The Chinese believe the lotus to be a symbol of purity: rising unmarked from the dark depths of ponds and rivers to flower in the sun. Interestingly, this is the exact symbolism that Indians use. Two neighbouring cultures with the same symbol, completely in the dark about the other!
The use of the lotus in Chinese landscape gardening seems to be much better developed. Perhaps because water is such an important element in Fengshui, palace architecture contains ponds, in which the lotus is cultivated in profusion. The photo above is from the Summer Palace in Beijing, where three kinds of lotus and pond moss are harmonized.