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10 Weird and Wonderful Facts About China

With offices in Singapore, China, Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden and Vietnam, YBD is becoming increasingly global.

Here are another 10 weird and wonderful facts about China.


1 | China

The modern word “China” most likely derives from the name of the Qin (pronounced “chin”) dynasty. First Emperor Qin Shi Huang (260-210 BCE) of the Qin dynasty first unified China in 221 BCE, beginning an Imperial period which would last until CE 1912.


2 | Fourth-largest country

China is the fourth-largest country in the world (after Russia, Canada, and the U.S.). It has an area of approx. 9,600,000 square kilometers (slightly smaller than the U.S.) and its borders with other countries total more than 189,000 kilometers.


3 | Imperial toilet paper

Among many other things the Chinese invented paper, the compass, gunpowder, printing and toilet paper. Toilet paper was invented in China in the late 1300s. It was for emperors only.


4 | Beijing

China’s capital, Beijing, has changed names over the centuries. It has been known as Yanjing, Dadu, and Beiping. Beijing is the second largest city after Shanghai.

Beijing

5 | Chinese

Chinese is spoken by 92% of China’s population. There are at least seven major families of the Chinese language, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu, Hakka, Gan, Xiang, and Min.

6 | Population of China

China has the largest population of any country in the world. In the 1950s the population reached nearly 600,000,000. Now, in 2016, the population is approximately 1,400,000,000 people.


7 | Population growth rate

The population growth rate in China is quite low (0.52%), ranking 158th in the world. In comparison, Denmark ranks 170th (0.42%), Sweden ranks 139th (0.83%), and Chile ranks 129th (1.07%).


8 | Chinese vs. Western language concepts

A major difference between Chinese and Western concepts of language is that Chinese makes a sharp distinction between written language (wen) and spoken language (yu). This distinction extends to the distinction between written word (zi) and spoken word (hua).


9 | 100,000 and counting

There are over 100,000 Chinese characters recorded in the most advanced Mandarin Chinese dictionaries. New Chinese symbols are developed all the time, so the amount of Chinese characters never stops increasing.


10 | Logographical characters

Chinese characters appear to have originated in the Shang dynasty as pictograms depicting concrete objects. In the modern Chinese languages, the majority of characters are phonetically based rather than logographically based.

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