Topic: China/Chinese history
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 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
China has been the source of many innovations, scientific discoveries and inventions. This includes the Four Great Inventions: papermaking, the compass, gunpowder, and printing (both woodblock and movable type). The list below contains these and other inventions in China attested by archaeological or historical evidence.
The historical region now known as China experienced a history involving mechanics, hydraulics and mathematics applied to horology, metallurgy, astronomy, agriculture, engineering, music theory, craftsmanship, naval architecture and warfare. By the Warring States period (403–221 BC), inhabitants of the Warring States had advanced metallurgic technology, including the blast furnace and cupola furnace, while the finery forge and puddling process were known by the Han Dynasty (202 BC–AD 220). A sophisticated economic system in imperial China gave birth to inventions such as paper money during the Song Dynasty (960–1279). The invention of gunpowder during the mid 9th century led to an array of inventions such as the fire lance, land mine, naval mine, hand cannon, exploding cannonballs, multistage rocket and rocket bombs with aerodynamic wings and explosive payloads. With the navigational aid of the 11th century compass and ability to steer at high sea with the 1st century sternpost rudder, premodern Chinese sailors sailed as far as East Africa. In water-powered clockworks, the premodern Chinese had used the escapement mechanism since the 8th century and the endless power-transmitting chain drive in the 11th century. They also made large mechanical puppet theaters driven by waterwheels and carriage wheels and wine-serving automatons driven by paddle wheel boats.
The contemporaneous Peiligang and Pengtoushan cultures represent the oldest Neolithic cultures of China and were formed around 7000 BC. Some of the first inventions of Neolithic China include semilunar and rectangular stone knives, stone hoes and spades, the cultivation of millet and the soybean, the refinement of sericulture, rice cultivation, the creation of pottery with cord-mat-basket designs, the creation of pottery vessels and pottery steamers and the development of ceremonial vessels and scapulimancy for purposes of divination. The British sinologist Francesca Bray argues that the domestication of the ox and buffalo during the Longshan culture (c. 3000–c. 2000 BC) period, the absence of Longshan-era irrigation or high-yield crops, full evidence of Longshan cultivation of dry-land cereal crops which gave high yields "only when the soil was carefully cultivated," suggest that the plough was known at least by the Longshan culture period and explains the high agricultural production yields which allowed the rise of Chinese civilization during the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600–c. 1050 BC). Later inventions such as the multiple-tube seed drill and heavy moldboard iron plough enabled China to sustain a much larger population through greater improvements in agricultural output.
For the purposes of this list, inventions are regarded as technological firsts developed in China, and as such does not include foreign technologies which the Chinese acquired through contact, such as the windmill from the Middle East or the telescope from early modern Europe. It also does not include technologies developed elsewhere and later invented separately by the Chinese, such as the odometer, water wheel, and chain pump. Scientific, mathematical or natural discoveries, changes in minor concepts of design or style and artistic innovations do not appear on the list.
- "List of Chinese Inventions" | 2008-12-28 | 19 Upvotes 14 Comments
Loulan, also called Krorän or Kroraina (simplified Chinese: 楼兰; traditional Chinese: 樓蘭; pinyin: Lóulán; Uyghur: كروران, Кроран, ULY: Kroran) was an ancient kingdom based around an important oasis city along the Silk Road already known in the 2nd century BCE on the northeastern edge of the Lop Desert. The term Loulan is the Chinese transcription of the native name Krorän and is used to refer to the city near Lop Nur as well as the kingdom.
The kingdom was renamed Shanshan (鄯善) after its king was assassinated by an envoy of the Han dynasty in 77 BCE; however, the town at the northwestern corner of the brackish desert lake Lop Nur retained the name of Loulan. The kingdom included at various times settlements such as Niya, Charklik, Miran, and Qiemo. It was intermittently under Chinese control from the early Han dynasty onward until its abandonment centuries later. The ruins of Loulan are near the now-desiccated Lop Nur in the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang, and they are now completely surrounded by desert.
- "Loulan Kingdom" | 2017-10-17 | 44 Upvotes 8 Comments
The south-pointing chariot (or carriage) was an ancient Chinese two-wheeled vehicle that carried a movable pointer to indicate the south, no matter how the chariot turned. Usually, the pointer took the form of a doll or figure with an outstretched arm. The chariot was supposedly used as a compass for navigation and may also have had other purposes.
The ancient Chinese invented a mobile-like armored cart in the 5th century BC called the Dongwu Che (Chinese: 洞屋车). It was used for the purpose of protecting warriors on the battlefield. The Chinese war wagon was designed as a kind of mobile protective cart with a shed-like roof. It would serve to be rolled up to city fortifications to provide protection for sappers digging underneath to weaken a wall's foundation. The early Chinese war wagon became the basis of technologies for the making of ancient Chinese south-pointing chariots.
There are legends of earlier south-pointing chariots, but the first reliably documented one was created by the Chinese mechanical engineer Ma Jun (c. 200–265 CE) of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms. No ancient chariots still exist, but many extant ancient Chinese texts mention them, saying they were used intermittently until about 1300 CE. Some include information about their inner components and workings.
There were probably several types of south-pointing chariot which worked differently. In most or all of them, the rotating road wheels mechanically operated a geared mechanism to keep the pointer aimed correctly. The mechanism had no magnets and did not automatically detect which direction was south. The pointer was aimed southward by hand at the start of a journey. Subsequently, whenever the chariot turned, the mechanism rotated the pointer relative to the body of the chariot to counteract the turn and keep the pointer aiming in a constant direction, to the south. Thus the mechanism did a kind of directional dead reckoning, which is inherently prone to cumulative errors and uncertainties. Some chariots' mechanisms may have had differential gears, technology unseen since the ancient Greek Antikythera mechanism.
- "South-Pointing Chariot" | 2019-10-25 | 75 Upvotes 22 Comments
Katarina Vilioni (died 1342) was one of the first Europeans known to have resided in China. She was apparently a member of a Genoese trading family that lived in Yangzhou during the mid-14th century.
Vilioni is known through her tombstone, which was rediscovered at Yangzhou in 1951. It suggests that Vilioni died in 1342 and was the daughter of a man named Domenico Vilioni.