There are more than 106,000 different Chinese Characters but only like a maximum of 5,000 are in use in China.
A regular Chinese student learns about 3,000 of them in 10 years of school and can read 99,99% of modern Chinese texts.
1,000 Characters allow you to read 90% and only 300 Characters already enable you to comprehend about 75% of a Chinese newspaper text.
Roughly about 106 Characters are of pictographic origin and can be illustrated with some creative power (like 火 "huǒ" which means fire or 山 "shān" which is the mountain).
Another 30 Characters are indicative which also can be illustrated (like 上 "shang" which means above or 下 "xià" which means below).
Then about 390 Chinese Characters are build combining 2 or more of the already illustratable signs building new combined meanings (of which some need creative explanations like 虾 "xiā" wich is combined of 虫 "chóng" which is worm or insect and 下 "xià" which we already know means 'below'. Combined it is an insect-like creature fisherman harvest from deep below the surface of the sea).
This makes a total of roughly 540 Chinese Characters (>70% of literacy) that we could explain through the power of creativity and illustration.
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