Culture

10 Things You Might Not Know About China

Sure, you may be aware of China’s pollution and population woes. You might be a little disgusted at its quirky delicacies, or in awe of its technological advances. But there’s a hell of a lot that you don’t know about China, certainly about stuff they don’t tell you in the news! So here is our list of 10 things you might not know about China.

1. Gaokao; One of the World’s Toughest University Entrance Exams

China’s National College Entrance Examination goes on for two to three days and last for over nine hours. It was reported in 2018 that 9.75 million people applied to take the exam. In China’s first tier cities, where competition is fierce, whole neighbourhoods agree to remain as quiet as they can so as not to disturb those taking the exam. High school students face extreme pressure to get into a good university; Gaokao results account for much of their acceptance score.

2. Smartphone Users Have Their Own Walking Lane

Smartphone and non-smartphone lanes in China. Photo originally published on BT by Rex Features.

Nobody in China is without a smartphone. Everyone has one, and most people use it all day, everyday. And then there are those that use it continuously, rarely setting it down or putting it away. It is for these people that Chinese officials have given new pathways. For the seriously addicted, they now have their own dedicated sidewalk, no need to look up when in this lane!

3. Soon Citizens Will Be Instantly Fined For Jay Walking

Photo published by Mashable.

Here’s something you might not know about China. Fed up with hazardous pedestrians dashing out onto the streets, traffic police in China have come up with a pretty good deterrent. With the knowledge that most city dwellers have a smartphone, it will soon be the case that a fine will instantly be sent to their phones before jay walkers have even finished crossing the road. How will this happen? Facial recognition software.

4. Madam Mao; Chairman Mao’s Wife Was an Actress

Jiang Qing, “Madame Mao” in her acting days.

Staring in films from 1935 to 1938, Jiang Qing, who later became Mao Zedong’s wife and member of the Gang of Four, was a budding actress. She was a prominent figure in artist circles and joined the Communist Cultural Front in 1932. While studying drama in Shanghai it was here that she started to become heavily involved in politics.

5. China Puts Misbehaving Nationals Abroad on Blacklist

Chinese tourists taking photos of people’s homes in Cambridge, England. Originally published on The Sun.

As Chinese tourists continue to behave poorly abroad they are slowly replacing the reputation of the US as “ugly Americans”, now it’s “ugly Chinese”. The difference here is a matter of embarrassment. The Chinese government simply will not condone bad behaviour at risk of bringing a loss of face to the country. Therefore, a travel ban on those who are caught misbehaving abroad has been put in place; putting them on a blacklist that effects their credit rating and future travel plans.

6. Heating is Controlled by the Government

Image by China Daily.

In order to centralise the country’s heating system and cut costs, in the 1950s the government drew a line over the entire country which became known as the “heating line”. Anywhere below Shandong, Shaanxi, half of Sichuan and the top of Yunnan is considered south of the line and is left out of any central heating plan. The provinces that are located above the line may enjoy heating that is switched on from 15 November and turned off four months later.

7. Chinese Emperors Thought of Themselves Descendants of Dragons

Dragon symbolism has always played one of the most important roles in Chinese culture. Representing power and nobility, past emperors in China’s history were regarded as descendants of dragons. It is for this reason that only the emperor could use the dragon symbol, ordinary folk could not. Nowadays, anyone who is born in the year of the dragon is considered very lucky.

8. Bird Saliva Soup is Highly Sought After and Expensive

Bird’s Nest Soup is a delicacy in China. Often eaten at weddings and on special occasions, the dish is very expensive and considered highly nutritious. Bird’s nests are edible swiftlets formed from solidified bird saliva. The nests are harvested from limestone caves.

9. People Can Be Fined for Not Visiting Their Parents

A new law that went into effect in 2013 made it compulsory for families to visit their elderly relatives. Much to the dismay of thousands of citizens online, China’s Elderly Rights Law makes it possible for grown adults to be fined or jailed for not visiting their parents.

10. Chinese People Have to Apply to The Government if They Want to Move to Another City; Hukou

China’s ancient Hukou system is a nationwide household register. One’s registration include’s all main aspects of a person’s life including where they live, who their spouse and children are, employment status and so on. The Hukou primarily serves as a way of residency regulation.

Until recently the system was split into “agricultural” and “non-agricultural” sections. Those who were a part of the non agricultural and who were lucky enough to be in a certain area enjoyed more benefits not available to those from the agricultural. Under the Hukou system those from rural areas have been severely left behind city folk. Under the system Chinese citizens must apply to the government if they want to move to another city.

To sum up, our list of 10 things you might not know about China was compiled to give you a little more insight into insider facts about China. If you would like more like this, please let us know!

Like this list? Keep reading here to learn 10 things about ancient China and here to learn 10 things modern China.

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