It’s no secret that China is an entirely different world when compared to the U.S. or Europe. In fact, anyone who has travelled there will tell you that being in China is like being in a whole other world. Even though the nation is growing rapidly, Chinese traditions have never been forgotten. These 10 unknown facts will show you the bizarre combination of old and new values of China.
1. The Air in Beijing Is Incredibly Toxic
Did you know that the air in Beijing is so polluted that breathing for a day is equivalent to smoking 21 high-tar cigarettes? In 2013, an environmental company called The Yuanda Group conducted specific tests which proved that the amount of smog and pollution in Beijing and other Chinese cities were deadly. Chinese citizens and tourists are encouraged to wear surgical masks to protect themselves from the poisonous air.
2. Cellphone Sidewalks
The Chinese have invented a genius solution for pedestrians who can’t handle being away from their phones. They invented the cellphone lane! The city of Chongqing has separate lanes for people who walk and text at the same time, and the sidewalks are clearly marked with images of cellphones. There have been numbers of incidents related to people who walked while using cellphones, so this solution was pretty unique.
3. The Egg Delicacy
Did you know that in China, people are encouraged to eat eggs which were cooked in the urine of 10-year-old boys? This is considered a traditional delicacy in the city of Dongyang, where the streets are filled with vendors who sell these eggs. And weirdest of all, the egg shells are supposed to crack and soak up the urine before they get fully cooked.
4. Military Pins
Nope, these pins are not used as a reward of a soldier’s display of courage. The pins are used to pinch their skin in order to straighten up their posture! They are extremely sharp, and every soldier has to wear 2 of them. The pins are located in the collar of a soldier’s uniform. They are also supposed to wear wooden crosses on their backs to straighten out their spines.
5. The Fortune Cookie Myth
Many people don’t know this, but fortune cookies weren’t even invented in China. They were created in San Francisco! These cookies weren’t even a part of Chinese tradition! In fact, they were made in the 1920s. The messages placed in the first fortune cookies were verses from the Bible; however, it is not clear whether an American or a Chinese immigrant was responsible for the creation of these cookies.
6. Royal Toilet Paper
Even though the fortune cookie didn’t come from China, toilet paper did! It was invented as a luxurious item only to be used by emperors. Toilet paper first appeared in the 6th century while mass production started in the 14th century. Yes, the Chinese used toilet paper before everyone else in the world, but that was the only thing they used to clean themselves. In fact, they didn’t even use water.
7. Army Parades
This photo shows a training procedure in which Chinese soldiers are being taught how to hold their arms during a parade. In fact, the military men are are required to hold their arms out at this specific height and angle. They all have to do it in unison when marching at a parade. You can’t help but wonder if those needle pins are helping them keep their posture.
8. Alice in Wonderland
Did you know that Lewis Carol’s novel Alice in Wonderland was banned in 1931? The Hunan province banned it because animals were not supposed to talk and act like humans. It was General Ho Chien who issued the order to ban the book, claiming that it was impossible and even insulting that animals can share the same level of intelligence as humans. He argued that the book would harm children.
9. Traffic in Beijing
Beijing loses $11.3 billion a year on traffic jams! Traffic jams are the primary cause of the air pollution in Beijing. The reason this much money gets spent per year is because a daily city-wide traffic jam can last up to 100 minutes. The money has to be spent on gas and for repairing the crucial amount of environmental damage.
The annual number of abortions in China is higher than 13 million! This shocking statistic means that half of the female population has had one or more abortions. According to China’s One-Child policy, having more than one child is illegal. The population rate is so high that citizens have to apply for a birth permit conception, otherwise, the child would be considered “accidental” and the mother would be forced to terminate the pregnancy.