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History

Beijing history can be traced back 500,000 years thanks to the discovery of “Peking Man” in 1929 at Zhoukoudian.

 

The first human settlements are about 3000 BC and was originally called Ji, later Yan. In 1153 Beijing became the capital of the Jin Dynasty which ruled from 1115 to 1234. Beijing was called Zhong Du at that time but little remains to be seen as Zhong Du was burnt to the ground by the armies of Genghis Khan in 1215. Hublai Khan crowned himself emperor in 1260 and founded the Yuan dynasty in 1271.

 

In 1368 Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Yuan dynasty and started the Ming dynasty. The city was renamed Beiping. He died in 1398 and his fourth son Emperor Yongle took over and he named the capital Beijing meaning Northern Capital. He built the Forbidden palace, Bell Tower and Temple of Heaven and much the city layout that still survives today. The royal cemetery the Mong Tombs were also built at that time.

 

In 1664 the Manchus conquered Beijing and kept the Ming adminstrative and remained in power until 1911. The Qing built the Old Summer Palace and many of the gardens we see today. In 1912 the Republic of China was founded by Sun Yat-sen.

 

In 1928 the capital was moved away from Beijing to Nanjing. Mao Zedong was a founder member of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921. In 1937 the Japanese occupied the city after defeating the Chinese troops at the Marco Polo Bridge. The end of Second World War was followed by civil war won by the Communist Party. On 31 Januray,1949 the People’s Liberation Army entered the city and in Tian’anmen Square on 1 st October 1949 Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

 

In 1964 the old city walls were taken down to construct the Second ring Road. Tian’anmen Square was expanded and the Great Hall of the People and the National Museum constructed (originally called the Chinese History and Revolution Museum).

 

A series of economic reforms put in place in 1978 by Deng Xiaoping started an on gong process of development. A boost was the 1990 Asian Games and the 50thj anniversary of the Republic of China in 1999.

 


Beijing’s successful bid for the 2008 Olympic Games has continued the process of major development and a focus on the environmental issues facing Beijing. On 12 January 2005 the State Council approved the Beijing Urban Development Plan (2004 – 2020) where Beijing is to be developed into a “modern metropolis, capital of culture and a pleasing city” and home to 15 million people. The city is to develop a multi – polar polycentric plan with modern satellite cities to reduce the traffic problems in the city centre.

 

With all the transformation, development and major infrastructure Beijing is changing fast. An area in the centre of the city has been preserved and the original Hutongs and buildings will be restored.

Government

The People’s Government of the Beijing Municipality is the executive body of the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress and the main administrative body. It functions under the State Council. The Beijing Municipal Government has a mayor, several deputy mayors, a secretary – general and Directors of different municipal commissions, offices and bureaus.