Chinasage Diary

Your daily snippet of information about China. Our diary has a daily fact, proverb and a reminder of upcoming festivals and holidays in China.
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Sun 20th Oct


The fabled city of Xanadu (Shangdu) made famous by Samuel Taylor Coleridge was the summer capital of the Yuan (Mongol dynasty). It was built away from the heat of Beijing. It was abandoned on the fall of the Mongols and is now just a pile of rubble in the desert.
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On this day

1928 Li Peng born 1928 (91 years ago)
1962 Sino Indian War began 1962 (57 years ago)


Fù cháo wú wán luǎn
When the nest is overturned, no egg remains unbroken
In a disaster everyone will feel the consequences
Sat 19th Oct


The Chinese say farewell or goodbye with 再见 zài jiàn meaning literally 'again see'. This is the same construction as 'au revoir' in French.
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On this day

1936 Lu Xun died 1936 (83 years ago)


Bú pà màn jiù pà zhàn
Not fear slowing down; fear coming to a halt
Do not be afraid of slowing down as long as you keep going
A rolling stone gathers no moss
Fri 18th Oct

Wang Anshi

Wang Anshi was a radical reformer of the Song dynasty. He proposed such things as reducing taxes in order to actually raise more revenue, a measure often touted in modern times. His land reforms were resisted by the land owners and his reforms proved extremely divisive and so were not put into practice as he had intended.
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On this day

1860 Second Opium War 1860 (159 years ago)


Jiàn zài xián shàng, bù dé bù fā
When the arrow is on the string, it must be shot
Things have reached a point when something must be done
Thu 17th Oct

Red eyebrows

The red eyebrow 赤眉 rebellion was a grass roots rebellion fueled by famine and high taxes. They showed their loyalty to the cause by painting their eyebrows and/or foreheads red. This was 2,000 years ago in the troubled reign of Wang Mang. Perhaps red was chosen as it was the dynastic color of the Han dynasty which Wang Mang had overthrown and the rebels sought to restore.
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On this day

1919 Zhao Ziyang born 1919 (100 years ago)


Fán rén bù kě mào xiàng, hǎi shuǐ bù kě dòu liàng
Neither a person can be judged by his looks nor can the sea be fathomed
Judging by appearance is dangerous
Do not judge a book by its cover
Wed 16th Oct

Giant Panda

The emblematic Giant Panda is restricted to remote mountainous terrain in central Sichuan; Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces. They are thinly spread over large areas and so unlikely to be seen in the wild. They slowly digest through 50 pounds [23 kgs] of bamboo each day. China now leases out pandas to foreign zoos for a cool $1 million a year. If a visiting panda happens to give birth, by contract the new cub belongs to China not the zoo.
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On this day

690 Empress Wu Zetian became ruler 690 (1,329 years ago)
1934 Jiangxi Soviet Breakout 1934 (85 years ago)
1934 Start of Long March 1934 (85 years ago)
1964 First Chinese atomic bomb 1964 (55 years ago)


Qǐ sǐ huí shēng
Can bring the dead back to life
Amazing recovery from illness. Said of a doctor who has brought someone back from a terminal condition.
Tue 15th Oct

North and South China

The historic division between northern and southern China is drawn along a boundary marked by the Qinling mountains qín lǐng and the Huai river. The Qinling mountain range runs east-west from northern Sichuan, southern Shaanxi, Hubei into Henan. In Henan it then follows the Huai river that runs east to the East China Sea through Anhui and Jiangu. It marks both a historic and climatic barrier. To the north is the original sites of Chinese civilization on the Yellow River and the cooler wheat growing area; to the south the younger cities along the Yangzi and the rice producing areas.
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Jiā chǒu bù kě wài yáng
Family shame should not be spread
Keep family problems within the family
Lantern Festival, festival, Shanghai
China,Shanghai,Yu Garden,the Lantern Festival 2012 Image by North sea deamer available under a Creative Commons license

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