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Quanzhou, a Starting Point of Maritime Silk Road
2017-12-05 16:34:40

 

    Quanzhou is a coastal city located in southeast Fujian Province, with Fuzhou to its north and Xiamen to its south. It enjoys a subtropical marine monsoon climate and covers a land and sea area of 11,000 square kilometers respectively. With a resident population of 8.58 million, Quanzhou has jurisdiction over four urban districts (Licheng, Fengze, Luojiang and Quangang), three county-level cities (Jinjiang, Shishi and Nan’an), four counties (Hui’an, An’xi, Yongchun and Dehua), Quanzhou Eco-Tech Development Zone and Quanzhou Taiwanese Investment Zone. It is one of the province’s three major cities with priority to further development.

    Quanzhou has a long history. Its initial development could be traced back to the Zhou, Qin and Han Dynasties.The first county in this area, Dong’an, was established in 260 A.D. In 700 A.D., the county was relocated to where now Licheng District of Quanzhou is, and was named Wurong Prefecture then. The prefecture was renamed Quanzhou in 711 A.D.

    Quanzhou boasts rich cultures, earning such honors as the core area of Minnan Cultural System Protection Zone, one of the first 24 Chinese Historically and Culturally Renowned City designated by the State Council,and the first Culture City of East Asia in China. It has also seen the emergence of numerous historical figures,such as great thinker and litterateur Li Zhi, and great strategists like General Yu Dayou, General Zheng Chenggong and General Shi Lang. Besides its 71 museums, the city has 810 important heritage sites under the official protection of all levels, 31 of which are protected at state level. People today can still enjoy time-honored unique local operas including Nanyin, which was officially inscribed on UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Liyuan Opera, Gaojia Opera, Dacheng Opera as well as Marionette show.

    Quanzhou is a starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road. It was developed and thrived due to the sea since the ancient ages. In the Tang Dynasty (618~907 A.D.), it was one of the four largest seaports for foreign trade in China. In the Song (960~1279) and Yuan Dynasties (1271~1368), the “Zayton Port” was known as “the Largest Oriental Port”, witnessing businessmen from over 100 countries and regions, and enjoying a boom in trade with markets full of people of different colors and merchants from various countries flooding in.Meanwhile, cultures of the Ancient Persia, Arab, India and Southeast Asia find their wide spread and harmonious co-existence here, earning Quanzhou the name of “Zoulu by the sea”, meaning a costal land of cultural prosperity, “the City of Light” and “the Museum of World Religions”. And it was the site to build the first World Multicultural Exhibition Center. Currently, the “Historic Monuments and Sites of Ancient Quanzhou (Zayton)”has been submitted to UNESCO as a candidate for World Cultural Heritage.

    Quanzhou is a renowned hometown of overseas Chinese, with 9.5 million people of Quanzhou origin scattered in about 130 countries and regions, 90% of whom are residents along Maritime Silk Road, the greatestnumber among all hometowns of overseas Chinese at the prefecture level nationwide. And in Taiwan, 44.8% of Han people, about 9 million, are originally from Quanzhou. As neighbors, Quanzhou and Taiwan have deep historical ties and maintain frequent exchanges in culture, kinship, folk customs, education, tourism, and other areas.

    Owing to a dynamic economy featuring prosperous private businesses and manufacturing industry,Quanzhou’s economy has ranked first in the Province for 18 consecutive years. It has become one of the 18 Typical Areas of Reform and Opening Up, approved by the State as Pilot Zone for Financial Comprehensive Reform, Pilot Zone for Comprehensive Reform of the Private Sector, Comprehensive Bonded Area, National Innovation Demonstration Zone, and Demonstration City of “Made in China 2025”Strategy. Quanzhou is a pilot area of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and one of the maritime cooperation strategic pivot cities for “the Belt & Road Initiative”. It is the permanent venue for the International Arts Festival of Maritime Silk Road, and the Secretariat of Maritime-Continental Silk Road (MCSR) Cities Alliance has been set up in this city.

    In recent years, by thoroughly implementing the ideology of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era and important directives for Fujian development, Quanzhou actively responds to the provincial government’s call of scaling new heights in building a new Fujian and has been striving to build the city into a beautiful and happy one featuring innovation, smart manufacturing and Maritime Silk Road culture. Progress has been made in its economic and social development. In 2016, the city’s GDP amounted to 664.7 billion yuan, per capital GDP reached 77,000 yuan, the general public budget revenue was 77 billion yuan and the per capital disposable income of residents was 30,855 yuan.