The People’s Republic of China, more commonly known as China, was founded on 21 September 1949. Once known as the “Middle Kingdom”, it is the cradle of Chinese civilisation that has lasted for more than 4000 years. Now the second-largest economy in the world, China has transformed itself more than once throughout history and continues to fascinate countless people around the world.
As China becomes a significant influence in the world, here are twenty interesting facts about China to help you understand this vast and fascinating country.
1. China owns all pandas in the world
These adorable yet endangered animals can be found all over the world, but China owns all of them! As part of “panda diplomacy”, China rents them out to other countries for $1,000,000 a year.
The only exception is the two pandas that China gifted to Mexico in the '70s, but with an agreement that China would own any offspring they had.
2. The Zhu Family and the Ming Dynasty’s Legacy
The Ming Dynasty lasted from 1368 to 1644 CE and was China’s second last dynasty.
Yet, its descendants are not only alive and well, but they still hold vast wealth and power over modern-day China. They occupy top positions in the ruling Communist Party and various state corporations, schools, and societies.
These include Zhu Rongji, a prominent Chinese politician and Zhu Yunlai, the CEO of the China International Capital Corporation.
3. Illegal to be reincarnated
Yes, it’s true: under the State Religious Affairs Bureau Order No. 5, it is illegal in China to be reincarnated without government approval. Order No. 5 states that a Reincarnation Application must be filed by all Buddhist temples in that country before they are allowed to recognise individuals as tulkus (reincarnated teachers).
Through this law, the Chinese government could potentially determine who will be the next Dalai Lama as he is reincarnated.
4. Free to escape…?
If you end up in a Chinese prison, there’s good news: there is no punishment for escaping from prison because their law considers it human nature to want to escape. No extra time is added to an escapee's sentence provided they did not break any other laws while doing so.
However, you might want to think twice about reenacting The Shawshank Redemption: Officers are required to shoot and kill prisoners attempting to escape. Even if you manage to break free, the police will still try to bring you back to jail.