Largest urban settlement and mainland port in China, on the East China Sea in Jiangsu province, on the Huangpu and Wusong rivers, 24 km/15 mi from the Chang Jiang estuary; population (2000) 14,231,000. The municipality of Shanghai, which has the status of a province, answering directly to the central government, has an area of 5,800 sq km/2,239 sq mi; population (2000 est) 16,740,000. Shanghai is one of the largest seaports in the world and is China's principal commercial and financial centre, as well as being a major centre of industry. Textiles, paper, chemicals, steel, vehicles, agricultural machinery, precision instruments, and flour are produced; other industries include vegetable-oil milling, shipbuilding, and oil refining.
Founded as a fishing village in the 11th century, and a county town in 1292, Shanghai grew important after 1842 when it was opened to foreign trade under the Treaty of Nanjing. Much of its large foreign community lived in the International Settlement, which had its own administration. Chinese resistance to the foreign presence grew, and in 1927 the nationalist Guomindang and communist forces combined to capture the city, after which the Guomindang suppressed the communists. It was occupied by the Japanese from 1937 to 1945. When Shanghai returned to Chinese rule the International Settlement was formally ended. The city was recaptured by communist forces in May 1949.
Shanghai is thought to be the most densely populated area in the world, with an average of 6 sq m/65 sq ft of living space and 2.2 sq m/2.6 sq yd of road per person.
Landmarks include the 16th-century Yu Yuan garden; the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) Garden of the Purple Clouds of Autumn; the Jade Buddha Temple built in 1882; the former home of the revolutionary leader Sun Zhong Shan (Sun Yat-sen); the house where the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China met secretly in 1921; the house, museum, and tomb of the writer Lu Xun; the Bund, a tree-lined boulevard along the Huangpu River; and the Museum of Art and History.
With only 1% of the national population, in 1995 Shanghai contributed more than 10% of China's total industrial output by value. Shanghai's Baoshan iron and steel works is China's second-largest iron and steel producer after Anshan in the northeast of the country. Most of this new industry is situated at Wusong. Shanghai is also a major refining centre for copper, lead, and zinc; and there is an oil refinery which supplies materials for the city's petrochemical and synthetic fibre industries. Chemicals, plastics, cars, pharmaceuticals, electrical appliances, and fertilizers are also produced. Shanghai has long been China's leading textile manufacturer, and it is the leader in China's domestic fashion industry.
The city's extensive port facilities handle considerable domestic as well as international trade. In 1984 Shanghai was designated an open coastal city for foreign trade and investment. In 1990 the central government gave Shanghai a free rein to develop the city as a major commercial and financial centre to rival Hong Kong. Projects have included the building of an elevated six-lane highway, an underground railway system, new bridges, and residential and shopping centres. A large new
commercial and industrial zone was developed on the east bank of the Huangpu River opposite the Bund, with offices housing Shanghai's stock exchange and other financial and commercial organizations, hotels, new housing estates, and an industrial estate aimed at high-technology, foreign-invested factories.
Development under the International Settlement
Formerly a port of minor significance, in 1842 Shanghai was chosen as a treaty port to be opened to international trade under the Treaty of Nanjing. Great Britain opened its first concession here, followed in succession by France and Japan. An International Settlement was established in 1863 in which the city was effectively divided up into autonomous, foreign-controlled areas. The city developed rapidly during the second half of the 19th century as the commercial outlet for the whole of the vast Chang Jiang basin. It grew into a large international port and also a considerable light-industrial centre, manufacturing textiles and other consumer goods. An important shipbuilding and ship-repairing trade developed.
War and dissension from 1925 to 1949
By the end of World War I Shanghai was China's biggest city, with a large Chinese section around the International Settlement, which had the only municipal authority in the city. In 1925 the electorate consisted of 2,742 voters, of which 1,000 were British, and in the same year the municipal council issued a de facto unilateral declaration of independence. China's first urbanized labouring class emerged in the commercial centre of the city, which became the scene of much political unrest. The Chinese sections were declared a ‘special city’ in 1928, and organized as a municipality in 1930. In 1932 the city was attacked by Japanese forces and eventually the Japanese were conceded the right to station troops in Shangai by the Chinese government. In World War II Shanghai suffered much less destruction
than other large cities in East Asia. It was occupied by the Japanese in 1938 and returned to Chinese control in 1945. During the Chinese Civil War, Shanghai was attacked by communist forces early in 1949 and fell into their hands at the end of May.
Events after 1949
Although the remaining foreigners and many Chinese business interests left the city after the communist takeover, Shanghai remained China's largest and most sophisticated city. However, there was very little
new development in the centre of the city from the 1950s to the 1980s. During the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s a People's Commune was set up in Shanghai, modelled on the Paris Commune of 1871. It lasted only three weeks before Mao Zedong ordered the army to disband the organization. Shanghai was also the base of the Gang of Four, the radical faction led by Mao Zedong's wife, Jiang Qing, which attempted to seize power after his death. Jiang Zemin, who became state president in 1993, and Zhu Rongji, who became premier in 1998, were both former mayors of Shanghai.
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