Portal:China/Selected article/2007

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Portal:China selected articles

These articles have appeared on the Portal:China page in 2007. They are (or were at the time of listing) Featured Articles or from the list of selected articles.


Archives by year: 2006 - 2007


The flag of the People's Republic of China

The People's Republic of China (PRC), commonly known as China, (simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国; traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó About this sound listen ), is a country located mostly in East Asia, with a smaller proportion of its area located in Central Asia. Due to its large and stable population, its rapidly growing economy, its large research and development investments and military spending, and other capabilities,[1] the PRC is often considered by analysts and commentators as an emerging superpower.

At over 9.5 million km² (3.7 million sq.mi) , the PRC is the third or fourth largest country by area. China's landscape is varied with mostly desert on the north and humid and mountanious on the east and largely dry on the western part of the country. It is also the world's most populous nation, with over 1.3 billion citizens and borders the most countries in the world with 14 independent countries. The present day location of PRC was the birthplace of the Chinese civilization that dates back to at least 18th century BC. The PRC was officially founded as a state on October 1, 1949 in Beijing during the closing stages of the Chinese Civil War. (More...)



The board of Xiangqi

Xiangqi (Chinese: 象棋; pinyin: xiàngqí; Wade–Giles: hsiang4-ch'i2; About this sound listen ), is a two-player strategic Chinese board game in the same family as Western chess, chaturanga, shogi and janggi. Xiangqi is native to China and is therefore commonly called Chinese chess. The first character 象 xiàng here has the meaning "image" or "representational", hence Xiangqi can be literally translated as "representational chess". Although 象 also means "elephant", which is one of the pieces, so "Chess with Elephants" is another literal translation.

Chinese chess has a long history. Though its precise origins have not yet been confirmed, the earliest indications reveal the game have been played as early as the 4th century BC in China.

Xiangqi is one of the most popular board games in the world. Distinctive features of Xiangqi include the unique movement of the pao ("cannon") piece, a rule prohibiting the generals (similar to chess kings) from facing each other directly, and the river and palace board features, which restrict the movement of some pieces. (more...)


A method of making astronomical observation instruments at the time of Qing Dynasty.

The History of science and technology in China is both long and rich with technological contribution. In Antiquity, independent of Greek philosophers and other civilizations, ancient Chinese philosophers made significant advances in science, technology, mathematics, and astronomy. The first recorded observations of comets, solar eclipses, and supernovas were made in China. Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine were also practised.

Among the earliest inventions were the abacus and the "shadow clock" and the first flying machine such as Kite and Kongming lantern The "Four Great Inventions of ancient China" were among the most important technological advances; these were the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, and printing, which were later known in Europe by the end of the Middle Ages. The Tang dynasty (AD 618 - 906) in particular was a time of great innovation. A good deal of exchange occurred between Western and Chinese discoveries up to the Qing dynasty.

The Jesuit China missions of the 16th and 17th centuries introduced Western science and astronomy, then undergoing its own revolution, to China, and knowledge of Chinese technology was brought to Europe. Much of the early Western work in the history of science in China was done by Joseph Needham.


A scene in Chinese New Year celebration

Chinese New Year (simplified Chinese: 春节; traditional Chinese: 春節; pinyin: Chūn jié), or Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year (simplified Chinese: 农历新年; traditional Chinese: 農曆新年; pinyin: Nóng lì xīn nián), is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is an important holiday in East Asia. The festival proper begins on the first day of the first lunar month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: zhēng yuè) in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called the Lantern Festival (simplified Chinese: 元宵; traditional Chinese: 元宵; pinyin: yuánxiāojié).

Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxì (除夕). Chu literally means "change" and xi means "Eve".

Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had a strong influence on the new year celebrations of its neighbours. These include Koreans, Mongolians, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, and formerly the Japanese before 1873.

In countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, and other countries with significant Chinese populations, the Lunar New Year is also celebrated, largely by ethnic Chinese, but it is not part of the traditional cultures of these countries. In Thailand, for example, the true New Year celebration of the ethnic Thais is Songkran, which is totally different and is celebrated in April. (More...)


The four tones of guo as written in characters and Gwoyeu Romatzyh. Note the spelling differences, highlighted in red, for each tone.

Gwoyeu Romatzyh (literally "National [Language] Romanization"), abbreviated GR, is a system for writing Mandarin Chinese in the Latin alphabet. The system was conceived by Y.R. Chao and developed by a group of linguists including Chao and Lin Yutang from 1925 to 1926. Chao himself later published influential works in linguistics using GR. In addition a small number of other textbooks and dictionaries in GR were published in Hong Kong and overseas from 1942 to 2000.

GR is unique among romanization systems in indicating the four tones of Mandarin by varying the spelling of syllables ("tonal spelling"). These tones are a fundamental part of the Chinese language: they are considered to be a component of the word just as different vowel sounds are recognized as different in English, and determine the meanings of otherwise identical syllables. Other systems indicate the tones with either accents (for example Pinyin: āi, ái, ǎi and ài) or numbers (Wade-Giles: ai1, ai2, etc.). GR spells the same four tones ai, air, ae and ay. These spellings, which follow specific rules, indicate the tones while retaining the pronunciation of the syllable ai. Because it embeds the tone of each syllable in its spelling, GR may help students to master Chinese tones—though some academics dispute this claim. (More...)


Sino-German cooperation played a great role in Chinese history of the early and mid 20th century.

The Sino-German cooperation (Chinese: 中德合作; German: Chinesisch-Deutsche Kooperation) during the 1920s and 1930s refers to the cooperation between the Republic of China and Germany. The cooperation was instrumental in modernizing the industry and the armed forces of the Republic of China, immediately prior to the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Republic of China, which succeeded the Qing Dynasty in 1912, was fraught with factional warlordism and foreign incursions. The Northern Expedition of 1928 nominally unified China under Kuomintang (KMT) control, yet Imperial Japan loomed as the greatest foreign threat. The Chinese urgency to modernize the military and its national defense industry, coupled with Germany's need for a stable supply of raw materials, put the two countries on the road of close relations from the late 1920s to the late 1930s. Although intense cooperation lasted only from the Nazi takeover of Germany in 1933 to the start of the war with Japan in 1937, and concrete measures at industrial reform started in earnest only in 1936, it had a profound effect on Chinese modernization and capability to resist the Japanese in the war. More about the Sino-German cooperation...


To nominate the Selected Article for this month, please click here.


To nominate the Selected Article for this month, please click here.


To nominate the Selected Article for this month, please click here.


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Portal:China/Selected article/2007/December