You do not want to find yourself in a Chinese prison. According to most estimates, and these are conservative at best, China carries out almost 3 times as many executions as all the other countries in the world, combined. That's according to Amnesty International's 2008 report. Some estimate the figure as high as 6000 or more. Exactly how many are executed is a "state secret".
One of the most widely used forms of execution is the death vans designed by Jinguan Motors. Executions are carried out on the road using these vehicles. The vans' makers claim the use of the vehicles and the injections carried out inside them are a civilized alternative to a firing squad. China's official position is that this form of execution is "more humane" and an indication of China's commitment to "human rights".
It is estimated that more Christians now live in China than in Italy. This puts China on the road to becoming the world's largest center of Christianity. It is estimated that China now has over 54 million Christians, comprised of Protestants (40 million) and Catholics (14 million). By contrast, Italy has 47.4 million Christians, which is 12% less than China.
When will mothers start thinking about the consequences of the names they hang on their children? After the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, it is estimated that over 4000 newborn Chinese babies were named "Aoyun", meaning "Olympic". We understand that the Olympics being in Beijing was a source of national pride. The majority of the children named Aoyun are male. But there's more. More than 4000 Chinese share the same name as the Beijing Games mascots, the "Five Friendlies". It has become a popular endeavor in China to give children unique names as a way of expressing a child's individuality.
Disposable chopsticks thrown away each year in China would make an enormous pile. It is estimated that more than 45 billion pairs - that's 90 billion individual sticks - are tossed away each year. That translates into 1.7 million cubic meters of timber. That means 25 million fully grown trees. Have the Chinese never heard of plastic?
It is estimated that over 200 million people in China live below the poverty line. In China, that line is defined as anyone making less than $1.25 per day. That means there are over 200 million living on less than a dollar a day. As of 2004, China's poverty rate has declined to 10%. That means about 500 million people are now making an extra 25 cents a day.
Over 700 million Chinese people have to drink polluted water. According to the World Bank, 90% of China's cities' groundwater, and 75% of rivers and lakes are polluted. China is home to 20% of the world's total population but only 7% of the global water resources.
When most people think of pasta, they think of Italy. Pasta and ice cream, however, were both originally invented in China. Marco Polo's expeditions brought these delicious foods to Italy. A frozen mixture of rice and milk was invented around 200 BC in China. This was the beginnings of ice cream. Archaeologists at a site in western China uncovered a 4000 year old bowl containing noodles.
Over 50% of the counterfeit goods that find their way to the EU come from China. China is the main source country for goods that infringe on intellectual property rights in Europe. CDs and DVDs are at the top of the list of counterfeit articles, with a total of 79 million having been identified. Cigarettes, followed by clothing and accessories, are next on the list.
China has not rid itself of the plague that nearly wiped out medieval Europe. As recent as 2009, China imposed a quarantine around a remote village in northwestern China that was hit by pneumonic plague. Three villages were killed by the highly contagious disease around Ziketan Town in Qinghai province. Authorities lifted the ban after no new cases were reported for over a week. This air-borne disease breaks out from time to time in China, according to the World Health Organization.
China's urbanization is moving forward at a phenomenal rate. If it continues at the current rate, China's urban population will reach 926 million by 2025 and hit one billion by 2030. It is estimated that China will have 219 cities with more than one million inhabitants by 2025. To accommodate all these people, China will have to build 50,000 skyscrapers, or the equivalent of ten New York Cities.