Recently, the China Daily Show had a funny article about the importance of Tibet and Xinjiang not because of political or economic reasons, but because of the shape.
A senior Ministry of Interior Affairs official has claimed that the principal reason behind China’s annexation of Tibet and Xinjiang was to ensure future maps of Chinese territory form the exact shape of a giant chicken, documents released by WikiLeaks have revealed.
(China Daily Show is just a joke people, so don’t get all outraged.)
I told my students about this and they laughed. But they also had a few other things to tell me. The shape of China is indeed a chicken, “But you can’t call it a rooster, it must be a hen,” they told me. Why? “Because roosters don’t lay eggs, and Hainan and Taiwan are the eggs of China. So if you say China is a rooster, then it means you think Taiwan is not a part of China!” Ahh, interesting.
There is also no love lost between Japan and China and this is also reflected in the map, as my students pointed out. “We don’t ever want Mongolia to be a part of China,” they told me. Why? “Because China is the shape of a chicken, and Japan is the shape of a worm and chickens eat worm, so we are more powerful. If Mongolia was part of China then China would be the shape of a leaf, and worms eat leaves, so they would be more powerful.” Of course they told me that it was all just a joke, but I had to wonder if it was a real joke, or a “joke.”
But aside from the shape of the entire country, there are some smaller, cuter shapes in China as well. The students don’t just have to learn the names and capitals of all the provinces, but they have to learn to draw them precisely as well. So Qinghai Province is a rabbit:
And Heilongjiang is a goose flying away:
Maybe the shape of China has subtly influenced the Chinese people and explains why they love KFC so much. China is Finger Lickin’ Good!