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  • Gordon Dumoulin

What do you actually know about China's Chicago ?

Sometimes called the Chicago of China, what do you actually know about Wuhan ?

Known instantly all over the world as the #coronavirus source, few people outside of China have been familiar with this 11 million metropolis. Capital of Hubei province, the city is sometimes considered “China's Chicago” being a manufacturing hub for automotive and related industries.

Wuhan today is considered the political, economic, financial, commercial, cultural and educational center of Central China. The "Golden Waterway" of the Yangtze River and its largest tributary, the Han River, traverse the urban area and divides Wuhan into the three districts of Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang.

While Wuhan has been a traditional manufacturing hub for decades, it is also one of the areas promoting modern industrial changes in China.

Wuhan consists of 3 national development zones, 4 scientific and technological development parks, over 350 research institutes, 1,656 hi-tech enterprises and investments from 230 Fortune Global 500 firms. The city produced a GDP of US$224 billion in 2018 (more than e.g. NZ or Greece).

Wuhan is also known in China as center of higher education with more than 35 universities and higher education colleges with over 1 million under- and post graduate students.

With a history of 3,500 years, Wuhan’s historical trademark is the Yellow Crane tower (220 AD). Considered one of the Four Great Towers in China, the building has been destroyed by fire or war, and rebuilt for 12 times. The Yellow Crane Tower has especially been made famous by an 8th-century poem written by Cui Hao, titled "Yellow Crane Tower" (黄鹤楼).

昔人已乘黄鹤去,此地空余黄鹤楼。 黄鹤一去不复返,白云千载空悠悠。 晴川历历汉阳树,芳草萋萋鹦鹉洲。 日暮乡关何处是?烟波江上使人愁。

“Long ago one's gone riding the yellow crane, all that remained is the Yellow Crane Tower. Once the yellow crane left it will never return, for one thousand years the clouds wandered carelessly. The clear river reflects each Hanyang tree, fragrant grasses lushly grow on Parrot Island. At sunset, which direction leads to my hometown? One could not help feeling melancholy along the misty river."

Wuhan’s East lake and Wuhan University campus are known all over China for its abundant cherry blossom in March.

The people of Hubei (Wuhan) are sometimes called “nine-headed birds (九头鸟)” in China with the saying of ”天上九头鸟,地上湖北佬” (In the sky live nine-headed birds. On the earth live Hubei people). The mythological birds are said to be aggressive and hard to beat, and the stereotyping expression is both used complimentary on one side or a sense of complaint on the other side.

The creature – with a bird's body and nine heads with human faces - was worshiped by ancient natives in Hubei Province (part of the kingdom of Chu during the Warring State Period (475 - 221 BC). The nine-headed bird (also called "Nine Phoenix") was viewed as a totem in the kingdom of Chu during the period of 475 BC to 221 BC.

The character of Hubei people is thought to be the outcome of Hubei’s geographical position. Hubei is called “The Thoroughfare to Nine Provinces (九省通衢)”, and here gathers people from all over the country. And the city character is shaped by the flourishing small business.

#wuhan #coronavirus #china

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