China is a country that admires some and frightens other Russians. On this page of our site we will try to tell about China a lot of interesting things. We hope that the "heavenly" will become closer and more understandable to you.
Where is China and with whom does it border?
China is the third country in the world in terms of the area of the territory, second only to Russia and Canada. If you take a territory that can be safely called "lived-in", then China is the absolute leader.
China is in Asia (see map on the right), and is washed by the Pacific Ocean from the east, borders with Russia, Mongolia and North Korea from the north. In the west, its neighbors are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan. In the south, China borders on Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Vietnam.
China occupies the first place in the world in terms of population, we will talk about Chinese closely in one of the sections below. The economy of China is one of the strongest in the world, but it is difficult to say exactly what is in place, as there are several alternative methods of evaluation.
By total GDP (gross domestic product), the Chinese are in second place in the world after the United States. If you take the GDP per capita, then China is not even in the top ten, and somewhere in the region of the 80th place.
The name of the country
The word "China" is only with us, and in other countries of the world China is called China (China) or similar names. Many people ask: where did this difference in words between Russian and other European languages come from?
The reason is as follows. European civilization has met with China for a long time in the times of the Roman Republic . It can not be said that the contacts were very dense. Between Rome and China there was only a small commodity exchange and often through intermediaries.
This was even recently shot a film, it's called "Dragon Blade". Poster in the picture on the left. Of course, this film does not pretend to accurate historical certainty, but there is some truth in it.
The name of the country the Romans adopted in that period, the word "Chin", China called then many nations. Hence, since ancient times, the name China (China) has come. The Romans and Greeks also used the second word "Sine".
The most valuable Chinese goods for Europe were silk and Chinese porcelain, equal in quality to Europeans did not know. For a long time, the word China in Europe was also called porcelain.
The word "China" comes from the name of the nomadic people, who lived in the north of China. These people called themselves "Khitani" or "Kitai", and they occupied vast territories and fought with the Chinese. The name of their people has taken root for the designation of northern China.
If you look at the records of our traveler Athanasius Nikitin, we will see that he called the northern part of the country "Kitaya", and the southern "China". The word "China" migrated to the Slavic languages and there it was used to refer to the entire country. So this difference was formed.
With China, Russians met directly only in 1618, when the first embassy arrived in Beijing. The diplomatic mission was led by the Cossack Ivan Petlin. The delegation arrived in Beijing without gifts and without credentials, and in China it is not accepted.
Emperor VanLi refused to accept them, but the officials handed the Cossacks a welcome document in Chinese. This document was brought to Moscow, but could not be read, and he remained in the Posolsky Order for 50 years. From it, and went the usual expression "Chinese Charter". Throughout the world, the Emperor Wang was more famous for the fact that his tomb, called " Underground Palace ", is the only one opened in the valley of the tombs of the Ming emperors in the north of Beijing .
The Chinese themselves call their country Joon Guo, which literally translates as "a central country." The word "central" is denoted by the hieroglyph, which is shown in the picture to the right. When traveling to China, you will often see him.
This Chinese character is very easy to remember, because it looks like the Russian letter "F". It comes from the image of an arrow that hit the target exactly, that is, to the center.
Do not think that the Chinese are selfish and consider themselves to be the center of the world. Just in ancient times around there were no other foci of civilization, and this name was relevant. Since then, China has long realized that there are many other civilizations in the world, but the name remains.
By the way, in terms of tolerance to other nations, we should learn from the Chinese. If you go to China on a tourist trip, you will understand that the Chinese are very friendly towards foreigners.
The population of China
Almost all sources call China the largest country by population. It's hard to say how true this is. In China, about 1.34 billion people live, but this is the official figure. In China, there are many unregistered citizens, although the government prefers not to advertise this problem. No one knows how many of these people exactly, the figures vary from 100 to 400 million.
India could claim the first place, according to official data there live 1.25 billion. But this figure is unlikely to be correct, since the census in India is simply terrible.
About 93% of the population of China are representatives of the Han nation, they are Chinese. On the one hand, they recognize themselves as a single nation, but on the other hand, differences in the culture, traditions and language of different provinces can be enormous.
An interesting question: "When and how did the Chinese appear and why do they call themselves Han?"
Until the 3rd century BC, China's population was very heterogeneous, but in 220 the ruler of Qin Shihuandi was able to conquer all of China and became his first emperor.
He began several grandiose construction projects - the Linqyu Canal, Epan Palace, his tomb in Xi'an City , the Terracotta Army , and of course the Great Wall . These projects required a huge amount of labor, and workers for them were driven from all provinces. It was during this period that the population of the country became very mixed. It was the policy of the emperor to preserve power - the more people are mixed, the less riots.
The Qin Dynasty was replaced by the new Han Dynasty, and already during her reign there was a process of smoothing the differences and unifying the Chinese into one nation. Hence the name of this people is Han.
Even with this mixing, the Chinese did not become a completely homogeneous nation. So far, the differences between them in different provinces are huge. Northerners are more round-faced, and southerners are more lean. Northerners are disciplined and withdrawn, and Southerners are more freedom-loving and sociable. And their languages are different.
It is usually said that there are a lot of dialects in China, but this definition is not entirely correct. For example, in Russia there are dialects - Muscovites "akayut", in other regions they "squash", Petrograders say "jelly", "ceremonial" and "chicken grill". But we all perfectly understand each other.
And the Chinese from different provinces do not understand each other at all. Their dialects are so different that it is appropriate to speak not of dialects, but of different languages.
Previously, China was experiencing enormous problems in connection with these linguistic differences. Even the Chinese army was weak, since soldiers often did not understand the orders of the commanders. Problems in communication created obstacles in establishing economic ties. The migration of the population, which is required for economic development, became more complicated.
A way out was found, and an official oral language was introduced, uniform for the entire country. It is called "Putonghua". He is very similar to the Beijing dialect of the Chinese language, but still they are not.
All the central television and radio speaks only this language. Now in Chinese schools, teaching is conducted only on Putonghua. Most Chinese citizens speak it freely, except for some elderly people and rural residents in remote areas.
And imagine how convenient. Marry a girl from another province, and your mother-in-law does not know Putonghua. Peace in the family is assured. We have a friend of Ukraine who has moved to China, so he just has this situation. He is pleased.
It is very difficult for a European to learn Chinese, as he is a tonal one. The word has a different meaning if it is said in different tones. Such languages are also called "musical". In total there are four different tones in Chinese. Read this page about how tourists can solve the language problem .
Putonghua is the official language not only of China, but also of Taiwan. Taipei and Beijing have many disagreements, but in the matter of language they are one.
Writing in China
Dialects differ only in the pronunciation of words, and writing is the same throughout the PRC. The Chinese write hieroglyphs, each of which stands for a simple word. Chinese characters total about 40,000, but only 10,000 are actively used.
Many people think that every word corresponds to a hieroglyph, but it is not. This is true only for simple words, and compound words consist of several icons.
For example, there is no hieroglyph for the word "airplane". This word consists of two icons - "flying" and "machine."
With the word "helicopter" is still more difficult - it's "straight" + "take off" + "car." And so on, all complex words are formed according to this principle.
In Chinese, there are two systems of writing - traditional and simplified. In the 40s of the twentieth century, the Chinese authorities began the largest reform of the written language in history, and this reform was completed only in the 80's.
It was believed that many Chinese characters are too complex for ordinary people, and they were decided to simplify. "Under the knife" were all the hieroglyphs, whose number of sticks was more than 10. In the picture to the left are good examples of such simplifications.
It was believed that simplification would dramatically increase the literacy of the population, give impetus to the development of the economy, and so on. In fact, nothing like this happened. In Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong, a traditional letter is still used as a basic one, and there are no problems with literacy and economics there.
And now we will answer the question asked by almost all Russians when it comes to Chinese characters: "And how do they type on the keyboard? 10 thousand characters on the buttons can not post! "
It's simple. They print the pronunciation of the character, for example "n" + "i". The computer displays several options for icons corresponding to these sounds. Most of the words in Chinese are one consonant and one vowel. The user selects the hieroglyph that is needed. So they type.
Economy of China
China is the second economy of the world after the United States, and according to some estimates, even the first. The majority of Russians piously believe that the Chinese have achieved this solely due to the huge population and cheap labor, but this is not entirely true. The success of the Chinese people consists of two components: they are cheap labor hands and competent policy of the government.
Think about yourself, why do you need cheap workers, if you can not open a factory or can not connect it to the power grid?
Government policy is the determining factor. The Chinese authorities are doing everything to create new enterprises and production flourished.
In many provinces, the authorities themselves are building industrial parks. These are such plots of land, to which all the necessary communications are preliminarily summed up - electricity, water, sewerage and communications. Any company can lease this area and build a factory.
Try to open a new enterprise in Russia! At us one connection to the power supply needs to be coordinated for a whole year, and even longer. A reasonable policy of the party and government is the real reason for the Chinese economic miracle.
China is the absolute leader in the production of all consumer goods, but in high-tech products they are still weak. For example, the famous Chinese high-speed trains are German technology from Siemens, which the Chinese then copied. From Shanghai airport to the city you can take the Maglev train at a speed of 430 km / h, but know that this train is "made in Germany".
Now the country's economy is reoriented to domestic consumption and improving the living standards of its citizens. It is likely that soon the era of super-cheap Chinese goods will end.
Do the Chinese live well?
In China, a huge stratification. Tourists do not notice this, but the authors of jj-tours have worked with Chinese factories for a long time in the past. We know how people live there.
The managerial team and entrepreneurs live well - ride cars and buy apartments in a mortgage, walk with the iPhone and in good clothes. The working class lives much worse.
In Russia we are not used to the big difference in wages. For example, in a trading company in Moscow, the manager receives a salary of 50-60 000 rubles, and a warehouse worker 30-40 000 rubles. The difference in the remuneration of the working class and the middle link is usually no more than twofold. We have become accustomed to this since the times of the USSR, when the principle of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs," prevailed.
In China, this difference can be 5 and 10 times, and no one is surprised. Workers in coastal cities often come from the interior regions of the country. They live in the cellars of the enterprises they work for. They often do not have days off at all, only on the Chinese New Year they can go to see their relatives.
Salaries are small, but the minimum bar grows every year. In China, there is a minimum wage, set in each province separately. For Shanghai in 2014, this is 18 Chinese yuan per hour or 2020 yuan per month. There are regions where this bar is half as low. Very many workers in China work for the "minimalk". The peasantry live even worse, I do not even want to tell you about it.
The only "trip to life" for the Chinese is education and knowledge of languages. Therefore, if during a tourist trip to China the Chinese come to you on the street and ask to speak English, do not be surprised. For them it is important, it is the practice of a foreign language.
However, after the sharp drop in the Russian ruble rate at the end of 2014 and early 2015, there is already a big question: "Where do people live best in Russia or China?"
One family - one child
This restriction was introduced a long time ago - back in 1981. Its essence is clear from the title, and the goal is to reduce the population of the country to a figure of about 700 million people. It does not work at all as the Russians imagine it, and the number of errors on this score is extremely high.
First, the restriction does not apply to all provinces and not to all cities. In fact, only one third of the Chinese are imposed a strict restriction. Half of the country's residents are allowed to have a second child, if the first child was born.
In fact, China has a lot of rules on this. Legislation is very complicated, and it is very difficult to understand who can have a second child, who does not, who can pay it, and who has a preferential right. To be honest, there "without 100 grams do not understand," and if vodka is Chinese , then without 200 grams minimum.
Most rumors are about what is the punishment for breaking this policy. They say that women are forced to do abortions or pussycats. In fact, these are fines. One of our friends started a second child and just paid a fine. In 2012, he paid an amount equivalent to 300,000 Russian rubles. The amount is large, but it is quite "lifting" for him.
The results of this policy are mixed. In the DMB comedy, there was such a phrase, which surprisingly accurately describes the current state of China. Remember, from the conversation of two soldiers:
One of the effects was a sharp increase in the male part of the population. For 5 women in China there are already 6 men, and it's scary to imagine what will happen next. For this and many other reasons, this policy is being curtailed.
We believe that all Chinese are totally Buddhists, which is not true. Tourists like to look at the magnificent Chinese pagodas, and this association probably went from here. Buddhism is really common in China, but Chinese philosophical and religious thought does not live by Buddhism alone.
Traditional Chinese ideology rests on the "three pillars" - Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.
Most of the Chinese are atheists. This is official statistics, and our observations confirm this idea completely.
The era of communism has borne fruit, and most of the population has ceased to believe in anything. But the way of thinking, ethics and norms of behavior of modern Chinese are formed precisely by these three teachings. By the way, none of them can be recognized as a religion in the usual sense of the word.
Freedom in China
This country is considered one of the most unfree in the world. There was something like this in Chinese history, but now everything is changing. The modern Chinese does not feel any serious control, although in fact he exists.
On the other hand, the freedom to realize oneself in China is an order of magnitude greater than in Russia. It's much easier to open a business where it's much easier to do it yourself, rather than "work for your uncle." There would be a desire to work, and the state will not interfere with you much.
In China, you can not criticize the government on the Internet. The Internet in China is subject to strict censorship. But, the authorities listen to what is happening, and draw conclusions. Events took place in Tiananmen Square , the Communist Party reached conclusions, and reforms began.
Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a former colony within the British Empire. Recently, it officially is a province of the PRC. In fact, this is a separate state. The authorities in Beijing are responsible only for foreign policy, and all other administrative issues are handled by local authorities.
It has its own currency, its laws, its visa regime and tax law. Russian citizens can visit Hong Kong without a visa, and the main territory of the country can be accessed only by having a Chinese visa in their passport.
The tax system in Hong Kong is quite different - there is no VAT (VAT), and many things are cheaper by 15-20%. If you want to buy an iPhone or iPad cheaply, then you are the road to Hong Kong. Many Chinese people go here for smartphones, tablet computers and laptops.
The city of Macau is likewise part of the PRC, and also has almost complete independence. This is the former colony of Portugal. Here their laws, money and taxation.
Macao is a casino city, it's Asian Las Vegas. If a Chinese wants to play poker, blackjack or roulette, then he goes here.
The situation with the island of Taiwan is more complicated. China officially considers it its territory and the province of China. The Taiwanese disagree with this, and most of the world recognizes their point of view.
Taiwan is a hotel state. It's all its own, including the army and the navy. This state is called Republic of China (ROC), which translates as "Republic of China". There are no negotiations on Taiwan's accession to the PRC.
An important advice for tourists. In Chinese airports, flights to Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan are called "home", and landing on airplanes to these regions is carried out from terminals for local flights. Do not confuse.
If you like China, and you seriously decided to visit this country, then read the following article " Than China is interesting for tourists ".
We wish you a successful visit to China, and read our pages about this country ( links below ).