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China Sage News

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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 .



Wed 9th Nov

While some parts of China have experienced flooding others have experienced drought this year. In Jiangxi province the lack of rain has led to the river beds of tributaries of the Yangzi river (Zhang and Gong rivers) to be exposed for the first time in many years. The river beds have revealed a good deal of treasure in the form of bronze coins and artifacts. Locals have been out treasure hunting while officials are rather keen that any finds are handed in for analysis. A stone tablet of the Qing dynasty has been found along with many coins, some dating back a thousand years.

money
Chinese bronze coins. Image by Plismo available under a Creative Commons License

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Thu 3rd Nov

An incident at Zunyi in Guizhou province has sparked much online debate. It is here that a couple has chosen to go back to some age-old traditions for marriage.

One of the strangest of the many customs is that if you have a younger sibling (brother or sister) who marries before you do then you are excluded from the marriage ceremony. You are expected to hide away while everyone else was having fun.

Perhaps this tradition provides a strong encouragement to anyone delaying become married. Remaining single used to be a fairly rare event as marriages were typically arranged by parents without their children’s approval.

So in 2022 people are debating whether it is appropriate to bring this custom back again. What do you think?

marriage, couple, people
Chinese wedding couple Not the actual married couple

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Mon 10th Oct

The 10th October celebrates a key date in the foundation of modern China. In Wuhan on this date in 1911 the revolution that had rumbled on for decades finally took hold and soon all southern China declared independence from the Qing imperial dynasty.

However it has come to have a modern political significance because the People Republic celebrates National day on 1st October rather than the 10th as that was the date when Mao Zedong proclaimed victory over the forces of the Republic in 1949.

Today the Republicans is celebrated only in Taiwan as their 'National Day'- the last hold-out after their defeat and withdrawal to the island. Recent tensions after Nancy Pelosi's visit have not resulted in a reduced fervor of celebration. Indeed the mainland's threats of military invasion have hardened the vast majority of the population's aim to retain semi-independence from 'China' - with peaceful trade for mutual benefit.

Wuhan, pavilion, Hubei, city
Wuhan city view

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Wed 28th Sep

Today marks the official birthday of China's great sage Confucius. 2022 is also somewhat special as it marks 2,500 years since he died.

Traditionally the birthday of the great sage and philosopher Confucius was celebrated on the 27th of the 8th lunar month (in 2022 this fell on 22nd September). It is now tied to a specific day, the 28th September each year.

The town of Qufu, Shandong was the home of Confucius ( Kǒngfūzǐ ) and descendents now in the 83rd generation still live there. The size and grandeur of the buildings rival that of the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Arguably the most important Chinese book is the 'Analects of Confucius'. It sets out the ethics and philosophy using incidents from the life of the great sage. Written around 300BCE a long time after his death, it admonishes the reader to obey the state rituals and know ones place in the order of things. It is not spiritual - Confucians do not believe in the after-life and does not include cosmology or the natural world. The system of ethics that are set out continue to guide the lives of many people in China.

One of the key tenets of Confucianism is that everyone should live in a spirit of benevolence rén. A follower of Confucius should be a person of empathy and humanity who believes it is correct to help those in need. This is not to be done on the basis of future reward (in life or death) but rather it is the virtuous way to behave.

Qufu, Confucius
Statue of Confucius at Qufu, Shandong

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Tue 6th Sep

The search for a suspected invasive 'monster' fish (probably a pet let loose after outgrowing its tank) in a lake near Ruzhou, Henan province has grown into a major operation. The Alligator Gar fish can grow to 10 feet long and weigh up to 350lb comes from the southern states of the US and Mexico and so is a threat to local Chinese wildlife. After attempts to catch the fish by conventional means failed, it was decided to take the drastic action of draining the whole lake. The fish has still not been found and may be hiding in inflow pipes. It gets its name because it looks rather like an alligator as it has a squashed snout ( “gar”comes from Anglo-Saxon meaning spike or lance). Some fear that the fish could attack children and this has added to the priority of the operation. Millions have been watching the story unfolding online. It's expected that the lake will soon be refilled with little long-term ill-effects to local wildlife.

Aligator Gar fish (Atractosteus spatula)
Alligator Gar fish (Atractosteus spatula).
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Tue 23rd Aug

It's been an exceptionally hot summer in most of the northern hemisphere.

Europe still suffers from drought and high temperatures but China has been affected just as badly; Japan also had record braking temperatures in June. The main area of concern at present is the inland province of Sichuan. This province is often hot in summer but usually has high rainfall. Sichuan is one of the main crop growing areas in China and so this will be a worry for the coming months. Large wildfires have been seen close to Chongqing near Sichuan's southern boundary. China has built many hydro-electric dams and these are now struggling due to increased demand but lower river flows - rationing of electricity is forcing some businesses to partially close.

Chongqing wildfire
©Image courtesy CNN/Getty.
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Thu 11th Aug

China is famous for producing world-beating bronze technology at a very early date. Large bronze vessel dating from the Shang dynasty (1600-1100BCE) have long been admired.

A recent study has been looking into the recipe for bronze used and it seems it is a complex system based on alloys rather than just a rough mixture of tin and copper. Only if a carefully followed process was followed would the Shang bronzesmiths been able to create such large and finely detailed objects. For many years the Kaogong ji was the source reference to follow but this uses the terms ‘Jin’ and ‘Xi’ as ingredients with no description of what they were. It is now thought these were specially produced alloys of precise proportion of elements.

Zhou dynasty, bronze, dish
Ancient bronze dish of Western Zhou dynasty date

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Thu 4th Aug

Chinese Valentine’s Day this year falls on Thursday 4th August.

In China the festival is a moveable festival as it falls on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month [Qīxìjié means seventh night festival]. It commemorates the love between Zhī nǔ the weaver and Niú láng the cowherd . Because after marriage they spent too much time canoodling rather than carrying out their work, the gods separated them and they were only allowed to meet on one night each year. The husband and wife are represented by the bright stars Vega (Lyra constellation) and Altair (Aquila constellation) and a bridge of magpies is made over the Milky Way which runs between them in the sky to allow them to meet. The magpies will only come if it is a dry day.

It has now become a day for lovers to have a romantic evening, exchange gifts and maybe pop the question.

ox, oxherd, Niulang, Zhinu
The oxherd Niulang seeking to reach his estranged bride Zhinu in the sky.

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Hubei, Yangzi River, river
Overlooking Fancheng District from Xiangcheng District on the other side of the Han River, which is a tributary of the Yangtze River. October 2011.
Image by Zihanzor available under a Creative Commons license

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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.

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