What’s something awesome you’ve noticed about Chinese people?
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03 things China does better than anywhere else
1. Indoor sports
So China isn’t all that great at football — so what?
Its state system of athletic training has perfected a foolproof method for producing top gymnasts, ping pong champs, badminton aces and diving divas.
Since it first participated in the modern Olympics in 1984, it’s steadily risen toward the top of the medals table.
Chinese-style athleticism reached a climax at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing when the country garnered 51 gold medals and ranked number one overall.
Although a top contender in diving and gymnastics, Chinese competitors are practically unbeatable at badminton and table tennis, winning more gold medals in these events than any other country at the Olympics.
In comparison, the United States is undeniably the long-standing king of the Olympics, but it’s had an 18-Olympic head start on China.
As the first place to domesticate pigs, we can be sure China knows a thing or two about making pork delicious.
According to the U.S. National Pork Board, the earliest evidence of domestication of the wild boar can be dated to 4900 BC in China.
Historically, the animal has been so integral to Chinese society that the Chinese character for “home” is a pictogram of a pig with a roof over its head. Today, China is the world’s top producer and consumer of hogs — and, wow, how it’s consumed.
There are arguably two pinnacles of pork cooking in China: dongbo rou, a glistening block of braised pork belly prized for the melt-in-mouth fat and char siu, a sweet-salty cut of meat barbecued til tender and smoky.
Both dishes are tricky and time-consuming to create, but so worth it.
We love and respect the traditions of the entire world of barbecue out there, but China’s unparalleled experience and variety of dishes places it atop the pork pile.
3. Olympic opening ceremonies
The world is still shaking in its boots from the raucous display of totalitarian jazz hands that opened the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
Whether you saw it as a spectacle of precision showmanship or the result of a lockstep society trying to freak out the entire planet, there’s no denying it was the opening ceremony that made all others tremble in shock and awe.
The hour-long cinematic showcase, directed by celebrated filmmaker Zhang Yimou, incorporated every Chinese art form, from ink painting to acrobatics to tai chi and opera.
It succeeded in stirring patriotism at home and inspiring new fans abroad during an Olympics fraught with political tension and human rights issues.
Hong Kong-based freelancer Zoe Li writes regularly on Chinese art, culture, food and travel.
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