Tianjin (Chinese: 天津; pinyin: tiān jīn; Postal System Pinyin: Tientsin) is a harbour municipality in China on the Hai He River (from Beijing) and Bohai Gulf of the Yellow Sea (Pacific Ocean). The placename literally means "the Heavenly Ford".
Tianjin is one of four independent municipalities in the People's Republic of China with provincial-level status. Tianjin is also the third largest city of China (rural population not counted).
The land where Tianjin lies today was originally part of Bohai Bay, and was created by sedimentation of the Yellow River when it entered the sea at that point.
The opening of the Grand Canal of China during the Sui Dynasty prompted the development of Tianjin into a trading center. Until 1404 Tianjin was called "Zhigu" (直沽), or "Straight Port". In that year, the Emperor Yongle renamed the city "Tianjin", literally "Heaven Ford", to mean that the emperor (son of heaven) forded the river at that point, as he indeed did earlier on his way to taking the throne forcibly from his nephew. A fort was established at Tianjin, known as "Tianjin Wei" (天津卫), meaning "Fort Tianjin".
Tianjin was promoted to a prefecture in 1725. Tianjin County was established under the prefecture in 1731.
In 1856 Chinese soldiers boarded The Arrow, a Chinese-owned ship registered in Hong Kong flying the British flag and suspected of piracy, smuggling and of being engaged in the opium trade. They captured 12 men and imprisoned them. In response the British and French sent gunboats under the command of Admiral Sir Michael Seymour to capture the Taku forts near Tianjin in May 1858. In June 1858, at the end of the first part of the Second Opium War, the Treaties of Tianjin were signed, which opened Tianjin to foreign trade. The treaties were ratified by the Emperor of China in 1860, and Tianjin was formally opened.
In June 1870, Wanghailou Church in Tianjin, built by French missionaries one year earlier, was implicated in the kidnapping, death by neglect, and improper burial of Chinese children. On June 21, the magistrate of Tianjin County initiated a showdown at the church that developed into violent clashes between the church's Christian supporters and non-Christian Tianjin residents. Mobs eventually burned down Wanghailou Church and the nearby French consulate, in what has since been known as the Tianjin Church Incident (天津教案). After the incident, France and six other Western nations complained to the Qing government, which was forced to pay compensation for the incident.
Between 1895 and 1900 Britain and France were joined by Japan, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy and Belgium in establishing self-contained concessions each with their own prisons, schools, barracks and hospitals.
In June 1900, the Boxers were able to seize control of much of Tianjin. On June 26 European forces heading towards Beijing were stopped by Boxers at nearby Langfang, and were forced to turn back to Tianjin. The foreign concessions also came under siege for several weeks. Herbert Hoover, the future President of the United States, was working in Tianjin at the time as chief engineer in the Chinese government's imperial bureau of mines, and together with fellow engineers built a protective wall against the attackers and risked his own life rescuing Chinese children.
Tianjin was established as a municipality of China in 1927.
On July 30, 1937, Tianjin fell to Japan, as part of the Second Sino-Japanese War. During the occupation Tianjin was ruled by the North China Executive Committee, a puppet state based in Beijing. Japanese occupation lasted until August 15, 1945, the surrender of Japan marking the end of World War II.
After 1945, Tianjin became base to American forces. In December 1946, the rape of a Beiping (now Beijing) female university student by an American soldier, together with a series of rapes that had occurred in Tianjin before, sparked protests in Tianjin that culminated in a demonstration on January 1, 1947 involving thousands of students. American troops pulled out of Tianjin in June 1947.
Communist forces took Tianjin on January 15, 1949, following a 29-hour long battle. After communist takeover, Tianjin remained a municipality of China, except between 1958 and 1967, when it was reduced to be a part of and the capital of Hebei province. The Tangshan earthquake of 1976 killed 23938 people in Tianjin and did heavy damage.
After China began to open up in the late 1970s, Tianjin has seen rapidly development, though it is now lagging behind other important cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou.
Tianjin is at the northern end of the Grand Canal of China, which connects with the Huang He and Chang Jiang rivers. Tianjin borders Hebei province to the north, south, and west; the municipality of Beijing in a small portion to the northwest; and the Bohai Gulf of the Yellow Sea to the east.
Tianjin is generally flat, and swampy near the coast, but hilly in the far north, where the Yanshan Mountains pass through the tip of northern Tianjin. The highest point in Tianjin is Jiushanding Peak on the northern border with Hebei, at an altitude of 1078 m.
The Hai He River forms within Tianjin at the confluence of the Ziya River, Daqing River, Yongding River, North Grand Canal, and South Grand Canal; and enters the Pacific Ocean at Tianjin as well, in Dagu District. Major reservoirs include the Beidagang Reservoir in the extreme south (in Dagang District) and the Yuqiao Reservoir in the extreme north (in Jixian County).
Tianjin's climate is characterized by hot, humid summers, due to the monsoon, and dry, cold winters, due to the Siberian anticyclone. Spring is windy but dry, and most of the precipation takes place in July and August.
Tianjin is divided into 18 county-level divisions, including 15 districts and 3 counties.
Six of the districts govern the urban area of Tianjin:
- Heping District (Simplified Chinese: 和平区; Hanyu Pinyin: Hèpíng Qū)
- Hexi District (河西区 Héxī Qū)
- Hebei District (河北区 Héběi Qū)
- Nankai District (南开区 Nánkāi Qū)
- Hedong District (河东区 Hédōng Qū)
- Hongqiao District (红桥区 Hōngqiáo Qū)
Three of the districts govern towns and harbours along the seacoast:
- Tanggu District (塘沽区 Tánggū Qū)
- Hangu District (汉沽区 Hàngū Qū)
- Dagang District (大港区 Dàgǎng Qū)
Six of the districts govern satellite towns and rural areas close to the urban center:
- Jinnan District (津南区 Jīnnán Qū)
- Dongli District (东丽区 Dōnglì Qū)
- Xiqing District (西青区 Xīqīng Qū)
- Beichen District (北辰区 Běichén Qū)
- Baodi District (宝坻区 Bǎodǐ Qū) — Baodi County before 2001
- Wuqing District (武清区 Wǔqīng Qū) — Wuqing County before 2000
The three counties govern towns and rural areas further away from the urban center:
- Ji County (蓟县 Jì Xiàn)
- Jinghai County (静海县 Jìnghǎi Xiàn)
- Ninghe County (宁河县 Nínghé Xiàn)
In addition, the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area (TEDA) is not a formal level of administration, but nevertheless enjoys rights similar to a regular district.
These districts and counties are further subdivided into 241 township-level divisions, including 120 towns, 18 townships, 2 ethnic townships and 101 subdistricts.
Farmland takes up about 40% of Tianjin Municipality's total area. Wheat, rice, and maize are the most important crops. Fishing is important along the coast.
Tianjin Municipality also sits on top of about 1 billion tonnes of petroleum, with Dagang District containing important oilfields. Salt production is also important, with Changlu Yanqu being one of China's most important salt production areas. Geothermal energy is another resource of Tianjin. Deposits of manganese and boron under Tianjin were the first to be found in China.
Tianjin is also an important industrial base. Major industries include petrochemical industries, textiles, car manufacturing, mechanical industries, and metalworking.
The GDP per capita was ¥20443 (ca. US$2470) in 2003, ranked no. 56 among 659 Chinese cities. After China's opening up to the world, Tianjin has lagged behind other important cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou in economic development.
The majority of Tianjin residents are Han Chinese. Minorities include Hui, Koreans, Manchus, and Mongols.
People from urban Tianjin speak Tianjin dialect, which comes under the Mandarin subdivision of spoken Chinese. Despite its proximity to Beijing, Tianjin dialect sounds quite different from Beijing dialect, which provides the basis for Putonghua, official spoken language of the People's Republic of China.
Tianjin cuisine places a focus on seafood. Tianjin's Goubuli is a traditional brand of baozi (Chinese buns with filling) that is famous throughout China.
Yangliuqing, a town about 15 km west of Tianjin's urban area, is famous for its popular Chinese New Year-themed, traditional-style, colourful wash paintings.
Ma Sanli (1914 - 2003), an ethnic Hui and longtime resident of Tianjin, is paramountly respected in China for his xiangsheng, a hugely popular form of Chinese entertainment similar to stand-up comedy. Ma Sanli delivered his xiangsheng in Tianjin dialect.
People from Tianjin are stereotyped to be very eloquent, very humorous, open, and unfettered, but also loud, verbose, lazy, and prone to arguing / fighting. There is a term for the stereotype of the always-eloquent and sometimes-humorous Tianjin native: wèizuǐzi (卫嘴子), which translates roughly as "the Tianjin mouth". This stereotype is perhaps partially the result of Ma Sanli's reputation (see "Culture" section above).
There are several railway stations in the city, Tianjin Railway Station being the principal one. It was built in 1888, initially, the station was located at Wangdaozhuang (旺道庄). The station was later moved to Laolongtou (老龙头) on the banks of the Hai He River in 1892, so the station was renamed Laolongtou Railway Station. The station was rebuilt from scatch in 1988. The rebuilding work began on April 15, 1987 and was finished on October 1, 1988.
Tianjin West Railway Station and Tianjin North Railway Station are also major railway stations in Tianjin. There is also Tanggu Railway Station is located in the important port area of Tanggu District, and TEDA Railway Station located in TEDA, to the north of Tanggu.
There are several other railway stations in the city.
The following railways of China go through Tianjin:
- Jinghu Railway, from Beijing to Shanghai
- Jingha Railway, from Beijing to Harbin
- Jingqin Railway, from Beijing to Qinhuangdao, Hebei
- Jinpu Railway, from Tianjin to Pukou District, Nanjing
- Jinji Railway, from Tianjin urban area to Jixian County, Tianjin
- Jinba Railway, from Tianjin to Bazhou, Hebei
Some spots in Tianjin, including roads and bridges, have names from Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's Three Principles of the People (for example, Minquan Gate on Zhonghuan Road). Names harkening back to the era of the Republic of China on the mainland also appear (e.g. Beiyang Road). Many roads in Tianjin are named after a Chinese province or city. Also, Tianjin is unlike Beijing, in that very few roads run parallel to the major four compass directions.
Tianjin has three ring roads. Unlike Beijing, the Inner and Middle Ring Roads are not closed, traffic-controlled roadways and some often have traffic light intersections. The Outer Ring Road is the closest thing to a highway-level ring road, although traffic is often chaotic and sometimes more than chaotic.
- Inner Ring Road (neihuan)
- Middle Ring Road (zhonghuan)
- Outer Ring Road (waihuan)
Tianjin's roads often finish in dao (avenue), xian (line, more used for highways and through routes) and lu (road). Jie (street) is rare. As Tianjin's roads are rarely in a cardinal compass direction, jing roads and wei roads often appear, which attempt to run more directly north-south and east-west, respectively.
The following seven expressways of China run in or through Tianjin:
- Jingjintang Expressway, from Beijing, through Tianjin's urban area, to Tanggu District / TEDA
- Jinghu Expressway, from Jinjing Gonglu Bridge to Shanghai (together with Jingjintang Expressway, this is the expressway from Beijing to Shanghai)
- Jingshen Expressway, through Baodi District on its way from Beijing to Shenyang
- Tangjin Expressway, from Tanggu District, Tianjin, to Tangshan, Hebei -- known in Tianjin as the Jintang Expressway
- Baojin Expressway, from Beichen District, Tianjin, to Baoding, Hebei -- known in Tianjin as the Jinbao Expressway
- Jinbin Expressway, from Zhangguizhuang Bridge to Hujiayuan Bridge, both within Tianjin
- Jinji Expressway, from central Tianjin to Jixian County
China National Highways
The following six China National Highways pass through Tianjin:
- China National Highway 102, through Ji County, Tianjin on its way from Beijing to Harbin
- China National Highway 103, from Beijing, through Tianjin's urban area, to Tanggu District
- China National Highway 104, from Beijing, through Tianjin Municipality, to Fuzhou
- China National Highway 105, from Beijing, through Tianjin Municipality, to Macau
- China National Highway 112, circular highway around Beijing, passes through Tianjin Municipality
- China National Highway 205, from Shanhaiguan, Hebei, through Tianjin Municipality, to Guangzhou
| ||Roads and Expressways of Tianjin || |
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Tianjin Binhai International Airport (ZBTJ) is located to the east of the urban area, in Dongli District, Tianjin.
The Tianjin bus network was created in 1904, and was the first city to have its own city-wide bus system in China.
There are hundreds of bus lines in the city.
Building work on the Tianjin Metro started on July 4, 1970. It was the second metro to be built in China and commencd service in 1984. The total length of track is 7.4 kilometers.
The metro service was suspended on October 9, 2001 and is currently being rebuilt. This new metro is called "Tianjin Metro Line 1". It is scheduled to be finished in the later half of 2005. The track will be extended to 26.188 kilometers and there will be a total of 22 stations. Previously, there were 8 stations.
There are also several metro lines scheduled to be built. Construction work on Line 2 and Line 3 will begin in late 2004.
There is also a light railway line in the city. The line runs between Tianjin downtown and TEDA, in the seaside region. The eastern part of the line began service on March 28, 2004. The western part of the line is scheduled to be completed in 2006.
Sights in Tianjin include:
- Mount Panshan
- Huangyaguan Great Wall
- Fort Dagukou, Qing Dynasty-era cannon battlement
- Wanghailou Church, site of the 1870 Tianjin Church Incident
Sports teams based in Tianjin include:
Chinese Football Association Super League
Chinese Basketball Association
There are no teams based in Tianjin.
Colleges and Universities
Under the national Ministry of Education:
Under the national Civil Aviation Authority:
Under the municipal government:
Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.
- Yaohua High School (耀华中学)
- Nankai High School (http://tjnkzx.online.tj.cn)(南开中学)
- No. 1 High School (第一中学)
- Xinhua High School (新华中学)
- Shiyan High School (实验中学)
- Official site (http://www.tj.gov.cn/)
- Discover Tianjin (http://www.wayabroad.com/tianjin/)