History & Culture

Terra-cotta warriors at Xi'an

Terra-cotta warriors at Xi'an

China, with a recorded history of 5,000 years, was one of the world’s earliest civilizations. China was one of the countries where economic activity first developed. As early as 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, people in the Yellow River valley had already started farming and raising livestock. In the 21st century B.C., China established a slave society with the founding of the Xia Dynasty, thereby writing a finale to long years of primitive society.

In 221 B.C., Qin Shihuang established China’s first centralized autocracy, the Qin Dynasty, thereby ushering Chinese history into feudalism, which endured in a succession of dynasties until the Opium War of 1840.

The Bourgeois Democratic Revolution of 1911 led by Sun Yat-sen toppled the rule of the Qing Dynasty, putting an end to more than 2,000 years of feudal monarchical system.

The People’s Republic of China was founded on October 1st, 1949. Today, China is implementing reform and open polices, and has established a socialist market economy.

Brief Chinese Chronology

Xia Dynasty 21st century BC-16th century BC
Shang Dynasty 16th century BC-1066 BC
Zhou Dynasty: Western Zhou 1066 BC-771 BC
Eastern Zhou 770 BC-476 BC
Spring and Autumn 770 BC-221 BC
Qin Dynasty 221 BC-206 BC
Han Dynasty: Western Han Dynasty 206 BC-23 AD
Eastern Han Dynasty 25-220
The Three Kingdoms: Wei 220-265
Shu Han 221-263
Wu 222-280
Western Jin 265-316
Eastern Jin 317-420
Southern and Northern Dynasty:
Southern Dynasty 420-589
Northern Dynasty 386-581
Sui Dynasty 581-618
Tang Dynasty 618-907
The Five Dynasties 907-960
Sung Dynasty: Northern Sung 960-1127
Southern Sung 1127-1279
Liao Dynasty 907-1125
Western Xia Dynasty 1032-1227
Jin Dynasty 1115-1234
Yuan Dynasty 1271-1368
Ming Dynasty 1368-1644
Qing Dynasty 1644-1911
Republic of China (Guo Ming Dang) 1912-1949
The People’s Republic of China 1949-the present

Religion

China is a multi-religious country, where Taoism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity are practiced. Freedom of belief is a government policy, and normal religious activities are protected by the constitution.

Family Names

Chinese family names came into being some 5,000 years ago. There are more than 5,000 family names in China, of which 200 or 300 are popular. The order of Chinese names is family name first. For example, the family name of a person called Li Ming is Li.


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