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Beijing (北京, Hanyu Pinyin: Běijīng, Wade-Giles: Pei-ching; Postal System Pinyin: Peking), is the capital city of the People's Republic of China.

Beijing is one of the 4 municipalities of the People's Republic of China, which have a provincial-level status, and is under the direct control of the central government. Beijing has been a municipality since the beginning of the PRC.

Beijing is one of the largest cities in China, second only to Shanghai as the nation's biggest. It is also a major transportation hub, with dozens of roads and expressways departing the capital city in all directions.

Běijīng Sh
Abbreviation: 京 (pinyin: Jīng)''
Origin of Name北 běi - north
京 jīng - capital
put together: northern capital
 - Total
 - % of national
 - % water
Ranked 29th
16,808 km²
 - Total (2001)
 - % of national
 - Density
Ranked 26th
 - Total (2002)
 - % of national
 - per capita
Ranked 15th
313.0 billion
City treesChinese arborvitae
(Platycladus orientalis)
Pagoda tree
(Sophora japonica)
City flowersChrysanthemum
(Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Chinese rose
(Rosa chinensis)
Administration TypeMunicipality
CPC Beijing Committee SecretaryLiu Qi
MayorWang Qishan
County-level subdivisions18
Township-level subdivisions318
Postal Code100000
Area Code010
ISO 3166-2CN-11

Table of contents
1 Names
2 History
3 Geography
4 Administrative divisions
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Transportation
9 Tourism
10 Colleges and Universities
11 Media
12 Miscellaneous topics
13 See also
14 External links


Beijing literally means "northern capital" (as opposed to Nanjing, meaning "southern capital" and Tonkin and Tokyo, both of which mean "eastern capital"). Beijing is sometimes referred to as Peking. The term originated with French missionaries four hundred years ago, and corresponds to an archaic pronunciation which does not take into account a 'k' to 'j' sound shift in Mandarin that occurred during the Qing dynasty.

In China, the city has had many names. Between 1928 [1] and 1949, it was known as Beiping (北平 Wade-Giles Peip'ing) or "Northern Peace". The name was changed because jing means "capital" and the Kuomintang government in Nanjing wanted to emphasize that Beijing was not the capital of China, and Beijing's warlord government was not legitimate. From 1937 to 1945, Beijing was occupied by the Japanese.

The name was changed back by the Communist Party of China in 1949 in part to emphasize that Beijing was the capital of China. The government of the Republic of China on Taiwan has not formally recognized the name change, and during the 1950s and 1960s it was common for Beijing to be called Peiping on Taiwan. Today, almost everyone on Taiwan, including the ROC government, uses the term Beijing, although some maps of China from Taiwan still use the old name along with pre-1949 provincial boundaries.

The GDP per capita was 24077 (US$2907), ranked no. 41 among all 659 Chinese cities.

For the historical names of Beijing, see Capital of China.


The metropolitan area of Beijing had been settled in the 1st millennium BC and the capital of Kingdom Yan (燕) was established there, who named it Ji (蓟). Ji has often been claimed to be the beginning of Beijing; but in reality Ji had been abandoned no later than the 6th century. The exact location of Ji remains unknown despite much effort in recent decades to identify the site.

During the great Tang and Song dynasties, only townships existed in this area. Numerous ancient poets came here to mourn the lost city, as testified by their surviving compositions.

By the early 10th century, Kingdom Liao had set up a "secondary capital" in the city proper, and called it Nanjing ("the Southern Capital").

The Jin Dynasty that annexed Liao and ruled northern China built its capital there, called Zhongdu (中都), or "the Central Capital".

Mongol forces burned Zhongdu to the ground in 1215 and rebuilt its own "Grand Capital" (大都) to the north of the Jin capital in 1267, which was the true beginning of contemporary Beijing. Apparently, Kublai Khan, who wanted to become a Chinese emperor, established his capital in Beijing instead of more traditional sites in central China because Beijing was closer to his power base in Mongolia. The decision of the Khan greatly enhanced the status of a city that had been situated on the northern fringe of China proper.

In 1403, the 3rd Ming emperor Zhu Li, who had just grabbed the throne by killing his nephew after a bloody civil war and moved the capital from southern China to his own power base in the north, renamed the city Beijing (北京), or "Northern Capital".

The Forbidden City was constructed soon after that (1406-1420), followed by the Temple of Heaven (1420), and numerous other construction projects. Tian'anmen, which has become a state symbol of the PRC in modern times, was burned down twice during the Ming Dynasty and the final reconstruction was carried out in 1651.


Beijing borders Hebei province to the north, west, south, and for tiny fraction to the east. The southwestern part borders with Tianjin municipality.

Hills dominate the scene to the north, northwest and west of Beijing. The mountains to the west are known as Xishan, which is Chinese for Western Hills.

Administrative divisions

The municipality governs 18 county-level divisions: 16 districts and 2 counties.

Districts of Beijing

8 of the districts govern the urban and suburban areas of the city:

8 of the districts are found further out, and govern distant suburbs, satellite towns, and some rural areas:

Counties of Beijing

The 2 counties govern very distant towns and rural areas:

Township-level divisions

The above districts and counties are further subdivided into 318 township-level divisions: 142 towns, 40 townships, 5 ethnic townships and 131 subdistricts.


In 2002 Beijing's total gross domestic product was 313 billion Renminbi, an increase of 10.2% from the previous year. GDP per capita was 27,746 Renminbi, which converts to about US 3355 by market exchange rates. (Note that GDP per capita is usually converted by purchasing power parity instead, which would yield a US$ value about four times higher in this case.)

Beijing's real estate and automobile sectors continue to boom in recent years. In 2002 a total of 16.044 million square metres of housing real estate was sold, for a total of 81.38 billion Renminbi. In the same period Beijing saw the sale of 260,000 automobiles. The total number of automobiles registered in Beijing has now exceeded two million, of which 64% are privately-owned.

The Beijing CBD, centered at the Guomao area, has been identified as the city's new central business district, and is home to a variety of corporate regional headquarters, shopping malls, and high-end housing. The Beijing Financial Street, in the Fuxingmen and Fuchengmen area, is a traditional financial center. The Wangfujing and Xidan areas are major shopping districts. Zhongguancun, dubbed "China's Silicon Valley", continues to be a major center in electronics- and computer-related industries, as well as pharmaceuticals-related research.


The total population of Beijing municipality in 2003 was 14.56 million, of whom about 11.49 million had Beijing hukou and 3.07 million were on temporary residence permits. In addition, there is a large but unknown number of migrant workers who live illegally in Beijing without temporary residence permits.

The vast majority of Beijing residents are Han Chinese. There are also some Manchus, Hui, and Mongols. In recent years there has been an influx of South Koreans, who live in Beijing predominantly for business, and are concentrated in the Wangjing area.


]] Beijing opera, or Jingju, is well-known throughout the national capital. Commonly lauded as one of the highest achievements of Chinese culture, Beijing opera is performed through a combination of singing, spoken dialogue, and codified action sequences, such as gestures, walking, and fighting. Much of Beijing opera is carried out in an archaic stage dialect quite different from modern Putonghua; this makes the dialogue somewhat hard to understand, and the problem is compounded if one is not familiar with Chinese.

The siheyuan is a traditional architectural style of Beijing. A siheyuan consists of a square housing compound, with rooms enclosing a central courtyard. This courtyard often contains a pomegranate or other type of tree, as well as potted flowers or a fish tank.

Hutongs, or alleyways, connect the interior of Beijing's old city. They are usually straight, bending only at right angles, and point in one of the compass directions. They are also very narrow, enough for only a few pedestrians to pass through at a time.

Once ubiquitous in Beijing, siheyuans and hutongs are now rapidly disappearing, as new development projects take place and people move out to the suburbs. In response, the municipal government has listed a number of old siheyuans for preservation.

Mandarin cuisine is the local style of cooking in Beijing. Peking duck is perhaps the most well-known dish.

Teahouses are also common in Beijing. Chinese tea come in many variants and some (rather expensive) variants of tea cure an ailing body extraordinarily well.


Roads and Expressways

near the intersection with the Northern 6th Ring Road (taken in November of 2002)]]

Ring Roads

Main article: Ring Roads of Beijing

The city is served by four completed concentric ring roads (with a fifth nearing completion); these are:

The western part of the 6th Ring Road is still partially under projection; around 43 km are already under construction. There are rare references to a 7th Ring Road. It is odd to note that Beijing does not officially have a 1st Ring Road.


Nine toll expressways link Beijing to its suburbs, outlying regions, and other cities; these are:

Further planned are expressways linking Beijing city to Pinggu district, and a second expressway (possibly linking with Tianjin) between the current-day Jingtong and Jingshen Expressways. Also, an eastern part of an expressway, running between the E. 5th Ring Rd. and the E. 6th Ring Rd., is on the drawing board.

China National Highways

Eleven China National Highway routes depart from Beijing in virtually all compass directions:

813 kilometres of China National Highway lie within Beijing municipality.

Tian'anmen is considered "km 0" for all China National Highways.

City Transportation

The evolving Beijing Subway has four lines (two above ground, two underground), with several more being built in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics. The number of bus routes is approaching one thousand. There are also many trolleybus routes in the city. Taxis are nearly ubiquitous in appearance and some can accept Yikatong cards for payment.

Traffic in the city centre is gridlocked, especially around rush hour. The authorities have attempted several moves with limited success. One big problem is that public transportation is underdeveloped (the underground system is presently minimal) and that even busses are jam-packed with people around rush hour. Beijing authorities trumpet that traffic jams may be a thing of a past come the 2008 Olympics.


Beijing has two major railway stations: Beijing Railway Station (or the central station) and Beijing West Railway Station. Beijing North Railway Station, Beijing East Railway Station and Beijing South Railway Station all exist, but they handle only limited traffic. Hepingli Railway Station seems to have been completely abandoned and is apparently no longer in service.

International trains, including lines to Russia and Pyongyang, North Korea (DPRK), all run through Beijing. Direct trains to Hong Kong also leave Beijing. Nationwide, lines to all major cities and minor cities in the mainland leave Beijing.


Beijing's main airport is the Beijing Capital International Airport near Shunyi, which is about 20 kilometres northeast of Beijing proper. Flights from all major continents land in Beijing. This airport is also where a lot of domestic lines land.

Other airports in the city include Liangxiang Airport, Nanyuan Airport, Xijiao Airport and Badaling Airport. However, these are lesser well-known.


Famous landmarks around Beijing include:

Important tourist attractions also include: Famous Theatres of Beijing include:

Colleges and Universities

Under the Ministry of Education:

Under miscellaneous national agencies: Under the municipal government: Private institutions: Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.

's Landsat 7.]]


TV and Radio

Beijing has nine TV programmes, numbered channels 1 through 9. Unlike CCTV, there is at present no exclusive English-language TV channel on a citywide level in Beijing.

The TV programmes are run by Beijing TV.

There are two radio stations which feature programmes in English. They are Hit FM on FM 88.7 and Easy FM by CRI on FM 91.5.


The well-known Beijing Evening News newspaper appears without delay every Beijing afternoon, covering news in Chinese about Beijing. Other newspapers are the Beijing Star Daily, the Beijing Morning News and the English-language Beijing Weekend.

Nationwide newspapers are also available in Beijing.

Publications catering to the expat community include City Weekend, that's Beijing and MetroZine, among others.

International newspapers in most languages, including English and Japanese, are available in hotels and Friendship Stores, and content often appears complete.

Miscellaneous topics

Beijing will be the site of the 2008 Summer Olympics and of the 2008 Summer Paralympics.

Sports teams based in Beijing include:

Chinese Football Association Super League

Chinese Basketball Association
See also:

See also

External links

[ Edit {}] Province-level divisions of the People's Republic of China
Provinces¹: Anhui | Fujian | Gansu | Guangdong | Guizhou | Hainan | Hebei | Heilongjiang | Henan | Hubei | Hunan | Jiangsu | Jiangxi | Jilin | Liaoning | Qinghai | Shaanxi | Shandong | Shanxi | Sichuan | Yunnan | Zhejiang
Autonomous Regions;: Guangxi | Inner Mongolia | Ningxia | Tibet | Xinjiang
Municipalities: Beijing | Chongqing | Shanghai | Tianjin
Special Administrative Regions;: Hong Kong | Macau
¹ See also: Political status of Taiwan