Jinan, formerly romanized as Tsinan, is the capital of Shandong province in Eastern China. The area of present-day Jinan has played an important role in the history of the region from the earliest beginnings of civilization and has evolved into a major national administrative, economic, and transportation hub. The city has held sub-provincial administrative status since 1994. Jinan is often called the “Spring City” for its famous 72 artesian springs. Its population was 7,067,900 in 2014 with an urban population of 4,693,700.

The area of present-day Jinan has been inhabited for more than 4000 years. The Neolithic Longshan Culture was first discovered at the Chéngzǐyá (城子崖) site to the east of Jinan (Zhangqiu City) in 1928. One of the characteristic features of the Longshan Culture are the intricate wheel-made pottery pieces it produced. Most renowned is the black “egg-shell pottery” with wall thicknesses that can go below 1 millimeter.[10]

During the Spring and Autumn period (722–481 BCE) and Warring States period (475–221 BCE), the area of Jinan was split between two states: the state of Lu in the west and the state of Qi in the east. In 685 BCE, the state of Qi started to build the Great Wall of Qi(齐长城) across Changqing county. Portions of the wall still remain today and are accessible as open air museums. Biǎn Què(扁鹊), according to the legend the earliest Chinese physician and active around 500 BCE, is said to have been a native of present-day Changqing County. Zou Yan (Chinese: 邹衍; pinyin: Zōu Yǎn, 305–240 BCE), a native of Zhangqiu City, developed the concepts of Yin-Yang and the Five Elements (阴阳五行说). Joseph Needham, a British sinologist, describes Zou as “The real founder of all Chinese scientific thought.”[11]

During the times of the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), Jinan was the capital of the Kingdom of Jibei (济北国/濟北國; pinyin:Jǐbĕi Guó) and evolved into the cultural and economic hub of the region. The Han dynasty tomb where the last king of Jibei, Liú Kuān (刘宽/劉寬), was buried at Shuangru Mountain was excavated by archaeologists from Shandong University in 1995 and 1996.[12] More than 2000 artifacts such as jade swords, jade masks, and jade pillows have been recovered within the 1,500 square meter excavation site, emphasizing the wealth of the city during the period.[13] Cáo Cāo (曹操, 155 – 220 CE) was an official in Jinan before he became the de facto ruler of the Han dynasty.[14] His son, Cao Pi, overthrew the last emperor of the Han and founded the Wei Kingdom (220 – 265 CE) of the Three Kingdoms Period.

Beginning in the 5th century CE, Buddhism flourished in Jinan. The Langgong Temple (朗公寺; pinyin: Lǎnggōng Sì, later renamed Shentong Temple, (神通寺; pinyin: Shéntōng Sì, and now in ruins) in the southern county of Licheng was one of the most important temples in northern China at that time. The same period witnessed extensive construction of Buddhist sites in the southern counties of Licheng and Changqing such as the Lingyan Temple (灵岩寺) and the Thousand-Buddha Cliff (千佛崖). In particular, a large number of cave temples were established in the hills south of Jinan.[8]

Jinan remained the cultural center of the region during the Song dynasty (960 – 1279 CE). The Song rulers promoted Jinan to a superior prefecture in 1116 CE. Two of the most important poets of the Southern Song were both born in Jinan: Li Qingzhao (李清照, 1084–1151 CE), the most renown female poet in Chinese history, and Xin Qiji (辛弃疾, 1140–1207 CE), who was also a military leader of the Southern Song dynasty. Both poets witnessed a series of crushing defeats of the Song dynasty at the hands of the Jurchens who gained control over almost half of the Song territories and established the Jin dynasty in northern China. After Jinan came under control of the Jin dynasty, both Li Qingzhao and Xin Qiji had to abandon their homes and reflected this experience in their works.

During the Civil War that followed the proclamation of Kublai Khan as Great Khan in 1260 CE, Jinan was at the center of a rebellion by Yizhou governor Li Tan against Mongol rule in 1262 CE. The rebellion was crushed in a decisive battle that was fought not far from Jinan in late March or early April 1262 CE. After losing 4000 of his troops in the battle, Li Tan retreated to Jinan to make his last stand. After defections of his defenders had made his position untenable, Li Tan tried to commit suicide by drowning himself in Daming Lake. However, he was rescued by the Mongols in order to execute him by trampling him to death with their horses.[15]

Despite such violent conflicts, culture in Jinan continued to thrive during the Jin (1115–1234) and Yuan (1271–1368) dynasties: One of the most renowned artists of the Yuan dynasty, Zhao Mengfu (赵孟頫, 1254–1322) was appointed to the post of governor of Jinan in 1293 and spent three years in the city. Among the extraordinary art works he completed during his stay in Jinan, the best known painting is “Autumn Colors on the Qiao and Hua Mountains” (《鹊华秋色》). Geographer Yú Qīn (于钦/于欽, 1284–1333) also served as an official in Jinan and authored his geography book Qí Chéng (齐乘) there.

Autumn Colors on the Qiao and Hua Mountains (鹊华秋色)

When Shandong Province was established under the Ming dynasty, Jinan became its capital.[8]

In 1852, the northward shift of the Yellow River into a new bed close to the city triggered the modern expansion of Jinan. The new course of the Yellow River connected the city to the Grand Canal and regional waterways in northern Shandong and southern Hebei.[8]

German influence in Jinan grew after the Qing dynasty ceded Qingdao to the German Empire in 1897. A German concession area was established to the west of the historical city center (in the vicinity of the Jinan Railway Station first established by the Germans). The Jiaoji (Qingdao–Jinan) railway was built by the Germans against local resistance.[16]Discontent over the construction of the railway was one of the sources fueling the Boxer Rebellion (1899–1901).[17] During the rebellion, foreign priests were evacuated from Jinan and Chinese Christians became a target of violence. The Jiaoji railway was completed in 1904, three years after the Boxer Rebellion had been put down, and opened the city to foreign trade.[8] The importance of Jinan as a transportation hub was cemented with the completion of the north–south Jinpu railway from Tianjin to Pukou in 1912.[8] Jinan became a major trading center for agricultural goods in northern China. Traded commodities included cotton, grain, peanuts, and tobacco.[8] Jinan also developed into a major industrial center, second in importance to Qingdao in the province.

Republican era[edit]

In 1919, after the First World War, the Japanese took over the German sphere of influence in Shandong, including control of the Jiaoji railway, and established a significant Japanese colony in Jinan.[8] According to estimates by a contemporary Japanese government official, about 2,000 Japanese were living in Jinan in 1931, about half of whom were involved in the opium trade for which the Japanese had a loosely controlled monopoly that was exploited with the participation of Chinese traders.[18]

During the Warlord era of the Republic of China, Zhang Zongchang, nicknamed the “Dogmeat General”,[19] ruled Shandong from Jinan for a period that lasted from April 1925 until May 1928. Zhang was unpopular for his heavy-handed rule and in particular his heavy taxation.[20] Besides heavy taxes, he relied financially on opium to finance his periodic wars.[18] Zhang even planned to use some of the wealth extracted from these sources for building a living shrine and a large bronze statue for himself on the shore of Daming Lake, but these plans were not realized as his rule came to an end.

In the spring of 1928, the Kuomintang’s Northern Expedition reached Jinan.[21] On May 3, 1928, clashes developed between Japanese troops stationed in Jinan and the Kuomintang troops moving into the city (Jinan Incident).[22] Cai Gongshi, a Kuomintang emissary sent to negotiate and 16 members of his entourage were executed by the Japanese cruelly. When commissioner Cai protested, Japanese officers placed an order to slice off his nose and ears, and to gouge out his eyes and tongue. Sixteen other members of his negotiation team were also striped naked, recklessly whipped, dragged to the back-lawn, and slaughtered by machine guns on the same day.[23] In response to the incident, Japanese reinforcements were sent to Shandong and by 11 May, Japanese troops pushed the Chinese troops from the area and inflicted thousands of casualties[24] and killed over 2000 Chinese civilians.[25] The Japanese occupied Jinan for more than six months until they withdrew to their garrison in Tsingtao on the 28th of March 1929. When Chiang lectured a group of Chinese army cadets, he urged them to turn their energies to washing away the shame of Jinan, but to conceal their hatred until the last moment.[26]The Kuomintang government later decreed that May 3 be designated a “National Humiliation Memorial Day.”

During the Nanjing decade of the Republic of China, Han Fuju, a military commander from the warlord era who had aligned himself with the Kuomintang, was rewarded the military governor of Shandong, after fought against the rebel troops of Yen Hsi-shan and his former commander Feng Yu-hsiang in the Central Plains War in 1930.[27] He established his base in Jinan and is credited with curtailing banditry and drug trading, thereby bringing a measure of peace and prosperity to the city.[28] However, from 1935 onwards Han was under heavy pressure from the Japanese consul in Jinan to declare Shandong an “independent state” allied with Japan.

After the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese invasion force crossed the Yellow River 60 km (37 mi) north-east of Jinan on December 23, 1937.[29] Han Fuju abandoned Jinan on the next day against orders to hold the city to the death.[29] He ordered the offices of the provincial government and the Japanese consulate in Jinan to be burned down[29] and the ensuing power vacuum led to widespread looting in the city.[29] Japanese troops from the 10th Division of the Manchurian Area Army[30] entered Jinan on December 27, 1937.[29] Han Fuju was arrested and executed for disobeying orders from superior commanders and retreating on his own accord[31] by Chiang Kai-Shek’s chief of staff, General Hu Zongnan.[32][33]

Monument commemorating the war dead of the battle of Jinan on Hero Hill

After World War II[edit]

Japanese troops controlled Jinan until their defeat in 1945. After this, the Kuomintang regained a short-lived control of the city during the period from 1946 to 1948. The provincial government during this time was led by Lieutenant-General Wang Yaowu, who also commanded the KMT army in the region. KMT rule over Jinan ended in September 1948 with the Battle of Jinan in which units of the People’s Liberation Army under the command of Chen Yi took the city. The battle for Jinan took a decisive turn in favor of the attackers when KMT Lieutenant-General Wú Huàwén (吴化文) defected to the Communist side with about 8,000 of his troops.[34] The most likely explanation for his defection is that he had been pressured through relatives of his who were held captive by the Communist forces.[34] Lieutenant-General Wu had been in charge of the vital outer ring of defenses that protected the main airfield, the railroad station, and the commercial district.[34] With these critical assets lost, the situation of the city’s defenders became untenable. Following the weakening of the city’s defenses, the People’s Liberation Army breached the city wall and entered Jinan on September 24, 1948.

Cultural Revolution[edit]

In March 1966, the largest among the drawn-out sequence of earthquakes that made up the Xingtai earthquake damaged about 36,000 houses in Jinan.[35]

Entrance to Water Lily Street,a historical shopping street in Jinan.

On May 27, 1966, the Cultural Revolution started in Jinan with an article in the local newspaper “Jinan Evening News” (济南晚报) that denounced vice-governor Yu Xiu as a Bourgeois agent within the government.[35] Starting from early June 1966, the schools in Jinan were closed down by strikes as teachers were “struggled against”. At the same time, big-character posters started to appear in the city.[35] Red Guards took to the streets of Jinan from late August 1966 onwards, damaging cultural heritage and setting up courts to prosecute perceived enemies of the revolution. In the spring of 1967, the “May 7th Incident” took place: When Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan, both later reviled as members of the Gang of Four, visited Jinan to support the Cultural Revolution and its local leader Wang Xiao Yu, fighting erupted in the front of the provincial government between two rival factions of the Cultural Revolution, the “April 22nd Group” and Wang Xiao Yu’s “April 28th Group”. In the end, more than 10,000 people had been involved in the fighting.[36] On October 11, 1967, the tallest statue of Mao Zedong in Shandong province was erected on the campus of Shandong Normal University.[37] On September 17, 1968, a large assembly of Jinan workers celebrated the arrival of a mango fruit in the “August 1st” Meeting Hall. The fruit had been a gift to the workers in Beijing by Mao and was subsequently passed on to the workers in Jinan. In November 1968, Wang Xiao Yu began to agitate against the local army units in Jinan and Shandong Province. By then unrest due to the Cultural Revolution had severely damaged the city’s governmental and industrial infrastructure, with about 80 percent of all government institutions shut down.[38] Large public protests were staged on April 4 and 5, 1969, in which approximately 500,000 people protested the occupation of Zhenbao Island by the Soviet Union.[39] On July 29, 1970, the leadership of the Cultural Revolution passed a resolution to make sweeping changes to the city’s educational system: The liberal arts departments of Shandong University were moved to Qufu and combined with Qufu Normal College to form a new Shandong University. The biology department was moved to Tai’an and merged into the Shandong Agricultural College. The rest of the sciences were to form the Shandong Science and Technology University. Shandong Normal University was to be moved to Liaocheng. Shandong Medical College and Shandong College of Traditional Chinese Medicine were to be merged and moved to Tai’an.[40]Shandong University was restored in its original form and the “Shandong Science and Technology University” was abolished in early 1974.[41] The first reversals of Cultural Revolution policies started in early 1971: On May 23 of that year, the Shandong Provincial Museum was reopened after having been closed for about 5 years (since May 1966).[42] In the next year, the Jinan Committee for the Cultural Revolution officially reverted the name changes of four city districts enacted in 1966. During the 6 years between the name change and its reversal, Lixia District had been known officially as “Hongwei”, Tianqiao as “Face the Sun”, Huaiyin as “East Wind”, and Shizhong as “Red Flag”.[43] As the Cultural Revolution came to an end, Jinan started to receive visitors from abroad. For example, it was visited by a delegation from the United States Congress between August 8 and 11, 1975.[44] On September 18, 1976, Mao’s death was mourned by about 600,000 people at an official service in Jinan’s August 1 Square.[45]

Post 1990s[edit]

Jinan was the host of the 11th All China Games during October 2009. These games are the selection games for the Chinese Olympic champions. For this occasion, security was heightened and a full volunteer force was out on the streets directing visitor traffic. The city conducted major renovations in its transportation and recreation services in anticipation of the Games’ visitors.[46]

Geography and climate[edit]

Jinan and vicinities

Geography[edit]

Baotu Spring

Jinan is located in the north-western part of Shandong province at 36° 40′ northern latitude and 116° 57′ east of Greenwich, about 400 kilometres (250 mi) south of the national capital of Beijing. It borders Liaocheng to the southwest, Dezhou to the northwest, Binzhou to the northeast, Zibo to the east, Laiwu to the southeast, and Tai’an to the south. In the relief of the region, the city occupies a transition zone between the northern foothills of the Taishan Massif to the south of the city and the valley of the Yellow River to the north. Karst aquifers in limestone formations sloping down from the south to the north give rise to many artesian springs in the city center as well as in surrounding areas.

Climate[edit]

Jinan has a humid subtropical (Köppen: Cwa), considering a normal isotherm of −3 °C, or a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dwa), considering an isotherm of 0 °C but favoring the former, with four well-defined seasons. The city is dry and nearly rainless in spring, hot and rainy in summer, crisp in autumn and dry and cold (with little snow) in winter. The average annual temperature is 14.70 °C (58.5 °F), and the annual precipitation is around slightly above 670 millimetres (26.4 in), with a strong summer maximum, and high variability from year to year. January is the coldest and driest month, with a mean temperature of −0.4 °C (31.3 °F) and 5.7 millimetres (0.22 in) of equivalent rainfall. July is the hottest and wettest month, the corresponding numbers are 27.5 °C (81.5 °F), and 201.3 mm (7.93 in). With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 48 percent in July to 63 percent in May, the city receives 2,547 hours of bright sunshine annually.

Due to the mountains to the south of the city, temperature inversions are common, occurring on about 200 days per year.[47] The high precipitation for northern Chinesestandards, in tandem with the topography (mountains surrounding the city on three sides), leads to particularly oppressive summer weather and the city being named as a candidate for the fourth “furnace”, c.e. Three Furnaces.[48] Extremes since 1951 have ranged from −19.7 °C (−3 °F) on 17 January 1953 to 42.5 °C (109 °F) on 24 July 1955

Air quality[edit]

7 December 2013 image fromNASA’s Terra Satellite of the Eastern China smog

See also: 2013 Eastern China smog

According to the National Environmental Analysis released by Tsinghua University and The Asian Development Bank in January 2013, Jinan is one of ten most air polluted cities in the world. Also according to this report, 7 of 10 most air polluted cities are in China, includingTaiyuan, Beijing, Urumqi, Lanzhou, Chongqing, Jinan and Shijiazhuang.[52] As air pollution in China is at an all-time high, several northern cities are among the most polluted cities and has one of the worst air quality in China. Reporting on China’s air quality has been accompanied by what seems like a monochromatic slideshow of the country’s several cities smothered in thick smog. According to a survey made by “Global voices China” in February 2013, Jinan is among China’s 10 most polluted cities, and is the only Shandong city to be on this list. Other cities on the blacklist includes major Chinese cities like Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou, and 6 other prefectural cities all inHebei Province.[53] These cities are all situated in traditional geographic subdivision of “Huabei (North China) Region”.

A dense wave of smog began in the Central and Eastern part of China on 2 December 2013 across a distance of around 1,200 kilometres (750 mi),[54] including Jinan and surrounding Shandong area. A lack of cold air flow, combined with slow-moving air masses carrying industrial emissions, collected airborne pollutants to form a thick layer of smog over the region.[55] Officials blamed the dense pollution on lack of wind, automobile exhaust emissions under low air pressure, and coal-powered district heating system in North China region.[56]Prevailing winds blew low-hanging air masses of factory emissions (mostly SO2) towards China’s east coast.[57]

Administrative divisions[edit]

The sub-provincial city of Jinan has direct jurisdiction over 7 districts and 3 counties:

Subdivision Simplified Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Population(2010) Area (km²) Dens. (/km²)
City Proper
Lixia District 历下区 Lìxià Qū 583,500 100.87 7475
Shizhong District 市中区 Shìzhōng Qū 570,000 280.33 2545
Huaiyin District 槐荫区 Huáiyìn Qū 370,000 151.56 3144
Tianqiao District 天桥区 Tiānqiáo Qū 485,773 258.71 2660
Suburban
Licheng District 历城区 Lìchéng Qū 849,900 1303.88 862
Changqing District 长清区 Chángqīng Qū 530,000 1208.54 478
Zhangqiu District 章丘区 Zhāngqiū Qū 1,004,000 1721.29 618
Rural
Pingyin County 平阴县 Píngyīn Xiàn 360,000 715.18 463
Jiyang County 济阳县 Jǐyáng Xiàn 520,095 1097.15 472
Shanghe County 商河县 Shānghé Xiàn 579,928 1163.19 484

These are further divided into 146 township-level divisions, including 65towns, 27 townships and 54 subdistricts.