Even though China is the world's most populous country, at over 1.35 billion people, it still has some secrets it doesn't want us to know. But we dug some of them up just for you!
For instance, despite the fact that the US borrows a lot of money from China, a lot of it's population is still living in utter poverty. In fact, about 100 million people in China are surviving on less than $1 a day, which works out to less than $365 a year! And nearly 400 million people live on less than $2 a day!
2. Death Penalty.
In 2005, China executed more than 4 times as many convicts as the rest of the world combined. That works out to over 1,770 executions, most of them done by firing squad.
3. Air Pollution.
China's air pollution is so bad from its rapid industrial growth that many people wear masks outside just to be able to breathe. But their problems aren't limited to their own country. Due to the jetstream carrying their air over to the United States, much of that pollution has traveled to northern California. In fact, about a third of the air pollution in San Francisco comes from China!
The Chinese government has actually banned Buddhist monks from reincarnating. That is, unless they get permission from the government first. In reality, what seems ridiculous is actually a move to limit the influence of the Dalai Lama.
5. Empty Mall.
China can proudly boast that it has the world's largest mall, the New South China Mall, with space for 2,350 stores and 7,000,000 square feet of leasable space! The only problem is that 7 years after it opened it is still 99% empty. The only things actually in the mall are a few fast food stores near the entrance.
6. Blocked Sites.
Facebook and Twitter have been blocked sites in China since 2009 and The New York Times has been blocked since a 2012 article didn't please the government. They are going to lift the ban in what is called the Shanghai Free Trade zone soon but it is more of a business decision than anything else.
7. Cave Dwellers.
About 35 million people in China still live in caves. Most of these live in the Shaanxi province where the porous soil makes the caves easy to dig. They are often decorated or reinforced with bricks.
8. Water Contamination.
About 700 million Chinese people, or about half of their population, drink contaminated water every day. One of the biggest reasons is that only about 10 percent of the raw sewage produced by the big cities is treated and the rest is dumped straight into lakes and rivers where it leaks into ground water
9. Time Zones.
Back in 1949, China's Communist regime decided that, even though the country is huge, in order to assert more control it all needed to be under the same time zone, Beijing Standard Time. This has led to ridiculous sunrise times such as 10am in certain parts of the country.
78% of the software installed on computers in China in 2010 was pirated. That is a really high number no matter how you look at it. Globally, the average piracy rate is still quite high at 42%, but it is almost twice that in China.
11. Birth Defects.
Birth defects are actually increasing in China by a rate of 40% since 2001. About 1.2 million babies are born in China every year with a birth defect, or about one every 30 seconds.
When you think of religion in China, probably the last thing that comes to mind is Christianity. But what is really surprising is that China has a booming Christian population of about 54 million people and growing. Soon they will have the largest Christian population in the world! They already have more Christians than Italy!
A note over here . Due to large masses of people turning to Christianity, the government is resorting to a specific quota of Christian conversions per month.
13. Dwarf Theme Park.
There is a place called the Kingdom of the Little People in China where people with dwarfism put on comical shows for tourists. There are over 100 dwarfs employed by the park.
14. Ghost Towns.
About 65 million homes sit vacant in China. This includes some entire towns that are completely devoid of people and they sit empty. These aren't old houses and towns that died out. They are new cities and houses that were built in expectation of a population boom expanding into them that never happened.
15. Gobi Desert.
China is home to the enormous Gobi desert which is already about 500,000 square miles or about the size of Peru and it's only getting bigger. The Gobi is expanding at a rate of about 1,400 square miles a year due to over grazing, deforestation and water source depletion.