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Land of Dragons

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

Not a literal Land of Dragons, mind you. 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.
  • Martial Artists.
  • Rickshaw men.

China itself is portrayed as a mountainous region full of bamboonote , 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 and Jackie Chan. The greatest historical event in China was that thing that happened in Tiananmen Square. It took until around the late 2000s for Western film-makers to realise that Mao's Cultural Revolution had 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.

If you're looking for the other Land of Dragons, the one with a red dragon on its national flag, it's here.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ranma ½ uses this version of China, and 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.
  • In EDENS ZERO, Mildian (a recurring element in Hiro Mashima's works) is depicted as a Baby Planet whose surface and architecture are a mish-mash of Chinese iconography, such as a dragon-adorned temple, a miniature Great Wall, a Buddhist statue, and tall mountains in the distance, just to name a few. Its sole known inhabitant who isn't an adorable Cartoon Creature is also an Anime Chinese Girl.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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).

  • 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.
  • The Discworld has Agatea, which in Interesting Times follows Pratchett's Law of National Stereotyping by taking what everybody thinks they know about China and turning all the knobs up. While Agatea in its widest concept is also used for Discworld references to Japan, Thailand and latterly Korea, the Chinese stereotype dominates and involves a national fetish for building walls, senile emperors manipulated by Grand Viziers, scheming mandarins, flowing and very expressive calligraphics, Misfortune Cookies, inscrutable philosophies, lots of rice, revolting-sounding foodstuffs using the less desirable parts of the animal, and a Red Army, of sorts.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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 
  • 1701 A.D.: The Sunken Dragon is centered around a Sacred Dragon Statue.
  • 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 EX stage in the Tiananmen Square, 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 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.
  • The World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria is this to a tee. With panda people to boot.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, the world based on Mulan is literally called the Land of Dragons.
  • In both Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, China is a playable location.

    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 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.
  • Downplayed in Avatar: The Last Airbender, where the Earth Kingdom is mostly Chinese, the Fire Nation slightly Japanese, the Water Tribes are somewhat Inuit (and the extinct Air Nomads were vaguely Shaolin-like monks). They have huge walls, but being earthbenders it's justified.


Video Example(s):


"Fire in the Sky"

The level is set in Kunlun Mountains of Western China.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / LandOfDragons

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