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Mao Is In Every Chinese Pocket
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
China was the first country that developed paper currency (in the Tang Dynasty during the 7th century), and the perception of banknotes as money has evolved over time.
In 1023 the S'ung dynasty (Song dynasty) cautiously issued true-paper money, in small amounts in a limited area good for a specific time period. The notes would be redeemed after three years, to be replaced by new notes.
The most famous Chinese issuer of paper money was probably Kublai Khan, the Mongol who ruled the Chinese empire in the 13th century. Kublai Khan established currency credibility by decreeing that his paper money must be accepted by traders on pain of death. As further enforcment of his mandate, he confiscated all gold and silver, even if it was brought in by foreign traders. Marco Polo was impressed by the efficiency of the Chinese system, as he chronicles in his "The Travels of Marco Polo" ("Il Milione").
Today's Chinese currency is the "Renminbi" which translates to the "people's currency". The China dollar is made up of "yuan", which is often called "kuai", and "jiao" which is often called "mao".
And even in China it's the same old story when it comes to money: The rich want to keep the money while workers don't have enough of it.
June 29th, 2011
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