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Jilin Province, Covid-19

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Market in Jilin CityIn the northeastern part of the People’s Republic of China is the province of Jilin.

Jilin Province is bordered by Liaoning Province, North Korea and Russia to the east, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to the West and the Province of Heilongjiang to the north.

Jilin (吉林, Jílín) Province forms the central part of northeast China and is part of what was once known as Manchuria. Jilin borders Heilongjiang Province to the northeast Russia to the east, North Korea to the southeast, Liaoning to the southwest and Inner Mongolia to the northwest.

Geography of Jilin

The Baiyun Mountain is the highest peak in the Province of Jilin at 2691m. Jilinhada, Longgang and Zhang Guangcai are the other mountain ranges in Jilin.

The river Yalu and Tumen flowing in the southwest of Jilin Province and the river acts as a border to North Korea.

Siping, Jilin City, Baicheng City, Changchun Songyuan, Yanji, Tonghua and Liaoyuan are the other important cities of Province of Jilin.

Climate of Jilin

The continental monsoon climate has an average rainfall of 350 to 1000mm in Jilin and the province has at times harsh winters.

Economy of Jilin

Jilin is basically an agri province that produces maize, rice and sorghum. In the Yanbian prefecture rice cultivation is a major source of income. West Jilin is well known for sheep herding.

Some of the major industry in the Province of Jilin is Automobiles, Train carriages and iron alloy industries.

Jilin, with a nominal GDP of 522.6 billion Yuan was ranked 22nd in the People’s Republic of China for the year 2007 and it had a per capital income of 19,168 Yuan.

Major Touristic Attractions in Jilin

Visitors should visit the Wandu, Gungnae Fortress, the Goguryeo sites and tombs and the Pyramidal General’s tomb which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Popular tourist destination for natural scenery is the Baekdu Mountain with Lake Heaven sharing borders with North Korea.

If you enough time, you should travel to the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture that houses the ancient royal tombs of the Balhae Kingdom, that include tombs at the Longtou Mountain such as of the Princess Zhen Xiao’s at a Mausoleum.

Understand

JiLin province, which is in the central part of northeast China, plays an important role in researching the origin of prehistoric jades and cultural exchange in this area. And the name derives from building Jilin Wu La City at the beginning of the Imperial China (Ji for short), and the provincial capital is Changchun City. It is 607 km from north to south and 770 km from east to west. It accounts for 2% of the national area. Jilin province is a multi-ethnic province, like Korean, Manchu, Mongolian, Hui, Xibe and so on. The climate belongs to the warm temperate zone continental monsoon climate, the four seasons is distinct, with hot rainy season, excellent surroundings, temperature being suitable.

Talk

Chinese phrasebook and Korean phrasebook are spoken widely in this region. Especially in Yanji City, most of people can speak Chinese Mandarin and Korean.

Get in

Jilin province has two public airports, Yanji Airport and Changchun Longjia International Airport (长春龙嘉国际机场) . Each receives domestic flights as well as international flights from Seoul in South Korea. Changchun also has a route to Tokyo, Japan. Changchun City is 31 km, and Jilin City is 71 km form Changchun Longjia International Airport.

Get around

By taxi

Taxis are by far the best way to get around. They are cheap but you should have a piece of paper with the address in case you do not speak Mandarin. Taxi fares start at ¥5 up to 2.5 km (some cities will need to plus a mandatory ¥1 fuel surtax), after that ¥1.30/.5 km or ¥1/700 m. Several taxi companies are serving the city and they will not try to cheat you. It is common for drivers to pick up other passengers who might be going in the same direction if there are unused seats.

However, in case driver is taking you in circles – in this case complain for example at the hotel drop-off point. The staff there normally will support you in such cases. For other cases simply pay not more than shown on the meter. In general: Make sure you know the name of the places you are going to in Mandarin or have a paper with the Chinese address with you.

On foot

From April to October, it is a decent walking city, as the weather is fine. During the winter months temperatures are too cold to walk longer distances in Changchun, so other forms of transport should be considered.

By light rail

Changchun light rail (轻轨; qīngguǐ) Line 3 goes from the west side of the train station (长春站) to Changying Movie Wonderland (长影世纪城). It travels past Changchun University (长春大学) approximately half-way along the route, and takes 63 minutes to complete the entire journey. A ticket, purchased at any light rail station, costs ¥1-4 each way, based on the distance traveled. Operates 6AM-9PM daily.

A south-north route (Line 4) runs on Linhe Street. Its northern terminal is the New North Railroad Station and its southern terminal is the government center at CheChang.

Free transfer between Lines 3 and 4 can be had at the LinheJie (Line 3) and WeixingLu (Line 4) stations.

By bus

Bus system is cheap and convenient, and most of the buses in the urban area charge only ¥1 no matter where you go. An extensive bus network and most of the buses cost ¥1, however, those who can not read Chinese will find it nearly impossible to use the network.

Travel by minivan in Jilin

In Changchun and Yanji, if you are in need of an adrenaline rush, look no further than one of the minibuses that tear around the city streets. Some places out in the suburbs are only serviced by such buses, and the fare is usually ¥1-2.

Travel by bicycle in Jilin

Travelers should be cautious of bicycling. For the winter months it is generally too cold and during the summer months, too dangerous. Unlike other big cities in China, some cities like Changchun, Baicheng and so on do not separate cycle lanes from the main traffic, which leads to buses, taxis, cars, and motorcycles sharing the same space as the cyclists. The whole situation is dangerous and this is perhaps the reason why by Chinese standards there are few people who regularly cycle here.

If you want to bike around, it is recommended that you follow closely behind one of the local people on cargo-bike, merchant-bike, or donkey. There are off times during the day when biking would be less challenging. Drivers are not overly aggressive towards bikers.

By motorcycle

If you need to get somewhere fast then jump on one of these. It is used in the most cities. They are unlicensed to carry fare paying passengers, so bear in mind that if there is an accident, you might find yourself in trouble. However, they tend to drive in the cycle lanes at quite low speeds and so are safer than you might expect.

What to see and do

Landmarks and buildings

The Tomb of the General

The Puppet Manchukuo government’s State Department 伪满洲国务院

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Baitou Mountain Tianchi

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  • Goguryeo Ancient sitesthe remains of the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo. The Goguryeo are credited as the ancestors of the Korean people. These sites include including Wunu Mountain City, Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City; fourteen imperial tombs; twenty-six noble tombs; a General’s Tomb; and the monument to the nineteenth Emperor of the Koguryo Kingdom, which are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Most of these are around Ji’an.
  • Puppet Emperor’s PalaceThe former residence of Puyi, the last emperor of China and the Puppet Emperor of Manchuco on behalf of the Japanese. In the north east of Changchun.
  • Wen Miao Confucian TempleIn Jilin City. Together, Confucius Temple in Nanjing, Confucius Temple in Beijing and Confucian Temple in Qufu are called “Four Confucious’Temple of China”. It is important national protective object. The size of the building group and high level are unique in the feudal society. Every building facility there are full of deep culture.
  • ChangbaishanChangbaishan is 2749 m high and is on the border between China and North Korea. It’s capped with snow all year round and has virtually no living vegetation on top. In Chinese, it’s known as Changbaishan – “Chang” for always, “Bai” for white, and “Shan” for Mountain. Located in the counties of Antu, Wusong and Changbai in southern Jilin Province, Changbaishan is one of China’s nature preservation zones, covering an area of over 200,000 hectares, extending 78.5 km north to south, and 53.3 km west to east. It has a wholesome natural environment and ecosystem with world famous precious animals like Northeast Tigers, sikas, sables etc. It’s China’s typical comprehensive nature existence of world importance.

Parks and nature

  • Longtou MountainThese hills contain ancient Tombs including the Mausoleum of Princess Zhenxiao and royal tombs of the Balhae kingdom. It is in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.
  • Rimmed Trees of JilinThe trees are extolled as one of the four major natural wonders of China along with the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River, the landscape of Jilin and the Stone Forest of Yunnan.

Museums and exhibitions

  • Meteorite MuseumIn 1976, Jilin was hit by a heavy meteorite storm. Many of the stones were collected and placed into this museum. The largest stone weighs 1,775 kg and is thought to be the largest meteorite in existence.
  • Jingyuetan National Scenic AreaIt is one of the AAAAA class scenic spots of the first group in China. Jingyuetan national forest park in Changchun of Jilin Province is located in the eastern mountains to the western steppe transition zone, Changbai Mountain is a hilly are with peaks 119-406 m above sea level. The park is to the south-east of Changchun City, 9 km from the city center!

What to do

  • Jilin Ice Lantern Festival — not as famous as the festivals in Harbin but still worth a visit (during mid-January)

Eat

Drink

  • Old Ship Bar (老船吧), Between Jingcheng Street and Anshun Road.  Literally housed in a small wooden sailing ship. Serves beer and other beverages, has indoor barbecue features for seafood as well as other types of barbecue, Western flavors, a cheerful atmosphere and melodious music.
  • Mayflower Bar(五月花酒吧)Between Qinghua Road and Lixin Street.  The beer here is very good and the music here is “very passionate”.

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Twitter Reports It Locked Account of China’s US Embassy Over Xinjiang Tweet

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SHANGHAI – Twitter has locked the account of China’s U.S. embassy for a tweet that defended China’s policies in the Xinjiang region, which the U.S. social media platform said violated the firm’s policy against “dehumanization.”

The Chinese Embassy account, @ChineseEmbinUS, posted a tweet this month that said that Uighur women were no longer “baby making machines,” citing a study reported by state-backed newspaper China Daily.

The tweet was removed by Twitter and replaced by a label stating that it was no longer available. Although Twitter hides tweets that violate its policies, it requires account owners to manually delete such posts. The Chinese Embassy’s account has not posted any new tweets since January 9.

Twitter’s suspension of the embassy’s account came a day after the Trump administration, in its final hours, accused China of committing genocide in Xinjiang, a finding endorsed by the incoming Biden administration.

The Biden administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Twitter’s move.

“We’ve taken action on the Tweet you referenced for violating our policy against dehumanization, where it states: We prohibit the dehumanization of a group of people based on their religion, caste, age, disability, serious disease, national origin, race, or ethnicity,” a Twitter spokesperson said on Thursday.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment. Twitter is blocked in China but is an increasingly favored platform by China’s diplomats and state media.

China has repeatedly rejected accusations of abuse in its Xinjiang region, where a United Nations panel has said at least 1 million Uighurs and other Muslims had been detained in camps.

Last year, a report by German researcher Adrian Zenz published by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation think tank accused China of using forced sterilization, forced abortion and coercive family planning against minority Muslims. The Chinese foreign ministry said the allegations were groundless and false.

Twitter’s move also follows the removal of the account of former U.S. President Donald Trump, which had 88 million followers, citing the risk of violence after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol this month.

Twitter had locked Trump’s account, asking for deletion of some tweets, before restoring it and then removing it altogether after the former president violated the platform’s policies again.

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Warning to the Global Car Industry: Relocating Factories to China is Risky

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The good news for European companies is that despite the geopolitical turbulence, there are many opportunities to deepen exchanges with China. “In 2019, trade between the EU and China consisted largely of non-sensitive activities,” the authors wrote.

For example, 83 percent of EU imports from China were on the green-list – toys and textiles made in China are included, but telecommunications equipment are not.

Exports to China are generally more worrying, if only because the Chinese are systematically trying to acquire technological skills and to put them at the service of the communist regime.

Here, only 56 percent of EU exports go back to industries that are on the green-list. The study classifies car exports as unproblematic, but not deliveries of aircraft and machines for aircraft construction.

The experts also deal with investment flows. 54 percent of Chinese direct investment in Europe and 68 percent of European direct investment in China make it onto the green-list.

The study rates the relocation of car factories to China as worrying. That could be a warning signal to German car companies that are heavily involved in China. The study recommends an equally critical look at Chinese investments in Europe’s automotive and digital sectors.

An important detail of the study is that it does not differentiate between state-owned and private Chinese companies. This is because “a number of new Chinese laws – and in particular national intelligence, national security and cybersecurity laws – are blurring the line between state and private companies,” the authors note.

One thing is certain: the hegemonic conflict between the USA and China will shape the global economy, probably for decades. Because the attitude towards China unites the otherwise deeply divided political camps in Washington.

Experts fear that this can lead to de-globalization. In a few decades, separate economic areas would emerge. Europe could not ignore this argument. The economy must prepare.

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People's Republic of China

Beijing Coronavirus Covid-19 News Update

Wolfgang Holzem

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Beijing (北京 Běijīng) is China’s capital, and its second largest city after Shanghai, with a population of more than 20 million. It has been the capital of the Chinese Empire for much of its history, and became seat of the People’s Republic of China after the Chinese Revolutions, as well as the country’s educational and cultural center.

The city is well known for its flatness and regular construction. There are only three hills to be found within the city limits (in Jingshan Park to the north of the famous Forbidden City). Like the configuration of the Forbidden City, Beijing is surrounded by concentric so-called “ring roads”, which are actually rectangular.

Beijing is a dynamic, changing city. There is a mix of old and new all around (especially within the 3rd and 2nd Ring Roads). Here you can see the most modern, envelope-pushing technologies and social innovations butting heads with the most ancient cultural norms and social settings. The people here can seem a bit cold, but once you break the ice you will find that they are very friendly and engaging.

Be prepared for customs and societal norms that are different from yours; see the China article for discussion. However most Beijingers are sophisticated urbanites, so things may seem less odd here than in rural areas or cities in the interior of China.

The city has hosted the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The capital city of China is Beijing and it is also one of the four municipalities of China. Beijing is one of the Great Ancient Capitals of China and sometimes in the English language is also referred to as Peking. Beijing shares its northern, westerns, southern borders as well as some portion of the eastern border with the province of Hebei. It also shares its southeastern borders with the Tianjin Municipality.

After Shanghai, Beijing is the largest city in China and it is a major centre for transportation with an excellent network of railways, motorways and roads. Beijing is also an important place on many international airway routes. Beijing is formally celebrated as the political, cultural and educational capital of the People’s Republic of China. On the other hand, Shanghai and Hong Kong are considered to be the economic centers of China. Beijing is the host city of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Understand

History of Beijing

Beijing literally means Northern Capital, a role it has played many times in China’s long history. Beijing’s history dates back several thousand years but it first became notable in Chinese history after it was made the capital of the State of Yan under the name Yanjing. Yan was one of the major kingdoms of the Warring States Period, some 2,000 years ago. After the fall of Yan, during the later Han and Tang dynasties, the Beijing-area was a major prefecture of northern China.

In 938, Beijing was conquered by the Khitans and declared the capital of the Liao Dynasty. The Mongols seized the city in 1215. From 1264 Beijing served as the capital of a united China under Kublai Khan. His victorious Mongol forces renamed the city, Great Capital (大都). From there, Kublai and his descendants ruled their empire from a northern location closer to the Mongol homelands. During this period, the walled city was enlarged and many palaces and temples were built.

After the fall of the Mongol-founded Yuan dynasty in 1368, the capital was initially moved to Nanjing. However, in 1403 the 3rd Ming emperor, Zhu Di, also known as Emperor Yongle, moved it back to Beijing and gave the city its present name. The Ming period was Beijing’s golden era. The Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and many other Beijing landmarks were built in this period. The capital developed into a huge city becoming the religious and cultural center of Asia.

In 1644, the Manchus overthrew the declining Ming dynasty and established China’s last imperial line – the Qing. Despite the changing political climate, Beijing remained the capital. The Manchu imperial family moved into the Forbidden City and remained there until 1911. The Qing built both the Summer Palace and Old Summer Palace. These served as summer retreats for the emperors and their entourages. During the 19th century, Western countries established foreign legations in the Qianmen area south of the Forbidden City. These came under siege during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.

The Qing dynasty fell in 1911. In the chaotic first years of Republican China, Beijing was beset by fighting warlords. Following the Northern Expedition, the Kuomintang moved the capital to Nanjing in 1928, and renamed Beijing as Beiping (“Northern Peace”) to emphasize that it was no longer a capital. Beijing remained a center for education and culture throughout the Republican Era. When the Kuomintang was defeated by the Communists in 1949, the new government proclaimed a People’s Republic with its capital at Beijing.

Orientation

Beijing is characterised by its vastness and large distances between locations. The city used to be almost entirely made up of hutongs with narrow lanes and single story buildings. Now, many of the hutongs have given way to broad boulevards and modern buildings, contributing to an airy, sprawling feel, in sharp contrast to cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Beijing is the political centre of the country, with official buildings and embassy areas dominating the city. Beijing is also the historical and cultural centre of China with many historical buildings and sites – especially within Ring Road Two. The city has undergone rapid modernisation, with improvements of institutions, business environment and work conditions.

People

Given their city’s historical, cultural and political heft, Beijingers are justifiably proud to be citizens of the capital. An attitude known as 大北京主义 or “Great Beijing-ism” is often used to describe their attitude toward people from other regions of China. They are often much more interested in politics and willing to talk about current events than people elsewhere in China. Beijingers also seem to focus on not losing face and often use humor in order to do so. However, many Chinese from other provinces find Beijingers very friendly and straightforward comparing with people from Shanghai especially.

Weather in Beijing

Beijing has a monsoon-influenced continental climate with hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. The best time to visit is in September and October, during the “Golden Autumn” (金秋). Spring is the season for dust storms and is otherwise warm and dry. Summer can be oppressively hot and the tourist crowds tend to be the largest as well; prevailing winds from the south trap pollutants (mountains lie to the north and west), making summer the worst season for air quality. Winter is cold and dry, with infrequent, but beautiful, snow. Temperatures can easily fall below −10°C in winter and or just as readily rise above 35°C in summer as well.

Demographics and geography

Beijing has a population of 17.55 million people (30% migrants) living on 16,800 km2 distributed in 18 districts. The city borders Hebei Province to the north, west and south and Tianjin Municipality to the east.

Read

  • The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed, (Michael Meyer, 2020) An account of life in one of the city’s remaining hutong neighborhoods by an American who taught English in a local school as a volunteer during the runup to the Olympics, as the city and its residents clashed over the pace and social cost of redevelopment. Meyer puts his story in the context of Beijing’s modern architectural history, an added bonus for readers. Not published in China for five years, until the government could decide on which passages to excise.

Talk

The language of Beijing is Chinese phrasebook. Standard Mandarin itself was the administrative language of the Ming and Qing dynasties and was based mainly on the Beijing dialect. For language students this makes studying in Beijing an excellent chance to learn the language in a relatively pure form. That being said, Beijing dialect contains nasal “er” sounds at the end of many words. Hence the ubiquitous lamb kabobs (羊肉串 yáng ròu chuàn) become “yáng ròu chuànr“. In addition, the Beijing dialect consists of many local slangs which have not been incorporated into standard Mandarin. Beijing taxi drivers are famously chatty and will gladly engage students of the language offering excellent chances to practice the language and get a feel for the changes in the city and country from an “Old Beijinger”.

English is spoken by staff at the main tourism attractions, as well as at major hotels. Otherwise, English speakers are not common, so always get your hotel’s business card to show the taxi driver in case you get lost. Likewise, have staff at your hotel write down the names of any tourism attraction you plan to visit in Chinese, so locals can point you out in the right direction.

Get in

Fly to Beijing

  • Beijing Capital International Airport (北京首都国际机场 Běijīng Shǒudū Guójì Jīchǎng,). Beijing’s main airport is located to the northeast of the central districts, 26 km (16 mi) from the city centre. It serves a large variety of domestic and international destinations and is where most international airlines choose to fly, and is the second busiest airport in the world by passenger numbers as of 2016. 
  • Nanyuan Airport (南苑机场 Nányuàn Jīchǎng,). A former military airfield 17 km (11 mi) to the south of Beijing, now used only by army-linked low-cost operator China United (中国联合 Zhōngguó Liánhé). China United flies daily to Harbin, Dalian, Sanya, Chongqing, Chengdu, and Wuxi. Shuttle buses to the Nanyuan Airport leave Xidan Aviation Building (西单民航大厦 Xīdān Mínháng Dàshà) at 06:10, 07:00, 09:00, 11:00, 13:00, 14:00 and 15:00. The first bus (06:10) might not be available every day. Be sure not to take a shuttle bus to Beijing Capital Airport. Check the shuttle bus direction written on it in Chinese. The bus ticket price is ¥16. 

Visa-free transit

Visitors from 53 countries can get a 144 hours transit visa to see the Beijing city and neighboring Tianjin and Hebei provinces. The following countries are included in the transit program:

  • 24 Schengen Agreement Countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
  • 15 Other European Countries: Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Belarus, Monaco
  • 6 American Countries: the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile
  • 2 Oceania Countries: Australia, New Zealand
  • 6 Asian Countries: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar

You have to apply for it at the counter which is right after you exit the plane and walk the corridor. It takes around 45 minutes to get it. After that directly go to Immigration counter which again can take upto 45 minutes to clear. (Do not go to International Transfer which is next to Immigration.)

Travel by train to Beijing

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Beijing has many railway stations. Most trains arrive at the Central, West, South or North stations.

  • Beijing Railway Station (北京站, Běijīng Zhàn). In the heart of the city, served by Subway Line 2. Destinations include: Changchun, Chengde, Dalian, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Harbin, Hefei, Jilin, Nanjing, Qiqihar, Shanghai, Shenyang, Suzhou, Tianjin, and Yangzhou. High speed trains to the Northeast leave from this station. The trains for Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar), Russia, and North Korea also leave from here.  Public transport leaving the station:
    • Subway line 2. The subway station can be seen as soon as you get out of the station.
    • Taxi. May be expensive and slow.
    • Buses. A great amount of buses serve the station near the road or at the sides of the station. But always remember that Beijing Railway Station East (北京站东 Beijingzhandong) and Beijing Railway Station(北京站 beijingzhan) bus stops serves the station, but not Beijing Railway Station Crossing West and East(北京站口东/西) where is quite distant to the station.
  • Beijing West Railway Station (北京西站, Běijīng Xīzhàn). The largest train station. Destinations include: Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Datong, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Guilin, Guiyang, Hefei, Hohhot, Hong Kong, Kunming, Lanzhou, Lhasa, Ningbo, Qinhuangdao, Sanya, Shenzhen, Taiyuan, Urumqi, Wuhan, Xi’an, and Xiamen. Also, the twice-weekly international through-carriage from Hanoi, Vietnam arrives here. Both “conventional” and high-speed trains (wherever available) to these destinations use Beijing West, although HSR does not (yet) leave the country (but it does go to Hong Kong SAR). See below for transport options leaving the station. 
  • Subway. Lines 7 and 9 stop here.
  • Taxi. There is an underground taxi rank, which usually has at least a ten minute queue. Taxis may be expensive, especially if you have that tourist stench about you. Inevitably a tout will offer to take you out of the queue for an agreed price, but this will result in a significantly higher fare.
  • Public Buses. There is an immense amount of packed public buses that reach most destinations around downtown Beijing – however this can be difficult to navigate. These leave from several locations including directly in front of the train station, east of the train station (there is a largish bus station here) and on the opposite side of Lianhuachi Donglu. If you are desperate to get on the public bus, there is a large sign indicating the routes close to the bus stops on the Beijing West Station side of Lianhuachu Donglu.
  • Beijing South Railway Station (北京南站, Běijīng Nánzhàn). This station is used only by high-speed trains. It offers 70 high-speed services every day to Tianjin, Tanggu, Jinan, Qingdao, Shanghai (under 5 hours), Hangzhou, and Fuzhou. There are also a few services from Beijing South to northeastern China as well as Xiamen. Served by subway Lines 4 and 14 and public buses.
  • Beijing North Railway Station (北京北站, Běijīng Běizhàn). Small compared to the previous three stations, but you might end up here if coming from Inner Mongolia. Destinations include Chifeng, Fuxin, Hailar, Manzhouli, Hohhot, Longhua, Luanping, Nankou, Shacheng, Huailai (via Badaling), Tongliao, and Zhangjiakou. It also offers tour train services to Yanqing and the Badaling Great Wall. Served by Lines 2, 4 and 13 via the adjacent Xizhimen station. Closed due to the construction works for Beijing-Zhangjiakou Higg Speed Railway and was scheduled to be reopened around 2022. Most services has been moved to Changping North Station while suburban rail line S2 was moved to Huangtudian Station.
  • Beijing East Railway Station (北京东站, Běijīng Dōngzhàn). Destinations only include Chengde, Handan and Ji County, Tianjin. Just off the Guomao CBD. It is very rare travellers will have to use this station.
  • Huangcun Railway StationHas just reopened. It is in southern Beijing on Beijing Subway Daxing Line. If having trouble getting tickets to one of the major Beijing stations, try getting a ticket to this station instead. If taking a night train, you’re a bit far from the centre, but the subway opens at 05:30.
  • Shunyi Railway StationJust a short walk away from Subway Line 15 at Shimen station. This station is served by regular rail services, and most of these can be rather slow.
  • Changping North Railway Station (昌平北站 chāngpíngběizhàn). A railway station re-opened to remove existing services from Beijing North Station. Trains here mainky services Inner Mongolia, northeastern Liaoning or further to the northeast. Far from the centre, and the most convient way to get there is to take the bus No.345 from Deshengmen West Transit Hub.

Sightseeing in Beijing

Landmarks

The centre of the city and most important landmark is Tiananmen Square near the centre of the city, administratively in Dongcheng District. This is the world’s largest public square and a must see for all visitors from abroad and from elsewhere in China. The square is surrounded by grand buildings including the Great Hall of the People, the Museum of Chinese History, the Museum of the Chinese Revolution, the Qianmen Gate and the Forbidden City. It is also home to the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall and the Monument to the People’s Martyrs and was also the site of the infamous massacre of student activists by the Peoples Liberation Army in 1989.

The National Stadium or Bird’s Nest in Chaoyang District is a new major landmark and the symbol of the 2008 Olympic Games. Two contemporary buildings in Chaoyang District are remarkable landmarks: the CCTV Building (sometimes called The Underpants or Bird Legs by locals) and the World Trade Center Tower III. Both are outstanding examples of contemporary architecture.

There are also a number of remarkable remains from the medieval city including the Ming Dynasty City Wall Site Park (the only remains of the city wall) in Chongwen, the Drum and Bell Towers in Gulou, and Qianmen in Chongwen.

Palaces, temples and parks

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Inside the Forbidden City

The city’s many green oases are a wonderful break from walking along the never ending boulevards and narrow hutongs. Locals similarly flock to Beijing’s palaces, temples and parks whenever they have time. The green areas are not only used for relaxing but also for sports, dancing, singing and general recreation.

The most important palace, bar none, is the Forbidden city (故宫博物院) at the centre of the city, administratively in Dongcheng District. The Forbidden City was home to the Imperial Court during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Unlike many other historical sights, the Forbidden City was relatively untouched during the cultural revolution due to the timely intervention of then-premier Zhou Enlai, who sent a battalion of his troops to guard the palace from the over-zealous Red Guards. The Temple of Heaven (天坛) in Chongwen District is the symbol of Beijing and is surrounded by a lively park typically packed with hordes of local people drinking tea, practicing calligraphy or tai-chi or just watching the world go by.

The Yonghegong (Lama Temple) (雍和宫) in Dongcheng District is one of the most important and beautiful temples in the country. Entrance fees (2018): ¥25. Just opposite is the Confucius Temple (孔廟); entrance fees (2020): ¥25元; open until 18:00 (17:00 in winter), last admittance 30 minutes earlier.

Other parks are scattered around Beijing. Some of the best are Zhongshan Park (中山公园) and Beihai Park (北海公园) in Xicheng District, and Chaoyang Park (朝阳公园) and Ritan Park (日坛公园) in Chaoyang District. The Beijing Zoo (北京动物园) in Xicheng District is well known for its traditional landscaping and giant pandas, however like many Chinese zoos, the conditions for the animals have been questioned.

Haidian District is home to the Summer palace (颐和园), the ruins of the Old Summer Palace (圆明园), Fragrant Hills (香山), and the Beijing Botanical Garden (北京植物园). All are quite close together and worth a visit.

  • Nanluoguxiang(南锣鼓巷) Nanluoguxiang a total length of 786 meters and 8 meters wide. The Lane is a north-south channel during Yuan Dynasty, as the Beijing Hutong protected areas. That “the national capital of Square Lane alley set of five,” said Luo Guo Lane.
  • JuYong GuanJuyongguan Pass, also known as Juyongguan in Chinese, is located 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Changping County, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Beijing. It is a famous pass of the Great Wall of China. Enlisted in the World Heritage Directory in 1987, it is a national cultural protection unit.
  • Olympic Water Park (奥林匹克水上公园). Covering a planned area of 162.59 hectare and a floor area of 32,000 square meters, Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park is designated as the venue for rowing, canoeing and marathon swimming competitions of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and also rowing events during the Beijing Paralympics.

Museums and galleries in Beijing

The museums in Beijing are generally not yet up to the standard seen in cities such as Paris, Rome and New York. However the city contains one of the largest and most well known museums in Asia, the Palace Museum also known as the Forbidden City. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. China’s government is determined to change the backward perception of its museums and has invested heavily in their development. It has also made most of them (not the Forbidden City) free to visit. However, for some museums tickets must be reserved three days in advance.

One of the most well-known museums in Beijing is the National Museum (国家博物馆) in Dongcheng District, which was renovated in 2011. The Military Museum (军事博物馆) in Haidian District has long been a favorite with domestic and foreign tourists. The Capital Museum (首都博物馆) in Xicheng District is a new high profile museum with historical and art exhibitions. The China Aviation Museum (中国民航博物馆) located in the Beijing/Northern Suburbs is surprisingly good and hosts 200+ rare and unique Chinese (mostly Russian) aircraft. Finally, a number of restored former residences of famous Beijingers, especially in Xicheng District, give a good insight into daily life in former times.

The contemporary art scene in Beijing is booming and a large number of artists exhibit and sell their art in galleries around the town. The galleries are concentrated in a number of art districts, including the oldest and easiest accessible, but also increasingly commercial and mainstream, Dashanzi Art District in Chaoyang District. (Bus Line 401 – departing from Dongzhimen or San Yuan Qiao)Other newer and perhaps more cutting edge art districts include Caochangdi in Chaoyang District and Songzhuan Artist’s Village in Tongzhou District.

What to do in Beijing

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Great Wall of China at Badaling

  • The Great Wall of China (长城 chángchéng) about a 1 hour train trip or 1½-hour bus ride from the city (be aware of bus scams). See Great Wall for general information on the Great Wall and Rural Beijing for listings of individual Beijing sections. The Badaling section is the most famous, but also over-restored and crowded. Mutianyu is recommended over Badaling for the conventional tourist experience. It has been restored to the same degree, but is far less crowded. Jinshanling and Huanghuacheng are more difficult to get to by public transportation but offer a better view of the wall away from the crowds. Simatai is a distant section in the northeast that can be combined with a visit at night to or overstay at Gubei Watertown, a recreated historical village beside the wall. The unrestored Jiankou section is dangerous and widely regarded as the most beautiful. Many of the unrestored or “wild” sections of the wall are suitable for camping or hiking. You may want to bring a jacket against the wind or cold in the chillier season – in the summer you will need lots of water.
  • Hutongs (胡同 Hútòng). Beijing’s ancient alleyways, where you can find traditional Beijing architecture. They date back to when Beijing was the former capital of the Yuan dynasty (1266-1368). Most buildings in hutongs are made in the traditional courtyard (四合院 sìhéyuàn) style. Many of these courtyard homes were originally occupied by aristocrats, though after the Communist takeover in 1949 the aristocrats were pushed out and replaced with poor families. Hutongs can still be found throughout the area within the 2nd Ring Road, though many are being demolished to make way for new buildings and wider roads. Most popular among tourists are the hutongs near Qianmen and Houhai. The hutongs may at first feel intimidating to travellers used to the new wide streets of Beijing, but the locals are very friendly and will often try to help you if you look lost.
  • Rent a bicycleTraverse some of the remaining hutongs. There is no better way to see Beijing firsthand than on a bicycle but just be very aware of cars (Chinese driving styles may differ from those you are used to). See above for bike rental information.
  • Hidden City GamePlayers explore Beijing’s hutongs and parks in a bilingual monthly competition on Sunday afternoons. Includes activities based on Chinese traditions, such as calligraphy, music, art, food, science and games. Restaurants sponsor prizes totaling over to 5000rmb.

Theaters and concert halls

National Centre for the Performing Arts in Xicheng District was finalised in 2007 and finally gave Beijing a modern theatre complex covering opera, music and theatre. This is worth a visit even if you do not go to a performance.

The Beijing Opera is considered the most famous of all the traditional opera performed around China. This kind of opera is nothing like western opera with costumes, singing style, music and spectator reactions being distinctly Chinese. The plot is usually quite simple, so you might be able to understand some of what happens even if you do not understand the language. Some of the best places to watch Beijing Opera are found in Xuanwu District including Huguang Huguang Theatre and Lao She Teahouse. There are also a number in Dongcheng District including Chang’an Grand Theatre.

Acrobatics shows are also worth a visit if you want to see some traditional Chinese entertainment. Some of the best shows are found in Tianqiao Acrobatics Theatre in Xuanwu District and in Chaoyang Theatre in Chaoyang District.

Drama plays have had a slow start in Beijing and are still not as widespread as you might expect for a city like Beijing, and you will most likely not be able to find many Western plays. However, some good places for contemporary Chinese plays do exist including Capital Theatre in Dongcheng District and Century Theater in Chaoyang District.

Classical music has got a much stronger foothold in Beijing than drama plays. Some of the best places to go are the National Centre for the Performing Arts and the Century Theater both mentioned above as well as Beijing Concert Hall in Xicheng District.

History of Beijing

During the Chinese Civil War, the Communist forces entered Beijing on January 31, 1949 without meeting any resistance. On October 1st, 1949, under the aegis of Mao Zedong, the Communist Party of China announced the dawning of the People’s Republic of China and also rechristened the name of the city back to Beijing.

In 2001, on July 13th, the International Olympic Committee decided that the city of Beijing would be the host of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Geography of Beijing

At the northern tip of the North China Plain one can locate the city of Beijing. The city is sheltered by mountain ranges from the north, northwest and the west.

The urban parts of Beijing can be found in the south central part of the city. The urban fraction is a small but rapidly growing part of the municipality’s framework. The most important leaders of the People’s Republic of China have their residences in the Zhongnanhai region of Tian’anmen. The Chang’an Avenue runs from east to west through central Beijing and it is one of the main thoroughfares in Beijing.

Climate of Beijing

The city has a humid and continental climate which is for the most part influenced by the monsoons. As a result of the East Asian Monsoon’s the summers are hot and sultry while the winters are frigid, dry and windy. In January the average temperature is around 1o Celsius while in July the average temperature is recorded to be around 30o Celsius.

Economy of Beijing

The nominal GDP of Beijing in 2007 was 900.62 billion RMB which showed an annual increase of 12.3%. The per capita GDP was seen to be 56,044 RMB. In the recent years there has been a significant rise in the market for real estate and also for the automobile sectors.

Sightseeing in Beijing

The Forbidden City lies at the heart of the historical center of Beijing. It was the home of the emperors of the Ming dynasty and also of rulers of the Qing dynasty. The Forbidden City also comprises of the Palace Museum which contains on display many royal collections of Chinese art.

The Temple of Heaven is an extremely famous religious site in the city of Beijing. It is located in southeastern Beijing and is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty are situated at the outskirts of Beijing. These are the burial sites of thirteen Ming rulers and are also chosen as a World Heritage Site.

Beijing Capital Airport

The Beijing Capital International Airport near Shunyi is the most important airport in Beijing. The airport is the main center for Air China and nearly all domestic and international flights arrive at and depart from the Capital Airport. The airport is linked to central Beijing via the Airport Expressway.

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