One in every five people in the world is Chinese. China’s population is estimated to reach a whopping 1,338,612,968 by July 2009. China’s population is four times that of the United States. Also, 34 children are born every minute in China
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.
The first vending machine to sell live crabs debuted in 2010 in a subway station near Nanjing. The machine sells an average of 200 live crabs a day—with prices ranging from 15 to 50 Yuan (about $2-7 depending on size). A sign next to the machine guarantees each crab will come out alive, offering compensation of three live crabs for every dead one that pops out.
The ultimate in diva dogs, a miniature pinscher named Lu Lu prefers to walk upright on her back legs while carrying a teddy bear-shaped purse that holds her own waste bags wherever she goes. Her owner taught her to walk upright when she was just four months old. A celebrity in Zhumadian, Henan Province, Lu Lu attracts local fans during her daily walks with her owner every morning.
In ancient China, warriors would cannibalize their enemies by eating their heart and liver. It was also sometimes done as both an official punishment and as a private vengeance.
Cannibalism also occurred in China during the great famines of the Great Leap Forward, which resulted in tens of millions of deaths.
In 2007, a Chinese couple seeking a distinctive name for their child settled on the e-mail ‘at’ symbol (@). A government official cited it as an example of citizens bringing bizarre names into the Chinese language. More than 4,000 Chinese children are named Aoyun, meaning “Olympic Games”, according to Chinese officials in charge of identity cards. It is not uncommon for Chinese children to be given names of common events and popular slogans – such as Defend China, Build the Nation and Space Travel. There are 290,798 registered “Civilizations”.
China’s military is training 10,000 pigeons as part of a “”reserve pigeon army” to serve as a back-up communication system. Messenger pigeons have been used in China for more than a thousand years. In 1937, pigeons were brought to China by the Flying Tigers—a US volunteer air force—to repel the Japanese invasion. In 2011, a Chinese man paid US$200,000 for a racing pigeon, setting a new world record. Pigeon racing—with a long history in Europe—is also one of the most popular betting sports in China.
China has a Dwarf Theme Park called “Kingdom of the Little People” that employs over 100 Chinese dwarves to sing and dance (including break dancing and Swan Lake). The 13,000-acre and US$115 million Park also features tiny dogs and tiny fruit trees.
China has the world’s biggest mall … but it’s been 99% vacant since opening in 2005. The New South China Mall in Dongguan (Guangdong province) –spearhead by an instant noodle billionaire– has seven zones modeled on international regions (Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Venice, California, Egypt, and the Caribbean). It includes a 25m replica of the Arc de Triomphe, a 2.1km canal with gondolas, and an indoor-outdoor roller coaster.
The first documented use of toilet paper dates back to the 6th century in China. However, it was only produced for use by the Imperial Court. Records show that by the early 14th century, millions of packages were being mass-produced in China annually.
Throughout Chinese history, only one woman has ruled as China: Empress Wu Zetian (624-705) who took the throne during the Tang Dynasty. When she was only thirteen, she became a concubine to the Tang Emperor Taizhong.
Fortune cookies are not—nor have ever been—a Chinese custom. It was a modification of a traditional 19th century Japanese cookie, which was first popularized in San Francisco by Makota Hagiwara, a Japanese-American immigrant who created the Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden.
Ping pong (table tennis) is the most popular amateur recreational sport in China, with about 300 million players (roughly the total U.S. population). However, the game originated in Britain during the 1880s as an after-dinner parlor game by the upper class (who called it “wiff waff”). On the other hand, soccer (football)—the most popular sport in England—was invented in China over two thousand years ago, during the Han Dynasty, when it was called “cuju” (or “kick ball”). According to FIFA: “The very earliest form of the game for which there is scientific evidence was an exercise from a military manual dating back to the second and third centuries BC in China.” The sport was refined during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and Song Dynasty (960-1279), when professional players would entertain the imperial court.
The world’s tallest man is Chinese. Bao Xishun—nicknamed Xi Shun or “the Big Guy”—is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as 2.47m (8 ft 1 in) tall. The world’s tallest woman is also Chinese. The Guinness Book of Records list Yao Defen as 2.33m (7 ft 8 in ) tall. When she was eleven years old, she was about six feet, two inches tall. At age fifteen, she stood at six feet nine inches.