Photo by Chuttersnap / Unsplash


What time you got? Despite China spanning five geographical time zones, the country follows a single standard time (8 hours ahead of GMT). The official standard time is called ‘Beijing Time’ (Chinese: 北京时间) domestically and China Standard Time (CST) internationally. When the current Communist Party took control of the country in 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong declared that all of China would be on Beijing Time for the purposes of national unity. As a result, the sun rises around 10am in China’s westernmost province Xinjiang.

Photo by Hanson Lu / Unsplash


You probably already know that the Great Wall of China is the colossal series of fortification systems that took over 1800 years to build over 21 000 kilometres in length. But what’s it made of, other than earth and stone? Why rice of course! Thanks to its cohesive properties, glutinous rice – commonly referred to as sticky rice – was mixed into the mortar recipe. The mixture made it the world’s first example of composite mortar, including organic and inorganic material, making it one of the greatest innovations of the Ming dynasty, which helped their structures survive the elements.

Photo courtesy of Evergrande


There are conflicting tales on the origins of the ‘Beautiful Game’, the United Kingdom is credited with the formation of ‘structured and organised’ football (soccer), but FIFA – the modern game’s ruling body – also recognises China, and more specifically the Han dynasty, as the earliest form of evidence, first being mentioned as exercise in the military from 3rd-2nd century BC. Nevertheless, China is stamping its authority on the world’s most popular game by building the planet’s biggest football stadium. Guangzhou Evergrande Stadium in Southern China will include 100 000 seats and 162 VIP boxes, breaking the record of Camp Nou home to FC Barcelona in Spain. Inspired by the shape of a lotus flower, construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2022.

Photo by TV with Thinus


CCTV, no, not closed-circuit television as ‘westerners’ know it, rather China Central Television – the predominant state-owned television network in mainland China. With 50 channels broadcasting to over a billion people in six different languages, CCTV has the usual mix of news, documentaries, social education, comedy, drama and soap operas. Nothing unusual here, except the fact that every night, throughout the entire country, the 30-minute news programme Xinwen Lianbo is required by law to be shown simultaneously by all local TV stations in mainland China. Broadcasting since 1 January 1978, it’s one of the world’s most watched programmes with over 500-million viewers.

Photo by Denys Nevozhai / Unsplash


Considered to be the largest human migration on the planet – with one sixth of earth’s population travelling within its borders – Chinese New Year is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar (which follows the lunar calendar). Falling anywhere between January 21 and February 20 annually, everything is decorated red, including red packets or pockets – envelopes containing money to help transfer fortune from elders to children. Every Chinese New Year starts a new animal’s zodiac year, of which there are 12 animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. 2020 is a year of the Rat.

Photo by Nuno Alberto


  1. The People’s Republic of China is the world’s most populous country with a population of around 1.4 billion as of 2019, with the world’s second-largest economy by nominal GDP.
  2. China has the longest combined land border in the world, measuring 22,117 kilometres and bordering 14 nations (joint most with Russia).
  3. Is the world’s largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods, plus the world’s largest trading partner (124 countries).
  4. With 2.3 million active troops, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the largest standing military force in the world.
  5. As of 2018, China was first in the world in total number of billionaires and second in millionaires – there were 658 Chinese billionaires and 3.5 million millionaires.
  6. China ranks No. 1 in the production of steel, aluminium and automobiles.
  7. Has a very agriculturally suitable climate and is the largest producer of rice, wheat, tomatoes and grapes in the world.
  8. With 1.1 billion subscribers, China is the largest telecom market in the world.
  9. The world’s fastest train service measured by peak operational speed is the Shanghai Maglev Train which can reach 431 km/h (268 mph).
  10. The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge is the longest sea crossing and the longest fixed link on earth (55km).
(*Source: Wikipedia)

Compiled by Barry Havenga for LNLA