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Image:Chengdu dot.png
Chengdu's location within China

Chengdu  (Chinese: 成都; pinyin: Chéngdu; Wade-Giles: Ch'eng-tu), located in southwest China, is the capital of the Sichuan province and a sub-provincial city. It is the 5th (2005) most populous city in China. Chengdu is also one of the most important economic centers as well as transportation and communication hubs in China.

More than four thousand years ago, the prehistorical Bronze Age culture of Jinsha (Chinese: 金沙; pinyin: Jinsha) established itself in this region. The fertile Chengdu Plain, on which Chengdu is located, is called Tianfu zhi guo (Simplified Chinese: 天府之国; pinyin: Tianfu zhi guó) in Chinese, which means "the Heavenly country".


[edit] Population

Throughout most of Chinese history, Chengdu has been a city with a large number of people. By 2005 the population was 10,820,000, which made Chengdu the fifth largest city in China in terms of population, just following Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin and Chongqing. Urban growth excluding recognized city dependants is 3.9 million.

There were close to 200 long-term foreign residents (not including Chinese from Hong Kong or Taiwan) living in the city in late 2004, according to unofficial US Consulate estimates.

[edit] Famous People From Chengdu

Ba Jin, the great writer, was born in Chengdu and died in Shanghai in 2005.

Zheng Jie and Yan Zi have been making quite an impact on the Women's Tennis Tour. Although both are successful in singles (Zheng Jie with two titles and Yan Zi with one), they are better known for their doubles grand slam wins in the 2006 Australian Open and in the 2006 Wimbledon Championships.

[edit] History

Jinli Street

In the early 4th century BC, the 9th Kaiming king of the ancient Shu moved his capital to the city's current location from today's nearby Pixian. He was said to have been inspired by the ancient story of King Tai of Zhou, Grandfather of King Wu of Zhou, moving his capital. History recorded King Tai of Zhou's move as "it took a year to become a town; it took 2 years to become a capital". Following this, king of Shu named the new city as "Cheng Du", which means "become a capital" (In Chinese, the word "cheng" means "become", "du" means "capital"). There are, however, several versions of why the capital was moved to Chengdu, and more recent theories of the name's origin point to it as stemming from, or referring to, earlier non-Han inhabitants and/or their languages.

After the conquest of Shu by the State of Qin in 316 BC, a new city was founded by the Qin general Zhang Yi (who as a matter of fact had argued against the invasion). This can be seen as the beginning of the Chinese Chengdu. It was renamed Yìzhou (益州) during the Han Dynasty.

During the partition following the fall of the Western Han Dynasty, i.e., the era of the Three Kingdoms Liu Bei founded the Southwest kingdom of Shu-Han (Shu-Hàn 蜀汉) (221-263) with Chengdu as its capital.

During the Tang Dynasty, both the "Poet God" Li Bó (李白) and the "Poet Sage" Dù Fu (杜甫) spent some part of their lives in Chengdu. Du Fu constructed the celebrated "Caotáng" (?? or grass-hut) in the second year of his four-years stay (759-762). But today's Caotang, a rather sumptuous house in the traditional style, was only constructed in 1078 in memory of Du Fu.

Chengdu was also the birthplace of the first widely used paper money in the world (Northern Song Dynasty, around A.D. 960).

Two rebel leaders, one around the end of Song Dynasty, the other near the end of Ming Dynasty, set up the capitals of their short-lived kingdoms here, called Dàshu (大蜀) and Dàxi (大西), respectively.

The Second World War brought an unexpected wave of prosperity to Chengdu as the Guomindang (Chinese Nationalist) government under Chiang Kai-shek fled to Sichuan Province to escape the invading Japanese forces. They brought with them businesspeople, workers and academics, who founded many of the industries and cultural institutions which continue to make Chengdu an important center.

In 1944 the American XX Bomber Command launched Operation Matterhorn, an ambitious plan to base B-29 Superfortresses at Chengdu and strategically bomb the Japanese Home Islands. Because it required a massive airlift of fuel and supplies over the Himalayas, it was not a great military success, but it did earn Chengdu the distinction of launching the first serious retaliation against the Japanese homeland.

Chengdu was the last city on the Chinese mainland to be held by the Kuomintang-controlled government. R.O.C. President Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo directed the defence of the city at Chengdu Central Military Academy, until 1949 when the city fell into communist hands. The People's Liberation Army took the city on December 10 and the remnants of the Nationalist Chinese government fled to Taiwan.

Today the industrial base is very broad, including light and heavy manufacturing, aluminum smelting and chemicals. The textile industry remains important, with cotton and wool milling added to the traditional manufacturing of silk brocade and satin.

Today it is the headquarters of the Chengdu Military Region.

[edit] Alias

Image:Teehaus chengdu.jpg
Chengdu is famous for its teahouses
Traffic in Chengdu
  • The Brocade City (Jinchéng, 锦城)
    In the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-23 AD), brocade produced in Chengdu enjoyed great popularity among the royal and elite class in China. Emperor installed Jin Guan (an official in charge of brocade production) to oversee brocade production in Chengdu. Since then, Chengdu has been called "Jin Guan Cheng" (Brocade Official's City), or in its short form, "Jin Cheng" (Brocade city).
  • The City of Hibiscus (Róngchéng, 蓉城)
    In the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (907-960), Mengchang, the king of the Later Shu Kingdom, ordered the planting of hibiscus on the fortress wall surrounding the city. After this, Chengdu started being referred as the City of Hibiscus. Nowadays, the hibiscus is still the city flower of Chengdu. But the last city wall was torn down in the 1960s along with the Royal Palace situated in the middle of the city.

[edit] Culture and folklore

The Sichuan cuisine is famous for being very spicy, but in fact only slightly more than 30% of dishes officially labeled "local" rely on chili pepper. The reputation for hot food is, however, much older than the use of peppers, which became common only in the 17-18th century.

Chengdu's cuisine is considered to be one of China's most outstanding. The many local specialties include Grandma Chen's Bean Curd (Mapo doufu), Chengdu Hot pot, and Carrying Pole Noodles (Dan Dan Noodles).

An article by the Los Angeles Times (2006) called Chengdu "China's party city". Chengdu outnumbers Shanghai in the number of tea houses and bars despite having less than half the population. The inhabitants have a reputation both within Sichuan and in China at large for having a laid back attitude and for knowing how to enjoy life.

[edit] Economy

Chengdu is home to several key industries and markets in China that are both significant for domestic and international markets. First, Sichuan Province and the Chengdu region have long been the capital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This combined with recent intrigue into pharmaceuticals has launched Chengdu into one of the major pharmaceutical R&D centers in China, as well as the leading R&D region in Western China. Similarly, Chengdu’s Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone has attracted a variety of multinationals (Intel and Microsoft), as well as domestic powerhouses such as Lenovo.

[edit] Financial Industry

Chengdu is now building itself to be the financial hub for West China and has successfully attracted major international financial institutions, including Citigroup, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, ABN AMRO, Bank of East Asia, BNP Paribas etc.

Historically, Chengdu has marked its name in the history of financial innovation. The world’s first ever paper currency 'Jiao Zi' was seen in Chengdu in the year 1023, during the Song Dynasty of Ancient China.

Now, Chengdu is not only the gateway of West China for foreign financial institutions, but also a booming town for Chinese domestic financial firms. The Chinese monetary authority, People’s Bank of China (China’s central bank), set its southwest China headquarters in Chengdu City. In addition, almost all domestic banks and securities brokerage firms located their regional headquarters or branches in Chengdu. At the same time, the local financial firms of Chengdu are strengthening their presences nationally, notably, West China Securities, GuoJin Securities and Chengdu Commercial Bank. Moreover, on top of banks and brokerage firms, the flourish of local economy lured more and more financial service firms to the city to ‘capitalize’ the economic growth. KPMG opened this first west China office in Chengdu City this October, and before the inauguration of KPMG Chengdu office, its rival, Ernst&Young, had already integrated Chengdu into its global operation for several years.

[edit] International Flights

Huaxi campus of Sichuan University

Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is the sixth largest airport in mainland China, after Beijing Capital Airport, Shanghai Pudong, Shanghai Hongqiao, Guangzhou Baiyun and Shenzhen Baoan. By 2005, the passenger volume in Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport reached 13.89 million, which ranked No. 89 globally.

Currently, there are direct international flights connecting Chengdu to Amsterdam (operated by KLM Royal Dutch Airline), Chengdu to Singapore (Silk Air and Air China), Chengdu to Bangkok (Thai Airways International), Chengdu to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia Airlines- canceled in 29 Nov 2006), Chengdu to Tokyo (Air China), Chengdu to Seoul (Asiana Airlines and Air China), Chengdu to Phnom Penh (Angkor Airways). There are also intraregional flight connecting Chengdu to Hong Kong (Dragonair, Hong Kong Express and Air China) and Macao (Airmacao).

Chengdu is the fourth city in mainland China (behind Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou) that has direct intercontinental flights.

[edit] Colleges and universities

Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.

[edit] High Schools

The Wang Jiang Lou

[edit] Consulates in Chengdu

In 1986, the United States Consulate General at Chengdu was established. It is the first consulate established in west-central China since 1949. Currently six countries have established consulates in Chengdu. The United Kingdom also established a visa application center in Chengdu. A Pakistani consulate will be opened soon.

Consulate Year Consular District
Image:Flag of the United States.svgUnited States Consulate General Chengdu 1986 Sichuan/Chongqing/Yunnan/Guizhou/Tibet
Image:Flag of Germany.svgGermany Consulate General at Chengdu 2003 Sichuan/Chongqing/Yunnan/Guizhou
Image:Flag of South Korea (bordered).svgRepublic of Korea Consulate General at Chengdu 2004 Sichuan/Chongqing/Yunnan/Guizhou
Image:Flag of Thailand.svgThailand Consulate General at Chengdu 2004 Sichuan/Chongqing
Image:Flag of France.svgFrance Consulate General at Chengdu 2005 Sichuan/Chongqing/Yunnan/Guizhou
Image:Flag of Singapore (bordered).svgSingapore Consulate 2006 Sichuan/Chongqing/Yunnan/Guizhou

[edit] Sister Cities

In 1979, Chengdu signed a sister city agreement with Montpellier, France, the first pair of Sino-French sister cities. Later Chengdu signed sister city agreements with cities in ten countries, as well as signing a friendly region agreement with Dalarna province in Sweden. Chengdu has had many friendly exchanges with the sister cities. Montpellier, for example, has a Chengdu Street and a Chengdu Plaza.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Prefecture-level divisions of Sichuan
Sub-provincial cities: Chengdu
Prefecture-level cities: Bazhong | Dazhou | Deyang | Guang'an | Guangyuan | Leshan | Luzhou | Meishan
Mianyang | Nanchong | Neijiang | Panzhihua | Suining | Ya'an | Yibin | Zigong | Ziyang
Autonomous prefectures: Ngawa | Garzê | Liangshan
List of Sichuan County-level divisions

Major cities of Greater China
People's Republic of China Direct-controlled municipalities (4) Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Tianjin
Sub-provincial cities (15) Changchun, Chengdu, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou,
Harbin, Jinan, Nanjing, Ningbo, Qingdao,
Shenyang, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Xiamen, Xi'an
Special administrative regions (2) Hong Kong, Macau
Republic of China (Taiwan) Direct-controlled municipalities (2) Kaohsiung, Taipei

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