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Administrative Divisions

 

Administrative : China’s administrative units are currently based on a three-level system dividing the nation into provinces, counties, and townships :

  • The country is divided into provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government;

  • A province or an autonomous region is subdivided into autonomous prefectures, counties, autonomous counties, and/or cities;

  • A county or an autonomous county is subdivided into townships, national minority townships, and/or towns.

Municipalities directly under the Central Government and large cities are subdivided into districts and counties; autonomous prefectures are subdivided into counties, autonomous counties, and cities. Autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures, and autonomous counties are all autonomous national minority areas. The Constitution specifically empowers the state to establish special administrative regions when necessary. A special administrative region is a local administrative area directly under the Central Government. At present, China was divided into 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities directly under the Central Government, and 2 special administrative region (see the following table).

China's Provinces, Autonomous Regions, Centrally Administered Municipalities and Special Administrative Regions

Name Seat of Government Area (100,000sqkm) Population (100,000)
 Beijing Municipality Beijing 0.168 125.7
 Tianjin Municipality Tianjin 0.113 95.9
 Hebei Province Shijiazhuang 1.900 661.4
 Shanxi Province Taiyuan 1.560 320.4
 Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Hohhot 11.830 236.2
 Liaoning Province Shenyang 1.457 417.1
 Jilin Province Changchun 1.870 265.8
 Heilongjiang Province Harbin 4.690 379.2
 Shanghai Municipality Shanghai 0.062 147.4
 Jiangsu Province Nanjing 1.026 721.3
 Zhejiang Province Hangzhou 1.018 447.5
 Anhui Province Hefei 1.390 623.7
 Fujian Province Fuzhou 1.200 331.6
 Jiangxi Province Nanchang 1.666 423.1
 Shandong Province Jinan 1.530 888.3
 Henan Province Zhengzhou 1.670 938.7
 Hubei Province Wuhan 1.874 593.8
 Hunan Province Changsha 2.100 653.2
 Guangdong Province Guangzhou 1.860 727.0
 Guangxi Autonomous Region Nanning 2.363 471.3
 Hainan Province Haikou 0.340 76.2
 Chongqing Municipality Chongqing 0.820 307.5
 Sichuan Province Chengdu 4.880 855.0
 Guizhou Province Guiyang 1.700 371.0
 Yunnan Province Kunming 3.940 419.2
 Tibet Autonomous Region Lhasa 12.200 25.6
 Shaanxi Province Xi'an 2.050 361.8
 Gansu Province Lanzhou 4.500 254.3
 Qinghai Province Xining 7.200 51.0
 Ningxia Autonomous Region Yinchuan 0.664 54.3
 Xinjiang Autonomous Region Urumqi 16.000 177.4
 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Hong Kong 0.01092 68.4 (in mid 1999)
 Macao Special Administrative Region Macao 0.00024 4.3
 Taiwan Province - 0.360 217.4 (at the end of 1997)

Taiwan Province

Located to the southeast of the Chinese mainland opposite Fujian Province, the island province of Taiwan is flanked by the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Taiwan Straits to the west. Covering an area of 36,000 sq km, Taiwan includes Taiwan Island, the Penghu Islands and 80 other smaller neighboring islands and islets. Taiwan was called Yizhou or Liuqiu in ancient times. Records of Chinese people developing Taiwan in earliest times are found in many historical documents. Chinese governments ruled Taiwan for centuries. The social development of Taiwan continued according to Chinese cultural traditions even during its 50-year occupation by Japan. The Chinese government restored its administrative organs in Taiwan Province after victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan in 1945. On the eve of the founding of the PRC in 1949, the Kuomintang authorities retreated from the mainland to Taiwan. In 1950, the Korean War broke out, and the United States dispatched its Seventh Fleet to invade Taiwan and occupy the Taiwan Straits. In 1954, the government of the United States and the Taiwan authorities signed a “Mutual Defense Treaty,” bringing about the separation of Taiwan from the mainland.

The government of the PRC has made unremitting efforts to solve the Taiwan issue, and realize the reunification of the country. In February 1972, when President Richard M. Nixon of the United States visited China, the two sides issued the Shanghai Communique. On January 1, 1979, the United States established official diplomatic relations with China, formally recognizing the government of the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China and Taiwan as a part of China and, at the same time announcing the cessation of “diplomatic relations” with the Taiwan authorities, the annulment of the “Mutual Defense Treaty” and the withdrawal of all its military personnel from Taiwan. In these historical conditions, the Chinese government, out of consideration for the interests and future of the whole nation, put forward the principle of “peaceful reunification of the country, and one country, two systems” in accordance with the principle of respecting history and reality, seeking truth from facts and taking into account the interests of both sides. The basic points of this basic principle and the relevant policies are:

China will do its best to achieve peaceful reunification, but will not commit itself to rule out the use of force; will actively promote people-to-people contacts and economic and cultural exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, and start direct trade, postal, air and shipping services as soon as possible; achieve reunification through peaceful negotiations and, on the premise of the One-China Principle, any matter can be negotiated. After reunification, the policy of “one country, two systems” will be practiced, with the main body of China (China mainland) continuing with its socialist system, and Taiwan maintaining its capitalist system for a long period of time to come. After reunification, Taiwan will enjoy a high degree of autonomy, and the Central Government will not send troops or administrative personnel to be stationed in Taiwan. Resolution of the Taiwan issue is an internal affair of China, which should be achieved by the Chinese themselves, and there is no call for aid by foreign forces. The afore-mentioned principles and policies embody the basic stand and spirit of adhering to the One-China Principle, and fully respect Taiwan compatriots’ wish to govern and administer Taiwan by themselves.

Since the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress’ (NPC’s) publication on New Year’s Day, 1979 of the Appeal to Compatriots in Taiwan, the Chinese government has resolutely implemented the basic policy of “peaceful reunification of the motherland, and one country, two systems,” advocated national reunification through negotiations, proposed that the two sides facilitate exchanges of mail, trade, air and shipping services, and adopted serious measures on our own initiative to promote the development of the relations between the two sides. Politically, the Chinese government has readjusted the relevant policies, and alleviated hostility; militarily, it has voluntarily relaxed the posture of confrontation by stopping the bombarding of Jinmen and other islands, and reduced military forces stationed in the coastal areas of Fujian; economically, it has opened its doors widely to welcome business people from Taiwan to make investments and engage in trade activities on the mainland, and protected their legal rights and interests. In addition, the Chinese government has actively promoted people-to-people contacts and bilateral exchanges in the fields of science and technology, culture, sports, academia and journalism; and authorized the mainland’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, a non-governmental organization, to establish relations with Taiwan’s Foundation for Exchange Across the Taiwan Straits, and engage in talks on economic and routine affairs. The “Wang (Daohan)-Koo (Chen-fu) talks” held in April 1993, Singapore, between the leaders of these two organizations signaled a historically important step forward in the development of relations across the straits. In October 1998 Koo Chen-fu paid a visit to Shanghai and Beijing, and reached with Wang Daohan four points of common understanding on dialogues between the two organizations on political, economic and other issues.

On January 30, 1995, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and President of China Jiang Zemin delivered an important speech entitled “Continuing to Strive Toward the Reunification of China.” In his speech Jiang Zemin put forward eight propositions on the development of relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits and the peaceful reunification of China on the current stage:

  • 1. Adhering to the principle of one China is the basis and prerequisite for peaceful reunification. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must never be allowed to suffer division. We must resolutely oppose any statement and action for creating “the independence of Taiwan”; and we must also resolutely oppose the propositions to “split the country and rule under separate regimes,” “two Chinas over a certain period of time,” etc., which are contrary to the principle of one China.

  • 2. We do not have objections to the development of nongovernmental economic and cultural ties between Taiwan and other countries. According to the principle of one China and the characters of international organization concerned, Taiwan has joined the Asian Development Bank, the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum and other international economical organizations in the name of “Chinese Taibei.” However, we oppose Taiwan’s activities in “expanding its living space internationally,” aimed at creating “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan.” All patriotic compatriots in Taiwan and other people of insight understand that instead of solving problems, such activities can only help the forces working for the “independence of Taiwan,” and undermine the process of peaceful reunification. Only after peaceful reunification is accomplished can our Taiwan compatriots and other Chinese truly and fully share the international dignity and honor attained by our great motherland.

  • 3. It has been our consistent stand to hold negotiations with Taiwan authorities on the peaceful reunification of the motherland. Representatives of all political parties and groups from both sides of the Taiwan Straits can be invited to participate in the negotiations for peaceful reunification. I said in my report at the 14th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in October 1992, “On the premise that there is only one China, we are prepared to talk with the Taiwan authorities about any matter, including the form that official negotiations should take, a form that would be acceptable to both sides.” By “on the premise that there is only one China, we are prepared to talk with the Taiwan authorities about any matter,” we mean, naturally, that all matters of concern to the Taiwan authorities are included. We have proposed time and again that negotiations should be held on officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides and accomplishing peaceful reunification step by step. Here again I solemnly propose that such negotiations be held. I suggest that, as a first step, negotiations should be held and an agreement reached on officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides under the principle that there is only one China. On this basis, the two sides may bear responsibilities together, maintain China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as plan the future development of the relations between the two sides separated by the strait. As regards the name, place and form of these political talks, a solution acceptable to both sides can certainly be found so long as consultations on an equal footing can be held at an early date.

  • 4. We shall try our best to achieve the peaceful reunification of China since Chinese should not fight Chinese. We do not promise not to use force. If used, force will not be directed against our compatriots in Taiwan, but against the foreign forces who intervene in China’s reunification and go in for “the independence of Taiwan.” We are fully confident that our compatriots in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao and those residing overseas would understand our principled position.

  • 5.Challenged with world economic development in the 21st century, we shall spare no effect to develop economic exchange and cooperation between the two sides separated by the Taiwan Straits so that both sides enjoy a flourishing economy and the whole Chinese nation benefits. We maintain that political disagreement should not impede economic cooperation between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. We shall continue, for an extended period, to implement a policy of encouraging Taiwanese investment on the mainland and carry out the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Protecting Investments by Taiwan Compatriots. In any circumstances, we shall protect all legitimate rights and interests of Taiwanese investors in a down-to-earth way and continually encourage exchange and contacts across the Taiwan Straits which promote mutual understanding. Since the direct links for postal, air and shipping services and trade between the two sides are the objective requirements for their economic development and contacts in various fields, and since they are in the interests of the people on both sides, it is absolutely necessary to adopt practical measures to speed up the establishment of such direct links. Efforts should be made to promote negotiations on certain specific issues between the two sides. We are in favor of conducting this kind of negotiations on the basis of reciprocity and mutual benefit and signing nongovernmental agreements on the protection of the rights and interests of industrialists and business people from Taiwan.

  • 6. The splendid culture of 5,000 years created by the sons and daughters of all ethnic groups of China has become ties keeping the entire Chinese people close at heart and constitutes an important basis for the peaceful reunification of the motherland. People on both sides should jointly inherit and carry forward the fine traditions of the culture.

  • 7. The 21 million Taiwan people, whether born there or in other provinces, are Chinese and our own flesh and blood. The lifestyles of our Taiwan compatriots and their desire to be masters of their own country should be fully respected. All their legitimate rights and interests must be protected. All relevant departments in our Party and government, including agencies stationed abroad, must improve their relations with our Taiwan compatriots, listen to their views and requests, show concern for and take care of their interests and do everything they can to help solve their problems. We hope that Taiwan Island enjoys social stability, economic growth and affluence. We also hope that all political parties in Taiwan will adopt a sensible, forward-looking and constructive attitude and promote the expansion of relations between the two sides. We welcome all political parties and personages from different walks of life in Taiwan to exchange opinions with us on the relations between the two sides and on peaceful reunification. Their visits to the mainland are also welcome. All personages from various circles who have contributed to the reunification of China will go down in history for their deeds.

  • 8. We welcome leaders of Taiwan to visit the mainland in their proper status. We also are ready to accept invitations to visit Taiwan. We may discuss state affairs or exchange opinions on certain issues first. Even a simple visit to the side will be useful. The affairs of Chinese people should be handled by us, something that does not take an international occasion to accomplish. People on both sides of the Taiwan Straits eagerly look forward to meeting each other and being able to freely exchange visits.


    The above eight propositions fully embody the consistency and continuance of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Government on the issue of Taiwan; the embody their determination and sincerity to develop the relations across the strait and promote the reunification of the motherland. These suggestions have been warmly welcomed by the Chinese people at home and abroad and aroused great attention from the international community. The historical course of reunifying the motherland is irreversible, and the continuously developing relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits is in accordance with the general trend and the will of the people. Following China’s resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macao, the Chinese people throughout the country eagerly hope that the Taiwan issue will be solved as soon as possible to realize the complete reunification of China, and that the solution to the Taiwan question will not be postponed indefinitely. There is only one China in the world, and the One-China Principle is the basis and Premise for solving the Taiwan issue. Besides, the change of the leader of the Taiwan region will not change the fact that Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory, and “Taiwan independence” in any form is out of the question. The Chinese government and people have the determination and ability to solve the Taiwan issue, and the reunification of China will certainly be realized.

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The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

The area constituting Hong Kong is located on the southeast coast of China, east of the mouth of the Pearl River and bordering Shenzhen City in Guangdong Province. It consists of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories, with a total area of 1,092 sq km. Hong Kong has been Chinese territory since ancient times. Hong Kong was occupied by Britain after the Opium War in 1840. In accordance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong signed on December 19, 1984, the two governments held a hand-over ceremony on July 1, 1997, announcing the resumption of sovereignty by China over Hong Kong. Thus the common, long-cherished wish of the Chinese people to recover Hong Kong was fulfilled. Meanwhile the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the PRC was formally established. The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, adopted in April 1990 at the Third Session of the Seventh National People's Congress, came into effect. The Basic Law makes clear and definite specifications on a high degree of autonomy, and the political, economic, cultural and educational systems of the HKSAR.

A High Degree of Autonomy The Chinese government carries out the basic policies of “one country, two systems,” “administration of Hong Kong by the Hong Kong people” and “a high degree of autonomy.” “One country, two systems” refers to the fact that in China, a unified country, the mainland practices the socialist system, and Hong Kong’s previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years; “administration of Hong Kong by the Hong Kong people” means that the HKSAR is administered by the Hong Kong people on their own, and the central authorities shall not send officials to the HKSAR to fill local official posts; and “a high degree of autonomy* means that apart from foreign and national defense affairs that should be administered by the central authorities, the HKSAR shall fully enjoy the power of decision over matters within its autonomous jurisdiction, including executive, legislative, independent judicial and final adjudication powers.

The high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR has the following features: First, the central authorities shall not interfere in affairs within the scope of autonomy of the HKSAR. Second, the HKSAR government shall have the final say on matters within its autonomous jurisdiction as prescribed in the Basic Law, calling for no approval by the central authorities. And third, the government of the HKSAR may, within the limits prescribed by the Basic Law, choose its own means of exercising its functions and powers.

Political System A democratic political system is practiced in the HKSAR. Its major organs of power are the Chief Executive, the Government, the Legislative Council and the Court of Final Appeal. In addition, there is the Executive Council, a body which assists the Chief Executive in decision-making, and the Commission Against Corruption and the Audit Commission, which function independently and are accountable to the Chief Executive. Under the Government, the executive power organ of the HKSAR, there are the Department of Administration, the Department of Finance, the Department of Justice, and various bureaus, divisions and commissions. In the conditions and following the procedures prescribed by law, the Chief Executive shall have the power to dismiss the legislative organs; the legislative organs shall have the power to impeach the Chief Executive; the administrative organs shall be accountable to the legislative organs; the Chief Executive, administrative and legislative organs shall supervise and cooperate with each other.

The Chief Executive of the HKSAR shall be the head of the HKSAR, as well as the head of the HKSAR government. His or her dual status gives him or her extensive functions and powers. The Chief Executive shall be selected from among residents of the HKSAR by election or through consultations held locally, and be appointed by the Central Government. The term of office of the Chief Executive shall be five years. He or she may serve for not more than two consecutive terms. Tung Chee Hwa was elected the first Chief Executive of the HKSAR.

The high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR has the following features: First, the central authorities shall not interfere in affairs within the scope of autonomy of the HKSAR. Second, the HKSAR government shall have the final say on matters within its autonomous jurisdiction as prescribed in the Basic Law, calling for no approval by the central authorities. And third, the government of the HKSAR may, within the limits prescribed by the Basic Law, choose its own means of exercising its functions and powers.

Political System A democratic political system is practiced in the HKSAR. Its major organs of power are the Chief Executive, the Government, the Legislative Council and the Court of Final Appeal. In addition, there is the Executive Council, a body which assists the Chief Executive in decision-making, and the Commission Against Corruption and the Audit Commission, which function independently and are accountable to the Chief Executive. Under the Government, the executive power organ of the HKSAR, there are the Department of Administration, the Department of Finance, the Department of Justice, and various bureaus, divisions and commissions. In the conditions and following the procedures prescribed by law, the Chief Executive shall have the power to dismiss the legislative organs; the legislative organs shall have the power to impeach the Chief Executive; the administrative organs shall be accountable to the legislative organs; the Chief Executive, administrative and legislative organs shall supervise and cooperate with each other.

The Chief Executive of the HKSAR shall be the head of the HKSAR, as well as the head of the HKSAR government. His or her dual status gives him or her extensive functions and powers. The Chief Executive shall be selected from among residents of the HKSAR by election or through consultations held locally, and be appointed by the Central Government. The term of office of the Chief Executive shall be five years. He or she may serve for not more than two consecutive terms. Tung Chee Hwa was elected the first Chief Executive of the HKSAR.

Economic System A free economic system is practiced in the HKSAR. The operation mechanisms of this economic system are mainly manifested in the fields of finance, banking, trade, industry and commerce, real estate, shipping and civil aviation. For instance, in accordance with the law, the HKSAR shall protect the property rights of individuals, and shall have independent finances, using its financial revenues exclusively for its own purposes. The financial revenues shall not be handed over to the Central Government. The Central Government shall not levy taxes in the HKSAR; the HKSAR shall practice an independent taxation system and a low-tax policy, and shall enact laws on its own concerning types of taxes, tax rates, tax reductions, allowances and exemptions, and other matters of taxation. The HKSAR shall maintain its status as an international financial center, work out its monetary and financial policies on its own, and safeguard the free operation of financial business and the financial market. No foreign exchange control shall be applied in the HKSAR. The Hong Kong dollar shall continue to be freely convertible. Markets for foreign exchange, gold, securities, futures and the like shall continue to operate. The HKSAR government shall safeguard the free flow of capital within, into and out of the Region. The HKSAR shall maintain its status as a free port, adopt the policy of free trade, and safeguard the free movement of goods, intangible assets and capital. The HKSAR shall maintain its status as an international shipping center and may, on its own, stipulate the concrete functions and responsibilities in this field. The HKSAR shall maintain its status as an international and regional aviation center, and shall be responsible for the daily work and technological management of civil aviation.

As a separate customs territory, the HKSAR may, using the name “Hong Kong, China,” join the WTO and other relevant international organizations and international trade agreements.

Cultural and Educational Systems The HKSAR shall, on its own, work out policies on education, culture, science and technology. Educational institutions of all kinds shall retain their autonomy and enjoy academic freedom. They may continue to recruit staff, and use teaching materials from outside the HKSAR. Students shall enjoy freedom of choice of educational institutions and freedom to pursue their education outside the HKSAR. The HKSAR government shall neither restrict the freedom of religious belief, nor interfere in the internal affairs of religious organizations. Religious organizations and believers in the HKSAR may maintain and develop their relations with their counterparts elsewhere; religious organizations may, according to their previous practice, continue to run seminaries and other schools, hospitals, welfare institutions, etc. Non-governmental organizations in various fields, including education, science, technology, culture, art, sports, and medicine and health in the HKSAR, may maintain and develop their relationships with relevant organizations of other countries and regions, and with international organizations. They also may participate in relevant activities in the name of “Kong Kong, China.”

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Macao Special Administrative Region

Located west of the Pearl River estuary in Guangdong Province, 40 nautical miles west of Hong Kong, Macao’s 23.5 sq km of territory comprises the Macao Peninsula, Taipa Island and Coloane Island and is inhabited by about 450,000 people. Macao has been a part of Chinese territory since ancient times. When Emperor Qin Shi Huang unified China in the third century B.C., Macao was formally included in China’s territory and became a part of Fanyu County, Nanhai Prefecture; later it was included in Xiangshan County (today’s Zhongshan City). In 1553, the Portuguese bribed local government officials in Guangdong to gain permission to drop anchor in Macao’s harbor and engage in trade. In 1557, the Portuguese began to settle nearby. In the period following the Opium War of 1840, taking advantage of the weakness of the Qing government, the Portuguese successively seized Taipa and Coloane islands to the south of the Macao Peninsula. In 1887, the Portuguese government forced the Qing government to sign the “Draft Agreement of the Sino-Portuguese Meeting” and subsequently the “Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking,” providing that “Portugal will administer Macao and subordinate areas in perpetuity, as any other region governed by Portugal.” Since then, Portugal has occupied Macao.

The Chinese people have never recognized those unequal treaties. The government of the PRC has repeatedly stated the facts that Macao has always been a part of Chinese territory, and that the Macao issue is a question left over by history. China has consistently maintained that at the appropriate time a peaceful, negotiated solution to this problem inherited from the past should be found. When diplomatic relations were established between China and Portugal in 1979, the Portuguese government recognized Macao as Chinese territory, and the two sides agreed that the question of Macao should be solved through bilateral negotiations in due time. Between June 1986 and March 1987, delegations from the two governments held four rounds of talks. Finally, on April 13, 1987, the “Joint Declaration on the Question of Macao by the Governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Portugal” was formally signed in Beijing. The Joint Declaration includes the formulation: “The Government of the People’s Republic of China will resume sovereignty over Macao effective December 20, 1999.” On December 20, 1999, the Chinese and Portuguese governments held a hand-over ceremony as scheduled, marking the resumption of sovereignty by China over Macao. At the same time, the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) was formally established, and the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region, adopted in March 1993 at the First Session of the Eighth National People’s Congress, came into effect.

When the MSAR is officially founded, the Chinese government will carry out the basic policies of “one country, two systems,” “administration of Macao by the Macao people” and “a high degree of autonomy” in Macao. The MSAR shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy, and its political, economic, cultural and educational systems shall be similar to those of the HKSAR. The Chief Excutive of the MSAR is HO Hau-Wah.

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Major Cities

China now has 668 cities, of which 13 have populations of more than two million each; 24, between one and two million; 48, between 500,000 and one million; 205, between 200,000 and 500,000; and 378, less than 200,000.

  • Beijing :
    Beijing is a municipality directly under the Central Government and the capital of the PRC, with an urban population of 7.34 million. It is not only the nation’s political center, but also its cultural, scientific and educational center, and a key transportation hub. Situated on the north edge of the North China Plain, it is sheltered by chain upon chain of mountains to the west, north and east. Its southeastern part is a plain. Beijing’s temperate continental climate produces four clearly contrasted seasons: a short spring, rainy and humid summer, long and cold winter, and a very pleasant autumn.


    Beijing emerged as a city as far back as the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century-770 B.C.), then known as Ji. During the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.) it was the capital of the State of Yan. Ji had ever since remained a city of strategic importance and a trade center for the north for well over a thousand years. Then, in the early 10th century, it became the secondary capital of the Liao Dynasty under the name of Yanjing. Between 1115 and

    1911, it served in succession as the capital of the Kin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, thus becoming a storehouse of Chinese culture, and leaving many superb historical legacies, such as the Tiananmen Gatetower, the symbol of Beijing as well as of China; Tiananmen Square, the largest city square in the world; the former Imperial Palace (the “Forbidden City”), the largest and best-preserved ancient architectural complex of the world; the Great Wall at Badaling, one of the “wonders of the world”; the Temple of Heaven, the largest of all existing temples in the world, where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties worshiped Heaven and prayed for good harvests; the Summer Palace, the largest imperial garden in the world; the Ming Tombs, the largest imperial tomb group in the world; and Prince Gong’s Residence. Of these, the former Imperial Palace, the Great Wall and the site of the discovery of Peking Man at Zhoukoudian have been listed as world cultural heritages by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

     

  • Shanghai :
    Shanghai, a city directly under the Central Government, is China’s largest city, with an urban population of 9.54 million. Advantageously located, Shanghai is located halfway down China’s mainland coastline, where the Yangtze River empties into the sea. An important comprehensive industrial base and harbor, Shanghai plays an essential role in the national economy. Major industries include metallurgy, machine-building, shipbuilding, chemicals, electronics, instruments and meters, textiles and other light industries, in addition to its highly developed commerce, banking and ocean-going shipping industry. The Pudong New Zone, separated from the old city by the Huangpu River, is now undergoing vigorous development and construction. Its look changes with each passing day. The opening and development of the Pudong New Zone is intended to build it into a modern, multi-functional, export-oriented district, on a par with the world’s best. This will lay the foundation for the transformation of Shanghai into an international economic, banking and trade center, and a modern international city.

     

  • Tianjin :
    Tianjin, another city directly under the Central Government, is a major industrial and commercial city in north China, with an urban population of 5.21 million. About 120 km from Beijing, Tianjin is an important port for ocean-going and offshore shipping, and foreign trade. Tianjin’s traditional industries include iron and steel, machine-building, chemicals, power, textiles, construction materials, paper-making and foodstuffs, plus some rising industries such as shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing, petroleum exploitation and processing, and the production of tractors, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, watches, TVs and cameras.

     

  • Chongqing Chongqing, also a city directly under the Central Government, is the largest industrial and commercial center in southwest China and a hub of land and water transportation in the upper Yangtze valley, with an urban population of 6.14 million. Located at the juncture of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers, its city proper is surrounded by these rivers on three sides and stands on a mountain, like a peninsula. Hence the name “Mountain City.” Chongqing is a comprehensive industrial city, with advanced iron and steel, chemicals, power, automobile manufacturing, machine-building, shipbuilding, construction materials, textiles, foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals industries. As a new centrally administered city established in 1997, Chongqing is facing new chances for development. For instance, it is becoming more and more important in China’s strategy for the great development of western China, and it is playing a more and more important role in the development and opening of the areas along the Yangtze River. Besides, huge market demands have been formed during the construction of the Three-Gorge Water Conservancy Pivot Project on the Yangtze River and migration from the Three-Gorge Reservoir Area.

     

  • Guangzhou :
    Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, spans the Pearl River. It is the largest and most important gateway in south China, with an urban population of 4.17 million. As the oldest trading port in China, Guangzhou was a foreign trade hub as early as in 200 B.C. The Huangpu Port, where ocean-going ships can anchor, has navigation lines reaching all continents in the world. Since 1957, a bi-annual Chinese export commodities fair has been held here, one in spring and the other in autumn. As an important entry/exit port for overseas tourists, Guangzhou boasts a great number of modern hotels.

     

  • Xi'an :
    Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, is the largest city in northwest China, with an urban population of 2.72 million. Originally known as Chang’an, Xi’an is a famous ancient city in China and was the starting point of the ancient Silk Road. From the 11th century B.C. on, it served as the capital of a dozen dynasties. Hence Xi’an boasts a large number of historical sites, such as the site of the pre-historic Banpo Village, which was a matrilineal commune, the life-size terracotta horses and armored warriors excavated from sites near the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the Greater and Lesser Wild Goose pagodas of the Tang Dynasty, and the Stele Forest of the Song Dynasty, all of which are well known both at home and abroad. Xi’an now is both a tourist city and one of the rising industrial bases in China, known for its advanced machine-building and textiles industries.

     

  • Wuhan :
    Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, consists of the cities of Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang, with a total urban population of 4.28 million. As the largest city in central China and the hub of land and water transportation on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, Wuhan has advanced iron and steel, machine-building, ship-building, textiles, chemicals and foodstuffs industries.

     

  • Shenyang :
    Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province, is the largest city in northeast China, with a total urban population of 4.24 million. As a heavy-industrial city, Shenyang takes pride in its machinery, electrical equipment and heavy-duty machines industries.

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  Information provided by China National Tourism Administration.

 

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