35 Things A Chinese American Wants You to Know About His Home Country

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I grew up and spent the better part of my young adulthood in China.

I came to the United States in 1999, and I had a cultural shock as I saw many things so different from what I experienced in my home country. For example, I was surprised to see people drink soda from such huge cups that were two or even three times bigger than those used in China. And I did not know how to respond when I was asked “for here or to go” at a fast food restaurant. My first “adventure” at a Subway restaurant almost turned into a disaster when I had no clue about what ingredients to choose for my “footlong.” “Damn it, I just want a sandwich, why are you asking me so many questions?” I cursed in my heart.

I fared no better in things other than food. At Purdue University, where I was pursuing my Master’s in communication, I complained to my professors about why the school would spend $70 million on renovating the Ross–Ade Stadium, the home of the Purdue football team. I felt like an idiot when I learned that the money did not come from student tuitions, but through a huge endowment.

As if life does have a way to balance itself out, I also had my share of pleasant surprises. I was startled when a stranger blurted out a “hi!” to me as she and I were walking toward each other on a campus path. As I was later told, it was nothing unusual for Midwesterners to greet strangers. I wished I had known it earlier.

I wish I had read some basic facts about the U.S. that would have prepared me better for my life in this country. Now I believe those who will go to China for the first time would also fare better if they know some basic facts about this fascinating country with 5,000 years of history.

And that’s why I have come up with the following list of facts about China.

1. There is only One Time Zone in China

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Tianjin Clock in China-Image Source: Traveling Richard

China, a country that is very similar in size to the United States, has only one time zone: Beijing Standard Time. And that can be a problem, mostly for travelers.

The one-time zone means that when it’s 9 am in the nation’s capital Beijing, it’s also 9 am about 2,000 miles further west in Urumqi, the capital city of China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

In the summer, it isn’t uncommon in Urumqi to see people enjoying a beautiful sunset at midnight. And it isn’t unusual for the sun to rise there in the winter around 10 am. In order to accommodate people inconvenienced by the time zone change, shops and restaurants in Xinjiang often adjust their hours, but the effect can still be disorienting for the unaccustomed traveler.

2. There are No Fortune Cookies Offered in Restaurants in China

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Image Source: Outlook Feel the World

When you dine at a Chinese restaurant in the US, you will be offered a fortune cookie by the end of the meal. It can put a smile on your face after you read the aphorism or vague prophecy printed on a piece of paper. But don’t wait for this cute cookie if you actually eat in a restaurant in China.

It is widely believed fortune cookies originated in Japan, but nobody knows exactly where the modern fortune cookie came from. It’s widely reported that they made their first American appearance at San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden in the 1890s. However, nobody knows who invented them.

Fortune cookies didn’t make their way to China until 1989, and they were sold as “genuine American fortune cookies,” believe it or not. Another Chinese company tried to get in on the action in 1992, but they gave up due to lack of sales. Nowadays, they’re all but nonexistent there.

3. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are Blocked in China, but You don’t Have to live like a Hermit there

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Image Source: China Internet Watch

In China, you will have no access to such widely used social media as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because they are blocked there along with a large number of other Western websites including Google, Blogspot and Instagram. But China has their own “equivalent” social media such as Wechat, Weibo and Youku.

There are about 650 million monthly active Wechat users, who share information including images and contact one another on this powerful platform. Weibo, also very popular in China, works just like Twitter. Youku is a video sharing portal that functions as YouTube, but is far less powerful.

So if you go to China to live, work or even just for sightseeing as a tourist, you’d better create a Wechat account, which will allow you to share your pictures and communicate with friends and relatives for free, just like being on Facebook.

4. Millions of Men will be Unable to Find Wives in China

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Image Source: Next Shark

China’s “One Child” policy, implemented from 1979 through 2015, has created a significant gender imbalance. China’s sex ratio at birth is more imbalanced than the global average. There are about 113 boys born in China for every 100 girls. While some of this ratio might be biological, there is evidence of sex-selective abortion, neglect, abandonment, and even infanticide of infant females.

In 2014, there were about 700 million males living in mainland China, but only 667 million females. By 2030, projections suggest that more than 25% of Chinese men in their late 30s will never have married, prompting some scholars to suggest that this imbalance could lead to a threat to world security.

A Chinese economist has even come up with a controversial solution to the country’s growing number of bachelors: let single men share a wife, or marry each other. “We have many more men than women. Serious social problems, such as rape and assaults, will happen if men cannot find wives. But it doesn’t have to be like that if they are given choices,” Xie Zuoshi, a professor at the Zhejing University of Finance and Economics, wrote in a blog post, according to the South China Morning Post.

5. There are 55 Ethnic Minorities in addition to the Predominant Han Chinese

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Image Source: MSD China

China officially recognizes 55 ethnic minority groups within the country in addition to the Han majority. As of 2010, the combined population of officially recognized minority groups comprised 8.49% of the population of mainland China. So not all Chinese people have the looks of typical East Asians, some of them even have features of Europeans and Arabs.

These minorities are located primarily in the south, west, and north of China. Only Tibet and Xinjiang have a majority population of official minorities, while all other provinces, municipalities and regions of China have a Han majority.

6. Chinese Has Two Written Forms with Many Different Spoken Languages/Dialects

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Image Source: Dartmouth

Chinese is a language with two written forms – Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese – and many spoken varieties/dialects. People in Mainland China use simplified Chinese, and those in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan use Traditional Chinese. The two written forms, despite their differences in the way many Chinese characters are written, belong to the same written system shared by all Chinese speakers. So the Chinese have no or little problem when communicating with one another in writing.

But their different spoken languages/dialects make Chinese much more complicated. Chinese is a group of related but in many cases mutually unintelligible language varieties, usually described by native speakers as dialects of a single Chinese language. But linguists note that they are as diverse as a language family. There are between 7 and 13 main regional groups of spoken Chinese (depending on classification scheme), of which the most spoken by far is Mandarin (about 960 million), followed by Wu (80 million), Yue (60 million) and Min (70 million). Most of these groups are mutually unintelligible.

Mandarin, or Standard Chinese, is the official language of China, as well as one of four official languages of Singapore. It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

7. Tap Water is Undrinkable Before Being Boiled

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Image Source: South China Morning Post

Unlike in most Western countries, the tap water in China is undrinkable before being boiled. Hotel rooms often feature a water dispenser which delivers both cool and hot potable water. However, some hotels have no water dispenser but are instead equipped with a water heater or thermos. You can use the heater to boil water or use the water directly from the thermos.

In most Chinese restaurants, water is served for free before the meal, although some will offer tea or noodle soup instead. Always, the drink offered has been boiled, and you can drink it without worry.

On a personal note, however, some local people still drink tap water without boiling it, and they turn out to be OK. When I was a child, I often drank tap water with no obvious bad effects on me.

8. Ten of the world’s 20 Fastest Growing Cities with at least 5 million People are in China

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Shanghai, China-Image Source: Marcus Lyon

Of the world’s 20 fastest growing cities (in terms of population) with at least five million residents, 10 are in China, according to the United Nations 2010-2020 rates. These 10 cities are Suzhou, Guangzhou, Beijing, Hangzhou, Quanzhou, Chengdu, Nanjing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing.

In China, there are 5 cities of more than 10 million inhabitants, 14 cities of over 5 million residents, and 41 cities of over 2 million people. By 2025, China will have 10 New York-sized cities.

9. All Pandas in the World Were Loaned from China

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Image Source: Animali Adorabili

The giant panda, or simply called panda, is a bear native to south central China. It’s an endangered species that only live in China. The pandas that are kept in zoos in foreign countries are all borrowed from China.

Panda is the most favorite diplomat from China. Between 1957 and 1982, China gave a total of 24 pandas as gifts to 9 countries. Then China stopped giving away pandas because of the limited number of this endangered species. But China’s panda diplomacy has continued as it still loans its pandas to other countries. Currently, there are 44 pandas living in zoos outside of China, all of which were loaned from China. Even those cubs being just born instantly belong to China.

10. Tipping is Mostly Not Expected in China

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Image Source: Golden China Hotel

In The US countries, you are expected to tip 15-20% when taking a taxi, dining at a restaurant, drinking at a bar or having a haircut. In China, you are not expected to give a tip for these services.

However, tipping waiters and waitresses in high-end Western restaurants, guides and drivers from an organized tour group, as well as bellhops in a four or five-star hotel have become gradually accepted in China as elsewhere in the world. For bellboys of high-level hotels or waiters of Western restaurants, 5-30 RMB (1-5 US dollars) should be appropriate.

11. Most Chinese Restrooms (toilets) are Squat Style and Do not Provide Toilet Paper

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Public Restroom in China-Image Source: Robert Ennals

Typically, toilet paper is not offered in restrooms (toilets), so be prepared and always keep toilet paper or travel tissues with you. This is an added expense to the proprietor so it is not typically offered and Chinese know to bring their own.

The other thing you need to know about restrooms in China is that the majority of them is squat style, which does take some people getting used to. But on the other hand, you don’t touch anything, so in a way, it’s good to personal hygiene. All hHotels have Western toilets now so you can rest assured in your own private room you will have a throne to relax on.

12. China Has the Longest High-Speed Rail Network

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Image Source: Pretend E-Magazine

China has the world’s longest high-speed rail (HSR) network with over 19,000 kilometers (12,000 miles) of track in service as of January 2016, which is more than the rest of the world’s high-speed rail tracks combined, and a network length of 30,000 kilometers (19,000 miles) is planned for 2020.

Since high-speed rail service in China was introduced on April 18, 2007, daily ridership has grown from 237,000 in 2007 to 2.49 million in 2014, making the Chinese HSR network the most heavily used in the world. Cumulative ridership had reached 2.9 billion by October 2014.

Over the past decade, the country has undergone an HSR building boom with generous funding from the Chinese government’s economic stimulus program. The pace of high-speed rail expansion slowed for a period in 2011 after the removal of Chinese Railways Minister Liu Zhijun for corruption and a fatal high-speed railway accident near Wenzhou, but has since rebounded.

13. China’s Cuisine is Extremely Diversified

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Image Source: China Highlights

The Chinese cuisine varies greatly from area to area. There are eight major regional cuisines in the country, which are Guangdong/Cantonese Cuisine, Sichuan Cuisine, Jiangsu Cuisine, Zhejiang Cuisine, Fujian/Min Cuisine, Hunan Cuisine, Anhui Cuisine and Shandong Cuisine.

Cantonese food is the most popular style internationally. Guangdong Province and Hong Kong are noted for fine seafood dishes and rice dishes. Sichuan Province has produced the most widely served cuisine in China. Their dishes are famous for their hot-spicy taste and the numbing flavor of Sichuan peppercorn that is rare in other regional cuisines.

The staple foods of Chinese cooking include rice, noodles, vegetables, and sauces and seasonings. Rice is a major staple food for people from rice farming areas in southern China. Steamed rice, usually white rice, is the most commonly eaten form. In wheat-farming areas in Northern China, people largely rely on flour-based food, such as noodles, bread, jiaozi (a kind of Chinese dumplings) and mantou (steaming bread).

14. Paper was Invented in China

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Ancient Paper Making is still done nowadays -Image Source: China Tours Advisors

Paper was invented in ancient China during the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and spread slowly to the west via the Silk Road, arriving in the Muslim world in the 8th century and spreading west from there.

In 105 AD, under the Han Dynasty emperor Hedi, a government official named Cai Lun was the first to start a paper-making industry. It’s believed that he made his paper by mixing finely chopped mulberry bark and hemp rags with water, mashing it flat, and then pressing out the water and letting it dry in the sun.

Cai Lun’s paper was a big success and began to be used all over China. By 650 AD, Buddhist monks in China were block-printing prayer scriptures with paper. After the Chinese began to use paper, it took another thousand years before people were using paper all over Eurasia.

15. Ketchup Originated in China

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Image Source: I love useless knowledge

Ketchup is America’s favorite condiment, being found in 97 percent of kitchens. But you may be surprised to learn that ketchup actually originated in China. The word ketchup is derived from the Chinese ke-tsiap, a pickled fish sauce. It made its way to Malaysia where it became kechap and ketjap in Indonesia.

Seventeenth-century English sailors first discovered the delights of this Chinese condiment and brought it west. Ketchup was first mentioned in print around 1690.

This Chinese sauce gradually went through various changes, particularly with the addition of tomatoes in the 1700s. By the nineteenth century, ketchup was also known as tomato soy. F. & J. Heinz Company began selling tomato ketchup in 1876. By the end of the nineteenth century, tomato ketchup was the primary type of ketchup in the United States, and the descriptor of tomato was gradually dropped.

16. 1.7 million Pigs are Consumed on an Average Day in China

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Chinese Farmer rides his pig-Image Source: Telegraph

China is by far the world’s largest producer and consumer of pig meat. There are 446 million pigs living in China – compared to 13 million in Denmark. On an average day in China, 1.7 million pigs are consumed (according to UN FAO, 2010).

17. Ice cream was Invented in China Around 200 BC

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Image Source: The Good Shopping Guide

Ice cream is a favorite snack throughout the world and has a long history. Its origins date back as far as 200 B.C, when people in China created a dish of rice mixed with milk that was then frozen by being packed in snow.

The Chinese are also credited with inventing the first “ice cream machine.” They had pots they filled with a syrupy mixture, which they then packed into a mixture of snow and salt.

One of the earliest forerunners of modern ice cream was a recipe brought back to Italy from China by Marco Polo. The recipe was very like what we would call sherbet.

18. Due to Severe Air Pollution, it is Common to See People Wearing Face Masks in Beijing

In this combination of photos from the first week of December 2015, women wear masks to protect from air pollutants in Beijing. Many in Beijing are becoming accustomed to wearing masks during winter since episodes of nauseating smog lasting several days has become increasingly common. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Image Source: South China Morning Post

Smog has happened so frequently in Beijing over the past two years that local people are extremely concerned about air pollution. It’s very common to see people wear face masks on the streets in China’s capital city.

In 2013, Beijing instituted a red-alert system to keep people indoors on days when air pollution climbs to hazardous levels. In December 2015, the government issued red alerts twice as smog engulfed the city.

Wearing masks has not been the only way people deal with air pollution. Some Chinese have even begun buying cans of fresh air imported from Canada. And air pollution is cited as one of the reasons many of China’s newly wealthy citizens are leaving the country for the United States, Australia or other countries.

19. Nearly One in Five People in the World is Chinese

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Image Source: Lollitop

With more than 1.3 billion people (as of mid-2011), China is the world’s most populous country. As the world’s population is approximately 7.1 billion, China represents a full 20% of the world’s population. This means that nearly one in every five people on the planet is a resident of China.

China’s population growth has been somewhat slowed by the one-child policy, which was just scrapped after being in effect for 35 years since 1979. Nonetheless, China’s population is expected to grow over the next few decades. By the late 2010s, China’s population is expected to reach 1.4 billion.

20. The Mechanical Clock was Invented by the Chinese

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Image Source: Message to Eagle

According to historical research, the world’s first clock was invented by Yi Xing, a Chinese Buddhist monk and mathematician of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Yi’s clock operated with water steadily dripping on a wheel that made a full revolution every 24 hours.

As time went on, clocks were made with an iron and bronze system of hooks, pins, locks and rods, but still followed Yi Xing’s clock design. Hundreds of years later, Su Song, a Chinese astronomer and engineer of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), created a more sophisticated clock, making him the ancestor of the modern clock.

21. The Chinese Lucky Numbers Are 6, 8 and 9

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Billboard in China-Image Source: Art of Silk

Six, eight and nine are regarded as the luckiest numbers in China, as their names sound similar to words with positive meanings.

The number 6 is pronounced as Liu,” which means smooth and well-off. In Chinese peoples eyes, it indicates that everything will go smoothly. So when choosing telephone numbers, people like more number 6’s in it. Eight has a similar pronunciation with “Fa,” which means wealth and fortune in Chinese. So this number is favored very much in China, particularly in doing business. That’s why Chinese merchants like to offer prices ending with a double or even triple 8.

The number 9 is pronounced as Jiu, which means everlasting, longevity and eternality in Chinese.

22. Red Symbolizes Happiness for the Chinese

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Image Source: BBC

If you do not know what to wear to attend a Chinese celebration, something red is always appropriate. In China, the red color is associated with “happiness and good fortune.” It is symbolic of fire and believed to be able to ward off evil spirits.

To celebrate Chinese New Yearalso called Spring Festival, the Chinese enjoy decorating their houses with something red, such as couplets written on red paper posted on both sides of the gate, red paper-cuts on the window, and the red character “Fu” (fortune) on the door. At a Chinese wedding, the bride usually wears a traditional wedding dress in red. Red loving customs in China can be traced back to the ancient worship of the fire, which always shelters people with warmth and safety.

Today, Westerners usually regard the red color as a representation of China’s revolution or political system. However, this is definitely not the case since ancient Chinese roots certainly did not factor in the revolution for it.

23. Ping Pong is The Number 1 Sport in China

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Image Source: Ping Pong Board

Ping pong, or table tennis, was invented by Englishman David Foster in 1890. But today, ping pong is the number 1 sport in China, where it is widely played at different levels by people of all age groups. And the Chinese have faced no serious challenges in this sport over the past 30 years, having won the overwhelming majority of the titles at the Ping Pong World Championships and the Olympics since 1990’s.

At the most recent world championships for singles events, which was held in Suzhou, China in 2015, China won all the five titles up for grabs, in men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles. (To be more accurate, you may say that China won 4.5 titles, as the mixed doubles title was taken by China’s Xu Xin and Korea’s Yang Ha-Eun.) Then in the world championships for team events held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this year, China took both men’s and women’s titles.

As there are so many Chinese who are so good at ping pong, any foreigner should be careful when trying to have a pickup game with anybody in China. You can be humiliated by an eight-year-old if you are not prepared. 

24. The Great Wall is Made Up of a Number of Different Sections Built at Different Times

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Image Source: Magic Travel

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BC, and they were later joined together by other fortifications and made bigger and stronger. They are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall.

The Great Wall was built by various dynasties over a long period of time to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe. Of the different sections, the wall that was built in 220–206 BC under Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, is especially famous. But little of that wall remains. Since the Qin dynasty, the Great Wall has been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced on and off. The majority of the existing wall today is from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).

The sections of the Great Wall around Beijing municipality are especially famous. They were frequently renovated and are regularly visited by tourists today.

25. China Produces 80 Billion Disposable Chopsticks per Year

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Image Source: 4rt Gallery

In China, almost everybody would use a pair of chopsticks when having a meal. As a result, China produces an astounding 80 billion pairs of disposable wooden chopsticks per year to feed more than 1.3 billion people, and it can pose a threat to the country’s worsening environment.

China chops down 20 million mature trees annually to fuel the habit, and its forestry leaders have acknowledged that it will have to transition to a different type of cutlery. “We must change our consumption habits and encourage people to carry their own tableware,” Bo Guangxin, chairman of Jilin Forestry Industry Group, told delegates at the National People’s Congress in 2013.

Former Chinese president Hu Jintao announced in 2009 that China plans to increase its forest cover by 40 million hectares by 2020, but continued use of disposable chopsticks could prevent the country from reaching this goal.

26. The Number One Hobby in China is Stamp Collecting

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Image Source: Courtesy of Oswald Chambers

To many people, stamp collecting seems to be dying as an out-of-date hobby. Not in China. Actually, philately is the number one hobby in China largely because of the potential gain from investing in stamps. Today, Asia is estimated to be home to two-thirds of the world’s stamp collectors, more than half of which are located in China.

Chinese investors now make up one-third of the $3 billion global stamp collecting market, according to a news report by Financial Times last year. It says that out of 60 million collectors worldwide, 20 million are based in China, where wealthy individuals hold an average of 18% of their total net worth in “treasure assets” such as rare stamps, coins, paintings and classic cars.

It is believed that the popularity of stamps in China is due to their growing value. Investments of passion — anything that is tangible and not a conventional financial asset — have performed strongly over the past 10 years compared to traditional investments such as shares, according to the Financial Times news report.

27. The World’s First Instrument for Monitoring Earthquakes was Invented in China

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Image Source: Epoch Times Romania

Zhang Heng, an astronomer and literary scholar of China’s Han dynasty, invented the world’s first seismograph in AD 132. The instrument, named earthquake weathervane,” was able to roughly determine the direction (out of eight directions) where the earthquake came from.

The seismograph was a bronze jar about three feet across, with eight small dragons perched on it. Each dragon had a ball balanced in his mouth. When there was an earthquake, the closest dragon’s mouth would open, letting the ball drop into the mouth of a waiting frog. This showed what direction the earthquake was coming from. Zhang Heng’s seismograph could tell what direction an earthquake was coming from up to 500 kilometers (310 miles) away.

On one occasion, the instrument indicated an earthquake even though one was not felt. Several days later, a messenger arrived from the west and reported that an earthquake had occurred in Longxi (modern Gansu Province), the same direction that Zhang’s device had indicated, proving the efficacy of the instrument.

28. Shanghai Became an Unexpected Haven for European Jews during World War II

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Refugees in Shangai-Image Source: Erica Lyons

During World War II, Shanghai was an unexpected but important safe haven for Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust in Europe, since it was one of the few places in the world where one didn’t need a visa. From 1933 to 1941, Shanghai accepted around 30,000 Jewish refugees.

During that period of time, in the “Designated Area for Stateless Refugees” in Tilanqiao area in Shanghai, about 20,000 Jewish refugees lived harmoniously with local citizens, overcoming numerous difficulties together.

About 18,000 Jews fled to Shanghai from Germany during World War II when it was discovered that there was actually a place on earth where they could go. Following the Battle of Shanghai between China and Japan in 1937, the Japanese army occupied the city, and the port began to allow entry into the Shanghai International Settlement without a visa or passport.

29. Flowers Carry Hidden Messages in Chinese Culture

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Farmers picking flowers-Image Source: Xinhuanet

Flowers have a privileged position in Chinese culture. The Chinese believe that flowers convey positive messages and play a significant role in daily life.

Lotus is one of the most significant flowers in the Chinese culture. It symbolizes the holy seat of Buddha. Because the flower rises from the mud and blooms in exquisite beauty, it symbolizes perfection and purity of both the heart and mind. Chrysanthemum is one flower where the color white gives it a positive meaning. White chrysanthemums represent nobility and elegance. Peony is the unofficial Chinese National Flower. It stands as a symbol of spring, female beauty, richness and honor. Orchids symbolize scholarly pursuit and represent nobility, integrity and friendship.

The plum blossom has been an important symbol in Chinese culture. As a “friend of winter,” the plum blossom most vividly represents the value of endurance in Chinese culture.

30. The Dragon is a Symbol of Strength and Power in Chinese Culture

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Image Source: Sound Landscapes

While the dragon is typically seen as an evil creature in Western culture, the Chinese Dragon is a benevolent symbol in Chinese culture. In Chinese lore, the dragon had powers to bring rain, floods, and even hurricanes to a land. Along with this ability, the dragon signified power, strength, and good luck. Chinese Emperors usually used the dragon as a symbol of their imperial power and strength.

In Chinese daily language, excellent and outstanding people are compared to a dragon. A number of Chinese proverbs and idioms feature references to a dragon, for example: “wang zi cheng long,” which is literally translated into “hoping one’s son will become a dragon,” means that “hoping one’s son will achieve great success.

The dragon is so deeply rooted in Chinese culture that Chinese people call themselves the descendants of the dragon.”

31. The Chinese New Year Celebration Lasts for 15 days

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Image Source: Ted Nguyen

Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, is the most important festival in China. Although it is defined as the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar, its celebration traditionally runs from the evening right before the first day until  the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the month.

In China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese New Year vary widely. Often, the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner, which is the most important part of the celebration. Traditionally, it includes dishes of meat (namely, pork and chicken), fish and other delicacies.

In northern China, it is customary to make dumplings (jiaozi) after dinner to eat around midnight. Dumplings symbolize wealth because their shape resembles a Chinese sycee. By contrast, in the South, it is customary to make a glutinous New Year cake (niangao) and send pieces of it as gifts to relatives and friends in the coming days of the New Year.

32. Beijing Hosted the Most Expensive Summer Olympics in History

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Image Source: Grayline

The 2008 Summer Olympic Games was held in Beijing with a total cost of $44 billion, making it the most expensive summer games in Olympic history.

Despite the exorbitant cost, China was able to escape the drowning debt that many other host countries have faced. As of 2012, China was still benefiting from the Olympics, with the majority of the facilities still being used.

The Olympics also modernized much of the city, including roads, telecoms, and subway lines. Tourism also remains steady thanks to the success of the games, which gave Beijing a better image.

33. China Has more Billionaires than the United States

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Image Source: China Daily Asia

According to Hurun Report’s annual China rich list released in October 2015, China now has 596 billionaires, compared to 537 in the U.S.

If 119 billionaires from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao are added, Greater China has 715 billionaires in the “Hurun Global Rich List.”

Top of the list of Chinese billionaires is Wang Jianlin of the Wanda Group, a conglomerate with investments in cinema chains and hotels. His estimated fortune of $34.4 billion exceeded that of runner-up Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba

34. There are More than 300 million Smokers in China

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Image Source: Oxford

There are more than 300 million smokers in China, nearly one-third of the world’s total. And about one in every 3 cigarettes smoked in the world is smoked in China.

Nearly 2.3 trillion cigarettes were consumed in China in 2009, more than the other top 4 tobacco-consuming countriesIndonesia, Japan, Russia and the United Statescombined. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) conducted in China in 2010, nearly one-third (28.1%) of the people in the country smoke.

Approximately one million deaths every year in China are caused by tobacco. In other words, someone in China dies approximately every 30 seconds because of tobacco use; or around 3000 people every day. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2050, smoking will kill 3 million Chinese each year.

35. Over 300,000 Chinese Students are Studying in the United States

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Image Source: Gold latest News

During the 2014-2015 academic year, the number of Chinese students studying in the United States was 304,040, a 10.8 percent increase over the 2013-2014 academic year, according to a report by the nonprofit Institute of International Education (IIE).

This is the sixth year in a row that China has been the leading place of origin for international students in the United States. Out of the more than 974,000 international students currently in the United States, almost one in three is now Chinese.

China sends the most students overseas. According to UNESCO, about 700,000 Chinese students were studying abroad in 2012, and India was second with 189,500 while Korea was in third place with 123,700.


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XpatNation is a Social News and Lifestyle magazine, focusing on the insights and experiences of ex-patriots living in The United States.

XpatNation brings together the voices, thoughts, perceptions and experiences of the people of the world who have made the USA their home. Using their insight and unique understanding of the global world we live in to discuss culture, lifestyle, Geopolitics and the day to day on-goings of this proud and powerful nation.

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