Chinasage Diary

Your daily snippet of information about China. Our diary has a daily fact, proverb and a reminder of upcoming festivals and holidays in China.
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Tue 18th Jun

First Historian

Rivaling the accomplishments of the great Roman historians is the Chinese historian Sima Qian [135-86BCE]. Unlike so many early scholars he was very careful to back up his facts. Where he found conflicting reports of a historical event he included all the versions so that the reader could make their own judgment. He wrote not only on Chinese history but also about music; astronomy and traditions.
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On this day

618 Tang dynasty began 618 (1,401 years ago)
1983 Li Xiannian became President PRC 1983 (36 years ago)

Proverb

Jiǎo tù sān kū [jiao tu san ku]
crafty hare three burrows
A crafty rabbit has three burrows
To succeed there must be several alternative strategies
There's more than one way to skin a cat
Mon 17th Jun

Stilwell Museum

The city of Chongqing is the unlikely setting for a museum dedicated to General Joseph W. Stilwell, a U.S. General in World War II. Stilwell had his headquarters 1942-45 in the city which was then the capital of Free China under Chiang Kaishek.
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Proverb

Fèng máo lín jiǎo [feng mao lin jiao]
phoenix hair unicorn horn
As rare as phoenix feathers and unicorn horns
Seeking the unobtainable
Sun 16th Jun

Stilwell Museum

The city of Chongqing is the unlikely setting for a museum dedicated to General Joseph W. Stilwell, a U.S. General in World War II. Stilwell had his headquarters 1942-45 in the city which was then the capital of Free China under Chiang Kaishek.
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Proverb

Shù yù jìng ěr fēng bù zhǐ [shu yu jing er feng bu zhi]
tree desire quiet but wind not still
The trees want to remain quiet, but the wind will not stop
In spite of a wish for peace, trouble is brewing
Sat 15th Jun

Firecrackers

The loud bangs from strings of firecrackers are often heard when the Chinese have something to celebrate. Traditionally gunpowder was packed into the hollow stem of bamboo, but now paper and plastic are used for the casing. Liuyang in Hunan is a key center in the manufacture of firecrackers.
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Proverb

sī bù gǒu [yi si bu gou]
one thread not careless
To take care of every thread in a cloth
To be meticulous. To pay atttention to every detail
If a job is worth doing it is worth doing well
Fri 14th Jun

Mountains

Of the fifteen highest mountains in the world, nine are in China or on its borders including the two highest Everest and K2.
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Proverb

破釜沉
Pò fǔ chén zhōu [po fu chen zhou]
broken pot sink boat
Smash the pots and sink the boats. A story from the Qin dynasty tells of a general who refused to accept possibility of retreat by burning the boats and smashing the cooking pots
No going back whatever happens. Cutting off all possibility of retreat
Don't burn your bridges behind you
Thu 13th Jun

Mountains

Of the fifteen highest mountains in the world, nine are in China or on its borders including the two highest Everest and K2.
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Proverb

Zì gāo zì [zi gao zi da]
self tall self big
Think oneself tall and great
Full of conceit and ego
Lhasa, Tibet
Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet. October 2010.
Image by *Christopher*’s available under a Creative Commons license

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