Saturday, September 13, 2008

Beidaihe District

Beidaihe District is a in Qinhuangdao municipality, Hebei province, . It has an area of 70.14 square kilometers and a population of 66,000. is also known as a birding haven. The Beidaihe Beach Resort stretches 10 km from east to west, from the Yinjiao Pavilion to the mouth of the Daihe river. The beach itself is covered with fine yellow sand stretching some 100 meters to the sea. The water is shallow and welcoming for children to play in. The environment around Beidaihe is considered beautiful by many. Mt.Lianfeng near the beach has two peaks covered by abundant green pines and cypresses. Lush vegetation, caves, decorated pavilions, secluded paths and winding bridges have made it attractive to visitors from throughout China. There are still few Western tourists, and there is little proliferation of English among the local populace.

English railway engineers were the first Europeans to discover the fishing village in the 1890s and it was not long before wealthy Chinese and foreign diplomats from Beijing and Tianjin made the village a popular destination.

Prominent Visitors

Beidaihe is best known as the Communist Party of China's summer retreat, which is still commonly used by the Party's highest leadership each July to slip away from the summer heat of Beijing and to plan important strategies in the privacy Beidaihe offers. "Beidaihe," an diplomat once said, "is China's 'smoke-filled room.'" These conferences have been abandoned by the order Hu Jintao in 2004, mainly for two reasons. First, a conference in a resort area appeared to contradict the goal of Hu and Wen Jiabao in projecting a frugal image for the party and second, it is a desire of the leadership under Hu to work through formal party and state mechanisms rather through informal gatherings.

After Mao Zedong led the Communists to power in 1949, the new rulers also developed a taste for seaside atmosphere. Mao himself had a summer resort here. Sanatoriums sprang up to reward the efforts of model workers from every industry. A very large Friendship Guesthouse was constructed in 1954, one of dozens across China, to receive the Soviet "elder brothers" who came to assist Chinese development prior to tensions emerging between Soviet and Chinese leadership.

Now many Russian tourists come to the place every summer. You can see many shops and restaurants with Russian names in Beidaihe. The place is practically empty in winter.