China, with a recorded history of 5,000
years, was one of the world’s earliest civilizations. China was
one of the countries where economic activity first developed. As
early as 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, people in the Yellow River
valley had already started farming and raising livestock. In the
21st century B.C., China established a slave society with the
founding of the Xia Dynasty, thereby writing a finale to long
years of primitive society.
In 221 B.C., Qin Shihuang established China’s first centralized
autocracy, the Qin Dynasty, thereby ushering Chinese history
into feudalism, which endured in a succession of dynasties until
the Opium War of 1840.
The Bourgeois Democratic Revolution of 1911 led by Sun Yat-sen
toppled the rule of the Qing Dynasty, putting an end to more
than 2,000 years of feudal monarchical system.
The People’s Republic of China was founded on October 1st, 1949.
Today, China is implementing reform and open polices, and has
established a socialist market economy.
21st century BC-16th century BC
16th century BC-1066 BC
Zhou Dynasty: Western Zhou
1066 BC-771 BC
770 BC-476 BC
Spring and Autumn
770 BC-221 BC
221 BC-206 BC
Han Dynasty: Western Han Dynasty
206 BC-23 AD
Eastern Han Dynasty
The Three Kingdoms: Wei
Southern and Northern Dynasty:
The Five Dynasties
Sung Dynasty: Northern Sung
Western Xia Dynasty
Republic of China (Guo Ming Dang)
The People’s Republic of China
China is a multi-religious country, where Taoism, Buddhism,
Islam and Christianity are practiced. Freedom of belief is a
government policy, and normal religious activities are protected
by the constitution.
Chinese family names came into being some 5,000 years ago.
There are more than 5,000 family names in China, of which 200 or
300 are popular. The order of Chinese names is family name
first. For example, the family name of a person called Li Ming
China’s land drops off in the escarpments eastward to the
ocean, letting in humid air currents and leading many rivers
eastward. Among the rivers totaling 220,000 kilometers in length
in China, the Yangtze and the Yellow are the two major ones.
China has a diversity of land formations including mountains,
hills, highlands, plains and basins. The highlands and hill
regions account for 65 percent of the country’s land mass. The
highest mountain peak is Qomolangma (Everest) 8,848 meters above
sea level; the lowest point is the Turpan Basin, 154 meters
below sea level.
China is a multi-racial country with 56 ethnic groups. In
the long course of its development, all the nationalities have
joined in the effort to create the great culture that China
Apart from the Han nationality, the other 55 ethnic groups, with
a total of more than 96.5 million people, constitute roughly
8.04% of the total population. Those with more than one million
people are: Zhuang, Hui, Uyghur, Yi, Miao, Manchu, Tibetan,
Mongolian, Tujia, Bouyei, Korean, Dong, Yao, Bai and Hani.
The constitution guarantees all non-Han groups certain national
rights and privileges, such as the exemption from the
one-child-policy, lower academic requirements for entering
colleges and universities, tax breaks and government subsidies.
China is the most populous country in the world, with
1.25909 billion people at the end of 1999, about 22 percent of
the world’s total. This figure does not include many Chinese in
the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Taiwan Province and
Macao Special Administrative Region. The population density in
China is 130 people per sq km. This population, however, is
unevenly distributed. Along the densely populated east coast,
there are more than 400 people per sq km; in the central areas,
over 200; and in the sparsely populated plateaus in the west
there are less than 10 people per sq km. The population in
cities and towns makes up 30.4 percent; in rural areas, 69.6
percent. The male population is 50.8 percent; and the female
population is 49.2 percent. People 14 years or younger make up
25.7 percent; those from 15 to 64, 67.6 percent; and those 65 or
older, 6.7 percent.
Mandarin is commonly spoken throughout China. It is one of
the five working languages designated by the United Nations. The
majority of the 55 other ethnic groups have their own languages.
There are also many dialects around the country. As a written
language, Chinese has been used for 6,000 years.At the same
time, English also is spoken at many hotels, restaurants and
attractions throughout China.
Getting a Visa
A visa is a travel document issued by authorized government
agencies to foreign citizens applying to enter, exit from or
transit through the host country’s territory based on the host
country’s laws and regulations. In accordance with international
law and practice, any sovereign state is entitled to decide
whether or not to allow a foreign citizen to enter or exit from
its territory, and whether to issue a visa, decline a visa
application or to cancel an issued visa in accordance with its
national laws. Chinese consular officials are entitled to decide
on the type, number of entries, validity and duration of each
stay of a visa to be issued based on Chinese laws and
regulations. Consular officials reserve the right to decline a
visa application or revoke an issued visa.
Foreign citizens must obtain a Chinese visa before entry into
China, with the exception of visa-free entry based on relevant
agreements or regulations.For information about application
documents, how to apply, visa/entry permits for HK/Macao SAR,
fees, application forms, and frequently asked questions, please
visit the visa section of website of the Embassy of the People’s
Republic of China in the USA at
Visitors are often surprised to find out how modern China really
is. Since the early 90′s China has been in the middle of a
building boom and infrastructure upgrade that has brought its
tourism industry up to Western standards almost overnight.
Tourist facilities and transportation in large cities are almost
on the same level as of the United States. All major cities and
tourism centers have undergone a total metamorphosis in visitor
comfort and transportation facilities. Complaints of poor
facilities, service or transportation have all become memories
of the past.
Today you can tour China with ease and safety (the crime rate is
very low there), stay in comfortable 4 & 5-star hotels, try new
Chinese delicacies, enjoy familiar Western cuisine, shop in
modern designer boutiques, or explore centuries-old markets and
shopping arcades. You can tour the countryside in modern motor
coaches, relax in first class train compartments, or speed to
the next destination by jet while exploring one of the oldest
cultures of the world, and seeing some of the most extraordinary
sights anywhere and there is much to see in this vast country of
1.3 billion people.
Currency and Credit Cards
China’s currency is the Renminbi (RMB), usually called the
Yuan. Ten Jiao make up one Yuan. At present, the Yuan is worth
about US $0.12, with slight daily fluctuations. The Bank of
China has exchange desks for foreign currency and travelers
checks with convenient hours at all hotels, airports, Friendship
Stores, and other shopping areas.
Visa, Master Card, American Express,
Diner’s Club, Federal Card, Million Card, and JCB credit cards
are accepted at most hotels and state run shops in the major
cities. Travelers should be prepared to pay in Yuan when
shopping in smaller shops, at restaurants, and in smaller
Electrical appliances will require an adapter that can
change the shape of the plug prongs, as well as an electrical
voltage converter that will allow a normal 110-volt American
appliance to take 220 Volt Chinese current. Throughout China,
220 volt is used, although 4 & 5-star hotels are wired for use
of 110-volt electrical appliances. Most hotels have a hair-dryer
in each room.
Telephone communication within China is good and getting
better as the national system upgrades to fiber optic cable.
Travelers can communicate easily with home or office via
telephone, fax, telex, and Internet (where available). Hotels
usually offer free local calls, although travelers should check
as some do have a small charge, even if there is no answer.
Public phones are available in many shops, restaurants, and on
the street. International Direct Dial (IDD) telephone service is
available from almost any telephone in the major cities, or from
hotels and phone centers in secondary cities. (Be sure to give
incoming callers your room number, since it is sometimes hard
for receptionists to remember foreign name spellings).
The postal service is one of the most
efficient systems in China. Local rates are inexpensive and
international rates are reasonable. Tourist hotels usually have
their own post offices and shipping services, but hotel front
desks provide the most convenient places for travelers to drop
mail. All major international courier services have offices in
major Chinese cities, and travelers can arrange with their hotel
for pickup. Internet connections are currently available in some
hotels, and many more are installing them to accommodate
* Great Wal
* Forbidden City (Beijing)
* Temple of Heaven (Beijing)
* Terra Cotta Warriors (Xi’an)
* Yangtze River
* Click here [http://www.cnto.org/about-us/world-heritage-sites/]
to learn about 43 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China
* Click here [http://www.cnto.org/plan-your-trip-to-china/regional-destinations/]
to learn more about the regional destinations for tourism within
* Airports with direct flights from the U.S. include Beijing
(PEK), Shanghai (PVG), and Guangzhou (CAN).
* In 2012, the Chinese government began a US$250 billion
five-year project to expand and modernize domestic air travel.
* Managed by the National Trunk Highway System (NTHS), China’s
expressways have a total length of 53,000 miles.
* China has the world’s longest high-speed rail network, with
more than 6,012 miles of service routes. Of these, 2,184 miles
are served by trains with top speeds in excess of 190 mph. China
plans to operate more than 9,900 miles of high-speed rail lines
During a long period of production and living practice,
China has made great contribution to the world on the aspects of
food resource exploration, diet treatment, nutrition and health
care, dishware design and cuisine aesthetics. Intellectuals in
China have created countless dishes with apt names, aromas,
flavors and colors, greatly enhancing the dining experience.
During these four or five thousand years of development, Chinese
cuisine appears various features in different periods and
regions. Generally speaking, people in this country mainly live
on the five common cereals and vegetables and added by a small
supply of meat. This eating habit is formed by the mode of
production which is centered by agriculture. Moreover, Chinese
food makes cooked and hot food primary, which is related to the
advance of culinary skills and early civilization of the
Chinese Tea- With a profound history of
over 4,000 years, Chinese tea is regarded as an exquisite art
form that requires sampling. Now it has become the national
drink and one of the three soft drinks in the world (the other
two are coffee and cocoa). It is from China that the tea
planting techniques, processing, drinking methods and ceremony
were directly or indirectly introduced to the world. So China is
regarded proudly as the hometown of tea. The land can be divided
into four growing regions: South China, Southwestern China, and
Yangtze River's north and south banks. These vast planting areas
widely grow various kinds of tea trees. Each kind requires
unique tea sets to infuse the best flavor. The sets mainly
include tea cup, pot and saucer. Their materials differ in
porcelain, pottery, lacquer ware, glass, bamboo and wooden fish
stone. What's more, tea ceremony is considered to be a good way
to cultivate the minds. Through infusing, appreciating and
tasting tea, people can nourish their inborn nature and promote
friendship among each other.
Chinese Martial Arts
Kung Fu (Martial Arts or Wushu) is a
traditional Chinese sport which has developed over a long
historical period. In order to survive the extremely hostile
environment, the primitive Chinese ancestors learned some
primary means of attack and defence such as leaping, tumbling
and kicking. Moreover, they generally knew how to fight with
weapons made from stones and wood or bare-hand fighting. This is
considered to be the origin of Wushu.
The movements in Wushu include kick, boxing, wresting and
seizing, which are performed by rules. Sects of Wushu are
various. Generally speaking, Shaolin Sect and Wudang Sect are
the two most famous sects. As the old Chinese saying goes 'In
the north, Shaolin Kungfu is primarily recommended. While in the
south, Wudang Kungfu is especially valued.' Both of them lay
emphasis on the external practice for Jing (genuine energy), Qi
(vital energy) and Shen (spirit) and internal practice for
muscle, bone and skin.
Chinese Arts & Crafts
It is common knowledge that China has a
long history and glorious history in both arts and traditional
crafts. These are just two of the many jewels in China's over
five thousand-year culture. The arts and crafts are not only the
embodiment of the people's longing for aesthetic beauty for
themselves and as gifts for others, but also great treasures for
China and the rest of the world. Many of the master artisans
have had their skills handed down via one generation to the next
so that only the offspring of such an artisan could learn the
necessary skills required. The result being that they are the
most valuable treasures both for a family and for the nation.
Of all the Chinese arts and crafts, the most representative are
Bronze Vessels, Folk Toys, Embroidery, Calligraphy, Music,
Opera, Painting, Cloisonne, Jade, Kites, Lacquer Ware,
Paper-Cuttings, Porcelain, Pottery, Seals, and Silk. They are
not only a vivid reflection of the culture of China but also the
embodiment of both the local people, and of the nation itself.
Bronze Vessels invented some 5,000
years ago led the ancestors of modern China from the Stone Age
into a new era - the Bronze Age. The bronzes produced being
delicately decorated with a diverse range of designs and motifs
and were widely used in many aspects of life, such as musical
instruments, ceremonial offerings and weapons of war being of
great significance in the history of China.
China Calligraphy - a highly
stylized form of writing - has been developed by many eminent
calligraphers of many different dynasties. Referred to as the
'four treasures of study' (writing brush, ink stick, paper, and
ink slab) are regarded as the indispensable tools when writing.
Chinese Cloisonne is an enamel
artwork with the primary color being blue. It is renowned for
its use of high-quality material, complex manufacturing process
and its use of bright and vivid colors.
Chinese Jade has a history of four
thousand years. Jade symbolizes merit, grace and dignity and
occupies a special position in people's consciousness. It is
used both to decorate rooms, and as jewelry by people hoping for
Chinese Embroidery originated in the
Shang Dynasty (16th - 11th century BC), and now has four major
traditional styles: Su, Shu, Xiang, and Yue. It is also an
accomplished skill for the ethnic minority groups such as the
Bai, Bouyei and Miao.
Folk Toys are items that have a long
history and a combination of artistic appreciation and playful
enjoyment, and endowed with numerous meanings that express the
people's wish for a happy and contented life.
Chinese Kites being delicately made
of paper and bamboo have numerous shapes such as swallow,
centipede, butterfly etc. Regarded as an artistic marvel, the
kite makers' skill in both painting and in the design of the
kites' flexible flying movement are well renowned.
Lacquer Ware first appeared some
7,000 years ago with the primary colors being black and red. It
is of various types and has a wide range of uses that makes it
favored by people throughout the entire world.
Chinese Lanterns are to some extent
the symbol of the country's extensive festival culture. With
long history and interesting traditions, lanterns now have
abundant variations, decorating many festive occasions.
China Music dates back to between
7,000 and 8,000 years ago. Featured with unique melodies within
different dynasties and accompanied with traditional musical
Chinese Opera is recognized as one
of the three oldest dramatic art forms in the world. It is a
combination of music, art and literature and is characterized by
the unique facial make-up, excellent acrobatics and has many
different regional variations.
Chinese Painting is divided into
three genres - figures, landscapes, and birds-and-flowers and
each type has its distinctive characteristics. In addition,
difficult skills are required to the painters.
Paper-Cuttings is diversified
patterns cut into red paper with scissors. Different patterns
such as monkey, flowers and figures can be cut vividly and
perfectly by some female artisans in rural areas. People paste
paper-cuttings onto their windows and other places to express
their hopes and wishes.
Chinese Porcelain derived from the
Shang Dynasty (16th - 11th century BC). It is characterized with
fine texture, bright colors, and distinctive shapes and styles.
Jingdezhen, located in Jiangxi Province is the Porcelain Capital
of the world and attracts countless people from near and far to
appreciate, and buy the choicest porcelain around.
Chinese Pottery has a history of
over 8,000 years and known as the oldest artwork of human
beings. The accomplishments in pottery works can be seen from
Terra Cotta Warriors, in Xian, Shaanxi Province, and the
Tricolor Glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) and so
China Seals can be made of metal,
jade, animal tooth or horn and caved with characters. It is a
combination of calligraphy and engraving that people cherished
in the old times and likes nowadays.
Shadow Puppetry is the general name
for shadow play and the theatrical property used in the play.
All of the vivid shadow puppets, including the figures and the
scenes, are plane and made from leather. The shadows of these
puppets are projected on to a white screen; meanwhile artists
operate the puppets behind the screen to finish this traditional
form of play. As a bright pearl of the Chinese folk art, shadow
puppetry has a history of more than 2,000 years. Now it is still
very popular. The delicate puppets are favored by tourists as
China Silk: A silkworm produces 1000
meters (3280 feet) of silk thread in its lifespan of just 28
days and is of great value. Major local silk products in China
are Shu, Yun, Song Brocade and brocades by ethnic minorities
such as the Zhuang and the Dong peoples are well renowned.
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