18 Unknown Facts About China That May Surprise You

China’s long history is home to some fascinating cultures. It has a rich history and culture that has captivated people for centuries. But there are still a few things about China that many people do not know. This blog post will explore 15 unknown facts about China that may surprise you. This post will surely inform and intrigue you, from its fascinating geography and ancient traditions to its modern advancements and unique cultural customs. So, read on to discover more about this fascinating country.

1. The average life expectancy in China is 76 years

Did you know China has one of the world’s longest life expectancies? China has made tremendous progress in terms of life expectancy over the years. According to a survey from the World Bank, China’s life expectancy was only 35 years in 1950.

By 2000, it had grown to 72 and was 78.6 years in 2020. This increase in life expectancy is attributed to improved living standards, better health care, improved nutrition, and more accessible medical treatments.

2. China lends all giant pandas in the world

Since the Cold War, China has sent its beloved pandas to countries worldwide as a sign of goodwill. These giant pandas are loaned to other countries for ten years and then returned to their native country. It is a way of strengthening international relationships and an effective method for expanding the gene pool.

When it comes to baby pandas, they are sent back to China shortly after they are born. Although they stay with their mother until they are strong enough to travel, it is still necessary for them to be shipped using FedEx to ensure a safe and fast arrival in China. Once there, the newborn pandas are taken to breeding centres and provided with the best care possible.

3. 30 million Chinese still live in caves

It may surprise some to learn that millions of people in China still live in caves. Most of these caves are concentrated in the Shaanxi province in the country’s northwest region. These caves are known as “Yaodong” in Chinese, meaning “dwellings in the hills”.

Typically, a Yaodong cave is dug out of a hill or mountain, about 4-10 meters wide and around 2-3 meters high. Often, these dwellings are constructed with materials found near the cave, such as earth, sand, stones and bricks. Some families have even built traditional Yaodong structures in more remote areas with clay, sand and rock.

4. Sharp pins placed in the Collars of Chinese soldiers

The Chinese army is known for its strict discipline and perfect posture. To ensure their stance remains unwavering and perfect, members of the People’s Paramilitary Police attach pins to their collars and crosses to their backs. It is only done by soldiers who do not have a straight neck.

5. Yangtze is the longest river in Asia

The Yangtze is the longest river in Asia, spanning 6,300 km from its source in Qinghai province to its mouth in Shanghai. It also ranks as the third-longest river in the world and is known for being the birthplace of Chinese civilization. It’s an essential economic, cultural, and political artery for the nation and has historically served as a major trading route between northern and southern China.

The Yangtze River is home to some of the country’s most important port cities, such as Wuhan and Chongqing, as well as numerous dams and hydropower projects.

6. Toilet Paper was invented in China

Believe it or not, the invention of toilet paper dates back to the 6th century AD in early medieval China. Toilet paper was a revolutionary invention at the time, as before its creation, people used various other materials for personal hygiene, such as sticks, stones, and grasses.

Paper use has been known in China since the 2nd century BC when it was used as a wrapping and padding material. The first documented use of toilet paper in human history dates back to the 6th century AD in early medieval China. The use of toilet paper spread worldwide over the centuries, and by the 19th century, it had become widely accepted in Western culture.

7. The most extended traffic jam in China lasted 12 days

In August 2010, Chinese drivers experienced a record-breaking traffic jam. The jam was 62 miles long and stretched from Beijing to its outskirts. This jam was so severe that vehicles moved less than one mile within a single day. Images of the jam showed people playing cards on the asphalt and sleeping on mats to get some rest during their journey. Many drivers were reportedly stuck in a jam for up to 12 days without end. Fortunately, the jam eventually cleared after days of crawling along the highway.

8. Red is a symbol of happiness in China

Red is a significant Chinese colour and is often seen as lucky. It is associated with the fire element, which symbolizes life, vitality, light, good fortune, and joy. The traditional Zhongguo Jie (Chinese New Year) is a sign of wishing people health and happiness year after year.

Chinese knotting is a form of Chinese folk art that originated in the Tang and Song Dynasties (960-1279 AD). It became popular in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911 AD) and is now regarded as one of the essential traditional decorative knots.

The intricate patterns of the knots symbolize wealth and prosperity, and red is often used to give the knotting a more festive feel. Red Chinese knots are often hung on doorways as decorations for good luck.

9. China has a “ghost city” with empty skyscrapers

The Kangbashi District in the Ordos in China is a massive city with huge plazas, enormous shopping malls, expansive residential and commercial complexes, and almost empty government buildings.

The city spanned 352 square km and was supposed to provide housing to more than a million people. There are more than 50 uninhabited “Ghost Towns” in China. This results from the Chinese government’s rush to urbanize the country’s rural areas.

10. There is only one-time zone in china

China is the 3rd largest country in the world and geographically spans over five time zones. All five time zones were used by the Republic of China from 1912 to 1949. Since then, however, China has decided to use just one standard time. This time follows an average time offset of UTC+08:00, known as Beijing Time (BJT). This is China’s official national normal time used throughout the country. Despite its vast size, this single time zone is observed throughout the entire country, making it much easier to coordinate schedules and events.

11. More than 10,000 cats are eaten every day in the Guangdong province

This is a distressing statistic that has unfortunately been gaining more attention in recent years. Reports estimate that over 10,000 cats are consumed in the Guangdong Province every day. These cats are kept in abominable conditions, often skinned and cooked alive. It’s no surprise that this practice has sparked protests from animal rights activists around the world. The severity of the problem calls for us to take action and try to help in any way possible. It’s a reminder to us all of how important it is to take care of our environment and the animals that inhabit it.

12. The food industry in China is rampant with the use of dirty, or gutter oil

Gutter oil, also known as “brown gold” is the term used for recycled cooking oil that has been collected from waste oil from sewers, slaughterhouse drains, and grease traps. It’s highly sought after by Chinese food manufacturers and restaurants who use it to cook their food. In response to this growing problem, the Chinese government has taken proactive measures and ramped-up crackdowns to curb the illicit use of gutter oil, including imposing harsh punishments for those involved.

The Chinese government has also launched an initiative to properly dispose of the gutter oil by converting it into biodiesel for vehicles. This initiative has been welcomed by the Chinese public and is helping them reduce their reliance on traditional petroleum-based fuel sources.

In 2014, Boeing partnered with a Chinese aircraft company to make biofuel for aircraft by mixing gutter oil and jet fuel. The project was successful and the resulting fuel was found to be 30 percent more efficient than regular jet fuel. This project showed that gutter oil can have a positive impact on the environment and reduce emissions from aircraft.

13. White people are hired by Chinese companies to pretend to be employees

In recent years, the use of foreign expatriates as props in Chinese offices has been on the rise. For those living in tier-one Chinese cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing, job security and benefits are guaranteed. In the hinterland of China, however, employers have begun to hire foreign expatriates as a marketing prop. This phenomenon is known as a “monkey job” because these workers are simply there for show.

A “monkey job” can pay up to 800-1,000 Yuan per gig. The work typically involves something relatively easy like handing out flyers or business cards. Some companies may even pay extra for a girl wearing a bikini or a topless guy to do some promotional work. All of this may seem strange, but it is simply part of doing business in the country.

14. Justin Bieber is banned from performing in China

In 2017, the Chinese government banned Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Bieber from performing in China. This ban was due to Bieber’s long history of bad behavior and immaturity. While this is a surprising ban, it is not the only one; other celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga, Bob Dylan, and Katy Perry have all been banned from entering China. Each of these bans were also due to their public actions or statements that were deemed as inappropriate by the Chinese government.

15. Billion disposable chopsticks are consumed every year in China

This is a concerning fact that speaks to the incredible demand for disposable chopsticks in China. According to statistics from China’s State Forestry Administration, 80 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks are consumed in China annually.

This staggering number amounts to an average of over 66 pairs per person, every year. To meet this demand, 20 million trees are cut down each year. This equates to an alarming rate of 1.8 million trees per month.

If all these chopsticks were laid out in one place, they would cover Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 360 times.

16. China has the world’s tallest outdoor elevator.

China has the world’s tallest outdoor elevator, which is located in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in the Hunan Province of China. Known as the Bailong Elevator, or the Hundred Dragons Elevator, it was built into the side of a cliff and reaches a height of 326 meters (1,070 feet).

The Bailong Elevator was constructed as a way to provide visitors with easier access to the scenic area, which is known for its towering sandstone pillars and natural beauty. The elevator is capable of carrying up to 50 people at a time and can travel from the base of the cliff to the top in just under two minutes.

Since its construction, the Bailong Elevator has become a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world who come to experience the thrill of riding the world’s tallest outdoor elevator while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

While the elevator has been a source of controversy among some environmentalists who argue that it has negatively impacted the surrounding ecosystem, it remains a testament to China’s engineering prowess and innovation in creating unique and awe-inspiring attractions.

17. Women who remain unmarried into their late 20s in China are called “sheng nu,” which translates literally as “leftover women.” 

The term “sheng nu,” which translates to “leftover women” in English, is commonly used in China to refer to women who remain unmarried in their late 20s or beyond. The term has gained popularity in recent years as the Chinese government and media have expressed concern over the growing number of unmarried women in the country, particularly those who are highly educated and financially independent.

The term “sheng nu” carries negative connotations and suggests that women who remain unmarried are somehow incomplete or lacking in some way. This attitude reflects traditional Chinese values that place a strong emphasis on marriage and family, particularly for women.

However, there has been increasing pushback against the use of the term “sheng nu” in recent years, as more women in China are choosing to pursue education and careers before getting married or starting a family. Many argue that the term reinforces outdated gender roles and unfairly stigmatizes women who choose to focus on their personal and professional development rather than conforming to societal expectations.

Despite this growing criticism, the term “sheng nu” remains in common use in China and is a reflection of the complex social and cultural attitudes surrounding marriage and gender roles in the country.

18. In Dongyang, China, every spring, eggs boiled in the urine of young boys is sold as a delicacy.

In Dongyang, a city in Zhejiang Province, China, there is a traditional snack called “virgin boy eggs” that is made by boiling eggs in the urine of young boys, usually between the ages of 10 and 12. The eggs are boiled for several hours, and the shells are cracked to allow the urine to penetrate the egg, giving it a distinct flavor and aroma. The eggs are then sold as a local delicacy during the spring season.

The practice of eating “virgin boy eggs” has been a part of the local culinary culture in Dongyang for centuries, and it is believed to have health benefits such as improving circulation and warding off heat stroke. However, the practice has also been controversial and has raised concerns over hygiene and sanitation.

In recent years, the local government has made efforts to crack down on the sale of “virgin boy eggs” and promote more hygienic and safe food practices in the region. While the practice remains a part of the cultural heritage of Dongyang, it is not a widely popular or commonly consumed dish in China, and many Chinese people are not aware of its existence.