General quiz about China 2Medium level quiz about the geography, history, traditions and language of China *Revised*
1. In the mid 19th century Shanghai was effectively run by which foreign power?
The Nanpu bridge at Shanghai
Shanghai was first developed by the British, and up until 1940 was known colloquially as 'Britain?s front door to China'. The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC) founded by the Scotsman Sir Thomas Sutherland dominated early investment into China. Although run as the Shanghai International Settlement (1854) the British community predominated; in 1865 of the foreigners 78% were British and 8% American.
The Nanpu bridge at Shanghai
2. A 'fenghuang' is the name of a Chinese mythical creature what is it usually translated as what?
The Europeans chose to give the Chinese phoenix, Feng huang 凤凰 the same name as a vaguely similar bird; it does not have the association with rebirth and immortality as with the western creature. It is considered gentle, peaceful and seeing one was a very auspicious sign. In later centuries it came to symbolize the Empress just as the dragon symbolizes the Emperor.
Mystical creatures at Chongshen monastery, Dali, Yunnan province
3. Which is the largest province in China by area?
Xinjiang has the largest area followed by Tibet and then Inner Mongolia. If the South China Sea is considered a Chinese province that would be larger.
4. What is the Chinese word for walk?
走 zǒu is the character for walk, move, run or hasten.
5. The foundation of the People's Republic of China was proclaimed in which year?
Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the foundation on 1st October 1949 after defeating Chiang Kaishek.
6. Matteo Ricci was a member of which Christian organization?
Matteo Ricci reached Macau, China in 1582 and became a great scholar of Chinese language and culture. Although he did not meet the Ming Emperor he was instrumental in converting three senior court officials to Christianity. He died in China in 1610 and is buried in a small Christian cemetery in Beijing.
7. Bird's nest soup is made from the nests of which bird?
The swiftlet produces its nest out of mainly saliva. The saliva gives a gelatinous texture to soup and that is why it is used rather than for its flavor. It is an expensive ingredient, one kg may cost $2000.
8. By tradition the Chinese wear which color garments at funerals?
Traditionally undyed cloth is worn, which is off-white rather than pure white. This is a reversal of the western tradition of wearing black at funerals.
9. Zhaolin Park, Harbin hosts a famous set of sculptures in which material
Harbin holds an annual ice sculpture fair at Zhaolin Park from January to March, reflecting the really long, cold winters (typically -22 ° F [-30 ° C]). It gets so cold that fruit and milk are sold in frozen form. Lanterns made out of ice feature at the Chinese New Year festival here.
Skyline of Harbin, Heilongjiang
10. Empress Wu Zetian was the only female Chinese ruler in which dynasty did she reign?
Wu Zetian was the effective ruler of China for 45 years from 660-700CE in the early days of the Tang dynasty but only had the formal title of Emperor from 690 to 705 (founding the second Zhou dynasty). The historical record is biased against the dangerous precedent of a female ruler. There have only been two other women to be as dominant but they never took the formal title: Empress Lu of the Han dynasty and Dowager Empress Cixi of the last Qing dynasty. To this day in China, women rarely achieve positions of high office. The Standing Committee of the Politburo has currently only one woman : Sun Chunlan (2018).
The only Wu Zetian sculpture in China. A stone carving statue of Wu Zetian when 63 years old. Image by Guangyuan available under a Creative Commons License ➚
11. Silkworms are normally fed on which plant's leaves?
9 pounds [4 kgs] of white mulberry leaves are eaten by the silkworm to produce 0.4 ounces [10.0 grams] of silk.
Court ladies preparing silk. Produced with ink and colors on silk.
Image available under a Creative Commons license ➚
12. The Terracotta warriors are in a tomb complex for the Emperor who founded which dynasty?
The giant mausoleum was for Emperor Qin Shihuangdi (221-210BCE) founder of the Qin dynasty 246 - 210 BCE.
13. Which event marks the traditional end of the Chinese New Year (Spring) festival?
Dragon Boat Festival
The Lantern festival occurs on the full moon following the New Year and so is two weeks after it. Traditionally lanterns are lit and lion dances take place
Traditional lion dance near a temple
14. Which of these Chinese leaders were never officially Chairman or President of China?
Although paramount leader of China 1978-92, Deng never took the official post of Chairman or President. Li Xiannian was President 1983-88 and Yang Shangkun 1989-93. During this period the President was mainly an honorary title - meeting foreign leaders - rather than holding power.
15. Kunming Lake, Beijing is located within which famous tourist spot?
Kunming Lake (Yihe Yuan) is within the Summer Palace - the pleasure gardens of the Qing Emperors. Empress Cixi's famous marble boat is on the northern bank. It is named after a famous lake at the former capital Chang'an
View of Beijing city from the TV tower
16. The Japanese word Kamikaze is named after the attempted invasion of Japan during which dynasty?
The attempted invasion of Japan by the Mongols were defeated by the violent storms at seas as much as by staunch Japanese defense. The first attempt in 1274 and then the Mongols tried again in 1281 when a typhoon drowned thousands of Mongol troops, the term 'Kamikaze' (Divine Wind) comes from this incident.
17. Which ancient construction is mentioned in the Chinese National Anthem?
The Great Wall was a marvel that astounded foreign visitors. The Ming dynasty rebuild of the original Great Wall near Beijing is the most impressive. Mao Zedong had some of it repaired and took foreign dignitaries to see it.
18. On a Chinese abacus each ball in the upper (heaven) register represent how many units?
The lower register on a standard Chinese abacus has five balls and the upper register is changed when five is reached. The abacus has faded from practical use but it is still taught to children as it helps with mental arithmetic skills.
Spices on sales at a market in Xinjiang
19. The city of Lanzhou is on which major river?
Lanzhou is the provincial capital of Gansu province and has always been a strategically important location as the main river crossing into central China is located here.
20. The area around Guilin is famous for what sort of geographic feature?
karst (limestone pillars)
The isolated high pillars are formed by progressive erosion of limestone over millions of years. The Stone forest in Yunnan is another example of dramtic weathering.
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