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China

Paper was first invented in China in 105 AD. It was a closely guarded secret and didn’t reach Europe until the 8th century

Introduction

For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring China’s sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, MAO’s successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight.

Geography

Located in Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam. Total land mass of 9,596,961 square kilometers, slightly smaller than the US.

Climate

Extremely diverse, tropical in south and subartic in the south.

Language

  • Mandarin is the most widely spoken form of Chinese. It is official language in People’s Republic China, Hong Kong (which is now once more part of the PRC) and Taiwan.
    Other important dialect groups are Wu, Xiang, Cantonese, Min, Hakka and Gan.
  • Written Chinese was developed about 4000 years ago. It consists of more than 40.000 logographic symbols, meaning that a symbol represents one syllable or concept rather than a sound as does the phonetic system. Chinese writing has influenced many languages of East Asia, including Japanese. It has remained immensely stable over the millennia. Only recently has the PRC attempted to simplify it and to institute a romanized version called Pinyin, representing the sounds.

To be considered a literate one needs to study at least 3000 symbols!

Originally, Chinese has written from right to left in vertical columns. Taiwan has retained this vertical writing, but in the PRC the writing was changed to rows from left to right as in European languages.

Some characteristics of Chinese language

  • Chinese is a tonal language
    The meaning of a word changes according to its tone. There are 4 tones in Mandarin Chinese: flat, rising, falling then rising and falling. Other dialects feature up to 9 different tones.
  • All words have only one grammatical form only
    There is no grammatical distinction between singular or plural, no declination of verbs according to tense, mood and aspect.
    The distinction between singular or plural is accomplished by sentence structure. Tenses are indicated by adverbs of time (’yesterday’, ‘later’) or particles.
    Sounds great? Well, 2 different types of aspects which are unlike anything in any European language give information as to the relevancy of an occurrence and a complex system of suffixes to distinguish the direction, possibility, and success of an action help complicate this apparently easy grammar…
  • Questions are formed by usage of particles, the word order (mostly Subject, Verb, Object) remains unchanged
    Formal/informal address. Second person nín is used instead of general n§ to show deference. Various terms, too, help express deference and are used when speaking to an older or especially respected person.

Interesting Facts about China  and language

China is the world’s largest economy.

The Mandarin word for China is Zhongguo which means middle country, implying China is the centre of the world.

The exact population of China is unknown. Many of its people are “undocumented” by their own government. Its official population ranges from 1.3 billion to 2 billion people.

24% of the world speaks Chinese (there are over 200 different Chinese languages and regional dialects). The official state language is Pu-tong-hwa (Mandarin).

According to economists, China will become the world’s wealthiest nation by the year 2012.

The Great Wall of China is NOT visible from outer space. Its too thin. Its just a myth that it can be seen. The only man-made structures visible from space are: The Pyramids of Giza and the Hoover Dam.

Tea, popularized by the Chinese was first bagged and shipped around the world in 1903.
China manufactures 60% of the world’s bicycles (the United States buys 86% of the world’s bicycles).

Gunpowder was first discovered in China where it was used to create fireworks, signal flares and small missiles used for military purposes.
In September 2005 China surpassed Canada as the #1 exporter of goods to the United States.

As of January 2006 30% of China’s exports are now electronics.

China is one of the few countries where fossils of homo gigantus have been found. Homo gigantus is more commonly called “Big Foot”.

During the period of 1990 to 2005 Chinese export to the United States increased 1600 per cent. Thats 16 times more exports in only 16 years.

Tsingtao Beer, brewed since 1903, makes up more than 50% of China’s beer exports.

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s first visit to the United States was part of a world tour. He also visited Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Nigeria.
Chinese President Hu Jintao loves Starbucks coffee (and so does Bill Gates).

The United States has a $202 billion annual trade deficit with China. That is basically $202,000,000,000 of American wealth that is shipped over to China every year (and each year the trade deficit grows).

The United States has $7 trillion national debt, much of which has been loaned to the USA from wealthy Chinese banks.

Paper was first invented in China in 105 AD. It was a closely guarded secret and didn’t reach Eurupe until the 8th century.

Paper was invented by the eunuch Ts’ai Lun. According to the official history of the Han dynasty (3rd century A.D.), Ts’ai Lun was given an aristocratic title after he presented Emperor Ho Ti with samples of paper. In 751 A.D., Chinese papermakers were captured by the Arabs at Samarkand, and by 794 A.D. several state-owned paper mills operated in Baghdad. The Arabs were manufacturing paper in Spain around 1150. It was not until 1590 that the first English paper mill was founded, at Dartford.

China exported $9 million US worth of garlic and ginseng to South Korea in 1999.

China exported $593.4 billion US in 2004. They exported only $474.7 billion in 2003.

In 2001 China exported $365 million worth of machinery/electronics to Canada.

China exported $134 million US in textiles (hats, clothes, umbrella, ect) to Canada.

In 550 AD, two Chinese monks smuggled silkworms out of China and started the western world’s silk boom.