The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China, in December 2019, and was recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March. As of 28 March 2020, more than 663,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 190 countries and territories, resulting in approximately 30,800 deaths. More than 141,000 people have since recovered.
The virus is mainly spread during close contact and via respiratory droplets produced when people cough or sneeze. Respiratory droplets may be produced during breathing but the virus is not considered airborne. People may also catch COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface and then their face. It is most contagious when people are symptomatic, although spread may be possible before symptoms appear. The time between exposure and symptom onset is typically around five days, but may range from 2 to 14 days. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. There is no known vaccine or specific antiviral treatment. Primary treatment is symptomatic and supportive therapy. Recommended preventive measures include hand washing, covering one's mouth when coughing, maintaining distance from other people, and monitoring and self-isolation for people who suspect they are infected.
Efforts to prevent the virus spreading include travel restrictions, quarantines, curfews, workplace hazard controls, event postponements and cancellations, and facility closures. These include the quarantine of Hubei, national or regional quarantines elsewhere in the world, curfew measures in China and South Korea, various border closures or incoming passenger restrictions, screening at airports and train stations, and outgoing passenger travel bans. Schools and universities have closed either on a nationwide or local basis in more than 160 countries, affecting more than 1.5 billion students.
The pandemic has led to severe global socioeconomic disruption, the postponement or cancellation of sporting, religious, and cultural events, and widespread fears of supply shortages which have spurred panic buying. Misinformation and conspiracy theories about the virus have spread online, and there have been incidents of xenophobia and racism against Chinese and other East and Southeast Asian people.
The 996 working hour system (Chinese: 996工作制) is a work schedule commonly practiced by some companies in the People's Republic of China. It derives its name from its requirement that employees work from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, 6 days per week; i.e. 72 hours per week. A number of Chinese internet companies have adopted this system as their official work schedule. Critics argue that the 996 working hour system is a flagrant violation of Chinese law.
In March 2019 an "anti-996" protest was launched via GitHub.
- "China's 996 working hour system" | 2020-06-12 | 31 Upvotes 4 Comments
Baijiu (Chinese: 白酒; pinyin: báijiǔ; literally: 'white (clear) liquor'), also known as shaojiu (烧酒/燒酒), is a clear Chinese distilled liquor of typically 40%-50%. Each type of baijiu uses a distinct type of Qū during the fermentation process in the distillery for the distinct and characteristic flavour profile.
Báijiǔ is a clear liquid usually distilled from fermented sorghum, although other grains may be used; some southeastern Chinese styles may employ rice or glutinous rice, while other Chinese varieties may use wheat, barley, millet, or even Job's tears (Chinese: 薏苡 yìyǐ) in their mash bills. The qū starter culture used in the production of baijiu is usually made from pulverized wheat grain or steamed rice.
Because of its clarity, baijiu can appear similar to several other East Asian liquors, but it often has a significantly higher alcohol content than, for example, Japanese shōchū (25%) or Korean soju (20–45%). Despite being a white spirit, its flavour more closely resembles a rich spirit like whisky in terms of complexity of flavour and sensation.
Baijiu is the world's bestselling spirit, with five billion litres sold in 2016. That number was up to 10.8 billion liters sold in 2018, more than whisky, vodka, gin, rum and tequila combined. Baijiu's popularity in China makes it the world's most consumed spirit, but outside of China it is not well known.
- "Baijiu" | 2019-12-09 | 21 Upvotes 8 Comments
Counting rods (traditional Chinese: 籌; simplified Chinese: 筹; pinyin: chóu; Japanese: 算木; rōmaji: sangi; Korean: sangaji) are small bars, typically 3–14 cm long, that were used by mathematicians for calculation in ancient East Asia. They are placed either horizontally or vertically to represent any integer or rational number.
The written forms based on them are called rod numerals. They are a true positional numeral system with digits for 1–9 and a blank for 0, from the Warring states period (circa 475 BCE) to the 16th century.
Document Number Nine (or Document No. 9), more properly the Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere (also translated as the Briefing on the Current Situation in the Ideological Realm), is a confidential internal document widely circulated within the Communist Party of China in 2013 by the General Office of the Communist Party of China. The document was first circulated in July 2012. The document warns of seven dangerous Western values, allegedly including media freedom and judicial independence. Teaching on any of the seven topics is forbidden. There is an emphasis on controlling and preventing communication using the internet of ideas subversive to one party rule. The document was issued in the context of planned economic reforms and increased calls for political reform. It has been described as a critique of the "liberal ways of thinking".
The document was not made available to public by the Communist Party or any branches of the Chinese government, but in July 2013 was allegedly leaked by Chinese dissident journalist Gao Yu, who was in turn sentenced to a seven-year imprisonment for "leaking state secrets".
It is unclear whether this document is official Chinese policy or just a faction within the party. However, The New York Times suggests that it "bears the unmistakable imprimatur of Xi Jinping". It is thought that Document No. 9 was issued by the Central Committee General Office, and would have required the approval of Mr. Xi and other top leaders. A severe crackdown against human rights lawyers, media outlets, academics, and other such independent thinkers has followed the document's publication.
- "The Seven Dangerous Western Values (2013)" | 2019-04-29 | 38 Upvotes 5 Comments
The Dujiangyan (Chinese: 都江堰; pinyin: Dūjiāngyàn) is an ancient irrigation system in Dujiangyan City, Sichuan, China. Originally constructed around 256 BC by the State of Qin as an irrigation and flood control project, it is still in use today. The system's infrastructure develops on the Min River (Minjiang), the longest tributary of the Yangtze. The area is in the west part of the Chengdu Plain, between the Sichuan basin and the Tibetan plateau. Originally, the Min would rush down from the Min Mountains and slow down abruptly after reaching the Chengdu Plain, filling the watercourse with silt, thus making the nearby areas extremely prone to floods. Li Bing, then governor of Shu for the state of Qin, and his son headed the construction of the Dujiangyan, which harnessed the river using a new method of channeling and dividing the water rather than simply damming it. The water management scheme is still in use today to irrigate over 5,300 square kilometres (2,000 sq mi) of land in the region. The Dujiangyan, the Zhengguo Canal in Shaanxi and the Lingqu Canal in Guangxi are collectively known as the "three great hydraulic engineering projects of the Qin."
- "Dujiangyan irrigation system" | 2014-04-22 | 66 Upvotes 12 Comments
Erlang Shen (二郎神), or Erlang is a Chinese God with a third truth-seeing eye in the middle of his forehead.
Er-lang Shen may be a deified version of several semi-mythical folk heroes who help regulate China's torrential floods dating variously from the Qin, Sui, and Jin dynasties. A later Buddhist source identifies him as the second son of the Northern Heavenly King Vaishravana.
In the Ming semi-mythical novels Creation of the Gods and Journey to the West, Erlang Shen is the nephew of the Jade Emperor. In the former, he assists the Zhou army in defeating the Shang. In the latter, he is the second son of a mortal and Jade emperor's sister. In the legend, he is known as the greatest warrior god of heaven.
- "Erlang Shen" | 2009-03-11 | 127 Upvotes 6 Comments
The etymology of the word tea can be traced back to the various Chinese pronunciations of the word. Nearly all the words for tea worldwide, fall into three broad groups: te, cha and chai, which reflected the history of transmission of tea drinking culture and trade from China to countries around the world. The few exceptions of words for tea that do not fall into these three broad groups are mostly from the minor languages from the botanical homeland of the tea plant, and likely to be the ultimate origin of the Chinese words for tea. Notably, none of these words mean 'dinner' or a late afternoon meal.
- "Etymology of tea" | 2020-03-14 | 67 Upvotes 23 Comments
Guanxi (simplified Chinese: 关系; traditional Chinese: 關係; pinyin: guānxi) defines the fundamental dynamic in personalized social networks of power, and is a crucial system of beliefs in Chinese culture. In Western media, the pinyin romanization of this Chinese word is becoming more widely used instead of the two common translations of it—"connections" and "relationships"—as neither of those terms sufficiently reflects the wide cultural implications that guanxi describes.
Guanxi plays a fundamental role within the Confucian doctrine, which sees the individual as part of a community and a set of family, hierarchical and friendly relationships. In particular, there is a focus on tacit mutual commitments, reciprocity, and trust, which are the grounds of guanxi and guanxi networks.
Guanxi also has a major influence on the management of businesses based in Mainland China, and businesses owned by Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia (the latter is known as the bamboo network).
Closely related concepts include that of ganqing, a measure which reflects the depth of feeling within an interpersonal relationship, renqing (人情 rénqíng/jen-ch'ing), the moral obligation to maintain a relationship, and the idea of "face" (面子, miànzi/mien-tzu), which refers to social status, propriety, prestige, or a combination of all three. Other related concepts include wu-lune, which supports the idea of a long term, developing relationship between a business and its client, and yi-ren and ren, which respectively support reciprocity and empathy.
- "Guanxi" | 2016-09-19 | 125 Upvotes 101 Comments
Gutter oil (Chinese: 地沟油; pinyin: dìgōu yóu, or 餿水油; sōushuǐ yóu) is oil which has been recycled from waste oil collected from sources such as restaurant fryers, grease traps, slaughterhouse waste and fatbergs.
Reprocessing of used cooking oil is often very rudimentary; techniques include filtration, boiling, refining, and the removal of some adulterants. It is then packaged and resold as a cheaper alternative to normal cooking oil. Another version of gutter oil uses discarded animal parts, animal fat and skins, internal organs, and expired or otherwise low-quality meat, which is then cooked in large vats in order to extract the oil. Used kitchen oil can be purchased for between $859 and $937 per ton, while the cleaned and refined product can sell for $1,560 per ton. Thus there is great economic incentive to produce and sell gutter oil.
It was estimated in 2011 that up to one in every ten lower-market restaurant meals consumed in China is prepared with recycled oil. As Feng Ping of the China Meat Research Center has said: "The illegal oil shows no difference in appearance and indicators after refining and purification because the law breakers are skillful at coping with the established standards."
Some street vendors and restaurants in China and Taiwan have illegally used recycled oil unfit for human consumption for the purposes of cooking food, leading to a crackdown against such establishments by the Chinese and Taiwanese governments.
Gutter oil is an acceptable raw ingredient for products that are not for human consumption, such as soap, rubber, bio-fuel, and cosmetics.
- "Gutter Oil" | 2019-05-01 | 11 Upvotes 3 Comments