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Shanghai travel guide — Shanghai tourism and travel information

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about Shanghai

Shanghai (Chinese: 上海, pinyin: shàng hǎi; Shanghainese IPA: /zɑ̃ hɛ/) is China's largest city and is situated on the banks of the Chang Jiang delta. In Chinese, Shanghai's abbreviations are (滬 or 沪) and Shēn (申). The name Shanghai literally means "on the sea" or "onto the sea." Administratively, Shanghai is one of 4 municipalities of the People's Republic of China, which have provincial-level status.

Shanghai geography

Shanghai faces the East China Sea (part of the Pacific Ocean), and is bisected by the Huangpu River. Puxi contains the city proper on the western side of Huangpu river, while an entirely new financial district has been erected on the eastern bank of the Huangpu in Pudong.

Shanghai experiences all four seasons, with freezing temperatures during the winter season and a 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) average high during the hottest months of July and August. Occasionally, the summer temperature reaches 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahreheit). Winter is typically grey, and summers can be quite humid. Autumn and spring in Shanghai are cool and crisp, and generally agreed as the best time to be in Shanghai. Winter begins in mid December and ends around early March. Scattered light rain is frequent around mid-June to July.

Shanghai history

Before the forming of Shanghai city, Shanghai was called Songjiang county, a part of Suzhou city. The county was formed around 1000 years ago. From the time of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Shanghai gradually became a busy seaport.

A city wall was built in AD 1553, which is generally regarded as the beginning of Shanghai City. However, before the 19th century, Shanghai was not a major city, and in contrast to other major Chinese cities, there are few ancient Chinese landmarks there. Before 1927 Shanghai belonged to Jiangsu province with the capital of Nanjing. Since Shanghai became a Special Administration City in 1927, its official position has been equal to China's province.

The role of Shanghai changed radically in the 19th century, as the city's strategic position at the mouth of the Yangtze River made it an ideal location for trade with the West.

During the First Opium War in the early-19th century, British forces plundered Shanghai. The war ended with the 1842 Treaty of Nanjing, which saw the treaty ports, Shanghai included, opened for international trade. The Treaty of the Bogue signed in 1843, and the Sino-American Treaty of Wangsia signed in 1844 together saw foreign nations achieve extraterritoriality on Chinese soil.

The Taiping Rebellion broke out in 1850, and in 1853 Shanghai was occupied by a triad offshoot of the rebels, called the Small Swords Society. The fighting destroyed the countryside but left the foreigners' settlements untouched, and Chinese arrived saw new regulations drawn up making land available to Chinese. Land prices rose substantially. The year also saw the first annual meeting of the Shanghai Municipal Council, substantiated in order to manage the foreign settlements. In 1863, the British and American settlements joined in order to form the International Settlement.

The Sino-Japanese War fought 1894-95 over control of Korea concluded with the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which saw Japan emerge as an additional foreign power in Shanghai. Japan built the first factories in Shanghai, which were soon copied by other foreign powers to effect the emergence of Shanghai industry. During World War II, Shanghai was a centre for refugees from Europe. She was the only city in the world that was open unconditionally to the Jews at the time.

Shanghai was then the biggest financial city in the Far East. Under the Republic of China, Shanghai was made a special city in 1927, and a municipality in May 1930. The Japanese Navy bombed Shanghai on January 28, 1932, in an effort to crush down Chinese student protests of the Manchurian Incident and the subsequent Japanese occupation. Shanghai was lost to Japan in the Battle of Shanghai in 1937 until its surrender in 1945.

On May 27, 1949, Shanghai became under communist control and was one of the only two former ROC municipalities not immediately merged into neighbouring provinces (the other being Beijing). It then underwent a series of changes in the boundaries of its subdivisions, especially in the next decade.

After 1949, however, most foreign firms moved their offices from Shanghai to Hong Kong. During the 1950s and 1960s, Shanghai became an industrial center and center for revolutionary leftism. Yet, even during the most tumultuous times of the Cultural Revolution, Shanghai was able to maintain high economic productivity and relative social stability. In most of the history of the PRC, Shanghai has been the largest contributor of tax revenue to the central government compared with other Chinese provinces and municipalities. In the early eighties, 70-80% of the entire national tax revenue came from the municipality of Shanghai alone. This came at the cost of severely crippling Shanghai's infrastructure and capital development. Its importance to China's fiscal well-being also denied it economic liberalizations that were started in the far southern provinces such as Guangdong during the mid-eighties. At that time Guangdong province paid nearly no taxes to the central government, and thus was perceived as fiscally dispendable for experimental economic reforms. Shanghai was not permitted to initiate economic reforms until 1991.

Shanghai has traditionally been" which included the president of the PRC Jiang Zemin and the premier of the PRC Zhu Rongji. Starting in 1992, the central government under Jiang Zemin, a former Mayor of Shanghai, began reducing the tax burden on Shanghai and encouraging both foreign and domestic investment in order to promote it as the economic hub of east Asia and to encourage its role as gateway of investment to the Chinese interior. Since then it has experienced continuous economic growth of between 9-15% annually, leading China's overall growth.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Shanghai".

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