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73 Interesting Facts about China You Might Not Know

China is officially known as the “People’s Republic of China” and is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Chinese history goes back more than 8,000 years. Today it has an extremely large population and is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. It has emerged from being a closed country and is now a superpower.

This unique mix of ancient traditions combined with massive growth and development means that China has a very rich vein of fascinating facts.

Here are 73 interesting facts about China you might not know.

Li River China
Li River

73 Interesting Facts about China

1. China is the country with the largest population in the world of 1.4 billion people.

2. It is said that one in every five people in the world is probably Chinese.

3. China is the fourth largest country in the world.

4. For over 40 years all the Disney characters including Mickey Mouse, Donald duck were banned in China.

5. China is only the third nation to launch a manned spaceflight after U.S and Russia in 2003.

6. Over the past few years, China has now become the world’s bestseller of Beer.

7. Red is the color of happiness for Chinese and is used at parties and weddings. It symbolizes fire, joy and good luck. It is forbidden to wear red to funerals.

8. 50% of the world’s Donkeys live in china.

9. Soccer is the invention of the Chinese.

10. Thousands of years ago the world’s first paper money was created in China.

11. One in every three socks you have was made in the district of the Tung in Suji China, which is also known as socks city.

the bund shanghai
the bund shanghai

12. More than 30 million people in China live in “cave homes” because they are warm in winter and cold in the summer.

13. In 2008 China classified internet addiction as a disease.

14. Dyeing pets to look like other wild animals has been a trend in china since 2000.

15. The Great Wall of China is the largest structure made by man in the world.

16. Early in 700 A.D, fingerprinting was first practiced in China.

17. About 200 years ago, Tea was invented by the Chinese.

18. Chinese also invented the compass, paper, printing and Gunpowder.

19. Suspension Bridges were also invented in China as early as 25 B.C.

20. For a backup communication system, the Chinese army trained more than 10,000 pigeons.

21. China also invented the toothbrush, cast iron, nail polish, kites, playing cards, toilet paper, and wrapping paper.

22. China had a 2-year-old emperor. PUYI was the 12th ruler of the Ching Dynasty and was carried to the throne by his father.

forbidden city bejing interesting facts about china
forbidden city bejing

23. The Chinese New Year is separate from the traditional January 1 New Year. The Chinese New Year has been observed for over 4,000 years and is the most important holiday in China. The festival begins on the 2nd new moon on the shortest day of the year. In the days leading up to the holiday, the Chinese will clean their houses in order to sweep away bad luck and red paper will be placed around doors and windows that contain messages of good fortune. Money is also given in red paper envelopes.

24. In Chinese culture it is traditionally believed that every person turns one year old on the New Year, which means it’s considered to be everyone’s birthday.

25. The Chinese have been making silk for over 5000 years and furiously guarded the secret of making it for most of the time. In fact, if anyone tried to smuggle the secret of making silk out of the country they were put to death.

26. According to Chinese legends, Silk was discovered in 3000 B.C by the wife of “Yellow Emperor –Leizu” and it is also said that she accidentally made silk by dropping ingredients in the pot of tea.

27. Over 50% of Chinese people live in cities. This means that there are over 170 cities in China that have a population of more than one million people.

28. The total landmass of China is 3.8 million square miles. This makes it slightly larger than the United States and a third in size in the world to Russia and Canada. It would take more than 30 hours of constant driving to cross China from east to west.

29. China is now the number one industrial and agricultural producer in the world. It has surpassed the United States.

30. Table tennis or ping pong is as well known in China as football or soccer. Whilst many people believe that table tennis originated in China it was invented in the United Kingdom.

31. In China, black is considered to be the colour of heaven and death and white is the official colour of mourning. People who attend funerals in China wear white, not black. White is for brightness, purity and fulfillment. In ancient China, white was only worn when in mourning.

32. Despite its large size, China has only one time zone. In the west of the country, the dawn may not break until 9 am. This is because time is monitored from Bejing.

33. Over 5,000 islands are claimed as part of China.

34. China shares a land border with 14 other countries in Asia. Its total land border measures almost 190,000 kilometres. Those 14 countries are Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, North Korea, Myanmar, Bhutan, Russia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan.

temple of heaven china
temple of heaven china

35. The bicycle was introduced to China in 1891 by two travellers from the United States. For many years the bicycle has been the main means of transport for millions of Chinese people. In recent years, more people ride electric bikes than standard bicycles in the country’s major cities.

36. Western Chinese food is very different to what is actually eaten in China. Every province in China claims their own style of cooking and of course that it is the best. What is known in the west as Chinese food is most similar to the food in the Cantonese areas of Guangdong and Hong Kong.

37. Ice cream was invented in China using a mix of soft milk and rice that was packed into the snow. Marco Polo took the recipe from China to Italy. He also took the recipe for noodles back to Italy.

38. Chinese fortune cookies are not from China. They were invented in a San Francisco noodle factory in 1920.

39. China produces more than 600,000 tons of mushrooms each year and is home to 60% of the world’s mushroom varieties.

40. Most Chinese people have never used a knife and fork for eating food. This is because the food was often produced in bite-sized portions in China in order to conserve fuels. It was easier to eat these portion sizes using chopsticks. It takes 20 million trees being chopped down a year to meet the demand for disposable chopsticks in China.

41. Chinese is the longest continuously used language in the world. The system of writing down language began in China around the 2nd century BC.

42. Mathematics in China developed independently of the methods used by Greek mathematicians. This is a source of mystery to historians in mathematics.

43. China’s capital city Beijing has been known by several different names. These include Dadu, Beiping, Peking and Yanjing. Bejing means Northern Capital. The city is the third-largest in China after Shanghai and Chongqing.

44. Tiananmen Square in Bejing is the largest public gathering place in the world. It is where the mausoleum to Mao Zedong and hundreds of people visit his embalmed body daily. The entrance to the Forbidden City is also across the road from Tiananmen Square. The reason that the city was called Forbidden is that common people were not allowed entry. Anyone that looked at the emperor would be put to death.

summer palace bejing china landmarks
summer palace

45. The bat is considered to be lucky in China. It frequently appears in traditional crafts.

46. Fish are important symbols in China. The carp in particular is seen to represent strength and perseverance.

47. The four most important creatures in ancient Chinese mythology were the dragon, phoenix, tiger and tortoise. The phoenix was said to represent feminine power.

48. Giant Pandas have existed for 2 or 3 million years in China. They were kept by the earliest Chinese emperors in order to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. Pandas were considered to be very brave and strong.

49. The currency in China is the Renminbi (RMB). This translates to mean People’s Currency. It is most commonly known around the world as the yuan (CNY).

50. 20% of China is desert. It is home to the largest desert in Asia, the Gobi Desert. Mongolia also contains the Gobi desert.

51. The Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia and the third-longest river in the world. It runs for over 3,900 miles. Westerners call the river Yangtze which means child of the ocean. In China, it is called Chang Jiang. This means long river.

52. The Bejing Olympics in 2008 were the most expensive ever held at a cost of USD$40 billion.

53. The national anthem of China is Yiyongjun Jinxingqu. This means March of the Volunteers. The song was created in 1935 to pay homage to those who battled against the Japanese in the 1930s.

54. China has the oldest writing system in the world. It uses characters that are known as hanzi.

55. China is home to the third-lowest depression in the world. The Turpan Depression in China reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and in winter it drops to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

56. Hong Kong has more skyscrapers per capita than any other country in the world. And it is estimated that 5 new skyscrapers are built in China every day.

57. China’s Grand Canal is the oldest and longest canal in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Dujiangyan Panda Base china

58. The highest peak in the world, Mount Everest, is located in China. The summit marks the border between Nepal and China. Mount Everest is over 29,000 feet tall.

59. Fireworks were invented in China. Gunpowder was invented during the Tang Dynasty and used to make explosives, rockets, cannons, guns and fireworks. China is also the largest exporter of fireworks in the world. They account for about 85% of all fireworks exports.

60. Four of China’s cities are in the top ten list for most polluted in the world.

61. More than 50% of the pigs in the world live in China.

62. China has an extensive railway network that runs across the country. If all the railway lines in China were attached they could loop around the world twice.

63. The tallest woman in the world recorded was Chinese. Yao Defen was 7 feet 8 inches tall. She died in 2012.

64. The Chinese have been flying kites for almost 3,000 years. The original kite was made from silk and sat on a bamboo frame.

65. Each year in China is represented by one of 12 animals. These animals include the pig, rat and snake.

66. One of China’s most popular hobbies is collecting stamps.

67. China contains 56 different minority groups. Many of them have a distinctive culture that includes their own language and way of writing.

68. 91% of the Chinese population are part of the Han ethnic group.

69. There is no single or predominant religion in China. Many different beliefs are held across the country from Christianity to Taoism.

70. The number 4 is unlucky to the Chinese. This number is often not in phone numbers nor used on license plates.

71. Dainty and small feet were highly desired for Chinese women for many centuries. Foot binding started in China in the 10th century and was only banned in the 20th century.

72. A very long pinky fingernail is a sign of being wealthy and upper class in China.

73. Insects appear as an option at many street food vendor stalls in China. Scorpions are deep-fried while still alive and then put on a skewer. This snack is particularly popular in Bejing.

Forbidden City China
Forbidden City

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