A monthly quiz of general history, traditions, geography questions for January
1. In which province was Mao Zedong born in 1893?
Shaoshan in Hunan is famous as the birthplace of Mao Zedong and has many exhibits chronicling his early life there. His family still live there - about 60% of the population bear the Mao family name.
2. The largest carved Buddha in the world is located where?
The Leshan Giant Buddha is a 233 feet [71 meters]tall carved statue, built in the Tang dynasty between 713 and 803.
3. What is the Chinese for weather?
diàn huà 电话
tiān qì 天气
huǒ chē 火车
Tiān 天 is heaven or sky; while qì 气 is spirit, essence, air.
4. The Chinese Grand canal is roughly the same length as the distance between New York and where?
The Grand Canal spans 1,100 miles [1,770 kms] making it the longest canal system in the world.
5. What was an old name for the island of Taiwan (Chinese Taipei)?
Taiwan was given the name Formosa by Portuguese settlers in the mid 16th century. ‘Formosa’ means ‘beautiful island’ in Portuguese.
6. In 2016 the membership of the Chinese Communist Party stood at how many?
The Communist Party is the second largest membership organization in the world after India's BJP, it is necessary to be a party member to take a career in government related occupations.
7. Kite flying is particularly associated with which traditional festival?
Double ninth or Chongyang
On the 9th day of the 9th lunar month people take to high ground and fly all sorts of kites as a way of appeasing the spirits. If a mountain or hill is not to hand a tall building or pagoda would be climbed. It follows the traditional story of Huan Jing of the Han dynasty, who was told to move to high ground to escape floods.
8. Which was the capital city used by the Taiping rebels in the mid 19th century
The Taiping rebellion quickly spread from its source in Guangxi and Guangdong and by 1853 he had captured the Yangzi valley and the great city of Nanjing which he made his capital.
9. The standard order of hexagrams in the Yi Jing (I Ching) is attributed to who?
Confucius (Kong Fuzi)
The ordering is very old, dating back at least 3,000 years. It is traditionally attributed to King Wen whose son King Wu founded the Zhou dynasty. Other orderings of the 64 hexagrams were used but only the Zhouyi survived and is used to this day.
10. The world's deadliest earthquake was in China, how many lives were lost?
The city of Haixian (east of Xi'an in Shaanxi province) was the epicenter of the world's deadliest earthquake on Mon Jan 23 1556 when it estimated 830,000 people lost their lives.
11. The Red Flag Canal was a major engineering project built in the 1960s in which province?
Near Anyang in Henan province is a spectacular achievement of human labor, the Red Flag Canal. It was built between 1960-1974 with the same large scale use of labor as the Grand Canal, it provides irrigation and transportation to arid northern Henan.
12. Which number is considered unlucky rather like 13 in the west?
Four is the most unlucky of Chinese numbers because the character 死 sǐ ‘die; death’ only differs in tone to the character for 4: 四 sì. In her later days Dowager Empress Cixi is said to have forbade the saying of ‘si’ in her presence. Some roads have no house numbered 4 and some high-rise buildings have no 4th floor.
13. The Queen Mother of the West is an important Chinese deity; where is her palace traditionally said to have been?
The Queen Mother of the West (Xi wang mu) is said to have lived in the Kunlun mountains in far western China defended by a spirit army. She is sometimes portrayed with a panther's tail and tiger's teeth. She represents integrity and virtue. Her palace is bedecked in gold and precious stones and is the location where the gods hold their banquets.
14. Genghiz Khan originated from which region?
Genghis (or Djingis or Genghiz or Chinggis) was born as Tem?jin (or Temuchin) in around 1167 probably at Burkhan Khaldun, to the east of Ulanbator the modern Mongolian capital that lies at the center of present day Outer Mongolia.
15. What is the Chinese (Mandarin) name for Hong Kong?
The official ‘Beijing’ name for Hong Kong is 香港 Xianggang - meaning literally ‘Fragrant Harbor’. The English ‘Hong Kong’ is believed to come from the local Cantonese rendering of Hēung Góng.