China lies in the east of Asia and on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean, occupying an area of 9,6000,000 km2;her geographical situations are sloping from the west to the east, her west higher, her east lower, Qinghai-Tibet Plateauentitled to "the Roof of the World" is situated in the southern-west of China.In the north and east of Qinghai-Tibet Plateauis situated Yun-gui plateau and Huangtu-Plateau , Northern-East-China Plain, Northern-China Plain and Yangtze River'Mid-and-Lower Reaches Plain extend far beyond one's eye's reach. A number of rivers run down along the slopinggeographical situations from the west to the east and pour into the Pacific, mainly named Yangtze River, Huanghe River,Heilongjiang River, Zhujiang River, Liaohe River, Haihe River, Huaihe River and Qiantangjiang River etc.
According to the archaeological data, as far as 1,700,000 years ago, the ancestors of the Chinese had been living, laboring and breeding here, developing from primitive groups into the clan society. In 1973, in Yu-yao Hemudu Relics, Zhejiang Province were discovered plenty of man-planted rice and potter-works, About 5,000 ～ 6, 000 years ago, during Yangshao Cultural Period which was still in the stage of matrilineal commune, it was probable that only women did farming. Nearly 5000 years ago, the clan tribes in Huanghe River's and Yangtze River's reaches began to evolve from matriarchal clan to patriarchal clan commune one after another. In the late period of Longshan Culture the clan system was replaced by the slavery. In 21st century B.C., the first slave-owner dictatorship of Xia Dynasty was founded, after it were Shang Dynasty,
Zhou Dynasty, Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period etc. In 221 B.C., Qinshihuang ( the first emperor in the Chinese history ) unified the whole China,establishing the first central autocratic feudal state. Thereafter two-Han dynasty.
Wei Power, two-Jing Power, North-and-south Powers, Sui Dynasty, Tang Empire, two-Song Dynasty. Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty thrived and died out respectively, the latter substituting the former. In 1911, Dr. Sun Zhongshan (Sun yixian ) started and led an anti-feudalism Revolution and overthrew the last feudal Dynasty Qing Dynasty. The People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.
Chinese alcoholic beverages enjoy a history of over 5000 years. They have developed specific and peculiar flavors of their own in a long procession of development and they chiefly feature using Qu ( a kind of distill yeast ) with microorganism in which the mound grows as sarcharification fermenting mash, bio- fermentation and semi- solid fermentation. This bears the features of the brewing alcoholic beverage industry in the east hemisphere. The Chinese alcoholic beverages are mainly made from grains, there is also a small quantity of fruit wine. During the past a few years, beer brewing is shooting up in China, which enjoys the second place in the world. The Chinese alcoholic beverages, according to the current classification, can be identified alcoholic drinks, distilled liquors, beer, grape wine and mixed alcoholic drinks. The alcoholic drink is
also named rice alcoholic drink, which is a brewed drink, while the filtered liquor is now called white spirit.
There are a variety of alcoholic drinks which are generally divided into five sorts; the dried alcoholic drink below 0.98g of sugar/100ml); thesemi-dried alcoholic drink (1. 0- 3. 0g of sugar/100ml); the semi-sweet-flavor alcoholic drink ( 3. 0- 10. 0g of sugar/100ml); the sweet-flavor alcoholic drink (10-20g of sugar/100ml); and the heavily-sweet-flavor alcoholic drink (over 20g of sugar/100ml). The alcoholic drinks have an average of around 15% of alcohol, enjoying a fame of liquid egg-cake. The distilled liquors, according to their flavors, can be classified into 5 sorts; the soy source flavor, the intense-flavor, the light
-flavor, the rice-flavor and the other flavors. The traditional Chinese liquors possess an average of 55% ～65% of alcohol.
During the recent years, the distilled liquors below 40% of alcohol have been developed and produced in many distilleries in China.
The alcoholic beverages are not a daily necessity in the viewpoint of the Chinese. However, in the social life, the alcoholic beverages play a peculiar role which can't be substituted by other articles, You can understand all aspects of the Chinese society through the alcoholic beverages. All the valuable information about politics, economy, farming production, commerce and business and historical culture exist in the culture of alcoholic beverages.
The culture of alcoholic beverages, a peculiar form of culture, enjoys a particular position in the traditional Chinese culture. During the course of thousands of years' civilization history, alcoholic beverages permeate among all the walks of the social life.
Firstly, China is a state based on agriculture, so all the political and economic activities centralize round the development of agriculture. Therefore Chinese alcoholic beverages, mainly brewed by using grains and connected tightly with the agriculture, belonged to part of agricultural economy, and a good harvest of grains or a bad one decided the thriving or waning of brewing industry. So the rulers of all dynasties controlled alcoholic beverages production by issuing forbidden orders of alcoholic beverages or permission orders based on the agricultural harvests so as to assure adequate food for the people.
On the contrary, the thriving or waning of brewing industry also indicated the symptom or agricultural production, and a clue to understanding of the natural disasters and manly woes in history. In certain districts, the thriving industry of alcoholic beverage brewing cast positive influences on the improvement of the people's living standard.
The alcoholic beverages had a close connection with social and economical activities. In Emperor Han Wudi's Period during which the state controlled the sale of alcoholic drinks. the special tax collected from the brewing industry played a main part in the state financial revenue. The tax revenue on alcoholic beverages had a connection with the military expenditure and wars in history, directly deciding the state's fate of life-or-death. In some dynasties,the tax revenue on alcoholic beverages was also related to the corvee and other taxes.
The state, wealthy merchants and the public all focused on the bump profits of alcoholic beverages. The changes of alcoholic beverages regulations indicated the changes of different class forces. The Issue of permission to drink publicly symbolized the change of dynasty and rulers and some fundamental activities of empire family.
The alcoholic beverages - a kind of special commodity richly color people's life.
The ancient Chinese summarized the alcoholic beverage functions as followings :
a) alcoholic beverages could cure illnesses;
b) alcoholic beverages could make the aged stronger and healthier;
c) alcoholic beverages could serve as presents and courtesy.
During the course of thousands of years the alcoholic beverages functions have gone beyond them, at least including that drinking helps get more cheers, forget one's worries and become more braver. However, drinking also possesses some negative effects; it causes people to indulge excessively and degenerated and harmed their health. Many a ruler in history was indulged in drinking, which resulted in his downfall.
In general, alcoholic beverages are a symbol of social civilization. A study of civilization history usually includes the history of alcoholic beverage & culture. The rich and colorful connotations of Chinese alcoholic beverage culture surely provide us with some interest and merries and profound thinking.