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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Wed 20th Mar

Green or black?

Green tea is the variety mainly drunk in China, it has a more subtle favor. Milk is not used and it is considered altogether a healthier drink. On the other hand black tea is drunk elsewhere, it has a stronger, more bitter flavor. It used to be grown in China but production moved to British India to avoid Chinese taxes. Green is the fresher tea; it turns black when 'oxidized' by exposure to warm air. The reason black tea is used outside China is that black tea keeps its flavor far longer than green. This was vital when tea was transported by long sea voyage and would take months to arrive, even on the fastest tea clippers.
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Proverb

guò tiān qíng [yu guo tian qing]
rain past heaven bright
The rain has gone, the sky brightens
Things are improving. Hope for the future
Tue 19th Mar

Kowtow

The traditional way to show respect and subservience was with the kowtow, which involves bowing and touching the ground with the forehead. A kowtow was made to parents, school teachers, Confucius, court officials as well as the Imperial family. Sometimes it is still seen when families visit their ancestral tomb.
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On this day

1279 Song dynasty ended 1279 (740 years ago)
1279 Battle of Yamen 1279 (740 years ago)

Proverb

shān bù róng èr [yi shan bu rong er hu]
one mountain not hold two tigers
Two tigers cannot share one mountain
Two equally talented or able employees do not work well together
Mon 18th Mar

Ancient observatory

Near to the great Song mountain in Henan lays the Gaocheng observatory that has been active for three thousand years. Astronomical observations were key to setting the Chinese calendar. The main instrument is a stone gnomon that allows heights of stars and planets to be measured to great accuracy.
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On this day

1839 First Opium War 1839 (180 years ago)

Proverb

驴唇
Lǖ chún bù duì mǎ zuǐ [lu chun bu dui ma zui]
donkey lips no match horse mouth
Donkey's lips do not fit a horse's mouth
Something that is out of place and inappropriate
Sun 17th Mar

Lucky 8

Eight is considered the luckiest number. You will often see 888 associated with gambling. The origin may be that 8 is a yin number and also sounds a bit like 'good fortune' in Cantonese.
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On this day

1998 Li Peng no longer Premier PRC 1998 (21 years ago)
1998 Zhu Rongji became Premier PRC 1998 (21 years ago)

Proverb

Gāo bù chéng dī bù jiù [gao bu cheng di bu jiu]
high no accomplish low no come near
Although not qualified for high office will not accept a lower position
Exaggerating one's skills
Sat 16th Mar

Mongolian heritage

The raising of sheep on the vast grasslands of Northern China stretching into Mongolia has led to a great many dishes containing lamb. These are found mainly in northern China (Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang). Mongolian Hotpot is a dish of sliced lamb with vegetables and noodles.
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On this day

2003 Zhu Rongji no longer Premier PRC 2003 (16 years ago)
2003 Wen Jiabao became Premier PRC 2003 (16 years ago)

Proverb

怡,
Xīn kuàng shén yí, shì shì shùn lì [xin kuang shen yi, shi shi shun li]
heart broad spirit joy, matter matter obey profit
Heart joyful, work profitable
Feeling happy and relaxed
Fri 15th Mar

Three Rivers National Park

Sanjiangyuan 三江源 is a national park in Qinghai province which contains the source of three great rivers: the Yangzi, Yellow and Mekong rivers. It is vast area covering 140,155 sq miles [363,000 sq kms] of low rainfall and sparse vegetation.
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On this day

220 Cao Cao died 220 (1,799 years ago)
1998 Qiao Shi no longer Chairman NPC 1998 (21 years ago)
1998 Li Peng became Chairman NPC 1998 (21 years ago)
2003 Hu Jintao became President PRC 2003 (16 years ago)
2003 Wu Bangguo became Chairman NPC 2003 (16 years ago)

Proverb

Bǎi wén bù rú jiàn [bai wen bu ru yi jian]
hundred hear not like one see
Hearing a hundred times is not as good as seeing once
Delighted to meet you in person at last
Guanyin, deity
Buddhist Goddess of Mercy Guanyin

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