China Inside View

Local news and insights about China and Chinese language and culture
  • When 'Have you eaten?' means 'Hello'

    November 08, 2010 | Posted by Vicky

    "Have you eaten?" is a common greeting among older Chinese. It harks back to the days food scarcity in China.

    As an informal greeting, Chinese people like to use "chī le ma?" -- which means "have you eaten yet?" -- when it is the time for a meal. Foreigners who don’t understand this kind of custom might regard this as an invitation to have a meal together. However, this is just a simple greeting, not a real invitation, so can reply with "chī le" or "méi ne" which means "yes, I have eaten" or "no, not yet."

    Other Chinese oral greetings

    In addition to "chī le ma?," ...

  • High-speed rail connects Shanghai and Hangzhou

    November 01, 2010 | Posted by Vicky

    China's latest high-speed railway, a link between Shanghai and Hangzhou called CRH 380A, opened to the public this past week.

    This past week, China's newest high speed train hit the tracks at Hongqiao Station in Shanghai. Called "CRH 380A" and connecting the nearby cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou, the train has set a new world record by reaching speeds of over 250 miles per hour. Moreover, like the other high-speed rails under construction in China, this new rail is based on technology developed entirely in China, which aims to lead the world in high speed railway development.

    A New Record

  • Young Chinese parents and "baby engagements"

    October 25, 2010 | Posted by Vicky

    Young parents in China today increasingly are looking to help their children overcome the challenges of being an only child. "Baby engagement" is a way to help young children and their families make friends.

    For centuries in China, "baby engagement" was a term synonymous with arranged marriage -- and therefore is now prohibited. However, the term is becoming widely popular again among young parents born after 1980 -- but it now has different meaning. Young parents in China today will tell you that they "aim at making friends only, not marriage” -- meaning their real purpose is to find a companion for the only child in the family.

    Ways to engage a baby

    One friend ...

  • Traditional Chinese family is slowly changing

    October 22, 2010 | Posted by Vicky

    A traditional Chinese family, above, features three generations all living together under one roof. Grandma does the cooking!

    Like people anywhere, Chinese people attach great importance to family. In traditional Chinese culture, a multi-generational household with grandparents, parents, and children all living together is the norm -- which contrasts with the "nuclear" family ideals of other parts of the world. Moreover, younger generations are traditionally not allowed to challenge the decisions of older generations -- an important tenent in Confuciansim called filial piety. Tradition dictates that parents s ...

  • The Double Ninth Festival celebrated this past Saturday

    October 18, 2010 | Posted by Vicky

    On the Double Ninth Festival, chrysanthemum, above, is consumed as tea and given as gifts to family and loved ones.

    In the lunar calendar, the ninth of September is a traditional Chinese festival, which is called The Double Ninth Festival. Although this festival was originally formed as early as the Period of Warring States (475-211 BC), it did not officially become a folk festival until the Tang Dynasty (618–907). Since then, people in China have followed this festival dynasty by dynasty up to today.

    Incidentally, this past Saturday was the Double Ninth Festival, and it was celebrated across C ...

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