Chinasage Diary

Your daily snippet of information about China. Our diary has a daily fact, proverb and a reminder of upcoming festivals and holidays in China.
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Fri 18th Jan

Chairman Liu

Many people may forget that Chairman Mao did not lead China from 1949 until his death in 1976. In fact Mao gave up the leadership of China to his then trusted Vice Chairman Liu Shaoqi 1959-68. It was when Mao saw Liu and Deng moving China towards a market ecomony that Mao steped in and imposed hard-line Communism. Liu Shaoqi died in miserable circumstances under house arrest.
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On this day

1955 Battle of Yijiangshan Islands 1955 (64 years ago)

Proverb

,谎
rén yǔ, huǎng yán pà lǐ [ni ren pa yu, huang yan pa li]
clay figure fear rain, lie speech fear logic
A mud figure fears rain; a lie fears truth
Over time lies will eventually be laid bare
Truth will out
Thu 17th Jan

Seen from the Moon

The myth that the Great Wall of China can be seen from the Moon is widely held to be true. It is clearly impossible because the wall is only a few yards wide! It is hard even to make out on Google Earth. The myth seemed to have come into existence at about the same time that canals were believed to be seen on Mars, starting speculation about what features on Earth could be seen from space. The Martian canals turned out to be a mistaken observation, probably due to an eye defect of an astronomer.
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On this day

2005 Zhao Ziyang died 2005 (14 years ago)

Proverb

kǒu liáng yaò [ku kou liang yao]
bitter mouth good medicine
Good medicine tastes bad
It takes hard work and discomfort to achieve something worthwhile
Wed 16th Jan

Courtyard houses

For at least two thousand years the traditional Chinese house had a standard design of buildings around an enclosed courtyard. The siheyuan had a range of rooms for the extended family, with the most grand one occupied by the head of the family. Each individual building was constructed in a standard way and was connected by covered walkways. The center of the courtyard was often laid out to gardens.
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On this day

1987 Zhao Ziyang became General Secretary Communist Party 1987 (32 years ago)

Proverb

Qiǎo fù nán wéi wú mǐ zhī chuī [qiao fu nan wei wu mi zhi chui]
skilful woman difficult pride nothing rice's cook
Even the cleverest cook cannot prepare rice without rice
You need to assemble the right materials for a job
Tue 15th Jan

Courtyard houses

For at least two thousand years the traditional Chinese house had a standard design of buildings around an enclosed courtyard. The siheyuan had a range of rooms for the extended family, with the most grand one occupied by the head of the family. Each individual building was constructed in a standard way and was connected by covered walkways. The center of the courtyard was often laid out to gardens.
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On this day

1987 Hu Yaobang no longer General Secretary Communist Party 1987 (32 years ago)

Proverb

漏偏
Wū lòu piān féng lián yè [wu lou pian feng lian ye yu]
house leak slanting happen upon continuous night rain
When the roof is leaking, there will be continuous nights of rain
Misfortunes tend to come all at once
When it rains, it pours
Mon 14th Jan

Yangzi bridges

It was not until 1957 (just over 55 years ago) that the very first bridge was built over the lower Yangzi. The river had proved too wide and dangerous a river for ancient bridge technology. Up until 1957 everything had to be ferried across in boats, even trains, which had to be unhitched and re-assembled on the other side. The first bridge was at Wuhan. There may soon be as many as a hundred bridges over the lower Yangzi.
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Proverb

,旁观
Dāng jú zhě mí, páng guān zhě qīng [dang ju zhe mi, pang guan zhe qing]
equal game other be confused, side observe other clear
Spectators get a better appreciation of the game than the players
If too closely involved may not see all the issues involved
Sun 13th Jan

Yellow Emperor

The founding father of China is the legendary Yellow Emperor [2718 BCE - 2598 BCE] of pre-history. He is credited with many innovations and inventions. The official year number in China starts at the year of his birth.
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Proverb

Duì zhèng xià yào [dui zheng xia yao]
answer illness down medicine
Prescribe the right medicine for an illness
Take the right measures to solve a problem and achieve the desired result
Yellow river, river, bridge
Lower reaches of Yellow River (Huanghe)

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