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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China. It is the center of politics, culture and international exchanges and a modern metropolis full of vitality. The world's earliest description of Beijing came in the travel notes of Marco Polo, the young Italian traveler, in the 13th century. His observations of people's civilized and well-to-do life in Beijing and his admiration for the beauty of the city have for hundreds of years induced the reverie of numerous people about this ancient capital of civilization in the East.

Beijing is one of the places of human origin. It is here that Peking Man, man's forefathers, once lived 500,000 to 700,000 years ago. The history of Beijing as a city may be traced back to over 3,000 years ago. Particularly in the last 600 years from the heyday to the collapse of the feudal society, Beijing was the capital of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, and from here 34 emperors ruled China. A long history has left numerous famous historical sites which possess great aesthetic and cultural values. The Great Wall, a huge project begun more than 2,000 years ago, meanders through mountains and valleys for hundreds of kilometers in the region of Beijing. On the Shijing Mountain,there are morethan 340volumes of 15,000 stone tablets carved with Buddhist scriptures. The big Yongle Bell, cast at one go with over 230,000 characters on it , weighs46.5 tons and shows the exquisite casting technology of ancient China. The Forbidden City, the largest ancient architectural complex extant today, is splendid crystallization of ancient Chinese architectural art. Walking in the city, one may find many places worth a second visit. These include mansions, gardens, gate towers, temples, former residences of celebrities and places where many historical events took place. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people, domestic and foreign, come to Beijing to visit its grand palaces and graceful gardens and to enjoy its marvelous art.

Beijing also attracts world attention with its growing prosperity, and its closer links with world affairs. Through more than 40 years of construction, Beijing has changed from a consumer-city to a major city with various industries. Beijing ranks second among the top 50 cities in China in terms of comprehensive power, and is the first among the 40 best cities in China in terms of investment environment.

With China's reform and opening up, Beijing is improving urban construction on an unprecedented scale. Its speed of development is astonishing, and it brings about changes day after day. Around this graceful ancient capital, a large number of key national projects, massive infrastructure buildings and modern residential houses have sprung up. Wasteland and low, dilapidated houses are gradually disappearing, replaced by newly-built residential quarters of different styles and surrounded by greenbelts. Wide and smooth highways, magnificent overpasses and expressways link Beijing with its neighboring provinces and cities, and eye-catching green trees and gardens have made Beijing resemble a huge scroll of painting pleasing to both the eye and the mind. 

As China's cultural center, Beijing , with a galaxy of talent and a rich culture, has over 70 institutions of higher learning such as the famous Beijing University, Qinghua University, More than 500 scientific research institutions, over 300 publishing houses, as well as hundreds of newspapers and periodicals. Tian'anmen Square, located in the city center, is a symbol of both Beijing and China. The solemn flag-raising ceremony has become a sacred daily celebration. Standing in the world's largest city square and looking far east and west up and down the Chang'an Avenue, one can see a centuries-old architectural complex standing side by side with newly-built modern-style buildings, pigeons fluttering in the blue sky, large kites flying lazily above, torrents of bicycles flooding by and tows of cars whisking along. Tian'anmen Square embodies Beijing's history and reality, arousing the awareness the while the essence of old Beijing remains splendid, the miracles created by new Beijing add to the city's brilliance.


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