Some Interesting Facts We Learned About China

There are 56 nationalities in China; the Han comprise 92% of the population of 1.4B.  Christians comprise 2% of population.  Communist Party members 6%.

The two major rivers in China are the Yellow, in the north and the Yangtze, in the south.

There were 500 emperors who reigned in China; 83 of them lived in Xian (surrounded on three sides by mountains and one side by the Yellow River).

Modern China’s Key dates:

1949 – Mao & Communists come to power (PRC).  The Nationalists (Kaing Ki Sheck) flee to Taiwan.
1957 – Great Leap Forward – devaluation of ancient ways, no private property.  Mainly agricultural and industry in focus.
1966 – Cultural Revolution – devaluation & destruction of ancient ways, elimination of personal wealth, elimination of religion, Red Guards.
1972 – Nixon visits and relations with US improve.
1976 – Death of Mao
1979 – Deng Xia Ping reverses many of Mao’s policies, institutes one child per family, restores college entrance exams, and families can now lease land from government, and the country is now open to foreigners.  Political freedom is still non-existent however.  80% of the population lives in the country side.
1989 – The “Unfortunate Incident” of Tiananmen Square – democracy movement is crushed.
2013 – Xi Jinping becomes Chairman of Communist Party.  Bo Xilai sentenced to life in prison for corruption; was the Chongqing Region’s party Secretary and destined for the Politburo.  80% of population lives in the cities.

Phrases:

Ni Hoa – (pronounced Nee How) – Hello
Ni Hoa Ma – how are you?
Ma Ma Hu Hu – so so
Ding Ding Hoa – very very well
Qing (pronounced Ching) – please
Bu Yao – no want
Xie xie (pronounced a bit like She-She but towards Shay Shaya) – thank you
Bu Xie – you are welcome (no problem)
Duo Shao Qian – how much?

Beer – 50 billion liters consumed in 2011; US exports of beer account for 12% of beer consumed in China; most popular brands are Tsingtao, Yanjing, and Harbin; consumption of beer grew 30% per year from 2006 to 2011 while wine and spirits are way down.

The average salary in Beijing is 5,200 yuan per month ($866 US).

A Few Cultural Items we picked up along the way

 In China, the responsibility for paying for the wedding is the groom’s parents.  Also, the boy’s parents usually pay for the 1st apartment if they can afford it; otherwise the newly-wed couple move in with the groom’s parents.  It’s the boy’s parents who are supposed to look after the grandchildren.  Makes having a girl seem not so bad.

One of the unintended consequences of having the “one-child” policy is that mothers would abort female children, because according to the old Chinese culture, it was the boys who would carry on the family farm or business.  So girls were not desirable.  However, now there are many more boys in the younger population, so young girls can have their pick.  Now, the balance has swung back to normal.