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Shenzhen

 

 

 

Shenzhen (Chinese: 深圳; pinyin: Shēnzhèn; Mandarin pronunciation: [ʂə́ntʂə̂n]) is a major city in the south of Southern China's Guangdong Province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong. The area became China's first—and one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones (SEZs). It currently also holds sub-provincial administrative status, with powers slightly less than a province.

 

Shenzhen's modern cityscape is the result of the vibrant economy made possible by rapid foreign investment since the institution of the policy of "reform and opening" establishment of the SEZ in the late 1979, before which it was only a small village. Both Chinese and foreign nationals have invested enormous amounts of money in the Shenzhen SEZ. More than US$30 billion in foreign investment has gone into both foreign-owned and joint ventures, at first mainly in manufacturing but more recently in the service industries as well. Shenzhen is now considered one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.

 

Being southern mainland China's major financial centre, Shenzhen is home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of numerous high-tech companies. Shenzhen is also one of the busiest container ports in China.

 

 

History

 

Human habitation in Shenzhen dates back to ancient times. The earliest archaeological remains so far unearthed are shards from a site at Xiantouling on Mirs Bay, dating back to 5000 BC. From the Han Dynasty (third century BC) onwards, the area around Shenzhen was a centre of the salt monopoly, thus meriting special Imperial protection. Salt pans are still visible around the Pearl River area to the west of the city and are commemorated in the name of the Yantian container terminal (盐田, meaning “salt fields”).[citation needed]

 

The settlement at Nantou was the political centre of the area from early antiquity. In the year 331 AD, six counties covering most of modern south-eastern Guangdong were merged into one province or “jun” named Dongguan Jun with its centre at Nantou.[citation needed] As well as being a centre of the politically and fiscally critical salt trade, the area had strategic importance as a stopping off point for international trade. The main shipping route to India, Arabia and the Byzantine Empire started at Canton. As early as the eighth century, chronicles record the Nantou area as being a major commercial centre, and reported that all foreign ships in the Canton trade would stop there. It was also as a naval defence centre guarding the southern approaches to the Pearl River.

 

Shenzhen was also involved in the events surrounding the end of the Southern Song Dynasty (1276–79). The Imperial court, fleeing Kublai Khan's forces, established itself in the Shenzhen area and the last Emperor died strapped to the back of his chief Minister who preferred suicide to the possibility of the Emperor being captured and bringing shame to the dynasty. In the late 19th century the Chiu or Zhao (Zhao was the Song Imperial surname)clan in Hong Kong identified the Chiwan area as the final resting place of the Emperor and built a tomb to him. The tomb, since restored, is still in Chiwan.[4]

 

Earliest known ancient records that carried the name of Shenzhen date from 1410 during the Ming Dynasty. Local people called the drains in paddy fields “zhen” (圳). Shenzhen (深圳) literally means “deep drains” as the area was once crisscrossed with rivers and streams, with deep drains within the paddy fields. The character 圳 is limited in distribution to an area of South China with its most northerly examples in Zhejiang Province which suggests an association with southwards migration during the Southern Song Dynasty (12th and 13th centuries).[5] The County town at Xin'an in modern Nanshan dates from the Ming Dynasty where it was a major naval centre at the mouth of the Pearl River. In this capacity it was heavily involved in 1521 in the successful Chinese action against the Portuguese Fleet under Fernão Pires de Andrade. This battle, called the Battle of Tunmen, was fought in the straits between Shekou and Lintin Island.

 

Shenzhen was singled out to be the first of the five Special Economic Zones (SEZ). It was formally established in 1979 due to its proximity to Hong Kong. The SEZ was created to be an experimental ground for the practice of market capitalism within a community guided by the ideals of "socialism with Chinese characteristics".

 

Shenzhen eventually became one of the largest cities in the Pearl River Delta region, which has become one of the economic powerhouses of China as well as the largest manufacturing base in the world.[citation needed]

 

In November 1979, Shenzhen, then known as Bao'an County (宝安县), was promoted to prefecture level, directly governed by Guangdong province. In May 1980, Shenzhen was formally nominated as a "special economic zone", the first one of its kind in China. It was given the right of provincial-level economic administration in November 1988.[citation needed]

 

For five months in 1996, Shenzhen was home to the Provisional Legislative Council and Provisional Executive Council of Hong Kong.

 

 

Geography

 

Shenzhen is located in the Pearl River Delta, bordering Hong Kong to the south, Huizhou to the north and northeast and Dongguan to the north and northwest. The municipality covers an area of 2,050 square kilometres (792 sq mi) including urban and rural areas, with a total population of 14 million in 2008.

 

The city was originally a hilly area, with fertile agrarian land. However, after becoming a special economic zone in 1979, Shenzhen underwent tremendous change in landscape. The once hilly fishing village is now replaced by mostly flat ground in city center area, with only Lianhua Shan (Lotus Hill), Bijia Shan (Bijia Mountain) and Wutong Shan the only three places that have some kind of elevation as viewed from satellites. With the influx of migrants from inland China, Shenzhen is experiencing a second stage boom, and it is now expanding peripherally and the hills in surrounding areas such as Mission Hills are now being levelled to make land for more development.[citation needed]

 

Shenzhen is located on the border with the Hong Kong SAR across the Sham Chun River and Sha Tau Kok River, 100 kilometres (62 mi) southeast of the provincial capital of Guangzhou, 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of the industrial city of Dongguan and 60 kilometres (37 mi) north-northeast of the resort city of Zhuhai.

 

 

Climate

 

Shenzhen is situated in the subtropical part of China, located at about the Tropic of Cancer, yet due to the Siberian anticyclone, has a warm, monsoon-influenced, humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa). Winters are mild and relatively dry, due in part to the influence of the South China Sea, and frost is very rare; it begins dry but becomes progressively more humid and overcast. However, fog is most frequent in winter and spring, with 106 days per year reporting some fog. Early spring is the cloudiest time of year, and rainfall begins to dramatically increase in April; the rainy season lasts until late September to early October. The monsoon reaches its peak intensity in the summer months, when the city also experiences very humid, and hot, but moderated, conditions; there are only 2.4 days of 35 °C (95 °F)+ temperatures.[8] The region is prone to torrential rain as well, with 9.7 days that have 50 mm (1.97 in) or more of rain, and 2.2 days of at least 100 mm (3.94 in).[8] The latter portion of autumn is dry. The annual precipitation averages at around 1,970 mm (78 in), some of which is delivered in typhoons that strike from the east during summer and early autumn. Extreme temperatures have ranged from 0.2 °C (32 °F) on 11 February 1957 to 38.7 °C (102 °F) on 10 July 1980.

 

 

Tourist attractions

 

Shenzhen's major tourist attractions include the Chinese Folk Culture Village, the Window of the World, Happy Valley, Splendid China, the Safari Park in Nanshan district, the Dameisha Promenade, Xiaomeisha Beach Resort in Yantian district, Zhongying Jie/Chung Ying Street, Xianhu Lake Botanical Garden, and Minsk World. The city also offers free admission to a number of public parks including the Lianhuashan Park, Lizhi Park, Zhongshan Park and Wutongshan Park.

 

The OCT East development in Nanshan district is also an events hotspot, featuring the Ecoventure Valley and the Tea Stream Resort Valley theme parks, three scenic towns, two 18-hole golf courses and eight themed hotels. OCT East was joined in 2012 by the OCT Bay development, which brought more attractions including an exhibition centre, hotels and residences, an artificial beach called CoCo Beach, and an IMAX cinema.

 

There are over twenty public city parks in Shenzhen.

 

Some tourists, however, choose to stay in a largely expatriate and exotic residential community called Shekou, home to a large French cruise liner cemented into the ground called Sea World.[46] Shekou was expanded and renovated in recent years, including claiming additional land from the sea.

 

Shenzhen's central music hall and library are located in the Shenzhen Cultural Center.

 

In recent years, the East Coast (shoreline) of Shenzhen has attracted more and more tourists, including backpackers.[citation needed] One of the most famous beaches is Xichong in the south of Dapeng Peninsula.