10 Fascinating Facts about China

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Before we talk about some little-known facts about China, I’d like to thank Tour Beijing for giving me the opportunity to guest post on this great site. For the tech-minded like me, I recommend checking out the page on electricity in China, to get one step closer to your dream destination with your favorite conveniences!

Today, China is known for having one of the fastest growing economies in the world. New skyscrapers seem to be popping up every day. However, China also is home to some of the oldest written records in history. The history and culture of China is incredibly unique and enticing.

It would take a lifetime to learn all there is to know about China, but here are 10 facts about China you may have never heard!

1. The 3rd largest country in the World (by area)

In square footage, China is the 3rd largest country in the world, after Russia and Canada. Even though China is the 3rd largest, it has the highest population in the world. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Seventh National Population Census Leading Group Office of the State Council 20121, China’s population reaches a number of 1,411,778,724.

In the national population, the male population is 72,339,956, accounting for 51.24%; the female population is 688,438,768, accounting for 48.76%. The sex ratio of total population is 105.07.

The population of ethnic minorities is 125.47 million, accounting for 8.89 percent.

17.95% of the population aged 0-14 years; 63.35% of the population aged 15-59 years; 18.7% of the population aged 60 years or above, and 13.5% of the population aged 65 years or above.

The population of Han nationality is 1286.31 million, accounting for 91.11%. The population of ethnic minorities is 125.47 million, accounting for 8.89 percent.

2. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

If you’re planning a visit to Beijing or other parts of China, you may think of downloading a VPN before you go, a very good idea since google, facebook, twitter and the list is much longer are not available here in China. Check The best VPN for China 2021.

Image Credit: ExpressVPN

A VPN will make it appear as if you are accessing the internet from a different location, allowing users to access these sites. Bonus fact: With a VPN, you can also watch Netflix in your traveling down-time, and protect yourself from security threats and hackers.

3. Toilet Paper was invented in China

Can you imagine a world without toilet paper? I prefer not to. This simple invention is something we often take for granted. But, if it was not for the ancient Chinese in the 6th century AD , this necessity may never have been invented.

The paper had been known as a wrapping and padding material in China since the 2nd century BC, the first documented use of toilet paper in human history dates back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China. (en.wikipedia.org)

4. Red symbolizes happiness in China

If you’ve ever celebrated Chinese New Year you may have noticed that the color red can be found everywhere during this time.

Red is a lucky and auspicious color in Chinese culture. Red is associated with the fire element, which symbolizes life, vitality, and light, good fortune and joy. This is also why red is banned at Chinese funerals.

China Red ( Image Credit: news.cn)

The Zhongguo Jie literally means Chinese knots. It is a kind of art knotting. It is given as a sign for wishing people health and happiness year by year.Chinese knotting is a decorative handicraft arts that originated as a form of Chinese folk art in the Tang and Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) in China.It was popular in the Ming and Qing Dynasty (1368-1911 AD). The art is also regarded as Chinese traditional decorative knots.

5. Fortune Cookies are not a Chinese custom

Although fortune cookies have been associated with China for decades, they actually were not invented there. Although there has been some debate on the true start of the fortune cookie, most think it was invented in San Francisco, California by a Japanese immigrant.

Fortune Cookies (Credit: pixabay.com)

A fortune cookie is a crisp and sugary cookie usually made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and sesame seed oil with a piece of paper. Early fortunes featured Biblical sayings, or aphorisms from Confucius, Aesop, or Ben Franklin. Later, fortunes included recommended lottery numbers, smiley faces, and jokes. Politicians have used them in campaigns, and fortunes have been customized for weddings and birthday parties.

6. There is only one time zone in china

China is the 3rd largest country in the world, and geographically spans over 5 time zones. All 5 time zones were in use during the Republic of China from 1912 to 1949, but since then China has decided to use just one standard time.

The time in China follows a single standard time offset of UTC+08:00 (eight hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time). The official national standard time is called Beijing Time (BJT, Chinese: 北京时间). Check out: Beijing Time.

7. Ping Pong is China’s National Sport

Some may not even consider ping pong a sport, but after watching the intense ping pong matches in China you may change your mind. Table tennis, also known as ping pong, has been considered as the national sport of the People’s Republic of China.

China completely dominates when it comes to ping pong champions. In the last three Olympics, China has won every gold medal in ping pong, and the top 5 ping pong players in the world are all Chinese.

8. Tea was discovered in China

Tea has been used and consumed for thousands of years in China. It was often utilized as medicine when it was first used in the 10th century BC. Since then, the customs and use of tea has flourished and evolved. There is an entire culture and art that surrounds Chinese tea. There are certain ways to grow, brew, serve and drink tea.

Picking Longjing Tea

Longjing Tea in my hometown Hangzhou actually means, “Dragon Well”, a place suitable for the planting of the famous green tea. Longjing Tea is one of China’s best green teas and is one reason for Hangzhou’s international fame. The tea is grown in the Longjing mountain area of Hangzhou, southwest of the West Lake.

9. China is home to the world’s largest canal

The Grand Canal, starting in Beijing, and ending in my hometown – Hangzhou, is the longest in the world at 1776 km. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is not only the world’s longest, but also oldest canal.

Grand Canal ( Hangzhou )

The Grand Canal Hangzhou is the final section of the Grand Canal ( China ), also known as Beijing-Hangzhou (Jinghang) Grand Canal. It is oft-lauded as the earliest and longest artificial waterway in the world starting from Beijing in the north and ending at Hangzhou in the south for a total length of 1776 km.

10. Shanghai is home to a Chopstick Museum

This museum is quite small, but it is home to 2,000 pairs of chopsticks that date back to the Tang Dynasty. Lan Xiang, the owner of this museum, has travelled all over to create his extensive museum.

The chopsticks on show from five categories, including bamboo, wood, metal, jade and teeth bone from Korea, Japan and Thailand since the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It has become the unique family chopsticks museum in China.

The founder, Mr. Lanxiang, is a famous folk collector, widely recognized as “the first chopsticks collector in China” in the collection community.

Just One corner of the Chopstick Museum (Photo Credit: Xiong Feng from thepaper.cn)

Tel: 021-56717528
Add: 191 Duolun Road, Shanghai

The founder, Mr. Lanxiang, is a famous folk collector, widely recognized as “the first chopsticks collector in China” in the collection community.


Author bio: Hi, my name is Jess Signet. My parents were travelers since before I was born. Even in the womb, I was able to travel all over the place! Boy, did things NOT change as I grew older! Knowing there’s more to the world than the bubble I live in made me want to travel even further. Traveling is my drug and I’m addicted.

Updated: This article has been updated by Daniel Li.

Further Readings


Top 10 Places to Visit in China
How to Pack for your China Trip
Plugs and Sockets in China
China Tour Packages
Learning Useful Chinese Phrases for Travellers 
How to Recognise Chinese Currency

Top 10 Travel Experiences in China
10 Most Scenic Drives in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Mountains in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Lakes in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Grasslands in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Rivers in China
Top 10 most beautiful waterfalls in China
Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Villages in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful old towns in China
Top 10 Most Beautiful Museums in China
Top 10 China Tourist Scams
Top 10 Souvenirs in China

Any questions, just drop a  line.

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5 Responses to “10 Fascinating Facts about China”

  1. Metreasu says:

    Thx for sharings.
    I need to learn Chinese by more and more practices, aiming to extend the field involved in Chinese / Mandarin. I planned to go China two months ago, but suspended by the coronavirus, so can only learn Chinese at home everyday.

    Finally I took the live online lesson to learn it by tuition of native-Chinese teachers from eChineseLearning
    As a result, it is good currently. What do you think about this method of learning?

  2. mariah pope says:

    ii never knew that chinese anchients created toilet paper ot how they invented tea OR even how that red symbolizes happiness. ive never knew any facts on this list but they are cool and fasinating

  3. graham says:

    hi this is really helpful for my school project im learining about and im writeing it all in chinese! so this helped a lot thatnks!

  4. Gaurav Gaire says:

    Thanks for clear and consise writing. I loved that and it become useful to create content about China for my blog.
    You can leave your feedback.

  5. Mansi says:

    This is helpful for me to make sentence about china

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