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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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 ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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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
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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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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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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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41 votes
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Why did China shut itself out of the world in the 15th century?

After a period of maritime explorations (see Zheng He) in the early 15th century, the Ming Dynasty started shutting the Middle Kingdom out of the rest of the world. This of course continued with the ...
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38 votes
9 answers
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Why aren't there any Chinese colonies?

It seems like European nations are all establishing colonies, but I don't understand why China would be any different. It seems like it has the power and resources to do so numerous times throughout ...
louie mcconnell's user avatar
36 votes
4 answers
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Why could China keep most of the lands it conquered after 17th century but European powers could not?

If we look at the map of Ming dynasty, we see a much smaller China. Most of the northern and western part of today's China was conquered during Qing dynasty. In contrast, many European powers have ...
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Why did the Republic of China retract its simplified Chinese characters?

The image below shows part of the list of simplified Chinese characters introduced by the Republic of China Department of Education in 1935. They were retracted in 1936, so China continued to use ...
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33 votes
4 answers
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If the Ch’in dynasty was so short-lived, why was China named for it?

If the Ch’in dynasty was so short-lived, why was China named for it? The Ch’in Dynasty, which lasted for only 39 years, was China’s shortest-lived dynasty. (Compare that to the Shang’s 750 years, ...
George A. Solodun's user avatar
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Did people in China resort to cannibalism during the reign of Mao?

I have often heard and read this, but I wonder if credible sources can support these claims. I even heard stories of merchants selling human flesh and children under 12 sold to be eaten. I read about ...
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Were Russians in the cold war era USA discriminated against for their ethnicity?

As a Chinese living in the western world, I am a little bit concerned about the next decades where there might be a war or a series of conflicts between the rising Chinese power and the current world ...
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5 answers
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Given their reputation for fighting to the last man in the Pacific, why did 700,000 Japanese troops surrender in Manchuria?

I just read this. It says: On August 8, 1945 ... the Soviet Union launched the invasion of Manchuria, a massive military operation mobilizing 1.5 million soldiers against one million Kwantung Army ...
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31 votes
6 answers
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Why didn't the silk road run north of the Black Sea?

I have read many times that the only way for Europeans to get to China, or vice versa, was through Anatolia and Persia. This gave Istanbul an advantage in throttling trade, as well as Mesopotamia and ...
social-biz's user avatar
31 votes
4 answers
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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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30 votes
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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 ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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28 votes
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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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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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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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27 votes
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Great Wall of China Controversy

Until several years ago the eastern end of the Great Wall of China was considered to end at Shanhaiguan where the wall goes into the sea, but the Chinese have revealed (in 2009) new portions of the ...
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Why was the US so pro-China and so anti-Japan before WW2?

There is little doubt that the US embargoes on Japan pushed an already aggressive Japan towards Pearl Harbor. Japanese Navy doctrine had already been contemplating a conflict with the US and this ...
Italian Philosophers 4 Monica's user avatar
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1 answer
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When and how did the Han ethnic group become by far the biggest ethnic group in China?

China is a very ethnic homogenous country, one ethnic group, the Han make up 92 % of China's population. Huaxia refers to a confederation of tribes—living along the Yellow River—who were the ...
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3 answers
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Why did the Chinese Nationalist party members go to the island of Taiwan and not to any other island?

The nationalists could have escaped to the present day Phillippines which is further from the Chinese and would keep them more safe or to any other island but why only Taiwan and also why didn't the ...
Mansha Mannan Ul Haque's user avatar
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1 answer
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Why did the Soviet Union not "grant" Inner Mongolia to Mongolia after World War Two?

In the brief Soviet anti-Japanese campaign of 1945, Soviet and Mongol troops entered Inner Mongolia. Mongolia itself had been essentially a client state of the Soviet Union since 1921. Also the ...
Dolphin 613 Motorboat's user avatar
23 votes
1 answer
714 views

What did Zhang Zuolin say after his train blew up?

Zhang Zuolin was an early 20th century Chinese warlord of Manchuria. He was fatally wounded by the Japanese Army on June 4, 1928, using a bomb laid beneath tracks where his armoured train travelled ...
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22 votes
6 answers
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Why did Sun Tzu believe you shouldn't wait beside a river when eager to fight?

In Sun Tzu's Art of War, Chapter 9 (The Army on the March), Verse 5, Tzu says If you are anxious to fight, you should not go to meet the invader near a river which he has to cross. My thinking is ...
Albert Johnson's user avatar
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2 answers
4k views

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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22 votes
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What is the name of the theory that says an early discovery can stop technological development?

Some time ago I read a claim that an early discovery can lead to a great scientific stagnation. The example given was the Chinese porcelain, that resolved all the known problems, and stopped the ...
Cochise's user avatar
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22 votes
8 answers
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Why do some sections of Great Wall of China seem to be bidirectional?

Official historiography says that Great Wall of China is built "across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various ...
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
33k views

Why does Japan celebrate the Gregorian New Year but China still celebrates Chinese New Year?

Before the Meiji Restoration, Japan used the Chinese calendar and celebrated Chinese New Year just as China did. Nowadays, both Japan and China have adopted the Western calendar. However, Japan ...
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21 votes
4 answers
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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?...
Andrew Cheong's user avatar
21 votes
4 answers
21k views

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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20 votes
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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20 votes
5 answers
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What events led to the fall of the Zhou Dynasty during the Warring States period?

The title above is fairly broad, so more specifically, what specific events led to the Warring States period experienced towards the end of the Western Zhou Dynasty in ancient China? As the lineage ...
Sorcerer Blob's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why has Hainan been so little fought over?

There are two really substantial islands off the coast of China, namely Taiwan (Formosa) and Hainan. Whereas Taiwan has been occupied, colonised, renamed and fought over for the last 600 years, Hainan ...
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19 votes
4 answers
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Why did China annex Tibet?

This is probably a very naive question, but here it goes: Was there an economical or political reason for the invasion of Tibet by China in 1950? It does not seem to me that Tibet is a particularly ...
Steven Mathey's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
3k views

Where are Genghis Khan's Mongols?

In the 13th century, Mongol hordes invaded most of the known world and Genghis Khan's nobles had strong legacies to rule in China, Iran and Central Asia in the the following centuries. What about the ...
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18 votes
3 answers
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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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18 votes
3 answers
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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, ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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18 votes
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Why wasn't awareness of Australia more widespread in pre-colonial Asia?

It has been rather well-established that (some) Asians were in contact with Australia before European colonialism, possibly even centuries before. Yet the awareness of Australia didn't seem to spread ...
Brian Cham's user avatar
17 votes
5 answers
50k views

Why was 19th-century Japan able to modernize and not China?

At the start of the 19th century, Asian countries had militaries less effective than Western nations. In 1853, the US Navy forced Japan to enter into trade with the United States. The Japanese ...
curious's user avatar
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17 votes
2 answers
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How were dagger axes used in battle?

During the Chinese warring states, weapons knowns as dagger axes were used and there is a wide body of evidence that those were common at one time -- so so I believe. Is there any record of fighting ...
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16 votes
3 answers
1k views

In the USSR, what if any was the formal, ideological response to the Cultural Revolution in China?

How did the USSR parse and explain an ostensibly uber-communist movement which was dedicated to overthrowing the leadership of the country's communist party? Did they see this as 'Trotskyism', or some ...
Ne Mo's user avatar
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16 votes
3 answers
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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
16 votes
2 answers
1k views

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 ...
congusbongus's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
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How did the First Emperor of Qin "burn the books" prior to the invention of paper?

The first emperor of China, Qin Shihuang, is recorded as burning books (among other things). At the same time, the invention of paper is generally ascribed to the Han Dynasty, i.e., the dynasty after ...
Rebecca J. Stones's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
7k views

How did the ancient Chinese coordinate armies of tens and hundreds of thousands?

According to what I've read, during the Warring States period and also later during the Three Kingdoms period there were armies of the magnitude of (a few) hundred thousands. How could they ...
David Herskovics's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
3k views

When was tofu invented? Was it specifically for vegetarian consumption from the beginning?

The Wikipedia page on tofu states that this food was first produced in Han dynasty China. However, the source cited seems to me quite doubtful: The oldest evidence of tofu production is a Chinese ...
neubau's user avatar
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15 votes
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Why did China decide to support Poland in 1956, but not Hungary?

In 1956, the fate of the Eastern Block was pretty uncertain: The Khrushchev Thaw was causing the satellite countries to rethink their place in the world, as de-Stalinization was bringing the promise ...
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14 votes
3 answers
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Which 'evidence' is there for a claim that 'Chinese discovered America in 636'?

The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics is a branch of the Ministry of Planning, Budget, and Management. On its own website it has a history timeline with a few curious dates: catálogo ID:...
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