China and its traditional lifestyle have been a source of fascination around the world for centuries. This decidedly forward-looking country has its roots deeply anchored in the past. China is a major player in the global economy and is known for its innovation and modernity, whilst nevertheless remaining faithful to its traditions. But how much do you really know about the world’s most populous country?
“Chinese”, you might say. And you would not be entirely wrong. However, there is no single language that the Chinese people would call “Chinese”. Often, when we say “Chinese”, what we actually mean is Mandarin. The seven main Chinese languages are Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu, Hakka, Min, Xiang and Gan. There are also hundreds of dialects that derive from these languages. Not such an easy question, after all…
China’s sex ratio at birth currently stands at around 113 boys for every 100 girls. The one-child policy, instigated in the late 1970s and lifted in 2015, was imposed over fears of overpopulation. Traditionally, girls go to live with and look after their husband’s family upon marriage. Many Chinese therefore feared that, if their only child was a girl, they would be left with no-one to look after them in their old age. Some parents were therefore prepared to go to great lengths to ensure that their only child was a boy, resulting in selective abortions, abandonment of newborns, and infanticide. The mortality rate of baby girls during their first year of life was markedly higher than that of boys. In order to prevent selective abortions, it is, in principle, forbidden for doctors to reveal the sex of a baby prior to the birth. And yet, it is estimated that there will be 30 to 40 million more men than women in China in 2020.
The Great Wall of China is the longest monument in the world. It is so long that it would stretch twice around the Moon!
The highest railway line in the world can be found in China, at an altitude of 5,068 metres, connecting Beijing with Lhassa in Tibet.
China is also home to the world’s longest bridge, which stretches for 160 km between Danyang and Kunshan.
There are several interpretations of the meaning behind the Chinese flag. The flag is red with five yellow stars in the top left-hand corner: one large star and four smaller ones. The five stars are said to symbolise the unity of the Chinese people (the small stars) under the Chinese Communist Party (the large star).
Red is the colour of the revolution, and yellow symbolises the light that radiates throughout China. Red is also a very important colour in Chinese culture, as it represents happiness and luck. In a happy coincidence, it is also the colour of the Socialist revolution.
The number five (as in five stars on the flag) is traditionally considered to be an auspicious number in Chinese culture.
Contact Tradoc for all your Chinese translation and interpreting requirements. Whether legal, technical, scientific or certified, we work in all fields and language combinations, including both traditional and simplified Chinese. Contact us for a quotation!