August 2, 2012

Once upon a time in China…

We are always fascinated with the various and diversified cultures of a certain country.  It is always interesting to trace its roots and follow the path of its growth development along with time and the country’s distinct way of preserving the richness and the antiqueness of their culture.  These are considered as among the highlighted treasures and global distinction a particular country carries.

Moving towards the world map’s Eastern section is a place of such.  It is considered to possess of what is considered to be one of the oldest civilizations in the world.  This country comes zooming into mind when being “ancient” is the topic.  So ancient, its civilization is considered also to be one of the most populated countries in the world.  The gunpowder, paper, compass and printing are some of its great contributions to mankind.  We’re talking here of nothing else but the country China.

I.  Location and Geography.  To give you a clear picture of where China really is, it is that place located in the Eastern Asia.  The bodies of water surrounding or bordering it are the East China Sea, the Korea Bay, the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea.  It is between its neighboring countries North Korea and Vietnam.  China is considered as the third largest country in the world (the former USSR and Canada are on the top most) and the largest in Asia.  China’s actual claimed area is 9,596,960 sq km! (This includes Taiwan as their province).  The area China covers is a bit larger compared to that of the United States.  China’s capital city, Beijing is located at the upper eastern part of the country.  And because of its extreme amount of area coverage, it is likewise very rich in natural resources that include mountains, deserts and river basins that are fertile.  China’s western part is mostly composed of mountain ranges such as the Himalaya, Pamir and Tian.  The northern side of China is well known for its “Wan-Li Qang-Qeng” or otherwise known as the Great Wall of China which was built during the Qin Dynasty in between 221-206 B.C. to protect China against invaders.  Said man-made structure was before measured to be 6,000 miles long. 

Although China has been under its government’s economic development undertakings over the years, much of people living there are still living in poverty.  With its ancient culture being intact and preserved, it is not surprising that majority of their source of living comes from farming and fishing as well.  Apart from these, China also has an abundant amount of natural resources such as gold, coal, zinc, copper and is also known to have a considerable oil deposits.
II.  History. – When it comes to history, China has probably the oldest because it is considered as one of the “pillars” or centers of human civilization.  Dr. Indiana Jones would further agree that his fellow archaeologists then that the early inhabitants of China, or maybe of the Earth, was found inside one of China’s cave.  The unearthed fossil was recorded to be approximately 300,000 to 550,000 years old. (Now, that is really old!) It is what our history books back in school use to mention – the Peking Man.  They were China’s first dwellers and were known to be the human beings who first used fire.

Since then, China was mostly ruled by various Emperors along with their dynasties.  Ancient Chinese history comprises the commencing rule of the “Three Sovereign Ones and Five Emperors” to the last Eastern Zhou Dynasty.  The Imperial era in Chinese history began with the ruling of the Qin Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty.

China’s years during the1200’s were under Mongolia’s occupation.  The first foreigners who were able to conquer and rule China were led by the historical Mongolian figure Genghis Khan’s grandson, Kublai Khan.  He then likewise established the Yuan dynasty.

1900’s were more trying times for the Chinese people as they decided to end the rule of dynasties by establishing the Republic of China.  Its establishment brought about various political problems in the nation that led to political actions that lasted and became a significant part of World War II (Sino-Japanese War).  These battles between political factions led to another uprising which led to the Chinese Civil War and eventually to the communist’s control of the country.  In 1949, the communists led by Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China and headed the same.  Forces from the Republic of China were forced to move up to Taiwan.  And since then, the last of the Chinese Civil Wars have politically divided China into two entities: The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan – Republic of China (ROC).

III.  Interesting facts you might need to know.  Below are some specific Chinese facts worth noting:

With so large an area and so old its history, China’s number of listed languages totals to about 206;
As considered one of the oldest civilizations, China is also distinct as having its own ancient writing script;
An average Chinese only get to learn 5,000 of the 20,000 characters in the Chinese language in his lifetime;
The missing link between the dinosaurs and the birds was found in China as provinces like Sichuan and Dashanpu have given Dr. Indy and friends over 1000 fossils of dinosaurs;
The Tang Dynasty was ruled by an empress, Empress Wu; and,
The oldest known calendar belonged to the Chinese.  It is based on the Lunar Cycle.  A complete cycle would actually take 60 years to finish;  
The world’s largest dam is in China, The Three Gorges Dam; and,
Looking for a place to party with all of your friends?  Try China’s Tienanmen Square – the world’s largest public gathering place.

IV. … and more Chinese facts and interesting information…

Tree hugging in China is strictly forbidden;
A Chinese rural sport in some of its areas is fast becoming rare in its urban places - spitting 
“Taikonauts” are best known as Chinese Astronauts 
An ancient Chinese pickled fish sauce was the roots of your favorite condiment.  The Chinese called it “ke-tsiap”. (‘Wanna guess?);
The chopsticks that we use in Chinese restaurants originated from and were used by the Chinese people approximately 4,000 years ago of course, in China;  
The soldiers who then guarded the Great Wall never really left their posts in their entire lives (A true and dedicated one…);
China is also known for its soft silks.  These silks and its whereabouts were kept secret for two thousand years.  It was a guarded secret then that anyone who is caught giving the secret could be murdered (ssshhhh…); 
They are truly man’s best friend. Pekingese dogs were considered sacred by Chinese Emperors for more than two thousand years (is it the dog, or the god? Try spelling it backwards); 
Consider it an international flight when you fly from Hong Kong to China;
China is home to about 30 million Muslims;
Aside from fireworks, the Chinese then also had other use for gunpowder. They also used them for guns (obviously), land mines, grenades, rockets and stealth bombers (the last one is not included…sorry);
The plants that grow in China are very useful.  20% of them are used in medicine.  And that varieties (150) of these Chinese herbs are used in treating infertility (which brings us to the next fact….); 
A minute in is equivalent to 34 babies born in China (Now that’s a real explosion!);
With over 870 million speakers, the Mandarin Chinese is the world’s most spoken language (qīng chu?);
There was one time in china that all Disney characters were banned for 40 years. (Poor Mickey!);
Disney’s “Mulan” and its roots have long been told in China approximately 1,500 years ago;
As if there’s something between China and Disney…It was then believed that “Cinderella” originated from China and not from Disney’s;
The CSi guys may be amazed by the fact that the fingerprinting was first used in China in 700 A.D.;
Packing a rice mixture and soft milk in the snow really made wonders for the Chinese around 2000 BC.  It later became our favorite ice cream;
The world takes pride on China as it is considered the largest apple producer in the world above US;
According to registry statistics, China has about 200 diverse family names;
Wars in China before consisted of flying kites.  They used kites mainly for war purposes only during those times; 
Do you know China employs one of the odd jobs in the world? Apologizers;
A governor of China then was born with two pupils…in each eye;
Engineering is fast becoming the best academic course in China as they produce 70,000 Engineers yearly;
An internet café would be the best business opportunity as there are 100 million internet users in China;  
But unfortunately, these millions of internet users can’t access the BBC News site; and,
One of my favorites…“May you live in interesting times.” (Considered as a Chinese curse).

你喜欢读的希望! (Hope you enjoyed reading!)

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