Category Archives: China

East Asia’s Currency Unit – the Hidden Story behind Yuan, Won and the Yen


East Asia’s Currency Unit – the Hidden Story behind Yuan, Won and the Yen

To those who aren’t familiar with Chinese characters, the Chinese Yuan, Korean Won, Japanese Yen and even the Hong Kong Dollar may all seem to be different currency units. This is true when the currency unit is written in English, or Romanized (Latinized).

However, if only (purely) Chinese characters are used, these seemingly different currency units are all represented by the same (single) character (letter/word) “圓” which is (and has been) a common “currency unit” for all of these East Asian countries.

ca-cur-unt-compositeWhat this means is that there is a greater commonality amongst the East Asian countries (which is not visible to an un-trained eye, or to a person who has never had any training in reading and/or writing Chinese-characters.

Now, if we take a look at this from another angle and with a trained-eye, Yen is way of how Japanese pronounce the Chinese character “圓” which the Japanese have transformed (modified, simplified) into today’s “円” character. Also, the way Koreans pronounce the Chinese character “圓” is Won which also uses the same Chinese character — i.e., same as the Chinese and Japanese — to represent its currency unit.

For your visual inspection (validation), the table below represents six currency units — from East Asia — which all use the “圓” as their non-English-way for currency representation.  Note that every country’s currency leads back to the same Chinese character “unit” of “圓” in its original (native) language.


If you have worked in, or are currently working in, the Financial Industry, this piece of information may not be new to you – nothing new. However, if you haven’t traveled to all of these East Asian countries, you have just now picked-up an interesting piece of knowledge.  Is this piece of information (knowledge) interesting to you – yes / no?

For a further visual check (validation), below are currency notes — a mix of old and new — from the above listed countries with the same character  “圓” (Won, Yuan, Yen) unit emphasized.

MACAU (澳门)




JAPAN (日本)


MANCHUKUO (a.k.a. Empire of Manchuria, 滿洲)


 TAIWAN (臺灣)


CHINA  (中国)




Can you think of — name — any other “country-currency” in the world that can trace its roots back to the one Chinese character “圓”  when it is written in native (local) language form?

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Do you know your Country Name in Chinese?


Do you know your Country Name in Chinese?

Some of us come from Fragrant Blue or Strong Fruit. Maybe you’ve traveled to Meaningful Big Advantage and can’t wait to visit Ink West Brother. Not sure where you’re from? Let’s go on a country name fly-by!


Translating proper names involves selecting sound-alike Chinese characters to phonetically approximate the country’s official name, a process leading to some entertaining literal meanings. Moreover, Chinese country names have evolved over the years, so what they’re called now may be significantly different from centuries ago. For example, France’s full name is Fǎ lán xī gòng hé guó 法兰西共和国 (the French Republic) though it’s often shortened to Fǎ guó 法国 the Law Kingdom. In the past you could have said you’re from Fó lán xī 佛兰西 which sounds like Buddha Blue West.

Most people know the name China means Middle Kingdom (zhōng 中 =middle, guó 国 = kingdom) since the early Chinese perceived their civilization as the center of the universe. Across the Pacific sits its young friend Měi guó美国 the Beautiful Kingdom (USA), which used to be a part of Yīng guó 英国 the Hero Kingdom (England). It’s not that the Chinese think Americans are exceptionally good looking; the full transliterated name is Měi lì jiān hé zhòng guó 美利坚合众国 literally “beautiful advantage perseverant united people country” hence it becomes Měi guó 美国. About the same as shortening the “United States of America” into just the US.

While traveling around Asia, you might not want to miss Rì běn 日本 Sun Root (Japan), Mǎ lái xī yà 马来西亚Horse Come West Asia (Malaysia) and Xīn jiā pō 新加坡 Newly Added Slope (Singapore)… comma, he said with a straight face.

Europe is home to Meaningful Big Advantage Yì dà lì 意大利 (Italy), the Discipline Kingdom Dé guó 德国 (Germany) and Compare Advantage Time Bǐ lì shí 比利时 (Belgium). Let’s not forget their colorful neighbors, Fragrant Blue Fēn lán 芬兰 (Finland) and Love Blue Ài ěr lán 爱尔兰 (Ireland). Hold on, why not “love green” for Ireland? Well, honestly the lán 兰 just sounds like the character for blue, its real meaning is “orchid.”

Let’s take things up a notch. Angola Ān gē lā 安哥拉 sounds like Safe Brother Pull and Congo Gāng guǒ 刚果 yields Strong Fruit. The country of Mexico Mò xī gē 墨西哥 is our Ink West Brother while Guatemala Wēi dì mǎ lā 危地马拉 is a Dangerous Land Horse Pull. Last but not least, Canada Jiā ná dà 加拿大 is the land of Add Grab Big.

So if you could start with a clean slate, what would you call your country in Chinese?

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Stewart Lee Beck (李渡) is an author and the creator of China Simplified. Connect with him at, or visit his website at

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Note: The views, services and/or experiences expressed in this Featured Post are solely those of the contributor. This featured post was first released via on March 21, 2014.

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Understanding Foreign Brands – What’s the meaning of “Tsingtao” Beer?

150106 Tsingtao Beer

Understanding Foreign Brands – What’s the meaning of “Tsingtao” Beer?

150106 Tsingtao-B3

Are you thinking about eating out tonight at a fancy Chinese restaurant? Well, what brand of beer are you considering to order? Do you feel a Chinese brand beer will go well with Chinese food – like the most of us? Well, the most famous and widely available Chinese beer — outside China — is probably Tsingtao. Now, you know that. You’ve probably heard about Tsingtao before in your lifetime, right? So far, so good – everything’s cool.

Now, and all of a sudden, you hit upon a minor problem which is, how in the hey do you pronounce “Tsingtao” properly as to avoid embarrassment when placing an order? And what does Tsingtao mean anyway?

Tsingtao (青岛) is a name to a port location (city) in Eastern China, and it became an area which was heavily influenced by German investments between 1898 to 1914, or prior to the so called “Seize of Tsingtau”.

It was during this period — 1903 to be exact, as printed on each Tsingtao Beer bottle (can) today — that the Germans started producing (bottling) beer in China – Get it? Can you see that there’s a connection (link) here between Germany and beer?

In summary, 1903 was a year between 1898 and 1914, and a period of Germany’s influence in China’s Shandong Peninsula, and a location where the Germans started to produce beer for consumption after having formed Tsingtao Brewery. If you wish to learn more about this period regarding Germany in China, please look up the Kiautschou Bay concession in history books.

Today, this city’s location is officially spelt Qingdao (not Tsingtao) on maps, but the beer brand retains its “Tsingtao” spelling. Tsingtao, the brand has thus, over the years, undergone transformation to become a proper noun as one beer brand and is no longer used (spelt this way) to represent location (the city).

Finally, let’s get to the part where you can learn to order “Tsingtao” with confidence, and without sounding overly awkward. Say it out loud – practice – repeat for about five (5) to ten (10) times before leaving home tonight, and when you get to the restaurant – say Tsingtao (or Qingdao which is the same thing). Kindly remember, not to drink too much – and not to drink and drive.

Note: The Seoul Tribune would like to express our thanks to "" for granting us approval to use their YouTube material(s).

♦ Foreign Language Tips ♦

  • 青 (Qing) means color blue in Chinese
  • 岛 (Dao or Tao) means island in Chinese
  • 啤酒  . . .  means the “beer” type of alcoholic drink in Chinese

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Chinese Dinner Etiquette – 4 Key Insights for Foreign Guests


Chinese Dinner Etiquette – 4 Key Insights for Foreign Guests

Chinese Dinner Etiquette – 4 Key Insights for Foreign Guests

Where should I sit? Who starts eating first?
Which part of the fish is considered the best?
How can I show respect when toasting with others?
Let us help you make sense of it all.

Dinners in China can be huge fun, but they’re also fraught with danger. One false move and you’ve offended people without even knowing it. Handled well, however, your local hosts will note your appreciation for Chinese customs, which gives them big face and shows you aren’t just another ignorant foreigner traipsing through China.

How important is the dining ritual to a Chinese? Even a newborn is fully booked with dinner gatherings, i.e. one-month anniversary dinner, double-month anniversary dinner, 100-day anniversary dinner, one-year birthday dinner, etc. Everything happens at the dinner table: strangers become friends, friends become enemies and enemies become friends; boyfriends are scrutinized and receive final approval to become a son-in-law; contracts for massive investments are confirmed; and agreements nearly there fall apart. All this happens against the backdrop of delicious foods, savory wines and elegant china-wares with plenty of subtlety and face guessing games.

Here are some great ways to show respect for others, plus guidelines to get you going in the right direction:

Chinese Dinners - Seating

The dance starts upon arrival, people nudging each other towards certain seats, trying to be modest and showing respect for one another. The highest seat faces the door, second best on its right, third best on its left. Don’t go there unless you are guided to do so. Play along, resist a little.

A plate of sizzling hot ribs arrives, landing directly in front of you. You’re famished. Go ahead and grab one? Not yet!

Turn the rotating table clockwise and let others (especially the top seated person) have a bite. Don’t panic, it’ll come back to you. Nobody wants to be the person taking the last piece on any plate.

Chinese Dinner Etiquette

By now, your hosts may recognize your modesty and force you to start the whole fish when it arrives on the table. Where on the fish do you dig in? General consensus holds the best is the upper belly, second best is upper back, and so on. Avoid those prime locations at first.

Chinese Dinner Etiquette - Toasting

What’s this secret game going on? The modesty dance continues! When two glasses clink, how high people hold their glasses shows hierarchy. Sometimes they go lower and lower until they crash into the table (albeit a worst case scenario). When the host toasts you, keep his glass higher.

These insights hold true at most dinners with hierarchy, such as corporate dinners with bosses, meals with clients and multi-generation family gatherings. Learn to recognize the regional variations as you progress. And among friends, all protocol often gets thrown out the window. Yeah!

Have any interesting dinner experiences to share?
We invite you to add them below for others to enjoy.
Happy eating!

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Stewart Lee Beck (李渡) is an author and the creator of China Simplified. Connect with him at, or visit his website at

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Note: The views, services and/or experiences expressed in this Featured Post are solely those of the contributor. This featured post was first released via on May 10, 2014.

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How to choose a Chinese Name


How to choose a Chinese Name

Foreigners using Chinese names is a custom dating back to the Tang Dynasty. We do it for the same reasons some Chinese use English names overseas — they’re easier for locals to pronounce and facilitate cross-cultural connections. In other words…when in Rome, do as the Romanians do.


Most of us live with whatever name our parents picked for us, way before they even met us in person. We might secretly wish for a different name, one which resonates more with how we see ourselves. Not everyone gets it right.

Here’s the Good News

Come to China and no matter how old you are, you have the golden opportunity to rename yourself! This with no risk of angering your parents back home.

Here’s a 3-step process most foreigners follow on how to choose a Chinese name:

  1. Find a Chinese friend with a good vocabulary whom you trust.
  2. Select a Chinese surname which sounds similar to your Western surname, e.g. Bell = Bèi, Garcia = Gāo, Maalouf = Mǎ , Vincent = Wēn.
  3. Add two more sound-alike characters to reflect some positive aspect of your character. Stephanie Smith could become Shí Jìngyí 石静怡 (meaning stone, quiet and joyful) and Jason Sutherland could become Sū Jiéshèng 苏杰胜 (meaning revive, outstanding and victorious).

That’s all there is to it. Choose a Chinese name wisely and others will be unable to tell by name alone whether you’re Chinese or not. There are plenty of ways to run amok, however, such as trying to be cute with a novelty name. We’ll leave it to you to determine if the following westerners have succeeded or not:

Literal Meaning
Danny Dǎ nǐ 打你 Hit you (Not the best way to start a sales pitch)
Eva Ài huá 爱华 Love China
Fabio Fā piào 发票 The country’s ubiquitous tax receipts
Hunter Hóng dēng zǒu 红灯走 Walk when light is red (A popular habit)
Jimmy Jīn mào 金茂 The Jinmao Tower in Shanghai
Keanu Jī ròu 肌肉 Muscle
Lorenzo Liǎng mǐ gāo 两米高 Two meters high
Roberto Luó bo tóu 萝卜头 Turnip head preserved in vinegar
Rose Ròu sī 肉丝 Slice of pork

It’s worth saying that a foreigner calling himself Jīn Mào in Shanghai is the equivalent of a Chinese in Paris calling herself Eiffel Tower. Kinda dumb, but at least memorable.

Whatever name you choose, you might find your Chinese friends and co-workers start calling you a name which begins with lǎo 老 (old) or xiǎo 小 (small). If someone calls you Lǎo Lǐ 老李, it doesn’t mean you’re old, just that you’ve come a long way, have knowledge to share and people can trust you. It’s a mark of respect. Just the same if someone calls you Xiǎo Wáng 小王, that doesn’t mean you’re small, inexperienced or insignificant. It just means you possess youth (compared with the person addressing you) and suggests a certain fondness. Hang in there and maybe someday people will call you Lǎo Wáng 老王. It’s all good.

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Stewart Lee Beck (李渡) is an author and the creator of China Simplified. Connect with him at, or visit his website at

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Note: The views, services and/or experiences expressed in this Featured Post are solely those of the contributor. This featured post was first released via on April 25, 2014.

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The Foreigner Who Most Influenced China


The Foreigner Who Most Influenced China

Karl Marx? Marco Polo? Kublai Khan? Bill Gates? The list is endless. But if you think about it, one man’s legacy has by far had the biggest and longest lasting impact on the Middle Kingdom.


The most influential foreigner in China’s history and culture came to prominence during the Tang Dynasty. He traveled in spirit along the Silk Road from the Han Dynasty onwards, his revolutionary beliefs transported by the oral storytelling tradition of the day. It’s ironic that the Chinese, who never met this Indian prince, were so captivated by his coherent guidance on how to escape earthly suffering. We’re talking of course about Siddhārtha Gautama, the Buddha.

Buddhism and Daoism were instant brothers – no creator gods, release of desire, selfless inner peace – both providing spiritual comfort in a chaotic world. Monks translated Pali scriptures using recognized Daoist (Chinese) terms to cross-pollinate them with familiar doctrine, passing along these new texts beyond Tang borders to Korea, Japan, Vietnam and beyond. Buddhism also introduced the concept of reincarnation, matching the dominant cyclical worldview and infusing the Dao with renewed energy.

The wildest speculation holds that Laozi journeyed to India to meet Buddha and talk philosophy, or that perhaps Buddha was a reincarnation of Laozi himself! While most historians dismiss this idea, there remain some striking parallels between their thinking as passed down through the ages:

Laozi wrote: Buddha wrote:
The Way that can be expressed is not the everlasting Way;
Names that can be named are not changeless Names.

The Way is beyond language;
The highest principle cannot be explained in words.


During the Tang most religions thrived, driving an unprecedented exchange of ideas. Banned by the Romans, the Nestorians followed the Silk Road to settle in China where they practiced Christianity through the 14th Century. Islam found a home in China as well, introduced by the maternal uncle of Mohammed in the decades following the death of the Prophet, leading to Tang Emperor Gaozong building the first mosque in Guangzhou.

Let’s attempt to put things in perspective using a basketball analogy: if Buddha became the all-star center in the Tang spiritual starting five, dare we say that Jesus and Mohammed were the starting guards in his back court?

To the Chinese, Buddhism proved adaptable and controllable, gaining it state appeal. The ubiquitous Buddha stone carvings in Luoyang and Leshan also testify that, during this era, Buddhism outshined Confucianism by embracing all levels of society. And while Jesus and Mohammed were highly respected sages within the Tang religious pantheon, Christianity and Islam were unable to capture the mass imagination of the time inside China, possibly because their jealous monotheistic gods lacked popular appeal alongside the localized assortment of go-to deities.

Though in retrospect, our basketball all-star analogy was poorly chosen – feed the ball inside to Buddha and he might contemplate its roundness rather than dunk it.

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“I have no hesitation in declaring that I owe a great deal to the inspiration I have derived from the life of the Enlightened One. Asia has a message for the whole world, if only it would live up to it. There is the imprint of Buddhist influence on the whole of Asia, which includes India, China, Japan, Burma, Ceylon, and the Malay States. For Asia to be not for Asia but for the whole world, it has to re-learn the message of the Buddha and deliver it to the whole world.” – Gandhi

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Stewart Lee Beck (李渡) is an author and the creator of China Simplified. Connect with him at, or visit his website at


Note: The views, services and/or experiences expressed in this Featured Post are solely those of the contributor. This featured post was first released via on August 17, 2014.

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International Students in China


International Students in China

According to 2011 statistics, the greatest number of international students studying in China came from South Korea with a total of 62,442 students. Next on the list was the United States with 23,292 and then Japan with 17,961 students.


While there has been a noticeable increase of students from the United States and Thailand over the past 5 years; South Korean students has held relatively flat; and the number of students from Japan has switched places with the United States — from 2nd to 3rd — after 2007.


As shown in the chart below, the number of students coming from Europe to China was also significant with a total of 47,271 students.


Recently, there has been a positive campaign to send a target of more than 100,000 students to China from the United States. Roughly 1/3 of all Chinese students study English whereas an estimated 60,000 students in the United States are learning (Mandarin) Chinese.

♦ Food for Thought ♦

Although 2014/2013 statistics about South Korean students have not been officially released yet, it is very likely (highly probable) that the United States will now be the country that’s sending the most number of students to China – more than any other country.

♦ Related Outside Stories and External Links via the World Wide Web ♦

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What’s Trending in East Asia: July 9 to July 15


What’s Trending in East Asia: July 9 to July 15

Keep abreast with what’s happening in East Asia. Get the big picture from multiple angles and access to a wide variety of different data points. Here’s a keyword list of events and stories for East Asia, and elsewhere, which have taken place over the past few days.

♦ A Keyword List of Events and Stories ♦ 

JULY 15 (TUE) – 화요일 ()

  • Highest compensation requested Chinese massacre victims Japanese government
  • iPads Nickel Allergies Kids
  • 80 percent of Palestinians killed Israeli are civilians
  • Saenuri new party chair Kim
  • New Korea unification panel launch
  • Moscow subway train: car smash, at least 16 killed
  • lawmaker Hwang Korea’s education minister
  • South Korea’s Youth Suicide Falls
  • The Beach Top Vacation Destination
  • France Commemorates Revolution WWI Bastille Day Parade
  • Galaxy Alpha Samsung to iPhone 6 – August launch
  • South Korea Church grow Catholic leader
  • Xi’s visit promote BRICS cooperation
  • China urges to stay out of dispute
  • South Korea mail-order Vietnam wives learn trade
  • Tiger Woods British Open
  • 20th Century Fox – Korea theme park
  • South Korea Iran oil imports double
  • Gaza conflict: Israel air strikes restarts
  • Abe ‘Womenomics’ Japan?
  • BRICS launch IMF and World Bank rivals
  • CNBLUE hold Manila concert – September
  • Sydney language melting pot
  • ‘Six Californias’ plan 2016 ballot
  • Survey life regrets shape later years

JULY 14 (MON) – 월요일 ()

  • Japan Abe’s Security Policy Shift Blamed for Poll Loss
  • LG builds flexible, transparent roll up TV
  • Analysis: Is BRICS in decline?
  • Sarkozy new leaks add to scandal
  • Youngster cross US border risk
  • Big Japan investment mission coming
  • A war over religious rights
  • Paris thousands march against Israel offensive
  • Citigroup pay $7 bn to settle sub-prime mortgage
  • U.S. Keep Combined Forces Command (CFC) Seoul
  • North Korea fires 100 artillery shells Sea
  • New Ruling Party Leader Kim Moo-sung
  • Samsung suspends business supplier in China child labor allegation
  • Taipei temperature hits year high 37.8 degrees
  • Samsung emergency future
  • BMW opens first driving center in Asia – Korea
  • US Virginia dad ‘Kingdom of North Sudan’ for his princess
  • Korea corporate cash taxable
  • Okinawa reversion papers destroyed
  • Brain eating amoeba kills Kansas child
  • Beijing urges Tokyo to take action against obstacles
  • Rain and Kim Tae Hee, Leave Korea – ‘Overseas Date?’
  • Girls’ Generation break record 550,000 concert attendents Japan

JULY 13 (SUN) – 일요일 ()

  • South Korea largest destination for Chinese tourists
  • North Korea test-fires missiles again
  • Israel soldiers wounded Gaza Hamas aims at Tel Aviv
  • Israel ground troops in Gaza
  • Trump Plaza casino to close
  • China – expats are heading east
  • Chinese President leaves for Latin America
  • Cost of corruption heavy on state budgets
  • Sex Valley: Tech’s booming prostitution trade
  • Desmond Tutu supports assisted suicide
  • UN Security Council calls Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire
  • Russia warning after Ukraine shelling
  • US condemns Thailand over human trafficking
  • Forget Debt As A Percent Of GDP, It’s Really Much Worse
  • UK is ‘hysterical’ over Islam says Archbishop
  • Mario Goetze of Germany World Cup trophy
  • BIS chief fears fresh Lehman from worldwide debt surge
  • 40% want wives kept out of Japan workforce
  • China criticize Australian leader remarks on Japanese aggression
  • Shinzo Abe target November summit with Chinese leadership

JULY 12 (SAT) – 토요일 ()

  • Israel continues Gaza bombardment
  • U.S. imposes tariffs on steel from nine countries dumping
  • Snowpiercer future of film distribution
  • Japan 6.8 earthquake Fukushima plant safe
  • China Declares iPhone National Security Threat
  • Marijuana – pot experiment
  • Korea protest anniversary of Japan military
  • Alcohol no benefit to the heart, new study
  • Yankees season without Masahiro Tanaka
  • Japan Reprocessing Plant Plutonium for 2,000 Bombs
  • Ukraine launch air offensive, kills 1,000 rebels
  • Expats get more for dollar in Bangkok
  • Japan electronics firms – eclipsed by Apple
  • Chinese anchor Rui Chenggang arrested before going on air
  • Female Yahoo exec Zhang sued – sexual harassment
  • 2015 Hyundai Sonata punches above weight
  • Seoul, a Plastic Surgery Tourism Hot Spot
  • Russia writes off 90% of Cuba’s debt before Putin Visit

JULY 11 (FRI) – 금요일 ()

  • Germany Demand Top U.S. Intelligence Officer Expelled
  • Korean Steel Really Chinese?
  • Dinosaur Bones Seized in New York Returned to Mongolia
  • South Korea football coach quits national team – pressure
  • Korean SNU hospital to operate medical center in UAE
  • Partisan divide on China comes at a dangerous moment
  • Australia rated top destination for wealthy Chinese
  • Echo of history demand of time – Five Principles of Peace
  • Analysis – Xi’s speech key messages to U.S., world
  • China’s Stocks Rise – Loose Property Restrictions
  • South Korea’s Youth Population Slips Under 10 Million
  • China to get own ‘Running Man’ called ‘Run, Brother’
  • Sony to Trim Tokyo HQ Staff
  • 5 crazy Samsung gadgets
  • Japan bribe against execs in Vietnam graft scandal
  • U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington in South Korea
  • The fiercest of wars in Iraq lies ahead
  • Seoul’s Lotte Hotel cancels Japan self-defence forces event
  • Family of Koreans in Yasukuni Shrine stopped
  • President Park may let go of one of two nominees
  • Giorgio Armani turns 80 today
  • Air pollution ‘is causing appalling health disaster in London’

JULY 10 (THU) – 목요일 ()

  • Germany’s Choice: Will It Be America or Russia?
  • The End of `Made in Japan’?
  • Russia, China, India Ready to Launch Rival to World Bank
  • Taiwan diplomat fears China-Japan ‘explosive’ incident
  • 53 dead in Gaza as Israel steps up offensive
  • China-US investment treaty on fast track
  • N. Koreans Favor Reunification
  • Alleged prostitute charged in yacht overdose death of Google exe
  • Snowden asks to extend asylum in Russia: lawyer
  • Gov’t to Lower This Year’s Economic Growth Rate to mid-3% Range
  • Control Needed Korea Very Weak in Money Laundering
  • Incoming South Korean minister cites weak economy; Samsung, retail lag
  • Korea’s imported car sales rise 39.2% in June
  • S. Korea’s vehicle exports grow in H1
  • Incheon’s East Asia Tower takes title of S. Korea’s tallest building
  • LG reveals 18-inch flexible, rollable, and transparent OLED panels, aims for 60 inches by 2017
  • MAJOR SECURITY SHIFT: Pacifism key to improving Japan’s relations with China, scholar says
  • Analysis – Overcoming differences in China-U.S. dialogue
  • Oh Sang Jin and SNSD (Girls’ Generation) Sooyoung to Host the 2014 Miss Korea Pageant
  • iPhones account for 30% of Japan Display
  • Russia push for BRICS energy association

JULY 9 (WED) – 수요일 ()

  • Japan outraged after Chinese paper publishes map with nuclear bomb clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • Asia alliances in flux as expedience, pragmatism shape region
  • U.S. Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary visit Great Wall
  • Under Abe, Japan reconnects with the world of harm
  • South Korea Education chief nominee grilled over plagiarism
  • Chaebol getting more power as they contribute less to the economy
  • Hyosung Group Chairman – prosecutor drop arrest warrant
  • U.S. calls for explanation on China-led regional bank
  • The World’s Most Populous Muslim Nation Is About to Decide Its Political Future
  • China Focus: Auto sales up 8.4 percent in first half
  • North Korea ‘fires more projectiles into sea’ again
  • Abe pushing Beijing, Seoul together
  • Korean Christians stir controversy – held Service at Indian Buddhist Site
  • Mongolia become part of Australia’s ‘New Colombo Plan’
  • SK Telecom, Ericsson collaborate 5G development
  • India’s Reliance group eyes biz links in South Korea



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Who are China’s Ethnic Minorities?


Who are China’s Ethnic Minorities?


Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau takes a survey of those who are living within the United States where “race” is a category of interest to the United States government. For example, the 5 minimum categories for race in the United States are (1) White, (2) Black or African American, (3) American Indian or Alaska Native, (4) Asian and (5) Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

Interestingly enough, people who identify their origin as being Hispanic, Latino or Spanish may choose any race category in the U.S. census questionnaire. In addition, there is no such thing (category) as an “European” American in this first cut attempt at “race” by the Americans.

Thus, and technically, zero European Americans exist in America – everyone is White which is a bit weird if you stop for a moment and consider the categorical existence of Asian and African Americans. Can you provide a reason for why this odd paradox (disparity) exists in America today?

What is even more interesting (i.e., counter intuitive) is the fact that everyone from the “Middle East” and “North Africa” — such people from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Egypt — are considered “White” by the US Census Bureau’s own definition over race – as opposed to them being “Asian”.

This is counter intuitive, and extraordinary, because all of these Middle Eastern countries participate in the “Asian Games” and schools all across the world teach students that these countries belong to the Asian Continent, if we look at these people from strict “location-on-the-map” perspective.

Now in China, however, a different scale (classification method) of “ethnic groups” is used rather than enforcing a “race” scheme by government to distinguish and differentiate majority and minority groups.

In total, there are 56 “ethnic groups” in China. If one were to exclude the majority Han people (Han ethnic group), then this renders a figure of 55 minority groups who make up China.

Despite the fact that Mandarin is now being taught — as a common (standard) language — in schools across China, all of these minority groups have (or had) a different culture, costume (traditional clothing), songs and/or language.

♦ Value-Added Insight ♦

Out of the 56, there are 10 ethnic groups of people which have a population of more than 5,000,000 (five-million) in China. These are . . .

(1) “Han” people (汉族) = 1.22 billion (91.65%), (2) “Zhuang” people (壮族) = 16.93 million (1.27%), (3) “Hui” people (回族) = 10.59 million, (4) “Manchu” people (满族) = 10.39 million, (5) Uyghur people (维吾尔族) = 10.07 million, (6) Miao people (苗族) = 9.43 million, (7) Yi people (彝族) = 8.71 million, (8) Tujia people (土家族) = 8.35 million, (9) Tibetan people (藏族) = 6.29 million, (10) Mongol people (蒙古族) = 5.98 million.

In addition, there are 1.82 million Korean people (朝鮮族) living in China as one minority ethnic group. Officially, the concept of a “Japanese” ethnic group (people) in China does not exist. In other words, they (Japanese) do not belong (have no place) as one of the 56 ethnic groups in China which is also — in and of itself — quite interesting. In contrast, one will find a vibrant “Chinatown” — like everywhere else in the world — in Yokohama Japan.

Ironically, and in China, the Russian ethnic group (俄罗斯族) — which is classified as ‘White” under the U.S. system — is recognized (without any reference to skin color) as being one of the 55 minority ethnic groups.

♦ Food for Thought ♦

For those who haven’t really had any interactions with East Asia and/or China, your perception of a Chinese person could have been greatly influenced by Hollywood. For example, the fictional character of Charlie Chan and/or the martial arts legend Bruce Lee.


Hence, the gap between reality (in China) and what (is or has been) portrayed to be China on the screen is absolutely humongous. In fact, the last name “Chan” is actually Cantonese – not from mainland China (Mandarin). In mainland China (Mandarin), the last name Chan (陳) is actually spelt and pronounced “Chen” – not Chan (Cantonese pronunciation) but they are spelt identically in Chinese.

As you visit, and/or gradually learn more about, China – it will become very clear and obvious that one cannot define China, and narrate it fully, in a short sentence before change takes place.

If you are visiting Korea, Japan or anywhere else in East Asia for business, study (research) and/or pleasure, it would be worthwhile to visit — and to spend some time in — China. The scenery, food and people are much better (at least ten times better) in reality than what Hollywood had presented to you in the past.

♦ Language Footnote 

  • People // 民族 // 민족 // Ethnic Group

♦ Related Outside Stories and External Links via the World Wide Web ♦

♦ More information from YouTube 


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International Students in the United States

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International Students in the United States

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The total number of international students studying in the United States during 2012-2013 was 819,644 students; and their net contribution to the U.S. economy was approximately $23.95 billion dollars (USD). This amount is a net contribution of roughly $29,000 dollars (USD) per student per year.

During 2012-2013, the Top 5 countries from which international students to the United States originated were (1) China = 235,597 (28.7%); (2) India = 96,754 (11.8%), (3) South Korea = 70,629 (8.6%); (4) Saudi Arabia = 44,566 (5.4%) and (5) Canada 27,357 (3.3%).140605 intnalstdnchart02

According to IIE (Institute for International Education) statistics, the number of Japanese students has been gradually declining over the past 8 to 9 years — a decline which had first started during the 2005-2006 academic year — while the number of students from China (excluding Taiwan) have been growing significantly.

Going the other way around, and during the 2010 to 2011 academic year, the United States had 273,996 students studying abroad where the most popular destinations were (1) UK = 33,182; (2) Italy = 30,361; (3) Spain = 25,965; (4) France = 17,019; (5) China = 14,596; (6) Australia = 9,736; (7) Germany = 9,018; (8) Costa Rica = 7,230; (9) Ireland = 7,009 and (10) Argentina = 4,589.

♦ Value-Added Insight ♦

Students from China are studying for, and pursuing, international university degrees in vast numbers worldwide. From Asia, it is also the students from Chinese, South Koreans and Indians who are proactively seeking academic excellence and high scholastic achievements.

Given the fact that South Korea’s population is 50 million people, the outgoing nature and percentage of South Korean students studying abroad today is an exceptional phenomenon unprecedented in world history.

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The field of international education is a field where Japan is also following greatly behind China these days.

The Chinese international student prefer to study in (1) the United States; (2) Australia; (3) Japan; (4) United Kingdom; and (5) South Korea. Whereas South Korean international students prefer (1) the United States; (2) China; (3) Canada; (4) Japan and (5) Australia. The Japanese international student prefers (1) the United States; (2) China; (3) Canada, (4) South Korea; and (5) the United Kingdom.

♦ Food for Thought ♦

If the term globalization has any meaning associated with international students, the leaders of the pack in this field are, by far, China and India. How this will impact our global society over the next 25-50 years is something which still needs to be watched closely.

The South Koreans are moving forward aggressively in the area of obtaining an international education (degree), while the Japanese are surprisingly reclusive.

The number of highly educated Chinese and Indians returning back to their home countries after obtaining their advanced degrees due to strict United States immigration and labor laws will continue to fuel debate over what type of policy is really in the best interest of all of those — both individuals and countries — that are involved.

One thing is clear, however, the economic value of total dollars spent on tuition, housing, airfare, travel, food, used cars, bikes, computers, cell phones and apparel by all of these international students studying in the United States is quite a large sum. Not all, but the majority of these international students are from well to do families who can afford to support their children’s overseas education.

♦ Related Outside Stories and External Links via the World Wide Web ♦


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