Capital of China
Top 10 Beijing related articles
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Government
- 5 Economy
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Education and research
- 8 Culture
- 9 Sports
- 10 Transportation
- 11 Defense and aerospace
- 12 Nature and wildlife
- 13 International Relations
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 Further reading
- 17 External links
Location of Beijing Municipality within China
|Coordinates (Tian'anmen Square national flag): Coordinates:|
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Established||1045 BC (Zhou Dynasty)|
289 towns and villages
|• Party Secretary||Cai Qi|
|• Mayor||Chen Jining|
|• Congress Chairman||Li Wei|
|• Conference Chairman||Ji Lin|
|• Municipality||16,410.5 km2 (6,336.1 sq mi)|
| • Urban|
|4,144 km2 (1,600 sq mi)|
|• Rural||12,266.5 km2 (4,736.1 sq mi)|
|Elevation||43.5 m (142.7 ft)|
|• Density||1,300/km2 (3,400/sq mi)|
| • Urban|
| • Metro|
|• Ranks in China||Population: 27th;|
|Major ethnic groups|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (CST)|
|ISO 3166 code||CN-BJ|
|- Total||¥3.5 trillion|
|– Per Capita||¥162,257|
|HDI (2018)||0.905 (1st) – very high|
|License plate prefixes||京A, C, E, F, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, Y|
京G (outside urban area)
京O, D (police and authorities)
|Abbreviation||BJ / 京 (jīng)|
|City trees||Chinese arborvitae (Platycladus orientalis)|
|Pagoda tree (Sophora japonica)|
|City flowers||China rose (Rosa chinensis)|
|Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)|
|Website||Beijing Official Website International – eBeijing.gov.cn (in English)|
首都之窗-北京市政务门户网站 (in Chinese)
|Literal meaning||"Northern Capital"|
Beijing (// BAY-JING Mandarin pronunciation: [pèi.tɕíŋ] (
Beijing is a global city, and one of the world's leading centers for culture, diplomacy and politics, business and economics, education, language, and science and technology. A megacity, Beijing is the second-largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai and is the nation's cultural, educational, and political center. It is home to the headquarters of most of China's largest state-owned companies and houses the largest number of Fortune Global 500 companies in the world, as well as the world's four biggest financial institutions. Beijing is the "billionaire capital of the world" with the highest number of billionaires living in the city. It is also a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks. The Beijing Capital International Airport has been the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic since 2010, and, as of 2016[update], the city's subway network is the busiest and longest in the world. The Beijing Daxing International Airport, a second international airport in Beijing, is the largest single-structure airport terminal in the world.
Combining both modern and traditional style architectures, Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a rich history dating back three millennia. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country for most of the past eight centuries, and was the largest city in the world by population for much of the second millennium AD. With mountains surrounding the inland city on three sides, in addition to the old inner and outer city walls, Beijing was strategically poised and developed to be the residence of the emperor and thus was the perfect location for the imperial capital. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, parks, gardens, tombs, walls and gates. It has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites—the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Zhoukoudian, and parts of the Great Wall and the Grand Canal—all of which are popular tourist locations. Siheyuans, the city's traditional housing style, and hutongs, the narrow alleys between siheyuans, are major tourist attractions and are common in urban Beijing.
Many of Beijing's 91 universities consistently rank among the best in the Asia-Pacific and the world. Beijing is home to the two best C9 League universities (Tsinghua and Peking) in the Asia-Pacific and emerging countries. Beijing CBD is a center for Beijing's economic expansion, with the ongoing or recently completed construction of multiple skyscrapers. Beijing's Zhongguancun area is a world leading center of scientific and technological innovation as well as entrepreneurship. Beijing has been ranked the No.1 city in the world with the largest scientific research output as tracked by the Nature Index since 2016. The city has hosted numerous international and national sporting events, the most notable being the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2008 Summer Paralympics Games. Beijing will become the first city ever to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics, and also the first city ever to host both the Summer and Winter Paralympics. Beijing hosts 175 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Silk Road Fund.
Beijing Intro articles: 68
Over the past 3,000 years, the city of Beijing has had numerous other names. The name Beijing, which means "Northern Capital" (from the Chinese characters 北 for north and 京 for capital), was applied to the city in 1403 during the Ming dynasty to distinguish the city from Nanjing (the "Southern Capital"). The English spelling Beijing is based on the government's official romanization (adopted in the 1980s) of the two characters as they are pronounced in Standard Mandarin. An older English spelling, Peking is the postal romanization of the same two characters as they are pronounced in Chinese dialects spoken in the southern port towns first visited by European traders and missionaries. Those dialects preserve the Middle Chinese pronunciation of 京 as kjaeng, prior to a phonetic shift in the northern dialects to the modern pronunciation. Although Peking is no longer the common name for the city, some of the city's older locations and facilities, such as Beijing Capital International Airport, with IATA Code PEK, and Peking University, still retain the former romanization.
Beijing Etymology articles: 12
The earliest traces of human habitation in the Peking municipality were found in the caves of Dragon Bone Hill near the village of Zhoukoudian in Fangshan District, where Peking Man lived. Homo erectus fossils from the caves date to 230,000 to 250,000 years ago. Paleolithic Homo sapiens also lived there more recently, about 27,000 years ago. Archaeologists have found neolithic settlements throughout the municipality, including in Wangfujing, located in central Peking.
The first walled city in Beijing was Jicheng, the capital city of the state of Ji and was built in 1045 BC. Within modern Beijing, Jicheng was located around the present Guang'anmen area in the south of Xicheng District. This settlement was later conquered by the state of Yan and made its capital.
Early Imperial China
After the First Emperor unified China, Jicheng became a prefectural capital for the region. During the Three Kingdoms period, it was held by Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shao before falling to the Wei Kingdom of Cao Cao. The AD 3rd-century Western Jin demoted the town, placing the prefectural seat in neighboring Zhuozhou.
After China was reunified during the Sui dynasty, Jicheng, also known as Zhuojun, became the northern terminus of the Grand Canal. Under the Tang dynasty, Jicheng as Youzhou, served as a military frontier command center. During the An-Shi Rebellion and again amidst the turmoil of the late Tang, local military commanders founded their own short-lived Yan dynasties and called the city Yanjing, or the "Yan Capital." Also in the Tang dynasty, the city's name Jicheng was replaced by Youzhou or Yanjing. In 938, after the fall of the Tang, the Later Jin ceded the entire northern frontier to the Khitan Liao dynasty, which treated the city as Nanjing, or the "Southern Capital", one of four secondary capitals to complement its "Supreme Capital", Shangjing (modern Baarin Left Banner in Inner Mongolia). Some of the oldest surviving structures in Beijing date to the Liao period, including the Tianning Pagoda.
The Liao fell to the Jurchen Jin dynasty in 1122, which gave the city to the Song dynasty and then retook it in 1125 during its conquest of northern China. In 1153, the Jurchen Jin made Beijing their "Central Capital", or Zhongdu. The city was besieged by Genghis Khan's invading Mongolian army in 1213 and razed to the ground two years later. Two generations later, Kublai Khan ordered the construction of Dadu (or Daidu to the Mongols, commonly known as Khanbaliq), a new capital for his Yuan dynasty to the northeast of the Zhongdu ruins. The construction took from 1264 to 1293, but greatly enhanced the status of a city on the northern fringe of China proper. The city was centered on the Drum Tower slightly to the north of modern Beijing and stretched from the present-day Chang'an Avenue to the northern part of Line 10 subway. Remnants of the Yuan rammed earth wall still stand and are known as the Tucheng.
In 1368, soon after declaring the new Hongwu era of the Ming dynasty, the rebel leader Zhu Yuanzhang sent an army to Dadu/Khanbaliq and conquered it. Since the Yuan continued to occupy Shangdu and Mongolia, Dadu was used to supply the military garrisons in the area and was renamed Beiping (Wade–Giles: Peip'ing, "Northern Peace"). Under the Hongwu Emperor's feudal policies Beiping was given to Zhu Di, one of his sons, who was created "Prince of Yan".
The early death of Zhu Yuanzhang's heir led to a succession struggle on his death, one that ended with the victory of Zhu Di and the declaration of the new Yongle era. Since his harsh treatment of the Ming capital Yingtian (modern Nanjing) alienated many there, he established his fief as a new co-capital. The city of Beiping became Beijing (“Northern Capital”) or Shuntian in 1403. The construction of the new imperial residence, the Forbidden City, took from 1406 to 1420; this period was also responsible for several other of the modern city's major attractions, such as the Temple of Heaven and Tian'anmen. On 28 October 1420, the city was officially designated the capital of the Ming dynasty in the same year that the Forbidden City was completed. Beijing became the empire's primary capital, and Yingtian, also called Nanjing (“Southern Capital”), became the co-capital. (A 1425 order by Zhu Di's son, the Hongxi Emperor, to return the primary capital to Nanjing was never carried out: he died, probably of a heart attack, the next month. He was buried, like almost every Ming emperor to follow him, in an elaborate necropolis to Beijing's north.)
By the 15th century, Beijing had essentially taken its current shape. The Ming city wall continued to serve until modern times, when it was pulled down and the 2nd Ring Road was built in its place. It is generally believed that Beijing was the largest city in the world for most of the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The first known church was constructed by Catholics in 1652 at the former site of Matteo Ricci's chapel; the modern Nantang Cathedral was later built upon the same site.
The capture of Beijing by Li Zicheng's peasant army in 1644 ended the dynasty, but he and his Shun court abandoned the city without a fight when the Manchu army of Prince Dorgon arrived 40 days later.
Dorgon established the Qing dynasty as a direct successor of the Ming (delegitimising Li Zicheng and his followers) and Beijing became China's sole capital. The Qing emperors made some modifications to the Imperial residence but, in large part, the Ming buildings and the general layout remained unchanged. Facilities for Manchu worship were introduced, but the Qing also continued the traditional state rituals. Signage was bilingual or Chinese. This early Qing Beijing later formed the setting for the Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. Northwest of the city, Qing emperors built several large palatial gardens including the Old Summer Palace and the Summer Palace.
During the Second Opium War, Anglo-French forces captured the outskirts of the city, looting and burning the Old Summer Palace in 1860. Under the Convention of Peking ending that war, Western powers for the first time secured the right to establish permanent diplomatic presences within the city. From 14 to 15 August 1900 the Battle of Peking was fought. This battle was part of the Boxer Rebellion. The attempt by the Boxers to eradicate this presence, as well as Chinese Christian converts, led to Beijing's reoccupation by eight foreign powers. During the fighting, several important structures were destroyed, including the Hanlin Academy and the (new) Summer Palace. A peace agreement was concluded between the Eight-Nation Alliance and representatives of the Chinese government Li Hung-chang and Prince Ching on 7 September 1901. The treaty required China to pay an indemnity of US$335 million (over US$4 billion in current dollars) plus interest over a period of 39 years. Also required was the execution or exile of government supporters of the Boxers and the destruction of Chinese forts and other defenses in much of northern China. Ten days after the treaty was signed the foreign armies left Peking, although legation guards would remain there until World War II.
With the treaty signed the Empress Dowager Cixi returned to Peking from her "tour of inspection" on 7 January 1902 and the rule of the Qing dynasty over China was restored, albeit much weakened by the defeat it had suffered in the Boxer Rebellion and by the indemnity and stipulations of the peace treaty. The Dowager died in 1908 and the dynasty imploded in 1911.
Republic of China
The fomenters of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 sought to replace Qing rule with a republic and leaders like Sun Yat-sen originally intended to return the capital to Nanjing. After the Qing general Yuan Shikai forced the abdication of the last Qing emperor and ensured the success of the revolution, the revolutionaries accepted him as president of the new Republic of China. Yuan maintained his capital at Beijing and quickly consolidated power, declaring himself emperor in 1915. His death less than a year later left China under the control of the warlords commanding the regional armies. Following the success of the Kuomintang's Northern Expedition, the capital was formally moved to Nanjing in 1928. On 28 June the same year, Beijing's name was returned to Beiping (written at the time as "Peiping").
On 7 July 1937, the 29th Army and the Japanese army in China exchanged fire at the Marco Polo Bridge near the Wanping Fortress southwest of the city. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident triggered the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II as it is known in China. During the war, Beijing fell to Japan on 29 July 1937 and was made the seat of the Provisional Government of the Republic of China, a puppet state that ruled the ethnic-Chinese portions of Japanese-occupied northern China. This government was later merged into the larger Wang Jingwei government based in Nanjing.
People's Republic of China
In the final phases of the Chinese Civil War, the People's Liberation Army seized control of the city peacefully on 31 January 1949 in the course of the Pingjin Campaign. On 1 October that year, Mao Zedong announced the creation of the People's Republic of China from atop Tian'anmen. He restored the name of the city, as the new capital, to Beijing, a decision that had been reached by the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference just a few days earlier.
In the 1950s, the city began to expand beyond the old walled city and its surrounding neighborhoods, with heavy industries in the west and residential neighborhoods in the north. Many areas of the Beijing city wall were torn down in the 1960s to make way for the construction of the Beijing Subway and the 2nd Ring Road.
During the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, the Red Guard movement began in Beijing and the city's government fell victim to one of the first purges. By the autumn of 1966, all city schools were shut down and over a million Red Guards from across the country gathered in Beijing for eight rallies in Tian'anmen Square with Mao. In April 1976, a large public gathering of Beijing residents against the Gang of Four and the Cultural Revolution in Tiananmen Square was forcefully suppressed. In October 1976, the Gang was arrested in Zhongnanhai and the Cultural Revolution came to an end. In December 1978, the Third Plenum of the 11th Party Congress in Beijing under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping reversed the verdicts against victims of the Cultural Revolution and instituted the "policy of reform and opening up."
Since the early 1980s, the urban area of Beijing has expanded greatly with the completion of the 2nd Ring Road in 1981 and the subsequent addition of the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Ring Roads. According to one 2005 newspaper report, the size of newly developed Beijing was one-and-a-half times larger than before. Wangfujing and Xidan have developed into flourishing shopping districts, while Zhongguancun has become a major center of electronics in China. In recent years, the expansion of Beijing has also brought to the forefront some problems of urbanization, such as heavy traffic, poor air quality, the loss of historic neighborhoods, and a significant influx of migrant workers from less-developed rural areas of the country. Beijing has also been the location of many significant events in recent Chinese history, principally the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. The city has also hosted major international events, including the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2015 World Championships in Athletics, and was chosen to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, making it the first city to ever host both Winter and Summer Olympics.