107 Interesting Facts About China You Probably Don’t Know

Featuring the best list covering interesting facts about China online. If you thought you knew all there is to know, think again my friend. China offers a unique blend of ancient tradition and technological ambition, two key elements that help set the stage for an unforgettable experience. If you plan to schedule a China tour or visit in the near future, loading up on as much intellectual ammo as possible is always a good idea.

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Let’s get started.

1. Despite having roughly the same continental size as the USA, China has one-time zone. So you’ll find that in some areas the sun rises at 10 a.m. in December and sets at 10 p.m. in June.

2. China’s capital city name has changed over the years. It was formally known as Dadu, Yanjing, Peking and Beiping. Today it’s Beijing, which means “Northern Capital.”

3. China has the world’s oldest in-use writing system, it’s over 3000 years old, and has over 20,000 distinct characters.

4. One out of every five people in the world is Chinese.

5. China’s national banner was adopted in 1949 and was first flown in Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest public gathering place.

6. The China flag features the color red in the banner, which symbolizes revolution; a big star, which symbolizes communism; and little stars, which represent its population.

7. The summit of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, marks the border between China and Nepal.

8. There are many different languages that are spoken in China, including Mandarin, Wu, Yue, Minbei, Xiang, Minnan, Xiang, Hakka, and Gan.

9. The Yangtze River in China is the longest river in the world to flow within the borders of a country and is ranked the 4th longest river in the world, measuring at 5,797 km (3,602 miles) long.

10. China’s capital city is Beijing with 21.5 million people (2015), but, Shanghai is the most populated city in China with 24.15 million people (2015).

aerial-photo-of-shanghai-downtown

Image by Miemo

11. China is home to the largest man-made structure in the world, The Great Wall of China, measuring at 8,850 km (5,500 miles) long.

12. The name of China’s national anthem is, “Yiyonggjun Jinxingqu,” which translates as “March of the Volunteers.” The anthem was written by the poet Tian Han in 1935 and was composed by artist Nie Er; honoring those who marched to battle against the Japanese invaders in northeast China during the 1930s.

13. Believe it or not, the fortunate cookie is not a traditional Chinese custom. They were invented by a worker at the Key Heong noodle factory in San Francisco.

14. Cricket battling is a popular form of entertainment in China, and many Chinese people keep crickets as pets.

15. The word “China” originated from the Qin dynasty, the dynasty who unified China under one leader. The first emperor of the Qin dynasty was Qin Shi Huang (260-210 BC). The name Qin is pronounced, “chin,” the source of the modern day “China.”

16. China’s number one hobby is stamp collecting, being home to over 20-million stamp collectors.

17. The Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days.

18. The Chinese practiced tickle torture, especially during the Han Dynasty. It was used on nobility because it left no marks on its victims.

19. In China, white is the colour chosen for grieving at funerals.

20. There’s a dwarf theme park in China called, Kingdom of the Little People, also known as Dwarf Empire. It’s staffed by little people.

photo-of-dwarfs-in-china

Image by Matteo Damiani

21. The wealthy grow out their pinky fingernails really long, it was a way for them to show their rank.

22. The Chinese view the colour red as a symbol of good luck and happiness and it’s also forbidden at funerals.

23. In China for every 100 Chinese girls born there are 115.88 boys born, currently, Chinese men outnumber Chinese women by 33 million.

24. As a Chinese tradition, it is common for babies to wear open-crotch pants called, kaidangku, instead of diapers.

25. China’s railway lines are long enough to circle the planet twice.

26. The most popular and best-known festivals in China are: the Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival, the Qingming (Tomb Sweeping) Festival, Double Seven Festival, and the Winter Solstice.

27. Kites were invented in China in fifth century BC by Chinese philosophers, Mozi (Mo Di) and Lu Ban (Gongshu Ban).

28. The first mechanical clock was invented in China by Su Song between 1088 and 1092 AD.

29. China is the world’s leader in bicycle production and it is the primary mode of commuting for millions in the country.

30. Chopsticks was invented in China over 6000 years ago, it means “chop chop” or “quickly.” Due to China’s population boom, cooks saved fuel by chopping up their food into smaller pieces so they would cook faster. Cooks used chopsticks made from twigs while they cooked, eventually, by 500-400 AD chopsticks became table utensils.

photo of chopsticks
 

31. China invented, ‘kuan,’ in third century BC also known as the iron plow.

32. The earliest evidence of the crossbow can be traced in China in six century BC.

33. Chinese ruler Shennong, also known as the father of Chinese medicine, accidentally discovered tea 5000 years ago when a tea leaf accidentally fell into his boiling water – he found the drink refreshing.

34. In Tianzhu, China, there’s the Ganxi Dong village, a place where everyone knows kung fu and is considered a martial arts expert.

35. Paper was invented in China in 105 AD under the Han Dynasty.

36. In Mongkok, there is a population density of an average of 130,000 people per square km, making it the world’s most densely populated city in the world.

37. Louis Yan, a Hong Kong magician holds the Guinness World Record for “The largest magic lesson,” teaching 314 children one magic trick; topping famous magician David Copperfield, the former record holder.

38. China has over 8,000 skyscrapers in the world, all which have more than 14 floors.

39. The personal income tax starts at 2% and reaches up to 17% for salary above HKD 120,000.

40. The average IQ in China is 107, giving China bragging rights to having the highest average IQ in the world.

asian-woman-wearing-nerd-glasses

Image by Jonathan Kos-Read

41. China is the first country to use toilet paper for hygiene purposes, dating back to sixth century AD.

42. There’s a spinoff cult of Christianity in China who swear that Jesus is currently living in China as a Chinese woman.

43. China is home to the Green Great Wall, also known as the Three-North Shelter Forest Program, the biggest artificial forest designed to stop the Gobi Desert from spreading. By 2050, the Green Great Wall is expected to be 2,800 miles (4,500 km) long.

44. The Chinese first introduced the magnetic compass dating back to 206 BC.

45. China has a counterfeit egg industry and it is said that one person can produce about 1500 per day.

46. Wealthy people in China have been known to hire and use body doubles to serve prison sentences.

47. China man Hu Songwen is famous for making his own dialysis machine at home, it kept him alive for over 13 years.

48. During war in ancient China, the Chinese army used mannequins to trick their enemies to shooting arrows, which then the Chinese pulled later to use as a free supply of arrows.

49. China loans out its panda bears to the world, and as a contract, when a baby panda is born it is shipped back by FedEx to help spread the gene pool.

china panda bears
 

50. Roughly 6% of the Chinese population own a passport, yet, China is the leading country who spends most on foreign travel.

51. The Chinese population smokes an average of 2.2 trillion cigarettes a year.

52. You can be a professional fart-smeller in China and earn $50,000 a year.

53. The longest traffic jam in China happened in 2010, it lasted 12 days and spanned 62 miles.

54. In China, 80 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks are used each year, that’s enough to cover Tiananmen Square over 360 times.

55. The country of China’s entire instant-noodle consumption can feed all of Algeria comfortably three meals a day for a year.

56. There are over 30 million people who live in caves in China: that’s more than the population of Australia.

57. Ketchup was invented by the Chinese, it originally was derived from the Hokkien Chinese word, kê-tsiap, a fermented fish sauce.

58. Females can buy their virginity back in China, paying upwards of $700 to have their hymen restored.

59. In the Chinese city of Dongyang, locals eat urine-soaked eggs, preferably urine from virgin boys under 10, they believe it gives them health benefits.

Virgin-Boy-Eggs

Image by Study Tub

60. In China, smartphone addicts have been given their own designated walking lane.

61. The world’s biggest mall is located in south China and has the capacity to fit 2350 stores. It’s currently 99% empty.

62. One-third of adults in China live with their parents.

63. Instead of police dogs, some Chinese police train geese, they say geese have great eyesight and can be very aggressive.

64. There are over 4,000 children named, “Olympic Games” in China, it’s common for the Chinese to name children after important and popular events.

65. There are more English speakers in China than there is in the United States.

66. It is a delicacy in China to eat bird’s nest soup made from bird saliva which has been dried and hardened.

67. In China, there’s a website that lets you rent a girlfriend for as low as $31 a week.

68. The last Indochinese tiger lived in China, it was killed and eaten by a man who was later sentenced to prison for 12 years.

69. China’s famous Bailong Elevator is a glass elevator engineered and built into the side of a huge cliff in the Wulingyuan area, carrying visitors up more than 300m up and down every day.
bailong elevator china
Image by TJ

70. There’s a palace complex in Beijing known as, The Forbidden City, it contains 9,000 rooms and was turned into an art museum. It attracts over 14.6 million visitors each year, making it the most visited art museum in the world.

71. The Chinese Yunnan snub-nosed monkey lives at the highest altitude of any other primate in the world, with the exception of humans.

72. Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world with over one billion speakers.

73. The Terracotta Army, a set of 8,000 clay soldiers built in Xi’an to guard the Emperor’s tomb, took around 37 years to build.

74. The majority of China’s current beliefs and philosophies are from the teachings of Confucius, also known as Kongfuzi, nearly over 3,000 years ago.

75. The first mechanical clock was invented by Yi Xing, a Chinese mathematician and Buddhist monk of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

76. Porcelain was invented in China in the 16th century during the Shang dynasty.

77. Gunpowder was initially discovered by Chinese alchemists during the Song Dynasty in the 9th century while searching for the elixir of immortality.

78. China’s own Bi Sheng invented movable type and printing press technology for paper books in around 1040 AD.

79. Approximately 34 babies are born each minute in China.

chinese baby
 

80. The oldest tree in the world, the Ginkgo, also known as maidenhair, is located in China. The Ginkgo hasn’t changed for over 200 million years.

81. The renminbi is China’s official currency. It means the people’s currency and is of similar difference to how the British sterling is to the pound.

82. Each year in China is represented by an animal. The 12 animals are: Tiger; Rabbit; Dragon; Snake; Horse; Sheep; Monkey; Rooster; Dog; Pig; Rat; and Ox. They represent the 12 months of the year.

83. China has about 100 million Christians, that’s more than Italy (61.86 million) and the Vatican City (842) combined.

84. If you stacked 319 Michael Jordon’s (6’6 ft) on top of each other, you’d get the same height of China’s Shanghai Tower (2,073 ft).

85. 1 out of 2 pigs in the world lives in China. The Chinese consume more pork than any other country.

86. Soccer was invented in China. The earliest evidence to what we call soccer can be traced to a game in ancient China named, Cuju, a competitive game played by the military, involving kicking a ball through a net. It was played to keep the soldiers in shape.

87. In China, the number 13 is often left out from hotel and commercial building floors, car license plates, and phone numbers – superstition and numerology are a big part of Chinese culture.

88. The first vending machine to sell live crabs is in a subway station near Nanjing. The machine sells an average of 200 live crabs a day.

89. It’s totally acceptable to wear pajamas out to lunch or while shopping in Shanghai.

pajamas-china
 

90. China has the biggest army in the world with about 2.333 million people, that’s more than the entire population of Paris.

91. You don’t have to sit in a traffic jam in China. You can hire someone to sit in your car or call for a company to pick you up in a motorcycle.

92. The Great Wall of China is over 2600 years old and is equal to half the length of the equator with a total length of 13,170 miles (21,196.18 km).

93. 85% of all artificial Christmas trees are made in China.

94. 80% of toys are made in China.

95. China consumes approximately 50,000 cigarettes every second.

96. Reincarnation in China requires government permission.

97. A new skyscraper is built every 5 days in China.

98. There are internet treatment camps for internet addicts in China.

99. Cats are a delicacy in China, the Chinese eat nearly 4 million cats a year.

100. It’s normal to dye your pet to look like another animal in China.

dog-tiger-photo

Image by Sarah Baildon

101. China has the first recorded use of marijuana, documented over 4,700 years ago.

102. China has over 800 million active mobile phones, the highest number of mobile phones on the planet.

103. The largest non-Chinese tourist nationality in China is South Korean, about 4 million South Koreans visit China each year.

104. The most popular destinations tourists visit are Beijing, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Xi’an.

105. China is a multi-religious country. The most popular religions are: Chinese folk religion; Confucianism; Buddhism; and Taoism.

106. Drinking is a part of business culture in China, the more you drink, the more your boss likes you.

107. Parents can sue adult children for neglect. It’s rude to ignore your parents in China.

Summary

And there you have it friends, 107 interesting facts about China. If you think we missed out on your favourite fact, drop us a note in the comments section below and we’ll be sure to add it to our list. Until next post, cheers and safe travels!

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Seph Cadiz

Seph Cadiz

Seph Cadiz is one of our devilishly handsome Toronto-based contributors. When he isn't writing his own bio or building websites, he's uncovering the extraordinary from the ordinary.
Seph Cadiz