Even though I love to do research before I visit a destination, there are always things I learn while I’m there. This was even more pronounced in China because with most of the information composed in Chinese, not English, it was more difficult for me to find sufficient information prior to traveling.
This is one reason I thoroughly enjoyed my guides in China. They could fill in the blanks to all of my burning questions.
While I didn’t just learn 25 facts during my whole time in China, these simply wouldn’t fit into any of my other articles, but they were so interesting and sometimes surprising to me that I thought I would share them!
1.) The one child rule has been amended to two children, but most families still chose to have one child due to the cost of child rearing.
2) All citizens receive a pension from the government when they retire from work, and women can retire 5 years earlier than men.
3.) Most Chinese do not practice a religion. Instead, they focus on peace and harmony.
4.) There are four main colors ancient Chinese used in building construction: red for luck, green for Earth, blue for sky, and gold for the emperor.
5.) The lions seen guarding various buildings are there to ward off evil spirits. One is male and one is female. The male rests his foot on the Earth, and the female rests her foot on a lion cub. Both hold power balls in their mouths.
6.) Concubines were not what we would consider escorts. They were considered “wives” of the emperor. The emperor’s main wife was called the empress, but the remaining “wives” were concubines.
7.) Important buildings in Chinese culture are indicated by the number of dragon sons lining their roofs. The more dragons, the more important the building. A building with 9 dragons on the winged tip of the roof was the most important.
8.) Gambling is illegal in China, but many people play games in parks and other common spaces for fun.
9.) Two very popular Chinese pastimes are playing Mahjong and socializing at teahouses.
10.) It takes more than one year to walk the entire Great Wall of China.
11.) China considers Communism to be a blend of Socialism and Capitalism.
12.) Children are taught to read and write in English, but not how to speak English. Most Chinese who speak English learned to do so by watching Hollywood movies.
13.) Kung Fu Panda is a recommended movie to watch by the Chinese because it represents their culture well.
14.) The Chinese language is difficult to learn because one word can have four meanings based on the way it is pronounced.
15.) Animals are revered for many reasons. For example, the bat is thought to be happy, the crane symbolizes longevity, and the turtle is wise.
16.) About 96% of the world’s freshwater pearls come from China, and the majority of these come from the lake at the Summer Palace in Beijing.
17.) Xi’an, a city with a population of 9 million, is considered a small city in China.
18.) The emperor responsible for the commission of the Great Wall also started the Silk Road and built the terra cotta warriors located in Xi’an.
19.) The Silk Road ran all the way from Xi’an, China to Persia (modern day Iran).
20.) Chinese inventions include the printing press, compass, and gun powder.
21.) Shanghai has only become a major city in the last 20-30 years and its famous skyline was mostly built by the British on farmland.
22.) Chinese waste no part of an animal. You will see everything from chicken beaks and feet to pork snout and intestines on restaurant menus.
23.) Airports in China have water machines where you can pick the water temperature. Select cold for drinking water or hot water for cooking the noodles purchased at the airport convenience store.
24.) Since all Google applications are blocked in China, Bing is the primary search engine used there.
25.) If a Chinese person asks personal questions such as how much money you make, don’t be offended. This is their way of expressing a genuine interest in you.
None of these are huge revelations, but you can wow your friends with your newfound knowledge, or you never know – maybe one of them will help you win Trivial Pursuit someday!