Chinasage : All about China



About Chinasage

We're building an extensive information source all about China. We found other sites were poorly structured, too detailed (such as Wikipedia) or just too old-fashioned. What we thought was needed was a carefully constructed set of pages with strict editorial control so that links and pages are consistent, up-to-date and easy to navigate without clutter.

The name “Chinasage” came about because this can be read as either “China sage” ( zhōng guó yīng míng) or “China’s age” ( zhōng guó shí dài) , which promotes our new knowledge resource at a time when China has come of age in the World.

China Sage News

We keep track of news reports from China but steer clear of the headlines that are well reported elsewhere. Here are some news stories, visit our news page for more stories and also follow us on facebook pageFacebook .

Fri 21st Jan

In the west feel-good films aimed at children are released for Christmas. In China this happens in time for the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). This year it falls on 1st February just ahead of the opening of the Beijing winter Olympics on the 4th.

This year the big successful film is Xióng shī shào nián with the English title ‘I am what I am’ but actually ‘young male lion’ is more like a translation. This animated film tells the tale of a boy dreaming of becoming a leading lion dance performer against all odds (somewhat similar to Billy Elliot in plot). The lion dance tradition is something that has faded in recent years and it is hoped the film will encourage more youngsters to take it up.

Here is a link to the official film trailer video .

I am what I am

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Thu 23rd Dec 2021

Edinburgh Zoo has negotiated a deal with China to keep its two giant pandas Yang Guang and Tian Tian for another two years. The zoo has been paying about $1,000,000 a year to keep the pandas but with Covid19 visitor numbers at the zoo have tumbled and so the cost will by about $500,000 a year. It was hoped that Yáng guāng meaning ‘sunshine’ and 甜甜 Tián tián meaning ‘sweetie’ would mate and produce a rare cub outside China but in spite of encouraging signs several times they have had no success. Even with artificial insemination Tiantian has not had a full term pregnancy. They were both born in 2003. With the success of the captive breeding program in Sichuan China the pandas are no longer classed as threatened with extinction.

You can watch the pandas on a live webcam .

This will be the last post for 2021. Christmas is now widely celebrated in the Chinese cities so we wish everyone Shèng dàn kuài lè ‘Merry Christmas’ and a happy 2022.

Edinburgh zoo pandas
Yang Guang and Tian Tian at Edinburgh Zoo. Photo courtesy Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Edinburgh Zoo.
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Fri 17th Dec 2021

China is using the virtue of centralized planning to prepare for the inevitable consequences of the switch to battery powered cars. Electrical vehicles already make up 12.7% of car sales in China with over 3 million sold this year. The expensive lithium powered batteries only last about five years so there will soon be huge numbers needing disposal or recycling. It is planned that batteries can be refurbished and used for other purposes - such as storage of electrical power in large arrays. If they can not be reused they will be dismantled and the valuable metals extracted for construction of new batteries in an environmentally friendly way.

Mercedes Benz electric F 015 concept car
Mercedes-Benz electric F 015 concept car, Shanghai auto show 2015. Available on Creative Commons license .
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Wed 1st Dec 2021

A new film made in China ‘The Battle at Lake Changjin’ has already made an amazing US$890 million (made with a budget of $200 million). It tells the story of the Korean War when thousands of Chinese 'volunteers' helped North Koreans hold back an invasion led by American, British and Commonwealth troops in November/December 1950. The push by the South Koreans, backed by Allies, had pushed north nearly to the Chinese border - the Yalu River, Zhou Enlai then warned that China would not allow its border to be threatened. The Battle at Lake Changjin (or Chosin Reservoir) was a key moment of the ensuing war. The supremacy of the larger and better armed ‘UN’ forces produced many more casualties on the Chinese side (about 48,000) compared to 17,000 and is full of tales of heroism. The battle reached a stalemate with the Chinese and North Koreans holding the key area. It ended the 'UN' plan to unify the whole of Korean peninsular under effective American control. The film is one of many Chinese produced films that are dominating the cinemas in China, gone are the days that top American films seemed to be guaranteed high placement.

The Battle at Lake Changjin&rsquo,

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Tue 23rd Nov 2021

On 18th November power station workers were surprised to find clear images of snow leopards exploring the interior of their workplace on their surveillance cameras. The snow leopards are a rare and highly protected species that range over the western mountains of China: Tibet, Xinjiang, Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu. The encounter happened at a hydro-electric plant in the Qilian mountains of Gansu on the border with Qinghai. The workers at first thought they might be foxes before noticing their much larger size.

snow leopard, chinese wildlife
Portrait of a male snow leopard (Panthera uncia) of the Rheintal zoo. Modifications made by Niabot . Image by Tambako available under a Creative Commons License

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Fri 5th Nov 2021

In a rather curious posting, Tesla CEO Elon Musk quoted from one of the oldest Chinese classics - the Book of Odes. This is an assorted collection of song lyrics up to about 600BCE from a variety of sources. The topics covered include love, marriage, victory celebrations, sacrifices and hunts. Elon Musk chose a fairly obscure poem:

Beanstalks are ignited to boil beans
The beans in the pot cry out
We are born of the same root
Why should we incinerate each other with such impatience?

The reason for the choice is not obvious. It seems a call for mutual tolerance and understanding with due note for sacrifice. The specific meaning could possibly have something to do with Musk's support for a new crypto-currency the 'dogecoin'.

Shaanxi, calligraphy, rubbing
Taking a rubbing of famous calligraphy at Xian Beilin museum, Shaanxi Copyright © Dreamstime see image license

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Thu 28th Oct 2021

You would think that having a distinct bands of opposite colors would make you stand out and put you in danger from predators. However recent research is giving a different story. Just like the zebra's stripes it is not obvious as to the purpose of the coloration. The surprising conclusion of a report by scientists from Britain, China, Finland and the United States is that the bands serve as camouflage. In the remote mountainous home terrain of the panda the black and white merges into light and dark shadows of rocks and trees to make them hard to make out from a distance. This is at odds with previous suggestions that the coloration was to aid pandas find each other at long distances.

giant panda, wildlife
Giant Panda bear

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Thu 21st Oct 2021

As part of the huge Belt and Road Initiative China has been building improved travel links to neighboring countries.

A new railway links China with neighboring Laos. Because the border is short and the terrain mountainous there has been limited contact between the countries over the centuries. Laos remains a relatively poor landlocked country. The 621 miles [1,000 kms] long link will become fully operational by December and has required long tunnels to traverse the steep mountains and valleys . It is expected that Chinese tourists seeking the warmer climate of Laos will be the main beneficiaries of the link.

laos, temple, buddhism
Buddhist temple at Luang Prabang, Laos. Image by NipponNewfie available under a Creative Commons License

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Chinasage Site updates

We continue to improve the web site as you can see from these updates and upgrades, for older entries please visit our site news page.

Guangdong, Qingxingyan, pavilion, garden
The Star Lake (Qingxingyan) at Zhaoqing, Guangdong

Conventions

We use a consistent style for links within Chinasage. An internal link taking you to another page within our site is shown like this while a link to a page on any other web site is shown like this .

We use Chinese characters wherever appropriate. Most browsers should display both the characters and the pinyin correctly. We highlight any use of the older Wade Giles system. Except where stated all characters are the modern simplified form used in the People's Republic rather than the traditional ones (pre-1970s). To help you learn Chinese characters many of the very common characters are highlighted thus: hovering the mouse over the character will pop up a box showing further information about it.

Dates are given using the BCE/CE (Before Common Era and in Common Era) year convention rather than BC/AD. If a date is not followed by BCE or CE it should be taken as CE.

Authorship

All the text on the Chinasage web site is our own, we do not copy and paste from other web sites. We research each topic from a number of authoritative sources (mainly books). The only exception to this are quotations and image credits. All text is our copyright and can not be used/copied without our permission. We are independent of any other company or government, the opinions expressed are our own. We do not receive funding or backing from any other agencyor organization .

Teacup Media (China History Podcast)

We are delighted to be able to promote links to Laszlo Montgomery's excellent Teacup Media series created over the last twelve years. Laszlo Montgomery has in depth knowledge of building commercial contacts with China over 30 years. The set of 290 podcasts totals 150 hours of audio commentary which covers every conceivable topic in Chinese history. Highly recommended.

Acknowledgments

We are extremely grateful to the many people who have put their photographs online for anyone to adapt and use. Without them our site would be very drab. If we are not using the image license correctly please let us know. We are grateful to Kim Dramer for permission to use her short videos all about Chinese culture and traditions. Some pages use Javascript to create special effects such as our airport table and calendar. We are grateful to the original authors for providing their code to be used and adapted by anyone else. The online Chinese dictionary uses the definition from the CC-CEDICT project for which we are grateful for a generous free license. Sound files kindly provided by shtooka.net under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License.

Feel free to contact Chinasage to point out any errors, omissions or suggestions on how to improve this web site.

If you would like to support our work and keep us independent become a Patreon or make a Donation via Paypal.