Today, China is known to have one of the fastest growing economies in the world. New skyscrapers seem to pop up every day. But China is also home to some of the oldest written records in history. China’s history and culture is incredibly unique and alluring.
It would take a lifetime to learn everything there is to know about China, but here are 10 facts about China you may never have heard!
1. The third largest country in the world (by area)
In terms of square meters, China is the 3rd largest country in the world after Russia and Canada. Although China is the 3rd largest, it has the highest population in the world. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Seventh National Census Leading Group Office of the State Council 20121, China’s population reaches a number of 1,411,778,724.
In the national population, the male population is 72,339,956, equal to 51.24%; the female population is 688,438,768, corresponding to 48.76%. The sex ratio of the total population is 105.07.
The population of ethnic minorities is 125.47 million, corresponding to 8.89 percent.
17.95% of the population aged 0-14; 63.35% of the population aged 15-59; 18.7% of the population aged 60 or over, and 13.5% of the population aged 65 or over.
The population of Han nationality is 1286.31 million, accounting for 91.11%. The population of ethnic minorities is 125.47 million, corresponding to 8.89 percent.
2. Virtual Private Network (VPN)
If you are planning a visit to Beijing or other parts of China, consider downloading a VPN before you go, a very good idea as google, facebook, twitter and the list goes on are not available here in China. Check out the best VPN for China 2022.
Image credit: ExpressVPN, A VPN will make it appear as if you are accessing the internet from another location, allowing users to access those websites. Bonus fact: With a VPN, you can also watch Netflix during your downtime while traveling and protect yourself from security threats and hackers.
3. Toilet paper was invented in China
Can you imagine a world without toilet paper? I’d rather not. This simple invention is something we often take for granted. But if it wasn’t for the ancient Chinese in the 6th century AD, this necessity may never have been invented.
The paper had been known as a wrapping and upholstery material in China since the 2nd century BC, the first documented use of toilet paper in human history dates back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China. (en.wikipedia.org）
4. Red symbolizes happiness in China
If you’ve ever celebrated Chinese New Year, you may have noticed that the color red can be found everywhere during this time.
Red is a lucky and auspicious color in Chinese culture. Red is associated with the element of fire, which symbolizes life, vitality and light, luck and joy. This is also why red is forbidden at Chinese funerals.
China Red (Image credit: news.cn)
Zhongguo Jie literally means Chinese knots. It is a kind of artificial connection. It is given as a sign to wish people health and happiness year after year. Chinese knot is a decorative handicraft that originated as a form of Chinese folk art in the Tang and Song dynasties (960-1279 AD) in China. It was popular in the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911 AD). The art is also considered traditional Chinese decorative knots.
5. Fortune Cookies are not a Chinese custom
Although fortune cookies have been associated with China for decades, they were not actually invented there. Although there has been some debate about the true beginning of the fortune cookie, most believe it was invented in San Francisco, California by a Japanese immigrant.
Fortune Cookies (Credit: pixabay.com)
A fortune cookie is a crunchy and sugary cookie usually made of flour, sugar, vanilla and sesame seed oil with a piece of paper. Early fortunes contained biblical sayings or aphorisms from Confucius, Aesop or Ben Franklin. Later fortunes included recommended lottery numbers, smileys and jokes. Politicians have used them in campaigns and fortunes have been tailored for weddings and birthday parties.
6. There is only one time zone in China
China is the 3rd largest country in the world, and geographically spans 5 time zones. All 5 time zones were in use during the Republic of China from 1912 to 1949, but since then China has decided to use only one standard time.
Time in China follows a single standard time offset of UTC+08:00 (eight hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time). The official national standard time is called Beijing Time (BJT,
Chinese: 北京时间). Check out: Beijing Time.
7. Ping Pong is China’s national sport
Some may not even consider ping pong a sport, but after watching the intense ping pong matches in China, you may change your mind. Table tennis, also known as ping pong, has been considered the national sport of the People’s Republic of China.
China completely dominates when it comes to ping pong champions. In the past three Olympics, China has won all the gold medals in ping pong, and the top 5 ping pong players in the world are all Chinese.
8. Tea was discovered in China
Tea has been used and consumed for thousands of years in China. It was often used as medicine when it was first used in the 10th century BC. Since then, the custom and use of tea has flourished and developed. There is a whole culture and art that surrounds Chinese tea. There are certain ways to grow, brew, serve and drink tea.
Picking Longjing tea
Longjing Tea in my hometown Hangzhou actually means “Dragon Well”, a place suitable for planting the famous green tea. Longjing Tea is one of China’s best green teas and is one of the reasons for Hangzhou’s international fame. The tea is grown in the Longjing Mountain area of Hangzhou, southwest of West Lake.
9. China is home to the world’s largest canal
The Grand Canal, which starts in Beijing and ends in my hometown – Hangzhou, is the longest in the world at 1776 km. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is not only the world’s longest but also the oldest canal.
Grand Canal (Hangzhou)
The Grand Canal Hangzhou is the last part of the Grand Canal (China), also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou (Jinghang) Grand Canal. It is often hailed as the earliest and longest artificial waterway in the world, starting from Beijing in the north and ending at Hangzhou in the south for a total length of 1,776 km.
10. Shanghai is home to a chopstick museum
This museum is quite small, but it is home to 2,000 pairs of chopsticks dating back to the Tang Dynasty. Lan Xiang, the owner of this museum, has traveled everywhere to create his extensive museum.
They displayed chopsticks from five categories, including bamboo, wood, metal, jade and teeth from Korea, Japan and Thailand since the Ming and Qing dynasties. It has become the unique family chopsticks museum in China.
If you want more facts about China you can read more.