Questions tagged [china]

Generally refers to the country referred to as the People's Republic of China, a country in E Asia. With a surface area of 3,691,502 sq. mi. (9,560,990 sq. km). The current Capital is Beijing.

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Does Chinese history really span the past 5000 years?

Chinese kids the world over are frequently taught that there is "5000 years of Chinese history". What basis is there for this claim?
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Before European influence circa 1600, did any Chinese believe the Earth was spherical, and did they ever try to measure it?

The Pythagorans, Aristotle, and Eratosthenese believed the Earth was spherical. Eratosthenes made a measure based on shadows at two cities on the same meridian. An Indian mathematician, Aryabhata, ...
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Why did Japan take so long to attack Wuhan?

On December 13, 1937 Japan captured Nanjing; from there they could have continued up the Yangtze to attack Wuhan, then the second most populous Chinese city and de facto wartime capital. But ground ...
congusbongus's user avatar
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100 votes
13 answers
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Why China was able to unify and not Europe?

If you look at a map of China through the ages, you will usually find (from about the Han up) a huge mass representing China. On the other hand, you look at a map of Europe, and you'll usually see a ...
Russell's user avatar
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63 votes
8 answers
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Why was Britain willing to return Hong Kong but not Gibraltar?

Why was Britain willing to return Hong Kong to China, but not Gibraltar to Spain? Was it because Gibraltar has more strategic value than Hong Kong?
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What historical conditions (culture, technology, events, etc.) contributed to China's current lead in population?

If their growth rate was comparable to the rest of the world over the past several millenia, then was it only a matter of having a "head start"? (If so, then how did this initial condition come to be?...
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7 answers
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Why was China not colonized by any country?

Why didn't China become a colony of anybody, unlike most other Asian countries?
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2 answers
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Did Spain and the Republic of China (Kuomintang) have diplomatic relations between 1931 and 1939? Were they friendly or unfriendly?

The Republic of China and the Kingdom of Spain had relations before 1931 (link). Did they maintain these relations after the Second Spanish Republic was established? After 1945, the Spanish State ...
Ne Mo's user avatar
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What family or other connection bound Chiang Kaishek and Cai Yuanpei, two ideological opposites?

Politically, Nationalist China's Chiang Kaishek must be considered a "strange bedfellow with Cai Yuanpei. Chiang was a disciplined, narrow-minded conservative of the type one might expect from a ...
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What were Lord Macartney's original words about Chinese under the Qianlong Emperor's brutal regime in 18th century?

This is a follow-up question of Where can I find modern account of Macartney Embassy to China (1792–1794)? After Lord Macartney returned from his mission to the Qianlong Emperor, he made a poignant ...
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Which countries actually played a part in the foundation of the UN [closed]

I'm doing a presentation on the influence of countries outside Europe in the foundation of the United Nations, I think China had some influence but I'm not sure!
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7 answers
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Did China ever consider a phonetic writing system?

I was surprised to learn the following about the Japanese and Korean languages: Japanese used a lot of Chinese characters in their language and had no phonetic system, until around the year 800 when ...
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How do ancient Chinese "mirrors" such as these in the National Museum function?

In the National Museum of China we find "mirrors" from various Chinese dynasties: A photo I took of "mirrors" at the National Museum of China in Beijing Notably, these mirrors ...
Rebecca J. Stones's user avatar
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1 answer
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Did Chinese emperors wear a rectangular hat with suspended gems?

The mythical Jade Emperor is sometimes depicted as wearing a mortarboard hat with strings of jewels suspended from its edges: According to Shen Yun's post: Hanging from the front and back of the ...
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31 votes
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How did Europeans first acquire gunpowder?

I know that gunpowder was first invented in China around the 10th century, and it seems that gunpowder likely made its way to Europe via the "Silk Road." However, there doesn't seem to be a ton of ...
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Why didn't China assist in the Vietnam War like they did in Korea?

In the Korean War (1950 - 1953), China sent in about 1 million troops fairly quickly and actually fought the American and UN forces. In the Vietnam War (1950's - 1975), the only Chinese assistance I ...
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28 votes
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Have there been any notable battles fought with steel vs. bronze weapons?

In answering the question "was the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age violent?" I found out a few facts that I hadn't expected. Namely, that the early iron weapons weren't necessarily ...
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Why did the clocks go back in Shanghai on December 31, 1927?

If you are a Stack Overflow user you may already have read Jon Skeet's excellent answer that discusses a time zone change at the end of 1927 in Shangai, when the clocks went back for 5 minutes and 52 ...
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27 votes
7 answers
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What is the historical basis for the claim that "Taiwan has always been part of China"?

Since young, I am informed that Taiwan is always a part of China and should not seek independence, and that the Chinese Communist Party will not hesitate to use force to stop the Taiwanese from ...
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22 votes
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Had there been instances of national states banning harmful imports before the mid-19th C Opium Wars?

Background To my current understanding, James Matheson in his »The British trade with China« argued that China might have originally had the right to refuse trading with Britain, but that they lost ...
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Why did Mongolia split in two when they declared independence?

When Mongolia declared independence from the Qing Empire in 1911, part of it stayed under Qing control. This is the part known today as Inner Mongolia. But even before their independence, there were "...
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Why is the Qing Dynasty in China considered Feudalistic?

From my understanding of the Qing Dynasty (and a few more dyansties before it as well), the Empire (under the Emperor) owned all land. Power and responsibilities were delegated to state elected ...
Razor Storm's user avatar
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2 answers
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To what extent did the CPC avoid fighting with the Japanese?

There's general agreement that the Japanese invasion of China benefited the CPC by interrupting the civil war, forcing the KMT to fight the Japanese instead of continuing the CPC purge, which they ...
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Chiang's allies were "a kidnapper, a hooligan and a bully" but which was which?

Chiang Kai-shek complained bitterly about his allies Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union (the latter admittedly not at war with Japan till the very end). But when he stated that China's ...
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10 votes
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When and what was the maximum extent of Nationalist China?

The Republic of China (1912–49) claimed a large area of land, the most notable difference compared to present-day China being the inclusion of Mongolia. However, it's my understanding that at no point ...
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8 votes
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Motivation Behind the USSR Assisting China's Nuclear Program

What motivated the USSR to assist China with the development of Nuclear Weapons? Why would the USSR want China to have this technology during the 1950s and early 1960s? What did they get out of this ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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What was the de facto rule by which the imperial title was transmitted in various Chinese dynasties?

I seek to find information about which rules or trends - if any - applied in Chinese imperial succession during different dynasties. I found this source, but I can’t get access and what I see in the ...
Ludi's user avatar
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8 votes
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564 views

What unique personal experiences contributed to the formation of Mao's brand of Communism?

Political scientists cite his personal attributes and exposure to the proletariat as synergistic in the formation of his doctrine. What particular experiences in Mao Zedong's formative years ...
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What made Port Arthur (Manchuria) a better port for Russia than Vladivostok?

In 1897, Russia leased Port Arthur, Manchuria as a Pacific port to supplement its existing holding of Vladivostok. Port Arthur is at about 39 degrees N. latitude; Vladivostok is at 43 degrees N. ...
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What are the best resources for studying oracle bone inscriptions?

Can someone please recommend the best resources for studying Chinese oracle bone inscriptions? Rather than general or specific information about oracle bones, I'm looking for collections or catalogs ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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What was the nature of the Japanese cabinet crisis after the Battle of Taierzhuang?

According to Wikipedia, after the Japanese defeat in the Battle of Taierzhuang, "It was reported in the world's newspapers, however, and by mid-April had provoked a Cabinet crisis in Tokyo". ...
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6 votes
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How and why did the "Green Gang" hold the balance of power in Shanghai in 1927?

The line ups were a bit unusual, to say the least. On one side, you have some thousands of Communist party workers (probably not well armed) loosely aligned with several hundred thousand workers. On ...
Tom Au's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
646 views

When and why China started to make a difference in the superpower arena?

China is starting to be more and more remarked on as a superpower, but this surely didn't happen overnight, so what would be that decade that was very auspicious for China and why?
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4 answers
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What are the oldest primary sources of recorded history in China?

There is for instance Sima Qian, according to Wikipedia the first Chinese historian, who wrote the Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian) in 109 BCE. But does this primary source still exist, or do ...
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1 answer
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Was *Green Eggs and Ham* really banned in China from 1965–1991?

The Wikipedia article on Green Eggs and Ham states that the children's book was banned in China in 1965 for its "portrayal of early Marxism", and that the ban was lifted in 1991. The citations for ...
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4 votes
3 answers
815 views

Was Kingdom of Cochin the only kingdom in South Asia to be a protectorate of (any empire of) China?

The Wikipedia article on the Kingdom of Cochin says: The kingdom of Cochin was the only kingdom in South Asia to be a protectorate of China. The King of Cochin received special treatment, ...
Jayadevan Vijayan's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

How much did the Chinese Summer Palace cost to build?

According to Wikipedia, Empress Cixi embezzled 30 million taels of silver from the modernization of Qing Navy to build the Summer Palace. What is 30 million taels of silver equivalent to in modern ...
ChickenGod's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
369 views

Before ww2, why did Japan allow Chinese students to study military science?

In 1917, Cheng Fangwu and his friends were openly anti-Japan; yet in Japan they were free to elect whatever major they liked. Cheng studied steel making, guns, ballistics and torpedoes but later ...
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4 votes
3 answers
5k views

When did toys first become "Made in China"?

I'm continuing to read about the history of toys. The U.S. imports between 50%-75% of its toys from Chinese manufacturers (depending on the year), and my understanding is that they many western ...
Random's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
474 views

Where is an image of the oracle bone that describes the nova?

(Related to my previous question) Does anyone have a link to an image of the oracle bone that has this specific inscription: The inscriptions include the oldest observation of a nova (1300BCE) ‘A ...
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3 votes
5 answers
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Why were the 8th Route Army better at fighting the Japanese than the Nationalists were?

Numerous sources have noted the (Communist) 8th Route Army's effectiveness in its resistance against Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) occupation; British, American observers, even Japanese commanders have ...
congusbongus's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
613 views

Why didn't America "rent" parts of China? [closed]

After the Opium War, Britain and France signed treaties with China that said they could establish "spheres of influence" over parts of China. Britain and France went this way, but why didn't America?
user17409's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
470 views

Had the Chinese leadership considered the famine in Soviet Union in 1930s before starting the Great Leap Forward?

It was strange that the collectivization in the Soviet Union led to the Soviet famine of 1932-33 and the history repeated itself in 1959-61 in China. So far as I know the Soviet Union helped the ...
Lzn's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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How frequently did the KMT use telegrams to communicate; from where (roughly) and to whom?

This answer to the Chinese Language SE question Historical: How was Chinese written in telegrams and early computers? says (in part): Following is a telegram code "dictionary" used by Japan ...
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2 votes
0 answers
127 views

Where can I find modern account of Macartney Embassy to China (1792–1794)?

Macartney Embassy was the first British diplomatic mission to China. It was such an important but little-known event. I read quite some Chinese materials but not many English materials. The wiki ...
Qiulang 邱朗's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
245 views

Have Chinese (and surrounding) cultures traditionally heated their milk?

I’ve spoken with many middle aged Chinese people who have reported that for as long as they can remember, even growing up on a farm, they would never drink milk, even their own cattle’s, without first ...
Frank's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
451 views

Was Tibet ruled by Yuan Dynasty empires?

Did Yuan dynasty empires ever ruled Tibet as they claim or was it always an independent state as claimed by The Tibetan Govt in Exile?
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