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Why is China called “China”?

“Rest in China”, “goods from China”, “power of China” – the use of such phrases instead of the official name of the people’s Republic of China or China in the Russian-language media and Runet is found everywhere.

What the word “celestial Empire” means in this context is a mystery that we will try to solve here.

We should start with the peculiarities of Chinese perception of the external world and their understanding of their role and place in this world. It differs significantly from the European one.

The sky, according to Chinese beliefs, is the highest divine power and the source of all life on Earth. The Chinese Emperor was revered as the Son of heaven and the executor of His will. The residence or court of the Emperor, according to Chinese ideas – is the center of the whole Earth, and the power of the Emperor extends to everything that is under the Sky.

Classical Chinese philosophy under the term “celestial Empire” means civilization in General, the world order established and maintained by the power of the Emperor. At the same time, the “celestial Empire” was considered both the territory controlled by the dynasty, and non-Chinese lands inhabited by “barbarians”.

Simplistically, this should be understood as follows: everything under the sky is the “celestial Empire”, subject to the Chinese Emperor. And the word “celestial” (Tien) is translated from Chinese as follows: Tien (sky) and Xia (bottom).

All tourists arriving in Beijing will be offered an excursion to the temple of Heaven – the main religious building in the Chinese capital. The temple is striking in its beauty and richness of architecture, it was created in the XV century and is very revered by modern Chinese, although the official ideology in the country is Communist and atheistic. Apparently, it is very important for the Chinese to feel under the protection of the Sky, even in a market economy…

Temple of Heaven in China

As for the use of the word “China” as a synonym for the word “China”, the only country where it is used in this sense is Russia. Why – there is no exact answer to this question. We can only assume that this is a poetic license of Russian journalists.

Examples from other countries can be cited as proof: England – “Foggy Albion”, Japan- “land of the Rising Sun”, Finland- “Suomi Country”, Austria- “Alpine Republic”.

To paraphrase a well-known expression-you can’t forbid writing beautifully!

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