General Info about Beijing
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2014 IACMR Conference
June 18-22, 2014, Beijing, China
Roaming Around the City
Beijing (Chinese: ??), sometimes romanized as Peking, is the capital of the People’s Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world. The population as of 2012 was 20,693,000. The metropolis, located in northern China, is governed as a direct-controlled municipality under the national government, with 14 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast.
Beijing is the second largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai and is the nation’s political, cultural, and educational center. It is home to the headquarters of most of China’s largest state-owned companies, and is a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks. The Beijing Capital International Airport is the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic.
The city’s history dates back three millennia. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country for much of the past eight centuries. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, gardens, tombs, walls and gates, and its art treasures and universities have made it a center of culture and art in China. Encyclopedia Britannica notes that “few cities in the world have served for so long as the political headquarters and cultural centre of an area as immense as China.
If you need a VISA, please visit Chinese Visa Application Service Center website at http://www.visaforchina.org/ or visit the website of your local Chinese Embassies.
People native to urban Beijing speak the Beijing dialect, which belongs to the Mandarin subdivision of spoken Chinese. This speech is the basis for putonghua, the standard spoken language used in mainland China and Taiwan, and one of the four official languages of Singapore.
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Beijing has a rather dry, monsoon-influenced humid continental climate, characterized by hot, humid summers due to the East Asian monsoon, and generally cold, windy, dry winters that reflect the influence of the vast Siberian anticyclone. Spring can bear witness to sandstorms blowing in from the Mongolian steppe, accompanied by rapidly warming, but generally dry, conditions. Autumn, like spring, sees little rain, but is crisp and short. The monthly daily average temperature in January is -3.7 °C (25.3 °F), while in July it is 26.2 °C (79.2 °F). Precipitation averages around 570 mm (22.4 in) annually, with close to three-fourths of that total falling from June to August.
The renminbi (literally “people’s currency”) is the legal tender in the mainland of the People’s Republic of China. It is issued by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC, central bank). The official abbreviation is CNY, although also commonly abbreviated as “RMB”.
Chinese paper money usually comes in 1 jiao, 2 jiao, 5 jiao, 1 yuan, 2 yuan, 5 yuan,10 yuan, 20 yuan, 50 yuan and 100 yuan. One yuan is divided into 10 jiao. One jiao is divided into 10 fen, pennies in English. The largest denomination of the Renminbi is the 100 yuan note. 1 jiao, 5 jiao and 1 yuan also have coins. The smallest is the 1-fen coin followed by 2-fen coin and 5-fen coin – these coins are rarely used at present.
Exchange Rate: Current Exchange Rate with U.S. Dollar: $1 = RMB 6.0796 yuan (buying rate, Nov. 26, 2013).
Cash is the a common mode of acceptance. In addition, the credit card is widely accepted in most places except small local stores.
Roaming Around the City
The public transport of Beijing is very well-developed. Mass Transit Railway (MTR) and taxi is recommended. With bus services almost every corner is covered.
Beijing cuisine has salty, rich flavors. Pork and mutton have been represented in Beijing cuisine since the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) especially as a result of the dietetic influence of the Mongol and Manchus. Beijing cuisine has been also much influenced by culinary traditions from all over China, especially from Shandong cuisine, one of the eight cuisines in China. Now Beijing food does not stress strangeness or uniqueness, only delicious food made from common ingredients with tastes that are very agreeable. Beijing Roast Duck is the number one yummy food in Beijing. Of course, Beijing offers more than its local Beijing cuisine. You can find almost all the cuisines here coming from other parts of China or foreign countries – French food, American food, Japanese food, British food, German food, Indian food, Muslim food and much more.
Today there are shops and stores scattered in every corner of Beijing. Beijing has over 10 famous shopping streets and markets including the Wangfujing, Dashilan and New Qianmen Street, Hongqiao Market, Silk Market, Panjiayuan Market, Beijing Curio City, Liulichang Antiques Street, Baoguosi Cultural Market, Yashow Clothing Market, Maliandao Tea Street, Xidan Shopping Area. They provide various kinds of goods that tourists in Beijing prefer to buy – ink sticks, writing brushes, paper and ink slabs, paintings, cloisonne, jade ware, bronzes and stone tablets with inscriptions, calligraphic works and handicrafts including dough figurines and more unique handicrafts and cultural relics full of Beijing flavor. For market and street shopping lovers, you have to be an active bargain shopper and the motto is buyer beware. For those shoppers reluctant to bargain, big shopping malls and departments are nice choices.
Tipping is not practiced in China (instead along with taxes, built into the menu price).
Buildings, monuments and landmarks
Beijing National Stadium, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Great Hall of the People, The Summer Palace, Guozijian…
Temples, cathedrals and mosques
Temple of Heaven, Temple of Earth, Wofo Temple, Dajue Temple, Xishiku Cathedral, Wangfujing Cathedral, Xizhimen Church, Niujie Mosque…
Palace Museum, National Museum of China, National Art Museum of China, Geological Museum of China, Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution…
Parks and gardens
Beihai Park, Botanical Garden, Chaoyang Park, Jingshan Park, Olympic Green, Shichahai, Taoranting Park…