15 Intriguing Facts About China

15 Intriguing Facts About China

Do you crave a tour around China? Are you curious about this hearth of world economic and geopolitical power in Asia? In this article, we will discuss 15 refreshing facts about China which will most certainly surprise you, and may even trigger your interest in this five-thousand-year-old civilization. This information can also be used as a great conversation starter for a party. So let’s get to them without further introduction.

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1. The China Wall is not visible from space

There are many rumors tossed around about the Great Wall of China (万里长城 Wànlǐ Chángchéng, literally “long fortress of a thousand li — over three thousand miles) including a popular myth according to which you can see the Great Wall from space. Well, that is actually not true. The Great Wall of China is very long but very thin as well, which makes the structure invisible to the naked eye from such a great distance.

2. Every year, China produces 63 million pairs of chopsticks

China boasts a population of over 1.4 billion and is universally known to use chopsticks over cutlery to eat. But you may be stunned by the fact that 63 million pairs (or 126 million single chopsticks) are produced in the country every year. Certain specific types of chopsticks can take up to a month to be finished and ready to use!

3. Despite spanning 5 geographical time zones, the entire country of China functions in Beijing time

When looking at a world map, you may observe that China is the third-largest country in the world by landmass. One would think that China has a plethora of different time zones, but it is not true. In fact, both the east and west ends of the country share the same timezone.

4. Rice was used in the construction of China’s Great Wall

Rice is deeply connected to the Chinese culture, most visibly because it was and remains an invariable commodity used in traditional cuisine. But you may not know that it was also used to build China’s Great Wall. How? In ancient times builders used glutinous rice flour as a binding material to connect the bricks.

5. The fastest train in the world operates in China

Maglev (that’s how it’s called) can reach a speed of 380 miles per hour. It operates in Shanghai and transports millions of people every year.

6. TV shows and movies about time travel are banned in China

Banned topics in Chinese media are not rare, but time travel being one of them may rub you the wrong way. China’s regulators complained that many science fiction movies “casually make up myths, have monstrous and weird plots, use absurd tactics, and even promote feudalism, superstition, fatalism, and reincarnation”. For this reason, this whole genre of entertainment is banned on the Chinese territory.

7. When you combine all railways in China, you can loop around the Earth 3 times!

The length of the railway network in China is 146,300 km, while the Earth’s equatorial circumference is about 40,075 km. This means that, after looping the equator 3 times, we still have a lot of train tracks left.

8. Nearly all pandas in the world are owned by the Chinese government

Renting a panda can be a huge cost for a zoo. American zoos can even pay $1,000,000 to rent one of these lovely beasts for one year, and if a baby panda is born, they have to pay an additional tax to the Chinese government. Pandas are an integral part of the Chinese heritage and diplomacy. They are also an instrument of the Chinese “soft power” (软实力 ruǎnshǐlì) and are sometimes granted as gifts to partner nations or prospected allies to foster diplomatic ties.

9. An ancestor of ice cream was created in China

The origins of ice cream were traced back to 4000 years ago when Chinese chefs mixed cooked rice with spices and milk. The mixture was left in the snow to solidify and become some kind of ancient ice-cream.

10. Chinese chopsticks were originally used for cooking and not eating

Long enough to reach deep into cooking pots, chopsticks were first meant as a cooking tool.  The breakthrough happened in 400 AD when civilians started to eat with those utensils while the population was growing rapidly and people needed to develop cost-saving habits.

11. Chinese brides wear red dresses

In China, the color red (红 hóng) is the embodiment of success, harmony, honor, fertility, and love. It is widely used as a decoration in traditional architecture and ceremonies, including weddings. That is why Chinese brides primarily wear red dresses, unlike white-dressed brides in the West.

12. In Mainland China, people avoid using the number 4 in phone numbers and addresses

The Chinese pronunciation of the words 四 sì (“four”) and 死 sǐ (“death”) is similar and only differs per their respective tones. For instance, the number “94” can be interpreted as dead for a long time, the numeral nine (九 jiǔ) having the exact same pronunciation as the word meaning “long-enduring” (久 jiǔ). For these reasons, the Chinese avoid using ominous numbers in daily life and prefer more auspicious ones like the number 6. This form of widespread belief is known as Fengshui (风水). It must not be overlooked by real estate agents, for example.

13. Every Chinese year is named after a Chinese zodiac animal

Chinese zodiac animals are the Rat (鼠 shǔ), Ox (牛 niú), Tiger (虎 hǔ), Rabbit (兔 tù), Dragon (龙 lóng), Snake (蛇 shé), Horse (马 mǎ), Goat (羊 yáng), Monkey (猴 hóu), Rooster (鸡 jī), Dog (狗 gǒu), and Pig (猪 zhū). 2021 was the year of the Ox (牛年 niúnián), and 2022 is that of the Tiger (虎年 hǔnián).

14. Emperor Shang of Tang had 94 ice men in his service

“Icemen” were responsible for preparing ice cream for the Emperor Shang of the Tang (唐) dynasty. The dish was made from buffalo milk, flour, and camphor. The Emperor’s first ice cream was honey-flavored.

15. A new skyscraper is being built every few days

In 2020, Chinese constructors built over a hundred 150-meter buildings or higher. The same happened in 2019 and 2018. Thus, statistically speaking, a new skyscraper pops up every few days in China.

Get your Chinese Visa and catch a glimpse of these marvels!

As you probably understood, the landscapes, civilization, and culture of China are one of a kind. In this article, we have only scratched the surface of the troves the Middle Kingdom holds. Visiting China is an experience of a lifetime and may well become the most memorable trip in your life. 

If China is in your sights, some things need to be addressed before reifying your yearnings. While planning your journey to China, there is a high chance you will have to obtain a Visa (i.e., that your country is not on the list of Visa-exempt countries for China). Learn more about getting a Chinese Visa and the photo requirements for the document. 

Top tip: use an online Visa photo maker

You can save a significant amount of time and money by using Chinese Visa-making photo software. The Passport Photo Online tool or the mobile app for Android and iOS can help you produce compliant Visa photos within just a few minutes. By using their service, you can enjoy a guarantee of acceptance by Chinese authorities. If your application happens to be rejected, you receive a refund worth double the amount you invested in making your Visa photo.

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