China may be most well-known among Americans for its Great Wall, (Americanized!) food, kung fu and communism, but with its massive East Asia landscape of mountains, waterways and desert, its rich civilization dating back nearly 5,000 years, and a population over 1.3 billion people, there’s certainly a lot more to learn. For starters, did you know an estimated 300 million people play basketball in China? That’s nearly the entire population of the United States! Explore and find more fun facts in the quiz, slide show, and geography, history and culture sections below.
With a population as plentiful and dynamic as China’s, it’s a tall order to generalize the country’s defining cultural characteristics. The majority of the nation speaks widely varying dialects of Mandarin, in addition to six other major languages, and there’s no official religion in China although a quarter practice traditional Taoism and Buddhism, with a bit of Catholicism, Islam and Protestantism practiced here and there.
Tea is a coveted cultural staple, and typical fare in China depends on geographical area and ethnicity, but a few standards include dishes of tofu, rice, dumplings, and veggies such as beans and bamboo shoots. However, food’s not just for sustenance—especially around the holidays. During the Chinese New Year celebration, (or Spring Festival), food is carefully selected and prepared with the symbolic purpose of enhancing the lives of those partaking, and their ancestors. Noodles dishes, for example, are served nice and long, to symbolize long life, while fish is served whole to symbolize togetherness. Outside of festive holidays, a focus on togetherness across generations of a family is prevalent in Chinese culture, from its wedding and funeral traditions to everyday life and decision-making.
China as a country has found international success in an array of sports, as evidenced by the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics where they won the most gold medals of any other country by far. But since the U.S. invention of basketball in the late 19th Century, the sport has been part of life for people from poor farmers and factory workers to wealthy military and political leaders. Table tennis has also been a source of national pride and unity for over a century.
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Which country does China NOT border?
Thailand does not border China. It borders Laos and Myanmar.
Which Chinese river is called “China’s sorrow”?
Huang He (Yellow River) is called “China’s sorrow” because the river often floods, which in turn destroys crops in the nearby agricultural areas, which in turn leads to famine.
Which of the following is China’s biggest agricultural crop?
Various types of grains (rice, wheat, corn and barley) make up most (80-90 percent) of China’s agricultural economy.
Which of the following is NOT the name of a Chinese desert?
The Gobi, Taklimakan, and Badain Jaran are all deserts in China. China is now facing the serious problem of desertification, or expanding deserts. The main cause of desertification is over-farming. But eventually, rising temperatures and global warming are also going to contribute to the problem.
What is believed to have driven China’s Yangtze River dolphin (baiji) into extinction?
The baiji is believed to be nearly extinct. Recently, scientists failed to find any of the species in the Yangtze River. Human actions, such as overfishing and habitat degradation, are believed to have driven the animals into extinction.
China is about the same size as which continent?
China measures about 3.7 million square miles in size, making it almost as large as Europe.
Which of the following statements about China’s Grand Canal is False?
The canal was not built to encourage trade with Korea and Russia. Rather it was constructed to connect northern and southern China.
Which of the following types of flora (plants, trees, etc…) is native to China?
Witch Hazel, Ginkgo trees, and Weeping Willows are all native to China.
Which of the following Chinese animals symbolizes longevity?
The red-crowned crane is a symbol of longevity as well as fortune and dignity. Incidentally, all of these animals are in danger of becoming endangered or extinct.
How many provinces is China divided into?
China has 23 provinces, 4 municipalities, 5 autonomous regions, and 2 Special Administrative Regions.
China has 23 provinces, 4 municipalities, 5 autonomous regions, and 2 special administrative Regions.
Which of the following is NOT the name of a Chinese mountain range?
Tarim is the name of China’s largest basin, located near the Tianshan and Kunlun mountain ranges.
Which of the following fruits is native to China?
Lychees, persimmons, and peaches are all native to China.