爱妳ài nǐ ài nǐ 'Love you, love you' particularly on a muffled mobile phone. In Shanghai all available marriage services on this auspicious day have already been snapped up.

Chinese couple

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Thu 30th Apr

With the lock-down easing some tourist attractions are now opening in China. At Shanghai zoo the 8 month old orangutan baby is a star attraction. She is named Hei Niu and is the offspring of Xiao Hei from Nanjing Hongshan Forest Zoo and Lu Lu from Shanghai Zoo. The orangutans are critically endangered due to loss of forest habitat in Borneo, Malaysia and Sumatra.

This follows on from a good news stories about giant pandas. Two weeks ago a couple of Hong Kong's Ocean Park zoo mated for the first time and this has been attributed to the lack of nosy visitors - the pandas are secretive animals and enjoy the peace and quiet at the moment.

An orangutan mother and baby, but not actually Hei Niu and Lu Lu.

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Wed 15th Apr

With less road traffic streets that are lined with cherry tree blossom can be fully appreciated this year. In particular fallen blossom are carpeting Jiangwancheng Road in Yangpu District, Shanghai. The 700m road has 264 cherry trees and this year the petals are being allowed to fall uncollected during the day. Peng Weiqiang sweeps up the fallen petals each evening to keep the display clean and fresh.

cherry blossom
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Wed 1st Apr

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.

medical testing
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Chinasage Site updates

We continue to improve the web site as you can see on these descriptions of updates and upgrades, for older entries please visit our site news page.

Tue 2nd Jun
Ming Tombs

When looking for pages to give a good background to the spectacular tombs of the Ming Emperors we found that there was nothing that really covered the subject in depth. There were inconsistencies and confusion as to what could be found where and had to resort to using Google Earth to locate some of the buildings. We hope that our new page with numerous illustrations will help you appreciate the splendor of these magnificent constructions.

ming tombs, stele pavilion
Stele Pavilion on Sacred Way to Ming Tombs, Beijing. Image by Willi Luntzer available under a Creative Commons License
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Fri 21st Feb
More Jade

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, bowl, fish
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
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Guangdong, bridge
Zhanjiang Bridge, southern Guangdong


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 ten years. Laszlo Montgomery has in depth knowledge of building commercial contacts with China over 30 years. The set of 250 podcasts totals 130 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. Sound files kindly provided by under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 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 2020