/choong"king"/; Chin. /joong"ging"/, n.
Older Spelling. Chongqing.

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Chinese (Wade-Giles)  Ch'ung-ch'ing , (Pinyin)  Chongqing 

      largest city of the Szechwan sheng (province), China. The leading river port and industrial centre in southwestern China, the city is located 1,400 miles (2,250 kilometres) from the sea, at the confluence of the Yangtze and Chia-ling rivers. During World War II it was the capital of Nationalist China. The city was named Ch'ung-ch'ing (“Double-Blessed”) in 1188 under the Nan (Southern) Sung dynasty (AD 1127–1279) because of its commanding position between the cities of Shun-ch'ing (modern Nan-ch'ung) to the north and Shao-ch'ing (modern P'eng-shui) to the south. The city proper includes the Old City and adjacent areas, while the much larger Chungking Municipality (Ch'ung-ch'ing Shih) comprises several counties and a number of lesser cities.

Physical and human geography

The landscape
The city site
      Chungking is built on and around Mount Chin-pi (Chin-pi Shan), a hilly promontory of red Jurassic sandstone and shale, which reaches a maximum elevation of about 900 feet (275 metres) above sea level. The promontory is bounded on the north by the Chia-ling River (Chia-ling Chiang), with the industrial area of Chiang-pei on its north bank, and on the east and south by the Yangtze. Other hills, southern offshoots of the Hua-ying Mountains (Hua-ying Shan), rise in the city's outskirts and suburbs.

      Chungking is noted for its mild and intensely humid climate. It is shielded from the cold northern winds by the Tsinling Mountains and has little or no frost or ice in winter; the mean temperatures in January and February, the only cool months, are 47° F (8° C) and 50° F (10° C), respectively. Summer, which lasts from May through September, is hot and humid; the August mean temperature is 84° F (29° C), and on many days the high temperature exceeds 100° F (38° C). The remaining months are warm, with mean temperatures ranging between 58° and 67° F (14° and 19° C).

      The bulk of rain falls from April through October; the average annual total is about 43 inches (1,087 millimetres). Because of the high humidity, fog and mist are particularly heavy. From October to April the city is perpetually blanketed by fog, which hampers inland navigation, aviation, and local traffic. Chungking's climate has earned the city the nickname “furnace of the Yangtze.” The aptness of this name has only increased under the conditions of modernity: contaminated by soot, carbon dioxide, and acid rain, the atmosphere of Chungking is among the most polluted of any city in China.

The city plan

      The Old City of Chungking (formerly surrounded by a city wall and gates, of which only the names now remain) occupies the eastern third of the rocky promontory and covers an area of about 28 square miles (73 square kilometres). The south and east slopes facing the waterfront form the “lower city,” while the remainder is the “upper city.” An east–west avenue runs through the middle of each of these areas, and a third runs atop the spine of the promontory's ridge. Cross streets are narrower and often winding; following the topography of the hill, some of them go up and down in flights of hundreds of steps. Chungking's main business district is located around the Liberation Monument (Chieh-fang Pei) in the centre of the Old City.

      The new sections of the city on the western part of the promontory spread far along the banks of the two rivers, covering an area considerably larger than the Old City. During World War II the offices of the Nationalist government were located there, and they are now the sites of government office buildings and of museums and exhibition halls. The city has grown so much that the incorporation of numerous industrial towns and suburban communities has extended the city limits to Pei-p'ei in the north and to Pai-shih-i in the southwest. Equally important are the suburban areas on the south shore of the Yangtze. In former times, ferries were the only means by which the rivers could be crossed; now they also may be crossed by way of the Chia-ling Bridge (1966) to the northwest and the Chungking Yangtze Bridge (1980) to the south. A cableway across the Chia-ling River links the Old City with Chiang-pei. The spacious gardens and beautiful residences of the suburban areas contribute much to relieving the crowded conditions of the Old City.

      Before World War II Chungking was a city of narrow streets and crowded housing. Streets and lanes followed the contours of the hills. The houses were constructed of bamboo, wood, or thatch in the poorer residential areas and of brick in the wealthier areas. In all areas there was a high degree of congestion. A vigorous modernization program was introduced when the city became the seat of the Nationalist government. Part of the city wall was demolished to make way for new streets, and existing streets were graded and widened. The tremendous demand for housing created by an influx of government workers and refugees led to the rapid expansion of the sections west of the Old City.

      From 1938 to 1942 Chungking was heavily bombarded by the Japanese, causing massive destruction in the city. Parts of the wall and virtually all of the city's historic monuments and temples were damaged or destroyed. Because of the destruction the new Communist government (which came to power in 1949) had little difficulty in carrying forward the tasks of modernization and expansion after the war. Modern buildings now stand throughout the city. In the northern suburbs and adjacent areas large buildings provide living quarters for workers and accommodations for factories and workshops. The large brick apartments, generally four to six stories high, are surrounded by trees and vegetable gardens. Yet Chungking remains a city of striking contrasts. Houses of traditional design, blackened by weather, are still to be found on steep hills and along the highways to the suburbs. In many places bamboo structures still line the river bluffs.

Outlying suburbs
      In contrast to the congested conditions in the city and the industrial districts, the outlying suburbs have a number of delightful resorts and spas. Among the scenic spots on the south shore are the temple in honour of Empress Yü, consort of the Hsia dynasty emperor of the same name, on Mount Tu; the wooded summer resorts of Ch'ing-shui-ch'i (“Clear Water Creek”) and Yang-t'ien-wo (“Sky-gazing Hollow”) on Mount Huang; and Nan-wen-ch'üan (“South Hot Springs”), which has delightful retreats at Hua-ch'i (“Flower Creek”) and Hu-hsiao-k'ou (“Tiger Roar Gap”). A short distance north of the city are the springs of Ko-lo-shan. Farther up the Chia-ling River at Pei-p'ei are the Chin-yün Shih Temple, the celebrated retreat of the Sung dynasty savant Feng Chin-yün, and Pei-wen-ch'üan (“North Hot Springs”), reputedly superior to the South Hot Springs because its water is warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

The people
      Before the war with Japan, Chungking had fewer than 250,000 inhabitants. From 1938 onward, people from the Japanese-occupied coastal provinces flocked to the wartime capital at an astonishing rate. A part of Chungking's population increase since 1938 has consisted of government workers, factory personnel, and refugees from other provinces. (In the late 1940s, however, the city's population decreased temporarily with the return of people to the coastal provinces.) The influx of people from downriver has contributed to turning formerly parochial Chungking into a cosmopolitan city; the number of people living in the city proper alone is now more than 10 times greater than the population of the Old City before the war. The Szechwan dialect, despite its heavy accent and many regional slang words, is quite intelligible to speakers of Mandarin.

The economy
      As early as the middle of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) workshops for spinning, weaving, silk reeling, and brewing were established in Chungking. The city was opened to foreign trade in 1890, and two metal mills were set up a year later. By 1905 Chungking had spinning and weaving mills, silk-reeling mills, and glassmaking and cigarette plants.

      The foundations of Chungking's modern industry were laid between 1938 and 1945, when factories transplanted from the coastal provinces began production under the aegis of the Nationalist government; and because coal, iron, and other resources were in such close proximity, industry rapidly expanded. Considerable industrial development was undertaken by the Communist government after 1949. By the late 20th century Chungking had become one of the largest and fastest growing industrial centres in southwestern China.

      The city's enormous complex of integrated iron and steel plants is among China's largest facilities. Ore is mined at Ch'i-chiang (in the southern part of the municipality) and at Wei-yüan (a short distance west of Nei-chiang). Coal is mined at several locations in the municipality, including Chiang-pei, Pei-p'ei, Pa-hsien, Pi-shan, and Ho-ch'uan. Oil transported from a major oil field just to the west at Tzu-kung and by pipeline from a field to the north supplies Chungking's oil refinery. Power-generating capacity was greatly enlarged with the completion of the Shih-tze-t'an hydroelectric station on the Lung-ch'i River, northeast of the city.

      Other important heavy industries include machine, farm tool, and munitions factories; truck and motor-coach manufacturing plants; and chemical and fertilizer plants (manufacturing soap, candles, acid and caustic soda, fertilizers, plastics, and chemical fibres). The city also has a copper refinery, alcohol plants (making gasoline substitutes), and rubber reconditioning plants. In light industries Chungking leads the entire southwest of the nation. Noteworthy are the cotton, silk, paper, and leather industries, as well as flour mills, dyeing factories, and vegetable-oil and food-processing plants. Chungking is also noted for its handicrafts, especially lacquer ware.

      In the 1980s the city became the scene of major experiments in industrial economics. Factories in Chungking, for the first time in China, were allowed to channel some of their profits into expansion; and factory managers were given increased decision-making power.

      Chungking is the focal point of trade and transport not only of Szechwan but also of the hinterland provinces of Shensi, Yunnan, and Kweichow and of the autonomous region of Tibet. Since 1979 its port—along with several others on the Yangtze—has been open for direct foreign trade, increasing the city's importance as an international trade centre. Chungking is a major oil port, and other exports to downriver provinces and abroad include rolled steel, chemicals, raw silk, goatskin, wool, hides, hog bristles, salt, sugar, tobacco, tung oil, jute, wax, canned foods, medicinal herbs, rhubarb, and musk. Before World War II Chungking imported large quantities of consumer goods from downriver or from abroad, but rapid industrialization brought self-sufficiency in consumer goods to Szechwan and the interior provinces.

      Since 1949 bicycles, buses, and motorbikes have replaced chairs on bamboo poles and rickshas as the principal means of transport in Chungking. Cable tramways provide cheap and convenient transport over the steep hills.

      Chungking is served by two great rivers, the Yangtze (Yangtze River) and the Chia-ling (Jialing River), and is the leading port of southwestern China. As a result of extensive work carried out in the 1950s—including dredging, clearing shoals, and installing buoys and signals—navigation through the Yangtze Gorges has been rendered easy and safe. Steamers now make a round trip between Hankow (Wu-han) in eastern Hupeh Province and Chungking in less than a week. Above Chungking smaller steamers are able to sail up to I-pin on the Yangtze (and beyond to Chia-ting on the Min River) and up to Nan-ch'ung on the Chia-ling. Above these points, junks can navigate beyond Ch'eng-tu to Kuan-hsien and Mao-hsien on the Min and to Lüeh-yang in southern Shensi on the Chia-ling.

      Chungking's railroad system developed rapidly after 1949. The Chungking–Ch'eng-tu railroad, completed in 1952, is the vital link between the Ch'eng-tu Plain and the Yangtze; a southern spur extends through Tzu-kung and I-pin. The Ch'eng-tu–Pao-chi line, completed four years later, connects the city with the Lunghai Railroad and the entire Northwest, as well as with Wu-han in Hupeh Province and a major north–south line; the Chungking–An-k'ang railway also directly links the city with Wu-han. The Chungking–Kuei-yang railroad not only connects Chungking with the province of Kweichow to the south but also joins other lines in Yunnan and Kwangsi running to the Vietnamese border.

      The first roads for wheeled traffic in the city were built in 1933. As a result of work begun during World War II, Chungking is now the hub of an extensive network of highways. Major arterials lead south to Kuei-yang (303 miles), northeast to Wan-hsien (258 miles), and northwest to Ch'eng-tu (275 miles). The Chungking Yangtze Bridge carries highway traffic across the river from the southern Kuei-yang highway to the northern part of the city. An air terminal, located at P'ai-shih-i about 17 miles west of the city, provides regular flights to major cities throughout China.

Administration and social conditions
      Chungking's municipal government is part of the hierarchical structure of the Chinese government—and the parallel structure of the Chinese Communist Party—that extends from the national organization, through the provincial apparatus, to the municipal and, ultimately, neighbourhood levels. The principal responsibilities of the Chungking Municipal People's Congress, the major decision-making body, include issuing administrative orders, collecting taxes, determining the budget, and implementing economic plans. A standing committee selected from its members recommends policy decisions and oversees the operation of municipal government. Executive authority rests with the Chungking People's Government, the officers of which are elected by the Chungking Municipal People's Congress; it consists of a mayor, vice mayors, and numerous bureaus in charge of public security, the judicial system, and other civil, economic, social, and cultural affairs.

      Administratively the city is divided into a number of districts (ch'ü), each under a district mayoralty. At the next lower level are police substations and street mayoralties that handle civil affairs in the same subareas. Neighbourhood street committees perform the auxiliary functions of mediating disputes, propagating legal orders, and promoting sanitation and welfare. These committees are quasi-official administrations, consolidated under Chinese Communist Party leadership and covering blocks of streets of varying sizes. Chungking Municipality has considerably extended the territorial limits of the municipal area to include a series of urban–rural units surrounding the city proper. Since 1980 the municipal government has allowed farmers to engage in industry, commerce, and transportation in addition to cultivation.

Public utilities
      Although an electric-light plant was established in the early 1900s, it was not until the late 1920s and early 1930s that a modernization drive was launched by local leaders in Chungking to improve living conditions. Demolition of the city walls was initiated, streets were widened, and a piped water system and a telephone exchange were introduced. Yet even during the 1940s sanitation and public hygiene were still poor. The city had a large rat population, opium smoking in homes and inns was widespread, and lice-ridden waifs and beggars were a familiar sight. But because of energetic measures carried out since 1949, including the installation of a modern sewer system, these conditions belong to the past. Chungking has now achieved a high degree of cleanliness, although air pollution has become a problem.

      Chungking has a considerable number of hospitals. The major share of medical care, however, is provided by clinics and health stations that are operated by neighbourhood street committees. These clinics are equipped with a limited number of beds and are staffed by physicians. Western-style medicine is combined with traditional herb medicine and acupuncture. Family planning is practiced and contraceptives are free. Because the government recognizes that there still is a shortage of medical facilities, it places great emphasis on the drive for physical fitness.

      Since 1949 the number of schools at all levels—kindergartens, primary schools, middle schools, and colleges—has increased. The growth of kindergartens, which were little known in prewar years, has enabled many women to obtain proper care for their children and thus become part of the work force. The government has attached great importance to the establishment of teacher-training schools, vocational-technical schools, and part-time agricultural middle schools.

      Chungking University (founded in 1929) offers its students a comprehensive range of studies. Other institutions of higher learning include Southwest Political Science and Law College, Chungking Institute of Medicine, Chungking Construction Engineering College, Southwestern Institute of Agriculture, Szechwan Institute of Fine Arts, and Southwest College of Education. Chungking Library and Chungking Municipal Museum are among the leading cultural centres in the city.

Cultural life
      Sports and recreation are dominant features of Chungking's cultural life. Ta-t'ien-wan Stadium, the city's main sports centre, offers a football (soccer) field; volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts; a track-and-field playground; and a parachute tower. The stadium has a capacity of 100,000. Numerous parks, both in the Old City and in outlying areas, attract large numbers of visitors. Of particular appeal are the hot springs, which are open year-round. South of the city, among well-kept gardens with lakes and pavilions, are the sulfurous springs of Nan-wen-ch'üan Park. To the north of the city are the well-known hot springs of Pei-wen-ch'üan Park along the Chia-ling River. Visitors come to relax, often soaking for hours in one of the numerous baths filled with warm mineral water, or they swim in one of the three Olympic-sized pools, which are also fed by the hot springs.

      A noteworthy feature of Chungking's cultural life is its distinctive Szechwan cuisine. This highly spiced food is characterized mainly by the use of hot peppers as well as by such delicacies as tree ears, black mushrooms, and fresh bamboo shoots and peanuts.


The early period
      According to ancient accounts Chungking was the birthplace of the consort of Emperor Yü of the legendary Hsia dynasty, about 4,000 years ago. In the 11th century BC, under the Western Chou dynasty, the region surrounding Chungking became a feudal state known as Pa (Ba). In the 5th century BC, Pa established relations with the mid-Yangtze kingdom of Ch'u. It was later incorporated into the Ch'in empire. By the mid-3rd century BC the region became part of the kingdom of Shu and was totally independent of northern and central China.

      The swing of the historical pendulum—in which the city's status alternated between being ruled by an empire in northern China, forming part of an empire in central China, and detaching itself to become independent of both northern and central China—continued throughout subsequent centuries. The city finally became an integral part of the unified Chinese empire, first under the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), and then under the Ch'ing, or Manchu, dynasty (1644–1911/12).

      The first substantial city wall was constructed around 250 BC. It was repaired and expanded during the 3rd century AD and rebuilt with solid stone in 1370. In the 1630s, at the end of the Ming dynasty, the rebellion of Chang Hsien-chung (Zhang Xianzhong) subjected Chungking to plunder, slaughter, and destruction. The city wall was restored in 1663. Some five miles in circumference, it had a total of 17 gates: eight gates remained closed on the advice of geomancers (practitioners of divination by means of figures or lines), while nine were open to traffic. Additional work was done to strengthen the city wall in 1760.

The modern period
      Chungking was opened to British trade in 1890, but navigational difficulties on the Yangtze delayed steamer traffic for more than a decade. Meanwhile, the Treaty of Shimonoseki (Shimonoseki, Treaty of) (1895), which concluded the first Sino-Japanese War (1894–95), gave Japan the right to establish a concession. Accordingly, in 1901, when British trade opened, a Japanese concession was established at Wang-chia-to on the south shore of the Yangtze. This concession lasted until 1937, when it was abandoned by Japan on the outbreak of war.

      On the eve of the revolution of 1911 Chungking, along with the provincial capital, Ch'eng-tu, played a major role in bringing about the overthrow of the Manchus; many patriots of the region joined the revolutionary party of the Chinese Nationalist leader Sun Yat-sen. Despite such progressive trends and a nominal allegiance to the central government, Chungking was unable to break away from the grip of regional separatism.

      Yet in 1938, when war again broke out with Japan, Chungking became the capital of the Nationalist government. Hundreds of government offices were moved to the city from Nanking, along with the diplomatic missions of foreign powers; and tens of thousands of people came from coastal provinces, bringing with them arsenals, factories, and schools. Friendly powers, too, rushed supplies to Chungking to bolster its war effort. Despite the Japanese bombings, the morale of its population—at the time more than 1,000,000—was high. Chiang Kai-shek's failure to control inflation and corruption, however, caused the war effort to falter from 1942 onward. In 1946, on the eve of the renewed civil war against the Communists, the Nationalist capital returned to Nanking. Three years later, in April 1949, Nanking fell. The Nationalist government fled to Canton and then once again—for less than two months—to Chungking (October to December 1949). When the Nationalists fled to Taiwan in December, the Communist victory on the mainland was complete.

      Shortly after the Communist takeover in 1949, repair of the war damage began, and expansion of the city's industrial base, established in the early 20th century, was vigorously pursued. Even though energies were temporarily deflected during the Great Leap Forward (1958–60) and the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), the city, nonetheless, succeeded in carrying out extensive modernization projects and significantly raised the standard of living.

Additional Reading
Comprehensive general references are Fredric Kaplan, Julian Sobin, and Arne De Keijzer, The China Guidebook, 6th ed. (1985), revised annually; and Nagel Publishers, China, English version by Anne L. Destenay, 4th ed. (1982). References to Chungking's role in Chinese history can be found in Immanuel C.Y. Hsü, The Rise of Modern China, 3rd ed. (1983); and an analysis of a specific epoch is Robert A. Kapp, Szechwan and the Chinese Republic, 1911–1938 (1973). Chungking during World War II is portrayed in Theodore H. White and Annalee Jacoby, Thunder out of China (1946, reprinted 1980); and Paul M.A. Linebarger, The China of Chiang K'ai-shek: A Political Study (1941, reprinted 1973). Edgar Snow, Red China Today, rev. ed. (1971), contains one of the best descriptions of the modern scene. For geography, see George Babcock Cressey, China's Geographic Foundations (1934); and for an economic geography, see T.R. Tregear, China, a Geographical Survey (1980). Frederica M. Bunge and Rinn-Sup Shinn (eds.), China, a Country Study, 3rd ed. (1981), discusses several aspects of Chungking's industry, trade, and transportation. Articles in China Reconstructs (monthly) and Far Eastern Economic Review (weekly) contain useful information on contemporary developments.Ping-chia Kuo Wang Mingye

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Universalium. 2010.

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