Study in Beijing
Beijing (北京 Běijīng) is the capital of the most populous country in the world, the People’s Republic of China.It was also the seat of the Ming and Qing dynasty emperors until the formation of a republic in 1911. As such it is rich in historical sites and important government institutions.
The city is well known for its flatness and regular construction. There is only one hill to be found in the city limits (in Jingshan Park to the north of the famous Forbidden City). Like the configuration of the Forbidden City, Beijing has concentric "ring roads", which are actually rectangular, that go around the metropolis.
Beijing will be hosting the Summer Olympics on August 8-24, 2008
Much of city is presently in upheaval as infrastructure is being frenetically constructed and sights are being renovated for the Olympics; the best time to visit as a tourist will thus probably be right after them or during the Olympics if you are lucky enough to get the tickets.
< 8 districts are close to the city centre >
Dongcheng District (东城区 Dōngchéng Qū)²
Xicheng² District (西城区 Xīchéng Qū)
Chongwen District (崇文区 Chóngwén Qū)²
Xuanwu² District (宣武区 Xuānwǔ Qū)
Chaoyang District (朝阳区 Cháoyáng Qū)²
Haidian² District (海淀区 Hǎidiàn Qū) Home of ’China’s Silicon Valley’ Zhongguancun (中关村 Zhōngguāncūn) and 39 universities including Peking, Tsinghua, Renmin Universities and Beijing Normal University.
Fengtai District (丰台区 Fēngtái² Qū )
Shijingshan District (石景山区 Shíjǐngshān Qū)²
< The other 8 districts are further afield >
Mentougou District² (门头沟区 Méntóugōu Qū)
Fangshan District (房山区 Fángshān Qū)²
Tongzhou² District (通州区 Tōngzhōu Qū)
Shunyi District (顺义区 Shùnyì Qū)²
Changping² District (昌平区 Chāngpíng Qū)
Daxing District (大兴区 Dàxīng Qū)²
Pinggu² District (平谷区 Pínggǔ Qū)
Huairou District (怀柔区 Huáiróu Qū)²
Except for Mentougou, all of these eight districts switched from being counties to districts from 1988 to 2001.
The two counties lie very far from central Beijing:
Yanqing County (延庆县 Yánqìng Xiàn)²
Miyun County² (密云县 Mìyún Xiàn)
Beijing literally means "Northern Capital", a role it has played many times in China’s long history. While various small towns and warlord capitals have been traced back as far as the 1st millennium BCE, Beijing first served as the capital of a (more or less) united China in 1264 when Kublai Khan’s victorious Mongol forces set up what they named the Great Capital (大都 Dà Dū) to rule their new empire, from a northern location closer to the Mongol homelands.
After the fall of the Mongol Yuan dynasty in 1368, the capital was moved back to Nanjing ("Southern Capital"), but in 1403, the 3rd Ming emperor Zhu Di moved it to Beijing again and also gave the city its present name. This was Beijing’s golden era: the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and many other Beijing landmarks were built at this time. Beijing remained the capital into the Qing era and into the revolutionary ferment of the early 1900s, but in the chaos following the abdication of the last Emperor, Beijing was beset by fighting warlords. The Kuomintang thus moved the capital to Nanjing again in 1928, renaming Beijing as Beiping ("Northern Peace") to emphasize that it was no longer a capital. However, the Kuomintang was eventually defeated by the Communists, who in 1949 proclaimed the People’s Republic of China with its capital at Beijing.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the language of Beijing is Mandarin Chinese. Mandarin itself was the administrative language of the Ming and Qing dynasties and was based on the Beijing dialect. For language students (see below) this makes studying in Beijing an excellent chance to learn the language in its purest form. That being said, Beijing dialect (北京话) contains nasal "er" sounds (儿话) at the end of many words. Hence the ubiquitous lamb kabobs (羊肉串 yáng ròu chuàn) become "yáng ròu chuàer." Beijing taxi drivers are famously chatty and will gladly engage students of the language offering excellent chances to practice the language and get a feel for the changes in the city and country from an "Old Beijinger" (老北京人).
Universities in Beijing