Shocking Facts About China
Massive in both geographic size and population, China is a country that boasts a rich history as well as a fascinating present and a complex future. As the site of one of the earliest known civilizations, China has held the title of most populous nation for centuries.
Along with its ever-surging population, the country has a rapidly growing and changing economy and consumer market. It’s also the largest manufacturing nation and exporter of goods — by far. Pick up random items around your home, and you'll quickly discover that many have "Made in China" written somewhere on them. So, what kind of cool facts do you not know about China? Let’s find out!
Illegal Video Games
Now one of the major markets for video gaming culture, China was initially very resistant to the influx of video games. In 2000, the country banned the sale of gaming consoles altogether, and that ban wasn’t lifted until 2015.
Time Travel Is Disrespectful
The strict Chinese government may have a penchant for revisionist history, but only on their terms. Combine that with their distrust of Western films and what do you get? A ban on time travel. Well, not time travel-related movies. Sorry, Marty McFly.
Believe in Reincarnation? That Might be a Problem…
Due to the ongoing conflict between Tibet and China, the Dalai Lama — the Tibetan Buddhist leader — has lived in exile for years. The friction came to a head in 2007 when China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs outlawed Tibet monks “reincarnating without approval.”
Next Level Traffic Jams
If you're a resident of a major city and a regular driver as well, you might think you’re pretty well-versed in the frustration that comes with traffic jams. Well, think again! Due to overpopulation, traffic jams in certain parts of China are unrivaled in terms of their severity.
Cockroaches may be one of the most dreaded creatures in the Western world, but they are viewed as welcome creatures in China. In a controlled environment, they can be used for many medical purposes.
Boyfriends for Sale
Have you ever felt pressure from family members to find a mate and settle down? Well, this issue is equally relevant in China, and they have come up with a practical solution to the problem — rent-a-boyfriend services.
In the Military, You Don’t Get Internet Clearance
Although the citizens of China don’t have access to platforms like Google, YouTube and Instagram, things are even stricter when it comes to the government’s regulation of military members and internet access. In 2010, the government tried to ban those in the military from using online dating services and apps.
An "Only Child" Country
You have probably heard about the one-child policy that was put in place in 1979 in China to combat the massive overpopulation problem they were experiencing. While this policy may have assisted in slowing the population growth, it also created a gender imbalance.
Winnie the Pooh Is Outlawed
Chinese President Xi JinPing is anything but “bother free.” After being compared to the fictional, honey-addicted bear Winnie the Pooh time and time again, he took action — serious action. In order to stop the comparisons, the government has banned Pooh from Chinese culture.
Much of Hollywood Has Been Blacklisted
Reportedly, the Chinese government only allows theaters to show 34 foreign films a year, which means they’re highly selective when it comes to what’s allowed. When Taiwan-born director Ang Lee won the Best Director Oscar for Brokeback Mountain (2005), the Chinese people were overjoyed for him — even though the film never actually aired in China.
Social Media and Google Aren’t Allowed
In China, citizens can’t “do it for the ‘Gram’” or just “Google it” due to the government’s extreme internet and social media censorship. In 2010, things came to a head between Google and the Chinese government when the Silicon Valley-based company rerouted traffic from mainland China to the uncensored Hong Kong.
There’s Quite a Bit of Revisionist History
While we can all collectively eye-roll the banning of Winnie the Pooh from a country’s cultural consciousness, things take a much more serious turn when it comes to the Chinese government’s stance on historical events. Certain moments in history can’t be mentioned — let alone written about — lest they paint the government in a bad light.
Protests Against the Government
Famously a communist regime, China is a nation that governs its people much more strictly than what most of us have experienced in democratic countries in the Western world. The control the government retains over its people includes the access citizens have to the media.
Even a Flower Has Been Banned
While it seems obvious that a government as concerned with shaping (and maintaining) its image would regulate media and communication tools, it may surprise you to learn that China has also banned a flower. In fact, even the flower’s name is taboo.
It's a well-known fact that Chinese is a highly complex language made up of thousands of unique characters. Because the language is so unique and difficult to master, you often get some unusual results when attempting to translate Chinese words into English.
The Once-Forbidden “Forbidden City”
The Forbidden City, formerly used as the Chinese Imperial Palace, is a palace complex found in Beijing. From the years 1420 to 1912, the palace was the home of the emperor and was entirely off-limits to commoners. Finally, in 1912, the doors were opened to the public, and an extensive museum was created by 1925.
Living in a Cave
Living in a cave may seem like a rather prehistoric practice to some of us, but for those living on the Loess Plateau in northern China, cave-dwelling is a common type of habitation. Called yaodong, or "house cave," these carved out dwellings are actually hugely practical.
Earthquakes in the Southeast
The southeastern border of China lies a mere 800 kilometers away from a fault line along the tectonic plates. Because of this proximity, the region experiences quite a few earthquakes. Most of them are manageable, but occasionally a quake can be particularly disastrous.
Separate Governing for Hong Kong
While China as a country is technically governed as a whole, one region has its own separate governing body as well. Known by the rather lengthy title The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, or HKSAR for short, this executive authority was established in 1997.
Huge Number of Chinese Variations
Obviously, Chinese is the nationally recognized language of China, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. Beyond the distinction of Simplified and Traditional (used almost exclusively in Hong Kong and Taiwan), there are tons of dialects. The most common of these dialects — Mandarin — is so widespread that many people refer to it as a language itself.
The Greatness of the Great Wall
The Great Wall of China, perhaps the most admired attraction China has to offer, is a marvel to behold. Built over the course of 200 years, or more specifically during the Spring and Autumn Period as well as the Ming Dynasty, the wall stretches 13,170 miles long.
Building a Hospital in 10 Days
China has been in the news a lot in early 2020 due to the recent outbreak of coronavirus, which originated in the city of Wuhan. Although the country has been hit hard and the search for treatment is ongoing, the way that China has fought back against the epidemic is certainly admirable.
Pricey Beijing Olympics
The Olympic games date all the way back to Ancient Greece, but these days, we do things a bit differently. It's considered a great honor for a city to host the games, but it's also a huge burden, both in terms of finance and infrastructure.
Soccer’s Connection to China
The history of soccer is a bit foggy and subject to debate. There are more than a few origin stories for the sport, one of which claims the game first began in China. About 2,000 years ago, a game called kuju was played in the country that has very similar rules as soccer, minus the goalie.
Immense Popularity of Ping-Pong
Although the history of soccer continues to remain up in the air, one sport that the United Kingdom can definitely take credit for is ping pong. Originating in Victorian England, the game was originally called whiff-whaff but later became known as ping-pong. The name was officially trademarked in the U.S. in the 1920s.
Traveling for Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year, also known by the names Lunar New Year and Spring Festival, is not a joking matter when you live in China. The celebrations are merry and sizable, and it's quite common for citizens to take advantage of the celebration period to treat themselves to a vacation.
Winged Police Officers
With an unbelievably large population of 1.38 billion people, it's no wonder that civil services like the police force are always looking for ways to work more efficiently and effectively. So, while you may have heard of police dogs, you may be surprised to learn that police geese are not uncommon in China. We sure were!
Purchases of Canned Air
Although China may be an overachiever in terms of their output of exports and industrial growth, this type of economy doesn't come without some complications. The most notable downside is air pollution. In fact, the issue is so widespread that it has caused between 350,000 to 400,000 premature deaths.
Different Color Interpretations
Westerners don’t give all colors meanings, but we tend to think that the meanings behind certain colors are universal. However, the significance of each hue varies quite a bit, depending on where you are in the world. This is especially true in China, where the associations with certain colors couldn't be more different than those that exist in the Western world.
Fans of Afternoon Naps
Things in China move at a rapid pace without a doubt, but even with the fast and furious competitive mindset, the Chinese definitely recognize the value of a daily nap. Most Western cultures believe that naps are only necessary for the very young and the very old, but noontime naps are considered to be important for people of all ages in China.