The four Great Classical Novels.

On August 9, 2012, in Cultural Experience, Ethnic Group Flavors, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

If you want to know more about China before your trip to China the best (And most enjoyable) way to do it is reading some books. But if you really want to have a deep plunge in the Chinese culture the best challenge is to read all the Four Great Classical Novels before your China […]

If you want to know more about China before your trip to China the best (And most enjoyable) way to do it is reading some books. But if you really want to have a deep plunge in the Chinese culture the best challenge is to read all the Four Great Classical Novels before your China trip.

The four Great Classical Novels are four novels that have influenced all the ancient (and modern) Chinese literature, the first one dates from the 13th century and the last from the 18th.

They are among the world’s oldest and longest novels and have influenced lots of plays, games and movies throughout Asia.

This article don’t plan to explain all their glory but just to have a glimpse of their plot and story.

The first novel is called “Water Margin” it was written in the 13th Century and it is basically about a group of outlaws first leaded by Wang Jin but in the end leaded by Song Jiang they fight aganist some evil generals, first Gao Qiu and then Cai Jing, this novel also tells how they lived in that era so it’s an interesting reading.

The second novel it’s called “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms” and it was written a century later, this is the most complex of the fourn novels because it follows all the story of three kingdoms how they lived separatly they unificate and they separate again. It’s a historical novel.

The third novel is the most famous one “A Journey to the West” , written in the 16th century this novels narrates the adventures of Son Goku (or Sun Wokung) a monkey, and his companions, a pig (Zhu Baije) a river ogre (Sha Wujing) and a dragon (the third son of theDragon of the West Sea) in their way to a peregrination to India where they recieve the scriptures from Buddha.

The fourth is more actual, it’s written on the 18th Century and it’s called “dream of the red chamber” and it’s about a young man born with a magical stone of jade in his mouth that is in love with his cousin but he has to marry another cousin who he doesn’t love.

There is also said that a fifth novel sould be added, the Plum in the Golden Vase, but it’s told to be too erotic for it’s inclusion.

If you like books and you want to read something traditional before your China Trip try these novels!

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A taste of Europe at 30 minutes away from Beijing

The 2 biggest cities of China are Beijing and Shanghai, and do you know which one is ranked at the third position? Tianjin (definitely worth to visit during your China tours). Tianjin is opened to the Bohai Sea, it is known as the gate of Beijing with the Occident for political and economical purposes. Indeed […]

The 2 biggest cities of China are Beijing and Shanghai, and do you know which one is ranked at the third position? Tianjin (definitely worth to visit during your China tours). Tianjin is opened to the Bohai Sea, it is known as the gate of Beijing with the Occident for political and economical purposes. Indeed this city began an economical spot under the Sui Dynasty between 581 and 618, and in the 19th century western people started to settle in. Thus, Tianjin is a melting-pot of European and Chinese culture, it is rich of history and diversity, almost like an outdoor museum. Let’s take the 350km/h state-of-the-art bullet train to get in Tianjin in only 30 minutes.

Tianjin was the first Chinese city to open to foreign investors in the 19th century. After numerous Chinese wars and battles, Western Empires (Great Britain and France first) have established their concessions in Tianjin and Shanghai. By now, these buildings still remain like few centuries ago, a real witness from the past. It is not difficult to see Western type architecture in the city. Think about that: what an amazing thing to be in China and at the same time being carried away in many European countries just in a single day! If you step into Tianjin’s downtown, at WuDaDao, you will find large numbers of European style residences admired by tourists, photographs and people who are interested in classical architecture. For a better experience try the concessions tour in a horse-drawn carriage!

Between 1920 and 1930, 230 residences and villas were constructed; Tianjin was China’s western architecture museum at that time. In total there are 89 English style buildings, 41 Italian ones, 6 French, 4 German, 3 Spanish and 3 from a mixed influence of Chinese and Western architecture. 

In order to learn more about Tianjin’s and China’s history, the better would be going to Tianjin’s museum. Here are some places you could visit:

–          Luzutang, Boxer Rebellion Museum 
between 1898 and 1901, opposing foreign imperialism and Christianity period

–          Tianjin Museum
 The largest museum of the city exhibiting a range of cultural and historical relics significant to Tianjin. There are nearly 200,000 collections of art and relics, including calligraphy, paintings, bronzeware, ceramics, jadeware, seals, inkstone, Jiagu (bones or tortoise shells with inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty), coins, historic documents and relics of modern times.

–          Memorial to Zhou Enlai and Deng Yingchao
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China, he served under Mao Zedong from October 1949 until his death in January 1976. Deng Yingchao is his wife. Chairwoman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference from 1983 to 1988 and a member of the Communist Party of China.

–          Astor Hotel and its museum
It’s the first international hotel in modern Chinese history. From the onset in 1863 until the end of the 19th century, The Astor Hotel became the prime venue for all diplomatic activity in Tianjin, and was soon named one of the first Diplomatic residences in China. 

 

Tianjin has learned how to mix the old treasures and modernity, and has become a dynamic and multi-cultural city. I think that spending a week end in that city will cure your homesickness during your China travel.

 

 

 

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Fit for an Emperor

On May 28, 2012, in Historical Relics, Must-sees, Tombs, by Jack Li

Feeling like one of the hottest days this year, a couple of friends and I ventured out to the Ming Tombs (the Tombs) from the location of our Beijing hotels. Our mode of transport was the bus from the Deshengmen Station, (next to the Arrow Tower) and accessible to Jishuitan subway station, Line 2, Exit […]

Feeling like one of the hottest days this year, a couple of friends and I ventured out to the Ming Tombs (the Tombs) from the location of our Beijing hotels. Our mode of transport was the bus from the Deshengmen Station, (next to the Arrow Tower) and accessible to Jishuitan subway station, Line 2, Exit A. Funnily enough, as I have noticed on a couple of occasions, it always surprises me to see how well-prepared locals businesspeople are with the change in weather patterns – on this occasion, wide-brimmed hats were stockpiled and selling fast. To our joy, we discovered that the buses accepted subway cards with and each journey only costing 3RMB (which is considerably cheaper than paying by cash). Approximately one hour’s drive (51 kilometres) north from Beijing the Tombs make for an excellent China travel day trip.

So, what is the justification in visiting the Tombs? Well, firstly, the Tombs are situated in a scenic location straddling the southern slope Tianshou Mountain. Furthermore, the position of the Tombs is no accident, as it follows in accordance with the principles of feng shui to deflect evil. Secondly, the Tombs bare immense historical significance as the place of rest for thirteen Ming Dynasty emperors. Due to the prominence of the Tombs, in 2003, they were subsequently listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is, of course, exhibition halls at the tombs which display some very intriguing sights such as an imposing figure of a seated Emperor Yongle and items such as imperial robes.

Depending on your schedule, it is quite easy to spend a whole day at the tombs by either spend a whole day walking from one site to another. Talking in the 7 kilometre ‘Spirit Walk’ is certainly one way in which to appreciate the reverence of the site. Indeed, here visitors will be able to gaze in wonder at statutes of familiar animals such as camels, elephants, rams and mythical creatures like that of the fearsome ‘bixie’ and ‘qilin’. Needless to say, the Tombs dispersed at the base of the mountain, so using the bus is a viable option from, for instance, the Changling Tomb to that of Dingling. As the name ‘tomb’ suggests, it would be assumed that you can enter underground – this is true for the Dingling Tomb at least. Nevertheless, be prepared to walk up to the top of the tomb and then walk down a considerable amount of stairs into the tomb. Once in the tomb is evident how revered the place is with many tourists donating money.

Compared to other top attractions, like the Forbidden Palace and Temple of Heaven, there does appear to be not the same grandeur – but does there need to be? The Tombs are, after all, a place of respect for the generations of rulers which have gone before. This fact is made evident in light of the money piles donated by tourists making the whole visit rather humbling. Therefore, to discover the very essence of the country’s incredible past, especially if you are going to travel to Beijing, a visit to the Ming Tombs should definitely be in order.

 

 

 

The Old Summer Palace

On May 22, 2012, in Beijing, Historical Relics, Nature Scenery, by Jack Li

Many have heard of the Summer Palace, but what of Yuan Ming Yuan or the ‘Old Summer Palace’? In order to truly grasp the history of the Summer Palace, then take some time to travel to Beijing and have a sombre reflection of the once memorising formal Imperial Palace. The palace can be reached from […]

Many have heard of the Summer Palace, but what of Yuan Ming Yuan or the ‘Old Summer Palace’? In order to truly grasp the history of the Summer Palace, then take some time to travel to Beijing and have a sombre reflection of the once memorising formal Imperial Palace. The palace can be reached from exit B at Yuanmingyuan Station, subway Line 4 which means it is quite manageable to access the palace from whichever of the Beijing hotels you decide to stay in.

 

Before entering the palace grounds, expect to be met by a showcase of en tertainment. With performers encouraging you to join in, the atmosphere in the palace courtyard is rather thrilling. The apparatus which the performers use are slightly out of the norm, with diablo
-like contraptions making whirling noises and that projects an almighty bang as if gunpowder has exploded.

In the days of the Second Opium War, the Old Summer Palace was ransacked as retaliation by French and British troops so therefore today, the palace lies in ruins. Some parts of the grounds, have, nonetheless, been restored in the 1990s; such the Jianbiting in 1993, which in turn has made the place a rather attractive location to visit. Compared to the ‘new’ Summer Palace, the grounds have a more natural and raw appearance as opposed to the pristine gardens of its successor. Additionally, in contrast to the ‘new’ palace, the ‘old’ one has (from its remains) a European appearance. Indeed, the ruins can be likened to that of classical Greco-Roman architecture with marble-like white stones.

In its heyday, as indicated by the ruins, the palace would have looked incredible. For example, the largest building at the palace, The Haiyan Hall was adorned with bronze sculptures with symbolic animal heads representing the 12-year cycle of human births would spray water. Whilst the exterior of Haiyan Hall would also have been a radiant sight with towering fountains glistening in the summer heat. Water certainly played a major role in old palace and this is made clear when observing the strange-looking structure called the Haiyantang. At first glance, the Haiyantang appears like a upturned pyramid, however, its original purpose was to act as a 160 cubic meters tin reservoir.

Without doubt, just going for a walk around the palace’s lakes is pleasing in itself. Due to the palace being abandoned most of the grounds, bar the designated ruins area; feels like you are walking in the countryside. The lakes themselves are swamped in reeds and water lilies which subsequently enhances the timeless and ancient effect of the place. As a concluding thought, a traditional boat ride would be a premium choice to finish the day off in the palace grounds on any China travel itinerary to the city. If you’re lucky enough, you may even be able to spot some of the palace’s majestic black swans!

 

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Fun and Interesting things about China

On August 11, 2011, in Accomodation, Festivals, Tours, by Jack Li

If you are going to make your China Travel you should probably read  some of this interesting facts in China.  To enrich your culture if you come here, China Tours are really helpful to get to know China. Here we have interesting facts about a facinating country: China. When a Chinese child loses a baby tooth, […]

If you are going to make your China Travel you should probably read  some of this interesting facts in China.  To enrich your culture if you come here, China Tours are really helpful to get to know China. Here we have interesting facts about a facinating country: China.

  1. When a Chinese child loses a baby tooth, it doesn’t get tucked under the pillow for the tooth fairy. If the child loses an upper tooth, the child’s parents plant the tooth in the ground, so the new tooth will grow in straight and healthy. Parents toss a lost bottom tooth up to the rooftops, so that the new tooth will grow upwards , too.
  2. It is considered good luck for the gate to a house to face south.
  3. Long ago, silk making was a closely guarded secret. Anyone who gave the secret away could be killed.
  4. Red is considered a lucky color in China. At one time wedding dresses were red. New Year’s banners, clothing, and lucky money envelopes are still red.
  5. Fourth graders are expected to know 2,000 of the over 40,000 written Chinese characters. By the time they leave college, they will know 4,000 or 5,000 characters. Each character is learned by looking at it and memorizing it.
  6. Despite its size, all of China is in one time zone.
  7. The number one hobby in China is stamp collecting.
  8. Giant Pandas , date back two to three million years. The early Chinese emperors kept pandas to ward off evil spirits and natural disasters. Pandas also were considered symbols of might and bravery.
  9. Though Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) is credited with designing the first parachute, Chinese alchemists successfully used man-carrying tethered kites by the fourth century A.D. Parachutes were not used safely and effectively in Europe until the late 1700s.
  10. On September 27, 2008, Zhai Zhigang made the first spacewalk by a Chinese astronaut
  11. According to popular legend, tea was discovered by the Chinese emperor Shennong in 2737 B.C. when a tea leaf fell into his boiling water. The Chinese consider tea to be a necessity of life.
  12. The Chinese have made silk since at least 3,000 B.C. The Romans knew China as “Serica,” which means “Land of Silk.” The Chinese fiercely guarded the secrets of silk making, and anyone caught smuggling silkworm eggs or cocoons outside of China was put to death.
  13. According to a Chinese legend, silk was discovered in 3000 B.C. by Lady Xi Ling Sui, wife of the Emperor Huang Di. When a silk worm cocoon accidentally dropped into her hot tea, fine threads from the cocoon unraveled in the hot water and silk was born
  14. It was customary for wealthy men and women in the late empire to grow the nails of their little fingers extremely long as a sign of their rank. They often wore decorative gold and silver nail guards to protect their nails.
  15. The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were the most expensive games in history. While the 2004 Athens Games were estimated to cost around $15 billion, the Beijing Games were estimated to cost a whopping $40 billion.
  16. Ice Cream was invented in China around 2000 B.C when the Chinese packed a soft milk and rice mixture with the snow.

Book your China Hotels and experience the variety that China had to offer.

 

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The Underground Palace of the First Qin Emperor

On July 26, 2011, in Historical Relics, Palaces, Tombs, Xi'an, by Jack Li

The Underground Palace of the First Qin Emperor refers to the vault of the First Qin Emperor’s tomb which houses the emperor’s coffin and funerary objects. The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor is situated at the foot of Lishan Mountain, 30 km east of Xi’an City. However, the location of the Underground Palace was […]

The Underground Palace of the First Qin Emperor refers to the vault of the First Qin Emperor’s tomb which houses the emperor’s coffin and funerary objects. The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor is situated at the foot of Lishan Mountain, 30 km east of Xi’an City. However, the location of the Underground Palace was not confirmed until 1962 when archeologists drew the first map of the layout of the Mausoleum. They discovered that the vault was right under the crown of the Mausoleum with dimensions of 170m x 145m x 35m. The Palace and coffin chamber were rectangular in shape with the coffin chamber at the heart of the Palace. The chamber is 15 m high with an area similar to that of a standard football field. Historical records found concerning the dimensions of the vault reveal that in 210 B.C. Li Si, the prime minister, reported to the First Qin Emperor that he was leading a construction team of 720,000 people to build the Mausoleum. Nonetheless, when they were digging, it seemed that they had reached the bottom of the earth and hollowed out the entire underground. The Emperor then commanded Li to “go 300 Zhang to the side”. This in fact is one of the reasons why the Underground Palace has not yet been located. Legend holds that the Palace is in Lishan Mountain, connected to the Mausoleum by a tunnel. When it rains, zombie soldier are spotted emerging from the tunnel astride their horses and clothed in full amour. Archeologists have examined this popular folktale, but no tunnel has found.

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

4000 years in 600 words – Chinese history essentials

On July 25, 2011, in What's Our Specialist Say?, by Jack Li

China is not only the country of stunning landscapes, but most importantly of extensive culture and fascinating history. Even a lifetime wouldn’t be enough to explore both in detail! Before you come to China with China Tours and China Flights, get to know the basics of Chinese civilisation and read through some essential facts from Chinese history. […]

China is not only the country of stunning landscapes, but most importantly of extensive culture and fascinating history. Even a lifetime wouldn’t be enough to explore both in detail! Before you come to China with China Tours and China Flights, get to know the basics of Chinese civilisation and read through some essential facts from Chinese history.

Xia Dynasty (20th to 18th/17th century BC) – the first dynasty to rule kingdoms in China, however, there is no archaeological evidence for events that took place during that time.

Shang dynasty (18th/17th to 11th century BC) – invention of Chinese writing (first written records in the history of China)

Zhou dynasty (11th to 3rd century BC) – rise of Confucianism and Taoism; expansion of Chinese civilisation and imperial territory. During both periods of Zhou dynasty, the position of the king was weak; it wasn’t until the end of the era that all Chinese kingdoms were united. It was the longest lasting dynasty.

Qin dynasty (3rd century BC) – one of the most important Chinese dynasties; Zhou king, Ying Zheng, proclaims himself the First Emperor. Even though it lasted only 12 years, during that period China became a power. For the first time in Chinese history a strict legal code was introduced. The construction of the Great Wall began. The Terracotta Army in Xi’an is attributed to the first Qin Emperor.

Han dynasty (202BC to 220AD) – Confucianism adopted as the main ideology; great development of arts and sciences took place. Opening of the Silk Road marked the beginning of trade between the East and West. Following the Han dynasty, in the Three Kingdom period, the great novel of China ‘The romance of the Three Kingdoms’ was written.

Sui dynasty (6th – 7th century AD) – after almost 400 years (Jin period and Northern and Southern dynasties) the country was reunited.

Tang dynasty (7th to 10th century AD) – one of the great and most prosperous Chinese dynasties; territory was expanded to modern Siberia, Korea and Vietnam. Buddhism was adopted as a predominant religion. Empress Wu became the first and only woman in Chinese history to rule the country.

Song dynasty (10th to 13th century AD) – great advances in technology, culture (especially poetry) and economics.

Yuan dynasty (13th to 14th century AD) –Beijing became the capital of China for the first time. It was established by the grandson of Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan and was the first non-Han dynasty to rule the united China. There are historical records describing Marco Polo’s journey to China. Beijing Opera was invented.

Ming dynasty (14th to 17th century AD) – one of the most important dynasties; dynamic urbanisation (Beijing and Nanjing) and development of industries. During that period, the Forbidden City was established and reached its splendour. The Great Wall was repaired and completed.

Qing dynasty (1644 to 1911) – one of the most famous dynasties; it was the second non-Han dynasty (Manchu) and the last one to rule China. It was an era of an economic decline, rebellions and conquests. The most complete dictionary of Chinese characters was written. Important historical events, such as Opium Wars and Sino-Japanese War took places in that period. Under international and domestic anti-imperial pressures, in 1911 the Empire ceased to exist.

Republic of China (1911 to 1949) – efforts to redefine the country after the imperial era; rise of nationalism under Sun-Yat Sen and Chiang Kai-shek; communist movement began in 1920s.

People’s Republic of China (1949 till present) – establishment of socialism under Mao Zedong; in 1980s and 1990s rapid economic reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping took place. In 2011, China became world second largest economy.

As hard as it is to describe whole history of China in 600 words, this article should serve as a reference for you during your time in China. Basic historical knowledge is essential when sightseeing and will help you get the most of your trip. Consult China Travel in case of any questions.

 

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The Four Great Inventions

On July 21, 2011, in Featured China Stories, by Jack Li

What civilization can claim to be the birthing place of four transformational objects? China! The concept of “four great inventions” is an entirely Western one, but it was adopted by the Chinese after scholars like Francis Bacon and Karl Marx pointed out the importance of such inventions. You can see their impact in your own […]

What civilization can claim to be the birthing place of four transformational objects? China! The concept of “four great inventions” is an entirely Western one, but it was adopted by the Chinese after scholars like Francis Bacon and Karl Marx pointed out the importance of such inventions. You can see their impact in your own life overseas thousands of years after the fact! Hop on a flight by China Flights today and take a tour of Beijing to visit some museums and experience this land of innovation for yourself.

Compass

The earliest reference to magnetism in Chinese literature can be found in a 4th century BC book called Book of the Devil Valley Master: “The lodestone makes iron come or attracts it.” For most of Chinese history, the compass of choice was in the form of a magnetic needle floating in a bowl of water. According to Joseph Needham, noted British biochemist, historian, and Sinologist who devoted the later part of his life to studying the science and civilization of ancient China, the Chinese began to use a dry compass in the Song and continuing Yuan Dynasty, but this type never became as widely used as the wet compass.

Gunpowder

Gunpowder, a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate, is classified as a low explosive because of its relatively slow decomposition rate and consequently low brisance. It is believed that gunpowder was discovered by Chinese alchemists searching for an elixir of immortality in the 9th century. By 1044 AD, various Chinese formulas for gunpowder held levels of nitrate in the range of 27% to 50%. By the end of the 12th century, Chinese formulas of gunpowder had a level of nitrate capable of bursting through cast iron metal containers in form of hollow, gunpowder-filled grenade bombs. Also in the 12th century, fireworks (an extension of gunpowder) were invented to scare away evil spirits.

Papermaking

The invention of paper can be traced back to about 105 AD when an official of the Han Dynasty Imperial court created a sheet of paper using plant fibers, fish nets, old rags, and hemp waste. However, a recent archaeological discover was made near Dunhuang in which paper with writing on it was dated to 8 BC.

Paper was originally used only for wrapping and padding, gaining its use as a writing medium only in the 3rd century. By the 6th century, there is evidence that sheets of paper were being used for toilet paper as well. The Song Dynasty was the first government to issue paper currency.

Printing

Woodblock printing, invented sometime before 868 (the first dated book), produced the world’s first print culture. Woodblock printing was better suited to Chinese characters than moveable type, another Chinese invention. Western printing presses, invented in the 16th century, were not widely used in China until the 19th century.

These inventions are of indubitable importance as modern society is founded upon them. Now that you know your basic facts about the Four Great Inventions, visit China with China Travels to find out more!

 

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Traditional Chinese Clothing

On July 20, 2011, in Featured China Stories, by Jack Li

Images of flowing silk, immaculately braided hair, and bound feet… where do they come from? None other than dynastical China! Fashion in China has grown in innumerable ways throughout the centuries, each dynasty heralding the arrival of a different style in order to cut ties with its predecessor. Don’t wait another day! Fly with Air […]

Classic Hanfu


Images of flowing silk, immaculately braided hair, and bound feet… where do they come from? None other than dynastical China! Fashion in China has grown in innumerable ways throughout the centuries, each dynasty heralding the arrival of a different style in order to cut ties with its predecessor. Don’t wait another day! Fly with Air China and find a local, traditional hutong-style hotel to stay in via China Hotels to take a step back in time and learn more Chinese fashion in an authentic setting.

Classic Hanfu

In the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC – 1000 BC), the hanfu consisted of a simple, gender-neutral tunic and sash. The following Western Zhou Dynasty established a precedent of using clothing as a status marker in strict hierarchical society. Those of higher class would wear hanfu of different skirt length, sleeve width, and degree of ornamentation. In addition to the garments, hats and hairpieces could be worn by men and women. Commoners wore a cap different from that worn by the privileged, which was different still from that worn by officials and academics. White socks and black cloth shoes were the norm.

Qipao

Over time, hanfu clothing evolved to consist of at least two or three layers in different colors. Styles for men and women began to diverge with women’s clothing accentuating the body’s natural curves. Different dynasties introduced new trends, such as decoration with floral patterns and use of metal buttons.

Manchu Qing

Silk robes were the historical dress of the Han Chinese people for thousands of years until conquest by the Manchus in 1644 and the establishment of the Qing Dynasty. At this time, a new style called tangzhuang was introduced. This included the changshan worn by men and the iconic qipao for women.

Queue

Furthermore, the Manchu hairstyle known as the “queue” was forcefully introduced to the Han Chinese as a symbol of submission to Qing rule. The Qing slogan was: “Keep your hair and lose your head, or keep your head and cut your hair.” Resistance to the queue was bloody. It was not until the early 1910s, after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and establishment of the Republic, that the Chinese no longer had to wear it.

Modern Day

Today, Han Chinese clothing is only worn as part of festivals, rite of passage ceremonies, historical reenactment (common in hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners), or hobby. There exists a hanfu subculture, a movement created to reintroduce traditional hanfu styles that were banned by the Manchu Qing Dynasty.

Chinese clothing styles have changed incredibly over the centuries. What are you waiting for? Come to China with China Travels and learn more about this astounding evolution for yourself!

 

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Traditional Chinese Medicine

On July 19, 2011, in Featured China Stories, by Jack Li

Traditional Chinese medicine — science or superstition? That question depends largely on whether you ask a Western or Eastern practitioner. But don’t just read about it, hop on a flight by China Flights today and experience it for yourself in China with China Travels! Western doctors, staunch believers in the power of pathogens and biological actions, […]

Traditional Chinese medicine — science or superstition? That question depends largely on whether you ask a Western or Eastern practitioner. But don’t just read about it, hop on a flight by China Flights today and experience it for yourself in China with China Travels!

Western doctors, staunch believers in the power of pathogens and biological actions, frown upon Taoism-founded belief in a bodily imbalance of qi, or universal energy made up of opposing yin and yang forces. Nonetheless, increasing numbers of Westerners are approaching the conclusion that there may be value in Eastern medicine.

Since ancient times, all that has been needed for a Chinese doctor to diagnose his patient was a look at the tongue and a pulse reading. From this, the doctor could determine the nature of the imbalance – too much yin or too much yang. The doctor could then write out a prescription for any of thousands of medicinal substances, including herbs, animal parts, and minerals.

More than a million tons of herbs are used in China each year, with licorice topping the list at 86,000 tons. A relatively well-stocked pharmacy stocks about 450 different herbs, and a clinical herbalist modifies about 250 standard formulas to fit a patient’s individual diagnosis. But it is not herbal medicine that has sparked the most controversy among Western observers; rather, it is the use of dried animal parts. Use of tiger bone, rhino horn, turtle shell, and bear organs raise the ire of conservation groups who argue that many of these treatments are ineffective and detrimental to the preservation of endangered species.

Acupuncture is another fundamental therapy within traditional Chinese medicine. 1997 marked a watershed moment for proponents of Eastern medicine when the U.S. National Institutes of Health recognized acupuncture as an effective treatment for a number of ailments, including chemotherapy-related nausea, menstrual cramps, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma. Acupuncture can also play a pivotal role in reversing addictions. Opium, cocaine, and nicotine addicts have benefited from what was once considered superstitious folk medicine. One variation of acupuncture is known as electroacupuncture, a form of acupuncture in which the needles are attached to a device that generates continuous electric pulses.

Moxibustion makes use of moxa, or mugwort herb. Suppliers age mugwort and grind it up to a fluff, then practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a stick that resembles a cigar. They can use it with acupuncture needles or burn it on a patient’s skin. Moxa is used to warm acupuncture points to stimulate circulation and induce a smoother flow of blood and qi.

Now that you know about some of the different methods traditional Chinese medicine uses, travel to Beijing and experience it firsthand!

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