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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Thu 13th Jun

Medicinal writing

The discovery of the ancient writing of the Shang dynasty was quite by chance. The scholar Wang Yirong bought some bones for medicinal purposes in 1899 at a Beijing shop. He noted that the bones had markings on them and he began investigating into them. Eventually 100,000 inscribed bones have been unearthed and these have been decoded as early Chinese characters from over 3,000 years ago. Around 2,000 modern characters can be traced back to the old oracle bone form.
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Wed 12th Jun

Kongs

In the game of Mahjong, a set of four identical tiles of any kind (for example all 4 east wind tiles) is known as a 'Kong' (or gàng in Mandarin).Three of a kind is known as a Pung pèng (for example 7; 7 and 7 of bamboo). Making up a Kong is a key part in building a winning hand.
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On this day

618 Sui dynasty ended 618 (1,406 years ago)
Tue 11th Jun

Kongs

In the game of Mahjong, a set of four identical tiles of any kind (for example all 4 east wind tiles) is known as a 'Kong' (or gàng in Mandarin).Three of a kind is known as a Pung pèng (for example 7; 7 and 7 of bamboo). Making up a Kong is a key part in building a winning hand.
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Mon 10th Jun

Goodbye!

The Chinese say farewell or goodbye with 再见 zài jiàn meaning literally 'again see'. This is the same construction as 'au revoir' in French.
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Sun 9th Jun

Tao Te Ching

Now written in pinyin as Dao De Jing, this small book is the best known ancient Chinese classic outside China. It is a set of philosophical aphorisms and riddles from the Daoist tradition. Within China the book is less well known, many Chinese would first mention the I Ching (Yi Jing) as the premier ancient classic.
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Sat 8th Jun

Landscape Pagodas

The Chinese landscape still has many pagodas but far fewer than there used to be. Care was taken to place them appropriately in the landscape. Pagodas act as storehouses of sacred relics (usually Buddhist) or commemorate a sacred place and always have an odd number of stories - often nine or seven.
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On this day

1916 Yuan Shikai died 1916 (108 years ago)
Fri 7th Jun

Landscape Pagodas

The Chinese landscape still has many pagodas but far fewer than there used to be. Care was taken to place them appropriately in the landscape. Pagodas act as storehouses of sacred relics (usually Buddhist) or commemorate a sacred place and always have an odd number of stories - often nine or seven.
Read More
Thu 6th Jun

Tea wars

The opium wars (1838-40 and 1956-60) were actually more to do with the British addiction to Chinese tea rather than opium. The refusal of the Chinese to accept British imports in exchange for the huge quantities of tea caused a trade imbalance and what was worse ships sailing to China empty.
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Wed 5th Jun

Tea wars

The opium wars (1838-40 and 1956-60) were actually more to do with the British addiction to Chinese tea rather than opium. The refusal of the Chinese to accept British imports in exchange for the huge quantities of tea caused a trade imbalance and what was worse ships sailing to China empty.
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Tue 4th Jun

Tea wars

The opium wars (1838-40 and 1956-60) were actually more to do with the British addiction to Chinese tea rather than opium. The refusal of the Chinese to accept British imports in exchange for the huge quantities of tea caused a trade imbalance and what was worse ships sailing to China empty.
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Mon 3rd Jun

Chopsticks

Chopsticks have been in use in China for over 3,000 years. They are convenient for food that is chopped into pieces. Many westerners do not realize how to properly use them. For example some people try to eat rice with chopsticks. For hygiene some people carry their own chopsticks out with them to use at restaurants.
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Sun 2nd Jun

Chopsticks

Chopsticks have been in use in China for over 3,000 years. They are convenient for food that is chopped into pieces. Many westerners do not realize how to properly use them. For example some people try to eat rice with chopsticks. For hygiene some people carry their own chopsticks out with them to use at restaurants.
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Sat 1st Jun

Chopsticks

Chopsticks have been in use in China for over 3,000 years. They are convenient for food that is chopped into pieces. Many westerners do not realize how to properly use them. For example some people try to eat rice with chopsticks. For hygiene some people carry their own chopsticks out with them to use at restaurants.
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On this day

195BCE Emperor Gaozu no longer ruler 195BCE (2,220 years ago)
1864 Hong Xiuquan died 1864 (160 years ago)
1953 Xi Jinping born 1953 (71 years ago)
Fri 31st May

Ice sculptures

Many visitors' experience of China will be of hot and humid weather. In far northern China the winters can be very cold. Harbin the provincial capital of Heilongjiang gets so cold that it has a park full of huge ice sculptures from January to March. Fruit and milk are sold in frozen form.
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Thu 30th May

Ice sculptures

Many visitors' experience of China will be of hot and humid weather. In far northern China the winters can be very cold. Harbin the provincial capital of Heilongjiang gets so cold that it has a park full of huge ice sculptures from January to March. Fruit and milk are sold in frozen form.
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Wed 29th May

Border with Russia

The eastern border with Russia is mainly defined by the Heilongjiang river (Amur in Russian). From Khabarovsk it then runs south along the Wusuli Jiang (Ussuri in Russian). The border was set between the two countries at the Treaty of Aigun (1858) and then Treaty of Beijing (1860) previously the Manchu people ruled the area to Tugur. The border deprives China a port on the Sea of Japan. The border broadly follows the Daxingan Ling (Greater Khingan) and Xiaoxingan Ling (Lesser Khingan) mountains.
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On this day

1981 Song Qingling died 1981 (43 years ago)
Tue 28th May

Border with Russia

The eastern border with Russia is mainly defined by the Heilongjiang river (Amur in Russian). From Khabarovsk it then runs south along the Wusuli Jiang (Ussuri in Russian). The border was set between the two countries at the Treaty of Aigun (1858) and then Treaty of Beijing (1860) previously the Manchu people ruled the area to Tugur. The border deprives China a port on the Sea of Japan. The border broadly follows the Daxingan Ling (Greater Khingan) and Xiaoxingan Ling (Lesser Khingan) mountains.
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On this day

1981 Song Qingling no longer President PRC 1981 (43 years ago)
Mon 27th May

Border with Russia

The eastern border with Russia is mainly defined by the Heilongjiang river (Amur in Russian). From Khabarovsk it then runs south along the Wusuli Jiang (Ussuri in Russian). The border was set between the two countries at the Treaty of Aigun (1858) and then Treaty of Beijing (1860) previously the Manchu people ruled the area to Tugur. The border deprives China a port on the Sea of Japan. The border broadly follows the Daxingan Ling (Greater Khingan) and Xiaoxingan Ling (Lesser Khingan) mountains.
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Sun 26th May

Border with Russia

The eastern border with Russia is mainly defined by the Heilongjiang river (Amur in Russian). From Khabarovsk it then runs south along the Wusuli Jiang (Ussuri in Russian). The border was set between the two countries at the Treaty of Aigun (1858) and then Treaty of Beijing (1860) previously the Manchu people ruled the area to Tugur. The border deprives China a port on the Sea of Japan. The border broadly follows the Daxingan Ling (Greater Khingan) and Xiaoxingan Ling (Lesser Khingan) mountains.
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Sat 25th May

Border with Russia

The eastern border with Russia is mainly defined by the Heilongjiang river (Amur in Russian). From Khabarovsk it then runs south along the Wusuli Jiang (Ussuri in Russian). The border was set between the two countries at the Treaty of Aigun (1858) and then Treaty of Beijing (1860) previously the Manchu people ruled the area to Tugur. The border deprives China a port on the Sea of Japan. The border broadly follows the Daxingan Ling (Greater Khingan) and Xiaoxingan Ling (Lesser Khingan) mountains.
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Fri 24th May

Border with Russia

The eastern border with Russia is mainly defined by the Heilongjiang river (Amur in Russian). From Khabarovsk it then runs south along the Wusuli Jiang (Ussuri in Russian). The border was set between the two countries at the Treaty of Aigun (1858) and then Treaty of Beijing (1860) previously the Manchu people ruled the area to Tugur. The border deprives China a port on the Sea of Japan. The border broadly follows the Daxingan Ling (Greater Khingan) and Xiaoxingan Ling (Lesser Khingan) mountains.
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Thu 23rd May

Border with Russia

The eastern border with Russia is mainly defined by the Heilongjiang river (Amur in Russian). From Khabarovsk it then runs south along the Wusuli Jiang (Ussuri in Russian). The border was set between the two countries at the Treaty of Aigun (1858) and then Treaty of Beijing (1860) previously the Manchu people ruled the area to Tugur. The border deprives China a port on the Sea of Japan. The border broadly follows the Daxingan Ling (Greater Khingan) and Xiaoxingan Ling (Lesser Khingan) mountains.
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Wed 22nd May

Border with Russia

The eastern border with Russia is mainly defined by the Heilongjiang river (Amur in Russian). From Khabarovsk it then runs south along the Wusuli Jiang (Ussuri in Russian). The border was set between the two countries at the Treaty of Aigun (1858) and then Treaty of Beijing (1860) previously the Manchu people ruled the area to Tugur. The border deprives China a port on the Sea of Japan. The border broadly follows the Daxingan Ling (Greater Khingan) and Xiaoxingan Ling (Lesser Khingan) mountains.
Read More
Tue 21st May

Border with Russia

The eastern border with Russia is mainly defined by the Heilongjiang river (Amur in Russian). From Khabarovsk it then runs south along the Wusuli Jiang (Ussuri in Russian). The border was set between the two countries at the Treaty of Aigun (1858) and then Treaty of Beijing (1860) previously the Manchu people ruled the area to Tugur. The border deprives China a port on the Sea of Japan. The border broadly follows the Daxingan Ling (Greater Khingan) and Xiaoxingan Ling (Lesser Khingan) mountains.
Read More

On this day

1086 Wang Anshi died 1086 (938 years ago)
Mon 20th May

Border with Russia

The eastern border with Russia is mainly defined by the Heilongjiang river (Amur in Russian). From Khabarovsk it then runs south along the Wusuli Jiang (Ussuri in Russian). The border was set between the two countries at the Treaty of Aigun (1858) and then Treaty of Beijing (1860) previously the Manchu people ruled the area to Tugur. The border deprives China a port on the Sea of Japan. The border broadly follows the Daxingan Ling (Greater Khingan) and Xiaoxingan Ling (Lesser Khingan) mountains.
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On this day

1062 Bao Zheng died 1062 (962 years ago)
1948 Chiang Kaishek became President Republic of China 1948 (76 years ago)
Sun 19th May

Simplified and Traditional

With thousands of characters (200,000 is the full set) that have been gradually added to over thousands of years it is sometimes necessary to undertake reform. Characters come out of use and new ones are needed. One of the first actions of the Peoples Republic was a reform of the written language, to make it easier to read and write. Chinese books and web sites almost all use the new simplified set of characters that were published in 1956 and 1964.
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Sat 18th May

Cypress trees

You will often find cypress trees growing around Chinese graveyards. They are evergreen and so represent everlasting life and grow to a great age and height with gnarled limbs. In many ways they are the Chinese version of the yew tree planted in Europe around graveyards.
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Fri 17th May

Cypress trees

You will often find cypress trees growing around Chinese graveyards. They are evergreen and so represent everlasting life and grow to a great age and height with gnarled limbs. In many ways they are the Chinese version of the yew tree planted in Europe around graveyards.
Read More
Thu 16th May

Cypress trees

You will often find cypress trees growing around Chinese graveyards. They are evergreen and so represent everlasting life and grow to a great age and height with gnarled limbs. In many ways they are the Chinese version of the yew tree planted in Europe around graveyards.
Read More

On this day

1981 Song Qingling became President PRC 1981 (43 years ago)
Gansu, mountains
Qilian mountains on the border of Gansu and Qinghai