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Living in Beijing

Living in Beijing

Home - China Briefing - Living in Beijing

Beijing [Běijīng), a city in northern China, is the capital of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It was formerly known in English as Peking or Peiking. Beijing is also one of the four municipalities of the PRC, which are equivalent to provinces in China's administrative structure. Beijing Municipality borders Hebei Province to the north, west, south, and for a small section in the east, and Tianjin Municipality to the southeast.
Beijing is China's second largest city in terms of population, after Shanghai. It is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and expressways entering and leaving it in all directions. It is also the focal point of many international flights to China. Beijing is recognized as the political, educational, and cultural center of the People's Republic of China, while Shanghai and Hong Kong predominate in economic fields.
Beijing is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. It will also host the 2008 Summer Olympics.

SA Temple of Heaven

Live in Beijing

As the capital of China, Beijing is one of the world's truly imposing cities , with a 3,000-year history and 11 million people. Covering 16,808 square kilometers in area, it is the political, cultural and economic center of the People's Republic .  
Situated in northeast China, Beijing adjoins the Inner Mongolian Highland to the northwest and the Great Northern Plain to the south. Five rivers run through the city, connecting it to the eastern Bohai Sea. Administratively, the Beijing municipality equals the status of a province , reporting directly to the central government.
Rich in history, Beijing has been China's primary capital for more than seven centuries. China's imperial past and political present meet at Tiananmen square, where the Forbidden City palace of the emperors gives way to the Great Hall of the People congress building and the mausoleum of Chairman Mao Zedong . The old city walls have been replaced by ring roads, and many of the old residential districts of alleys and courtyard houses have been turned into high-rise hotels, office buildings, and department stores. Beijing, a dynamic city where the old and new intermingle, remains a magnet for visitors from inside and outside China.            
Beijing is a city of broad boulevards, now full of traffic and pulsating to the rhythms of commerce and entertainment.   Museums and parks abound, including the Palace Museum of the Forbidden City and Beihai Park in the center of town. Nearby, the China Fine Arts Museum (Zhongguo meishuguan) exhibits the work of contemporary artists. China's ancient past and recent history are on view at the Museum of Chinese History and Chinese Revolution at Tiananmen . Antiques, crafts, and books can be found at Liulichang , an old antique market district remodeled in the 1980's to reflect the style of the old city. Some of the spirit of Old Beijing is also preserved at Qianmen , south of Tiananmen , with stores that date to the early 20th century and beyond, including the Tongrentang Traditional Medicine Shop, first established in 1669. Beijing Opera performances and acrobatic troupes keep those traditional entertainment forms vital, while contemporary music clubs and discos thrive in an era of liberalization and prosperity.



Area: 16,800 sq km (6552 sq mi)
Population:12 million
Country: People's Republic of China
People: 95% Han Chinese
Main language: Mandarin (putonghua)
Time zone: GMT/UTC plus 8 hours
Telephone area code: 010


Extremely diverse, from tropical in the south to sub-arctic in the north. Beijing has a continental monsoon climate with clear-cut seasons. Spring is dry and windy. Summer is hot and humid. Autumn offers the best weather, with generous sunshine. In winter, the city is severely affected by freezing winds from Siberia. Click here for 3-day weather forecast for Beijing.  


Normal Western business attire is considered appropriate for doing business in China.


The currency in China is Renminbi. Credit cards and US dollars are widely accepted in hotels and major shops.

Emergency Call Numbers

Police: 110
Fire Services: 119
Ambulance: 120

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