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Born in the UK but now living in Australia, Paul Fox has travelled to many places throughout China. He has seen the lighter side, the darker side, both the gentle and the seedy sides. He documents his experiences and is willing to share them with anyone who wants to listen. He is not afraid to say things exactly how he sees them, and is quite happy to "name and shame" when necessary.
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25 Things You Never Knew About China...and never thought to ask!    

By Paul Fox
3708 Views | 10 Comments | 6/12/2014 3:39:31 PM

If you have been following the exploits of Barry and Tina then you may already have discovered many things about China that you never knew before. Gareths superb blog - "Red Flags When Dating Chinese Women" is another 'must-read' if you have not done so already.



These excellent blogs have prompted me to add my 'tuppence' into the mix and write a little blog about some of the less 'well-known facts' about China that most of us 'ignorant westerners' never knew.



The list is not exhaustive and there are many others that I could have added here, but I have picked out what I think are the 25 most 'interesting'



1) We have all heard about China's poverty, but did you know that more than 200 million people in China survive on less than USD$1 per day?



2) The death penalty was abolished in the UK and most of Europe several decades ago and although some US states still have the death penalty, do you know how many crimes in the US actually carry a mandatory death sentence ? In China there are 55 crimes that carry the death sentence - FIFTY-FIVE!!! China executes more people per year than all the other countries (who still have the death penalty) put together. Since 1997 they have used a vehicle called a 'Death Van'. Convicts are taken inside the van and are given a lethal injection which saves time and money taking them to an execution ground and using a firing squad



3) Around 2000BC, China invented ice-cream. It was made with a mixture of soft rice and milk and then packed in snow to freeze it.



4) China is credited with inventing soccer (football) in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. Linzi was the capital of the ancient Chinese state of Qi, and is said to be the birthplace of “cuju” - “kick ball with foot.”



5) China, like the USA, drives on the right side of the road, whereas Hong Kong is like the UK and drives on the left. If you drive from mainland China across to Macau (Hong Kong), you will use a road bridge that actually changes from driving on the right to driving on the left - and vice versa when you return.



6) Chicken is extremely popular in countries such as the USA and Australia and pork is often described on TV etc as being 'the other white meat'. Yet pork is so popular in China -  that around 1.7 million pigs are eaten every day! (Incidentally, back to the chicken and Chinese people regard the 'chicken breast' as being tasteless and they rarely eat it)



7) Yao Defen, a woman from Eastern China was the tallest woman in the world. Due to a tumour that released too much growth hormone into her body, she grew to a massive 7ft 8 inches in height and at one point weighed more than 31 stone. She sadly died in 2012 at the age of 40 because her family could not afford more surgery (see photo of her shoes)



8) A 4000-year old bowl of noodles was found during an archeological dig in Western China, giving rise to speculations that the Chinese invented pasta long before the Italians.



9) Poor sanitation and pollution in China means that over 700 million Chinese people have no choice but to drink polluted water.



10) Red is considered to be the colour of luck, happiness and prosperity in China and white symbolises death. Most brides marry in red, as opposed to the Wests traditional white.



11) Most hotels and commercial buildings do not have a 13th or 14th floor. Instead, you may find floors named 12A and 12B and then the 15th floor. This one I find extremely interesting because the 'unlucky 13' is likely to come from Western culture dating back to 'Black Friday'. For those who do not know, during the years 1129 to 1307 a band of 'Christian Knights' were prevalent in Europe, and were known as the 'Knights Templar'. On Friday 13th 1307, the then King of France attacked and tried to disband them. Many were burned at the stake. This allegedly gave rise to Friday 13th being 'unlucky'. However 14 in Chinese is regarded as unlucky for another reason.  Vehicle licence plates and telephone numbers are often devoid of the number 4. The number 4 in Chinese (Mandarin) is 'Si' and the word "si" also means death/dead. The number 14 would be spoken as 'shi si' but if spelled out (as in 'one-four') it would be spoken as 'Yao Si' - Yao = want and Si = die, so Yao-Si = want to die. Numerology and superstition are extremely prevalent in Chinese culture - as are many other superstitions.



12) Back in the year 2000 when China was bidding for the olympic games, more than 4000 new born male babies were given the name "AoYun" - meaning "Olympics"



13) Have you ever seen those disposable wooden chopsticks - the type that you use once and then throw away? Well China uses 45 BILLION pairs per year - which equates to the wood from around 25 million fully-grown trees!



14) One for the cavemen -  (Barry and Imi Haha)........35 million people in China still live in CAVES ! - Mostly in Shanxi Province - apparently they prefer it there.



15) Believe it or not, but - Re-incarnation is FORBIDDEN in China - unless you have the Government's permission!



16) The "New South China Shopping Mall" in Guangdong Province is the worlds largest shopping mall in terms of leasable space. It can accommodate nearly 2500 shops and it opened in 2005. To this day it remains 99% empty!



17) 1400 years ago China invented the worlds first paper currency/money. To this day, China still holds the record of producing the smallest paper note in the world.



18) Until 1949 there were 5 time zones across China, but since they were all joined together to make 'Beijing Time', parts of China do not see sunrise until around 10am at certain times of the year



19) Every 30 seconds a baby is born in China with a birth defect. It is not uncommon to find 'Fake Beggars' at railway stations who simply pretend to have a birth defect. It has also been known for families to literally cripple a family member so that they can make a living from begging. So sad!



20) Concern about pollution in China has inspired the manufacturing of 'canned fresh air'. For only 5 yuan (less than 1 dollar), you can buy a can of "Pristine Tibet Air". What you do with it after a few 'sniffs' is anybodys guess, but I suppose there are some brain-dead idiots that would buy it.



21) The Chinese not only invented paper, but in 723AD a monk named Su Sung invented the first mechanical clock - it stood around 30 feet high.



22) "Chunyun' (Spring Feastival, or Chinese New Year) is the biggest travel season in the country. More than 700 million people head home for the holidays, a combined a total of over 3 BILLION journeys. It is the largest annual human migration in the world. Some 10% of factory workers fail to return to their place of work after each spring festival holiday. This gives rise to factory owners needing to employ more people. But the factory next door is also short of workers, etc etc etc. If a factory has say 1000 workers BEFORE Spring Festival and only 900 AFTER Spring Festival, then he needs to attract another 100 workers - but so do other factories. This means they must pay more in order to attract the workers. But how can they pay MORE money to 100 workers yet leave the other 900 workers on the same pay as before? - They cannot! This is what will result in higher prices for Chinese goods and is probably the biggest cause of 'inflation' in China



23) Shanghai may be the largest populated city in China, but Beijing is the fastest growing city.  If you bought a Beijing road map today - 4 weeks later it would be out of date



24) There are around 64 million empty apartments in China. Many located in what are known as 'Ghost Towns'. The largest is called 'Ordos' in Mongolia. These ghost towns are well-equipped and have all the amenities a population needs - except one thing.... PEOPLE! (Try to Google "Ordos" - it's jaw-dropping!)



25) Paper, the compass, explosive powder and printing are the four greatest inventions China has produced . Chinese are also credited with having invented the wheel, kites (paper birds) and the first calendar. Toilet paper was also invented in China in the late 1300s, but was for the emperor only.



So there you have it - 25 things you possibly never knew about China. Most can be researched on the internet if you want more details, but with a culture dating back not 5000 years, but 6000 years, they are regarded as one of the cleverest and most innovative cultures on the planet


Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 10) 1
#2014-06-12 16:38:33 by wyhyaya @wyhyaya

hahaha

#2014-06-12 18:55:34 by yinanancy @yinanancy

@Paul, hello paul, as a foreigner, you truely summerized the very interesting 25 things. Did a really good job. But 23 may be not quite right. I am living in Shanghai, which is not the polluted city. Maybe Beijing or Shijiazhuang is.

#2014-06-12 20:13:35 by Barry1 @Barry1

@paulfox1

Thanks for this very interesting blog, Paul.

I'm currently still in China as you know and I can vouch they're a very clever and hard working mob.

I'm also very impressed by their clothing - they have articles of apparel in every colour and pattern imaginable. Walk down the street of any major Chinese city and you'll see an extremely colourful selecton of avant garde clothes and footwear, the young people in particular.

Great article, Paul. :)

#2014-06-13 07:29:01 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@yinanancy
I said Shanghai was the largest POPULATED city - not POLLUTED city (rofl)

#2014-06-13 12:12:07 by Grace172 @Grace172

@paulfox1
14)"35 million people in China still live in CAVES! - Mostly in Shanxi Province - apparently they prefer it there."
Do you mean the Yao Dong, Cave style homes? My daughter traveled Shanxi last years and she tried to live in such Cave house for few days. She said she was told that these kind of cave houses are warm in winter and cool in summer, maybe this is the reason why the local people prefer it.

2) “In China there are 55 crimes that carry the death sentence - FIFTY-FIVE!!!”
I do not know the exact number, but I think the heavy penalty still need to be existed in China nowadays to keep maintenance of law and order in the community. The large population causes difficulties in employment and there are many minority nationalities in China, and the ethnic conflicts cause the social contradictions. Others like the serious corruption, income discrepancy, defective education, large floating population etc. these all cause the public disorder. So heavy penalty needed in the trouble times.

6)"Incidentally, back to the chicken and Chinese people regard the 'chicken breast' as being tasteless and they rarely eat it”
I think it is not too correct, Paul. Not mean that people rarely eat it. It depends on you buy a whole chicken or a part of the chicken. If people buy and cook a whole chicken, people eat it up. Of course if the chicken has been cut in different parts and is sold in the supermarket, not many Chinese people are interested in chicken breast but the chicken legs and chicken wings.

19) “It is not uncommon to find 'Fake Beggars' at railway stations who simply pretend to have a birth defect.”
Yes, it is true. And the worst is that so many innocent child victims were not birth defect but have been crippled by the human traders. Then they have been forced to beg in the streets. So I do not give money to these poor child beggars even though I feel so sad for them. But if I gave them money, then more and more children would be abuse like that. This makes me sad and angry. :@

20) “ I suppose there are some brain-dead idiots that would buy it.”
(rofl)(rofl)(rofl) …
Yes, and they in deed “need” it. (giggle)

15)
????(wasntme)
what’s that mean?
Example?

1), 9) ,13)
:( Too sad, I think these are not the news any more. Everyone in the world knew that. I feel shame for that. (sweat)

@yinanancy
"23) Shanghai may be the largest populated city in China,”
Populated, not polluted. dear. (handshake)

#2014-06-13 15:18:28 by sunrise68 @sunrise68

Among the pictures, that one, a man drinking dirty water in the glass, is terrible. Although I use clean water at home, there is still a problem. After the water is boiled, there always appear some white substances at the bottom. Maybe water in wester countries is not like this.

#2014-06-13 16:44:57 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@Grace172 and others. Thanks for your comments. I can assure all of you that every item in my list above was fully researched before I sent the article for publication
#15) Re-incarnation is when you die and come back as something else. In Barry's case, he will die and come back as Imi, in Imi's case he will die and come back as Arnold Swartza wotsit, and knowing my luck I will die and come back as a pig born in china amongst the other 1.699,999 that are eaten every day (rofl)

#2014-06-14 23:31:14 by Grace172 @Grace172

@paulfox1
Happy Father's Day!
"15) Believe it or not, but - Re-incarnation is FORBIDDEN in China - unless you have the Government's permission!"
I understand the literal meaning. But I have never heard that Re-incarnation is forbidden in China. So I think there must be some implcation behind the words. But as I am so stupid (opposite of you, maybe my previous life was a pig(rofl))I can not figure out the implication of that. Did you mean the religion? But the Chinese government did not forbid that. So I confuse....(think)

#2014-06-17 18:10:10 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@Grace172

I have no idea as to the literal sense or as to what the Chinese government meant.
However, if you do any search on Google, you will find the words "Reincarnation is forbidden in China unless you have Governments permission'

I mean, do you actually need to DIE and then come back in order to be re-incarnated?

Maybe you can be a factory owner one day, then quit, then come back as a Tibetan Monk the next day.

That's a kind of 're-incarnation' that the gov would not like - (rofl)

#2014-07-13 13:17:33 by zqy2014 @zqy2014

@paulfox1
You have so great interest on Chinese culture that I have to say many thanks and great admiration! You know even much than me as a pure Chinese person. I am a little shamed to read your blog.. This is a great blog for those western people who has interest in China and her culture / history... Thanks!

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