There’s never too much you can know about one of the world’s oldest thriving civilization. Not only China has the largest population in the world, but its language, Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world. China is known for Kung Fu and many other astounding inventions. China has the biggest dam in the world, so big that it slowed down the earth’s rotation. Chinese Culture is impressively rich and offers so much to learn. Check out these amazing facts about China that both kids and adults should know!
Basic Facts About China
- The word “China” derives from the Qin (pronounced “chin”) dynasty. This is because China was first unified under the first Emperor Qin Shi Huang of the Qin dynasty in 221 B.C.
- China is the fourth largest country in the world and also the most populous country in the world.
- Although its size width-wise or longitude-wise is very big, it still has only one time zone.
Ancient China Facts
- 6000 B.C is considered as the dawn of the Chinese civilization. It is the world’s longest surviving civilization. The civilization thrived by the yellow river of China.
- Silk is an integral part of Ancient China. They first made silk in 3,000 B.C. In fact, China was recognized as “Serica,” or “Land of Silk.” The art of silk making was a secret heavily guarded by the Chinese. The smuggling of silkworms was punishable by death in ancient China.
- China is the world’s largest producer of mushrooms. In fact, the consumption of mushroom in China dates back to the 1700s. It also has the most number of mushroom varieties in the world.
- Ancient China had many superstitions and still does. In ancient China, people used to hang mirrors on the ceilings of cemeteries because mirrors were said to protect people from the evil spirits.
China Population Facts
- Every fifth person in the world is a Chinese. China’s population is four times that of the United States. China’s population is 1.37 billion as of 2018.
- To curb rising population, China started “one child” policy. However, it had its negative effects. It led to increase in female infanticide and created gender imbalance. It also led to massive decrease in “young and working” population causing a dip in China’s GDP. As of 2018, China has made it mandatory for each married couple to have 2 children, else they have to contribute to the Chinese fund.
First in China (Inventions)
- Although, toilet paper is considered extremely western, it was first invented in China in 1300s to be used by emperors.
- A Chinese working in San Francisco Factory was the one who invented the Fortune cookies.
- The Chinese invented paper, the compass, kites, earthquake monitoring devices, gunpowder, tea, and printing.
- The Chinese used kites during wars to frighten the enemies in the 1700s. Also, letting a kite go was considered to be a bad luck.
- It was China who invented Ice-Cream.
- China invented the suspension bridges.
- Tea was discovered accidentally by a Chinese emperor, Shennong in 2737 B.C. when a tea leaf fell into his boiling water.
- Chinese techniques were far ahead from Europe in 1100 A.D. For farming and irrigation, the Chinese had invented the waterwheel. Also, the invented the iron plough.
- China was the first country to use chemical and gas weapons during war. Europe used these techniques much later during World War 2. The invention of the crossbow is also attributed to China.
- The Chinese were the first to make paper using bamboo in second or first century B.C.
- China is the first country to make a mechanical clock. Not only did it tell time accurately, but also tracked the movement of stars and constellations.
Games and Sports in China
- The most popular game in China is Ping-pong. The game is known as table-tennis worldwide and actually invented in Britain.
- Chinese people love collecting stamps.
- China spent the most amount of money on the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing than any other country in the world. The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing cost a whopping $40 billion.
- Chinese children love to pet crickets. In fact, cricket fighting is a popular entertainment in China.
Geography, Flora and Fauna in China
- In the world, China is recognized as the “Flowery Kingdom”. Its rich flora species are appreciated throughout the world.
- China is also known for Giant Pandas. Giant Pandas can only be found in China. In China, they are a symbol of peace. They are widely hunted for their fur, but China has taken special measures to save them. Hunting of Pandas is punishable with thousands of dollars fine. Read some facts about pandas.
- The Yellow river in China is considered as birth giving for China because this was where the civilization began. However, it is also known as the “sorrow of China” because of numerous floods. It is 2,903-mile-long and second longest in China. It also known as Huanghe river in China.
- In China, the Phoenix bird is the symbol of feminine power. Another bird, the crane is the symbol of long life. Ducks are a symbol of happiness and marital sincerity and longevity.
- The Yangtze River is the longest river in China. It is 3,494-mile in length.
- The Chinese see the lotus as a symbol of purity, especially the Buddhists. The chrysanthemum flower was also sacred to the ancient Chinese as it represented long life.
- An insect named Cicada is native to China. It is famous because it has the longest lifespan for an insect (up to 17 years). This is why the Chinese consider it special. It is also a symbol of regeneration because it shed its skin.
- The Chinese used to place cicadas in the mouths of the dead. They believed that cicadas slowed down the decay and hence gave more chance for rebirth of the soul.
Culture, Religion and Language in China
- Ancient China has a bad name for following the practice of binding feet of women. This feet binding was also known as “Golden Lilies”. The practice happened in the Song dynasty in 960-1279 A.D. Under the practice, a tightly wrapped bandages was tied around the feet of the female entertainers. This caused the bones of the feet to break and the toes grew inward into the heel. The same was considered highly sexual as it changed the gait of the females and impacted leg and vaginal muscles. The same made it more pleasurable for the male.
- China is also known for the emergence of Confucianism philosophy. It was a socio philosophical movement in China that transformed its administration and the views of its people. It spread in China during 551 – 479 B.C.
- In ancient China, a girl having two pigtails is considered unmarried and a girl wearing one pigtail is considered married.
- China’s capital, Beijing used to have many different names. Some of its names are Yanjing, Dadu, and Beiping. The meaning of “Beijing is “Northern Capital.” The name Beijing is based on Mandarin.
- Shanghai is the largest city in China and Beijing is the second largest.
- The concept of heaven and earth has come from China.
- Growing long nails in China meant that the person belonged to an affluent family and did no dirty work. The affluent Chinese used to grow their nails extremely long as it represented their status. They even used to wear gold and silver guards around their nails.
- China adopted its flag in September 1949.
- Red color is revered in China. It represents revolution. This is why the Chinese flag is red in color. The large star in the Chinese flag represents communism while the little stars represent the Chinese people.
- Dragons are very special to the Chinese. The Chinese year of the Dragon is considered the luckiest of the 12 years. The phoenix, tiger, dragon and tortoise are the animals that are represented greatly in the Chinese mythology.
- One of the most famous revolution in China was the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution from 1966-1976. It caused the deaths of thousands of people and also caused famines.
- Fish have a huge importance in the Chinese Culture. It is because the scales of the fish resemble that of a dragon.
- There are many Chinese languages like Mandarin, Gan, Cantonese, Xiang, Wu, Hakka, and Min. Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the entire world.
- 90% of the Chinese are atheists. While the other religions that can be found in China are Buddhism, Taoism, Protestantism, Christianity and, Islam.
- Red color is widely used in China during celebrations and festivals. In fact, the Chinese lanterns are also of red color.
- There is a “Forbidden City” in China. It is called so because the commoners are forbidden to enter the city. The Forbidden City was so named because commoners were forbidden to enter the city. Any commoner who saw the emperor was killed.
Amazing Facts About China
- The Chinese were the first to drill and use the natural gas as a source of heat in as early as 400 B.C.
- The Chinese medicine was quite advanced in the 200 B.C. The Chinese doctors back then knew about the blood circulation and the heart.
- Mathematically too, the Chinese were much ahead of the rest of the world. They invented the decimal system and also used place values.
- China has the largest dam in the world known as the Three Gorges Hydroelectric Dam built on the Yangtze River. The construction of the dam involved number of human rights violations and, technological difficulties. The dam is so massive that it slowed down the rotation of the earth by 0.06 microseconds. This is because it increased the width of the earth marginally.
- Martial Arts were widely practiced in China throughout its history and still are. Chinese Kung Fu is recognized throughout the world. In fact, Kung Fu was brought to China by an Indian Buddhist saint named Bodhidharma. He taught Kung Fu to the Chinese monks to better their physical fitness.
- The most celebrated Chinese festivals are the Chinese New Year/ Lunar New Year and the Dragon Boat Race. Each year is a year of a special animal as per the Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese Year of the Dragon is considered the luckiest.
- Just like tea, the Chinese invented precious silk accidentally too. In 3000 B.C., Lady Xi Ling Sui dropped a silkworm cocoon accidentally into her tea. This was how the silk threads were born.
- Fossils found in China have contributed massively to Paleontology. The first known human ancestor, Homo erectus’ fossil was found in China.
- The Chinese lanterns are an epitome of the Chinese culture. They can be traced back to 250 B.C. The Chinese lanterns were symbol of wealth in the Chinese families and also represented longevity.