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By the time you finish reading this sentence, three million more Chinese people will have been born.

The more modern version of the China half of the Far East with the Japanese parts sifted out. A country of overpopulated communists.

In Hollywood, there are three types of people who come from China:

  • Chinese cooks.
  • Badass Martial Artists.
  • Rickshaw men.

China itself is portrayed as a mountainous region full of bamboo, a dwindling panda population, rice fields, and elaborate architecture. Being communist, the people are also ridiculously hard workers who move about like ants, scurrying to get projects done via a Hive Mind. The country is obsessed with New Year's and dragons -- and there are paintings and statues of dragons everywhere. If you are in a fictional setting with any fantasy aspects, you are certain to run into at least one.

The country is also home to rickshaws, terracotta warriors, and the Great Wall. Any urban area will look like an American "Chinatown". The only important modern people to come out of China are Bruce Lee [1] and Jackie Chan[2]. The greatest historical event in China was that thing that happened in Tiananmen Square. It's only relatively recently that western film-makers have realised that Mao's Cultural Revolution has been over for more than thirty years, and you don't see millions of people all cycling to work in identical grey suits and caps any more.

In Anime, people who come from China are less intelligent, but they know a great deal of Kung Fu, so you'd better not upset them. If you set foot in the countryside, you're also likely to run into Jiang Shi who will start hopping around and trying to feast on your blood.

Aspects of Vietnam and Korea are usually still lumped in with China.

For the more modern Western depiction, see China Takes Over the World.

Examples of Land of Dragons include:

Anime and Manga

  • Ranma ½ uses this version of China, and gives the Chinese characters names like "Shampoo" and "Cologne" to boot.
    • Not entirely quite so much; according to some sources, 'Shampoo' and 'Cologne' are something -though not entirely- of a Western localization. Per the entry on Rumiko Takahashi, " ...character from Ranma ½ whose name, depending on whether the reading is Chinese, Japanese, or English (not to mention which kanji you're using), means "hair care product", "unpolished gem", "mountain girl", "she whose breasts are as mountains"... all of which describe the character in some way." Cologne has a similar story.
    • Ranma 1/2 uses Chinese people a lot, in fact, China is basically the origin of all curses or anything mystical or magical. If there's any kind of cursed artifact, magic potion, or anything of that nature, it will usually always involve a Chinese person. Most the martial arts in the series is also from China.
    • Ranma himself seems to be quite Chinese influenced. Not only does he use Kenpo, the Japanese adaption of general Chinese martial arts, but he also dresses more like a Chinese. While Akane wears a Karate gi while fighting, Ranma usually wears a Chinese style outfit.


  • Bridge of Birds is "a novel of an ancient China that never was," to which the book blurb adds, "But oh, it should have been!" Gets credit for having a more developed world that the description would imply. And only one dragon, on a little necklace.

Live Action Television

  • Drew Carey was knocked out by Mimi and left in the Great Wall in this version of China on The Drew Carey Show... even though said episode actually was filmed in China. To be fair, the show did manage to take in a trip to a Chinese McDonald's though.

Video Games

  • Somehow, despite only having a single background to do it in, Guilty Gear manages to utilize this trope with Chinese Girl Jam's stage.
  • Chun-Li's stages in the various Street Fighter games are like this, with her first one featuring lots of people on bicycles and street peddlers, her Alpha stage on the Great Wall, her Alpha 3 stage in a martial arts school, and her 3rd Strike stage in a slum. This is also replicated with Fei-Long and the Lee brothers, despite them being from Hong Kong.
  • Averted nicely in Jade Empire, where the whole game takes place in a fantasy setting derived from Chinese myth and legend and is in general pretty non-stereotypical and accurate. Except for the golems.
    • And they're just giant, mobile versions of the Terracotta Army from the tomb of Qin Shi Huang.
  • Averted in Fearless, which portrays China very realistically. As for the life of the main character, Hwo Yuan Jia however...
  • The country of Chun-nan in Sonic Unleashed is the Sonic world's equivalent. Sonic runs across parts of its equivalent of the Great Wall, meets a kung fu master who's afraid of pandas, visits a restaurant with world-famous baozi, scurries across bamboo forests between steep mountains by a calm lake, passes by pagodas and dragon statues dotted across the landscape, and encounters a phoenix as the area's boss.
    • Gigan Rocks and Gigan Device in Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity has similarly steep mountains and bamboo nearby with shaolin temples in the background (and as part of the finish line). The backdrop is merely cosmetic though--it's actually where a gravity-manipulation device was placed that Jet wants to find.

Western Animation

  • Averted somewhat in Kung Fu Panda, which seems to be less a walking stereotype and more a distillation of ancient China and its legends and myths. While it does focus on kung fu (obviously) and cooking/food, the depiction of the Valley of Peace is an encapsulation of the best of China's long history, art, culture, and beauty (particularly the natural sort). Jackie Chan's presence as a voice is simply due to his humor and martial arts skills, not because he's seen as representative of China. And as for all the dragon motifs...that's not only Truth in Television, it's justified by the fact dragons are seen as powerful protectors in Chinese culture, so would naturally be used to adorn the architecture and be embodied as a warrior who would defend the valley.


  • Bruce Lee, of course, almost singlehandedly created the "kick-ass martial artist" component of this trope for the non-Chinese-speaking world. YMMV on whether or not that was a good thing, as it displaced the prior trope that Chinese people were timid, kowtowing, culturally-stagnant menial laborers (if not opium addicts).


  1. he's actually from Hong Kong
  2. So is he
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