The name of the city means "long spring" in Chinese. Between 1932 and 1945, Changchun was renamed Hsinking (Chinese: 新京; pinyin: Xīnjīng; literally: "new capital") by the Japanese as it became the capital of the Japanese puppet state Manchukuo, occupying modern Northeast China. After the foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Changchun was established as the provincial capital of Jilin in 1954.
Known locally as China's "City of Automobiles", Changchun is an important industrial base with a particular focus on the automotive sector. Because of its key role in the domestic automobile industry, Changchun was sometimes referred to as the "Detroit of China." Apart from this industrial aspect, Changchun is also one of four "National Garden Cities" awarded by the Ministry of Construction of P.R. China in 2001 due to its high urban greening rate.
Changchun was initially established on imperial decree as a small trading post and frontier village during the reign of the Jiaqing Emperor in the Qing dynasty. Trading activities mainly involved furs and other natural products during this period. In 1800, the Jiaqing Emperor selected a small village on the east bank of the Yitong River and named it "Changchun Ting".
At the end of 18th century peasants from overpopulated provinces such as Shandong and Hebei began to settle in the region. In 1889, the village was promoted into a city known as "Changchun Fu".
In May 1898, Changchun got its first railway station, located in Kuancheng, part of the railway from Harbin to Lüshun (the southern branch of the Chinese Eastern Railway), constructed by the Russian Empire.
After Russia's loss of the southernmost section of this branch as a result of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, the Kuancheng station (Kuanchengtze, in contemporary spelling) became the last Russian station on this branch. The next station just a short distance to the south—the new "Japanese" Changchun station—became the first station of the South Manchuria Railway, which now owned all the tracks running farther south, to Lüshun, which they re-gauged to the standard gauge (after a short period of using the narrow Japanese 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge during the war).
A special Russo-Japanese agreement of 1907 provided that Russian gauge tracks would continue from the "Russian" Kuancheng Station to the "Japanese" Changchun Station, and vice versa, tracks on the "gauge adapted by the South Manchuria Railway" (i.e. the standard gauge) would continue from Changchun Station to Kuancheng Station.
An epidemic of pneumonic plague occurred in surrounding Manchuria from 1910 to 1911. It was the worst-ever recorded outbreak of pneumonic plague which was spread through the Trans-Manchurian railway from the border trade port of Manzhouli. This turned out to be the beginning of the large pneumonic plague pandemic of Manchuria and Mongolia which ultimately claimed 60,000 victims.
The Treaty of Portsmouth formally ended the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05 and saw the transfer and assignment to Japan in 1906 the railway between Changchun and Port Arthur, and all the branches.
Having realized the strategic importance of Changchun's location with respect to Japan, China and Russia, the Japanese Government sent a group of planners and engineers to Changchun to determine the best site for a new railway station.
Without the consent of Chinese Government, Japan purchased and seized land from local farmers on which the Changchun Railway Station was to be constructed as the centre of the South Manchuria Railway Affiliated Areas (SMRAA). In order to turn Changchun into the centre for extracting the agricultural and mineral resources of Manchuria, Japan developed a blueprint for Changchun and invested heavily in the construction of the city.
As the prelude and preparation of invasion and long-lasting occupation of China, Japan initiated at the beginning of 1907 the planning programme of the SMRAA which embodied distinctive colonial characteristics. The guiding ideology of the overall design was to build a high standard colonial city with sophisticated facilities, multiple functions and large scale.
The comprehensive plan was to meet the needs of:Comfort demand of Japanese employees at Manchurian Railways
Assurances of Changchun to be a base for Japanese control of the whole Manchuria
Effective counterweight of Russia in this part of China.
Accordingly, nearly 7 million Yen on average was allocated on a year-to-year basis for urban planning and construction during the period of 1907–31.
Railway nexus status was thickly underlined in the planning and construction, the main design concepts of which read as follows: under conventional grid pattern terms, two geoplagiotropic boulevards were newly carved eastward and westward from the grand square of the new railway station. The two helped forming two intersections with the gridded prototypes, which led to two circles of South and West. The two sub-civic centres served as axis on which eight radial roads were blazed that took the shape of a sectoral structure.
This kind of radial circles and the design concept of urban roads were at that time quite advanced and scientific. It activated to great extend the serious urban landscapes as well as a clearly identification of the traditional gridded pattern.
With the new Changchun railway station as its centre, the urban plan divided the SMRAA into such rectangles as residential quarters of 15%, commerce of 33%, grain depot of 19%, factories of 12%, public entertainment of 9% and administrative organs(including Japanese garrison) of 12%. Each block provided the railway station with supporting and systematic services in the light of its own functions.
In the meantime, a comprehensive system of judiciary and military police was established which was totally independent of China. This accounted for the widespread domain of military facilities within the urban construction area of 3. 967k㎡，such as railway garrison, gendarmerie, police department and its 18 local police stations.
Perceiving Changchun as a tabula rasa upon which to erect new and sweeping conceptions of the built environment, Japanese used the city as a practical laboratory to create two distinct and idealized urban milieus, each appropriate to a particular era. From 1906 to 1931 Changchun served as a key railway town through which the Japanese orchestrated informal empire; between 1932 and 1945 the city became home to a grandiose, new Asian capital. Yet while the façades the town and later the capital—as well as the attitudes of the state they upheld—contrasted markedly, the shifting styles of planning and architecture consistently attempted to represent Japanese rule as progressive, beneficent, and modern.
Behind the development of Changchun, in addition to the railway trade driven, it suggested an important period of the Northeast modern architectural culture reflecting the urban design endeavours and revealing Japanese ambition of invading and occupying China. Japanese architecture and culture had been widely applied to Manchukuo to highlight the special status of the Japanese puppet. Once again, the urban planning will and should stem from a culture, be it aggressive or creative. Changchun’s planning and construction process can serve as a good example.
Changchun expanded rapidly as the junction between of the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railway and the Russian-owned Chinese Eastern Railway, while remaining the break of gauge point between the Russian and standard gauges into the 1930s,
On March 10, 1932 the capital of Manchukuo, a Japan-controlled puppet state in Manchuria, was established in Changchun. The city was then renamed Hsinking (Chinese: 新京; pinyin: Xīnjīng; Wade–Giles: Hsin-ching; Japanese:Shinkyō; literally "New Capital") on March 13. The Emperor Puyi resided in the Imperial Palace (Chinese: 帝宮; pinyin: Dì gōng) which is now the Museum of the Manchu State Imperial Palace. During the Manchukuo period, the region experienced harsh suppression, brutal warfare on the civilian population, forced conscription and labor and other Japanese sponsored government brutalities; at the same time a rapid industrialisation and militarisation took place. Hsinking was a well-planned city with broad avenues and modern public works. The city underwent rapid expansion in both its economy and infrastructure. Many of buildings built during the Japanese colonial era still stand today, including those of the Eight Major Bureaus of Manchukuo (Chinese: 八大部; pinyin: Bādà bù) as well as the Headquarters of the Japanese Kwantung Army.
Hsinking was the only Direct-controlled municipality (特别市) in Manchukuo after Harbin was incorporated into the jurisdiction of Binjiang Province. In March 1932, the Inspection Division of South Manchuria Railway started to draw up the Metropolitan Plan of Great Hsinking (simplified Chinese: 大新京都市计画; traditional Chinese: 大新京都市計畫; pinyin: Dà xīn jīngdū shì jìhuà). The Bureau of capital construction (simplified Chinese: 国都建设局; traditional Chinese: 國都建設局; pinyin: Guódū jiànshè jú) which was directly under the control of State Council of Manchukuo was established to take complete responsibility of the formulation and the implementation of the plan. Kuniaki Koiso, the Chief of Staff of the Kwantung Army, and Yasuji Okamura, the Vice Chief-of-Staff, finalized the plan of a 200 km2 (77 sq mi) construction area. The Metropolitan Plan of Great Hsinking was influenced by the renovation plan of Paris in the 19th century, the garden city movement, and theories of American cities' planning and design in the 1920s. The city development plan included extensive tree planting. By 1934 Hsinking was known as the Forest Capital with Jingyuetan Park built, which is now China's largest Plantation and a AAAA-rated recreational area.
In accordance with the Metropolitan Plan of Great Hsinking, the area of publicly shared land (including the Imperial Palace, government offices, roads, parks and athletic grounds) in Hsinking was 47 km2 (18 sq mi), whilst the area of residential, commercial and industrial developments was planned to be 53 km2 (20 sq mi).。 However, Hsinking's population exceeded the prediction of 500,000 by 1940. In 1941, the Capital Construction Bureau modified the original plan, which expanded the urban area to 160 km2 (62 sq mi). The new plan also focused on the construction of satellite towns around the city with a planning of 200 m2 (2,200 sq ft) land per capita. Because the effects of war, the Metropolitan Plan of Great Hsinking remained unfinished. By 1944, the built up urban area of Hsinking reached 80 km2 (31 sq mi), while the area used for greening reached 70.7 km2 (27.3 sq mi). As Hsinking's city orientation was the administrative center and military commanding center, land for military use exceeded the originally planned figure of 9 percent, while only light manufacturing including packing industry, cigarette industry and paper-making had been developed during this period. Japanese force also controlled Hsinking's police system, instead of Manchukuo government. Major officers of Hsinking police were all ethnic Japanese.
The population of Hsinking also experienced rapid growth after being established as the capital of Manchukuo. According to the census in 1934 taken by the police agency, the city's municipal area had 141,712 inhabitants. By 1944 the city's population had risen to 863,607, with 153,614 Japanese settlers. This population amount made Hsinking the third largest metropolitan city in Manchukuo after Mukden and Harbin, as the metropolitan mainly focused on military and politics function.
In 1936, the Japanese established Unit 100 to develop plague biological weapons, although the declared purpose of Unit 100 was to conduct research about diseases originating from animals. During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and World War II the headquarters of Unit 100 ("Wakamatsu Unit") was located in downtown Hsinking, under command of veterinarian Yujiro Wakamatsu. This facility was involved in research of animal vaccines to protect Japanese resources, and, especially, biological-warfare. Diseases were tested for use against Soviet and Chinese horses and other livestock. In addition to these tests, Unit 100 ran a bacteria factory to produce the pathogens needed by other units. Biological sabotage testing was also handled at this facility: everything from poisons to chemical crop destruction.
On August 20, 1945 the city was captured by the Soviet Red Army and renamed Changchun. The Russians maintained a presence in the city during the Chinese civil war until 1946.
Kuomintang forces occupied the city in 1946, but were unable to hold the countryside against communist forces. The city fell to the communists in 1948 after the five-month Siege of Changchun by the People's Liberation Army. As many as 80 percent of the civilian population starved to death under the siege; estimates range from 150,000 to 330,000. As of 2015 the PRC government avoids all mention of the siege.
Renamed Changchun by the People's Republic of China government, it became the capital of Jilin in 1954. The Changchun Film Studio is also one of the remaining film studios of the era. Changchun Film Festival has become a unique gala for film industries since 1992.
From the 1950s, Changchun was designated to become a center for China's automotive industry. Construction of the First Automobile Works (FAW) began in 1953 and production of the Jiefang CA-10 truck, based on the Soviet ZIS-150 started in 1956. Soviet Russia lent assistance during these early years, providing technical support, tooling, and production machinery. In 1958, FAW introduced the famous Hongqi (Red Flag) limousines This series of cars are billed as "the official car for minister-level officials".
Changchun hosted the 2007 Winter Asian Games.
Changchun lies in the middle portion of the Northeast China Plain. Its municipality area is located at latitude 43° 05′−45° 15′ N and longitude 124° 18′−127° 02' E. The total area of Changchun municipality is 20,571 km2 (7,943 sq mi), including metro areas of 2,583 square kilometres (997 sq mi), and a city proper area of 159 km2 (61 sq mi). The city is situated at a moderate elevation, ranging from 250 to 350 metres (820 to 1,150 ft) within its administrative region. In the eastern portion of the city, there lies a small area of low mountains. The city is also situated at the crisscross point of the third east–westward "Europe-Asia Continental Bridge". Changchun prefecture is dotted with 222 rivers and lakes. The Yitong River, a small tributary of the Songhua River, runs through the city proper.
Changchun has a four-season, monsoon-influenced, humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa). Winters are long (lasting from November to March), cold, and windy, but dry, due to the influence of the Siberian anticyclone, with a January mean temperature of −15.1 °C (4.8 °F). Spring and fall are somewhat short transitional periods, with some precipitation, but are usually dry and windy. Summers are hot and humid, with a prevailing southeasterly wind due to the East Asian monsoon; July averages 23.1 °C (73.6 °F). Snow is usually light during the winter, and annual rainfall is heavily concentrated from June to August. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 47 percent in July to 66 percent in January and February, a typical year will see around 2,617 hours of sunshine, and a frost-free period of 140 to 150 days. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −33.0 °C (−27 °F) to 35.7 °C (96 °F).
The sub-provincial city of Changchun has direct jurisdiction over 7 districts, 2 county-level cities and 1 County:
According to the Sixth China Census, the total population of the City of Changchun reached 7.677 million in 2010. The statistics in 2011 estimated the total population to be 7.59 million. The birth rate was 6.08 per thousand and the death rate was 5.51 per thousand. The urban area had a population of 3.53 million people. In 2010 the sex ratio of the city population was 102.10 males to 100 females.
As in most of Northeastern China the ethnic makeup of Changchun is predominantly Han nationality (96.57 percent), with several other minority nationalities.
Changchun achieved a gross domestic product (GDP) of RMB332.9 billion in 2010, representing a rise of 15.3 percent year on year. Primary industry output increased by 3.3 percent to RMB25.27 billion. Secondary industry output experienced an increase of 19.0 percent, reaching RMB171.99 billion, while the tertiary industry output increased 12.6 percent to RMB135.64 billion. The GDP per capita of Changchun was ¥58,691 in 2012, which equates to $9338. The GDP of Changchun in 2012 was RMB445.66 billion and increased 12.0 percent compared with 2011. The primary industry grew 4.3 percent to RMB31.71 billion. Secondary industry increased by RMB229.19 billion, which is a rise of 13.1 percent year on year. Tertiary industry of Changchun in 2012 grew 11.8 percent and increased by RMB184.76 billion.
The city's leading industries are production of automobiles, agricultural product processing, biopharmaceuticals, photo electronics, construction materials, and the energy industry. Changchun is the largest automobile manufacturing, research and development center in China, producing 9 percent of the country's automobiles in 2009. Changchun is home to China's biggest vehicle producer FAW (First Automotive Works) Group, which manufactured the first Chinese truck and car in 1956. The automaker's factories and associated housing and services occupies a substantial portion of the city's southwest end. Specific brands produced in Changchun includes the Red Flag luxury brand, as well as joint ventures with Audi, Volkswagen, and Toyota. In 2012, FAW sold 2.65 million units of auto. The sales revenue of FAW amounted to RMB 408.46 billion, reprensenting a rise of 10.8% on year. As cradle of the auto industry, one of Changchun’s better known nicknames is "China's Detroit".
Manufacturing of transportation facilities and machinery is also among Changchun's main industries. 50 percent of China's passenger trains, and 10 percent of tractors are produced in Changchun. Changchun Railway Vehicles, one of the main branches of China CNR Corporation, has a joint venture established with Bombardier Transportation to build Movia metro cars for the Guangzhou Metro and Shanghai Metro, and Rapid Transit Vehicle cars for the Tianjin Metro.
Foreign direct investment in the city was US$3.68 billion in 2012, up 19.6% year on year. In 2004 Coca-Cola set up a bottling plant in the city’s ETDZ with an investment of US$20 million.
Changchun hosts the yearly Changchun International Automobile Fair, Changchun Film Festival, Changchun Agricultural Fair, Education Exhibition and the Sculpture Exhibition.
CRRC manufactures most of its bullet train carriages at its factory in Changchun. In November 2016, CRCC Changchun unveiled the first bullet train carriages in the world with sleeper berths, thus extending their use for overnight passages across China. They would be capable of running in ultra low temperature environments. Nicknamed Panda, the new bullet trains are capable of running at 250 kmph, operate at -40 degrees Celsius, have wifi hubs and contain sleeper berths that fold into seats during the day.
Other large companies in Changchun include:Yatai Group, established in 1993 and listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 1995. It has developed into a major conglomerate involved in a wide range of industries including property development, cement manufacturing, securities, coal mining, pharmaceuticals and trading.
Jilin Grain Group, a major processor of grains.
Founded in 1993, the Changchun Automotive Trade Center was re-established as the Changchun Automotive Economic Trade and Development Zone in 1996. The development zone is situated in the southwest of the city and is adjacent to the China First Automobile Works Group Corporation and the Changchun Film ThemeCity. It covers a total area of approximately 300,000 square metres (3,229,173 square feet). Within the development zone lies an exhibition center and five specially demarcated industrial centers. The Changchun Automobile Wholesale Center began operations in 1994 and is the largest auto-vehicle and spare parts wholesale center in China. The other centers include a resale center for used auto-vehicles, a specialized center for industrial/commercial vehicles, and a tire wholesale center.
The zone is one of the first 27 state-level advanced technology development zones and is situated in the southern part of the city, covering a total area of 49 km2 (19 sq mi). There are 18 full-time universities and colleges, 39 state and provincial-level scientific research institutions, and 11 key national laboratories. The zone is mainly focusing on developing five main industries, namely bio-engineering, automobile engineering, new material fabrication, photo-electricity, and information technology.
Established in April 1993, the zone enjoys all the preferential policies stipulated for economic and technological development zones of coastal open cities. The total area of CETDZ is 112.72 square kilometres (43.52 square miles), of which 30 square kilometres (12 square miles) has been set aside for development and utilization. It is located 5 kilometres (3 miles) from downtown Changchun, 2 km (1.2 mi) from the freight railway station and 15 km (9 mi) from the Changchun international airport. The zone is devoted to developing five leading industries: namely automotive parts and components, photoelectric information, bio-pharmaceutical, fine processing of foods, and new building materials. In particular, high-tech and high value added projects account for over 80 percent of total output. In 2006 the zone's total fixed assets investment rose to RMB38.4 billion. Among the total of 1656 enterprises registered are 179 that are foreign-funded. The zone also witnessed a total industrial output of RMB 277 billion in 2007.
Changchun is a very compact city, planned by the Japanese with a layout of open avenues and public squares. The city is developing its city layout in a long-term bid to alleviate pressure on limited land, aid economic development and absorb a rising population. According to a draft plan up until 2020, the downtown area will expand southwards to form a new city center around Changchun World Sculpture Park, Weixing Square and their outskirts, and the new development zone.
Changchun has three passenger rail stations, most trains only stop at the central Changchun Railway Station (simplified Chinese: 长春站; traditional Chinese: 長春站), where there are multiple daily departures to other northeast cities such as Jilin City, Harbin, Shenyang, and Dalian, as well as other major cities throughout the country such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The Harbin–Dalian High-Speed Railway which runs through three provinces in northeastern China, has a stop in Changchun. The new Changchun West Railway Station, situated in the western end of urbanized area, is the station for the high-speed trains of the Harbin–Dalian High-Speed Railway.
Despite once having the most complex tram system in Northern China, there is now only one remaining route open, route 54 (see Changchun Tram). However, Changchun is notable for having China's first urban light rail system, opened in 2002, which was developed from the existing tramway system. There is currently one line encompassing 14.6 km (9.1 mi) of track with plans to expand the system to an eventual 179 km (111 mi) of track.
Changchun is linked to the national highway network through the Changchun–Harbin Expressway, the Changchun–Jilin–Hunchun Expressway and the busiest section in the province, the Changchun–Jilin North Highway. This section connects the two biggest cities in Jilin and is the trunk line for the social and economic communication of the two cities.
Changchun is served by a comprehensive bus system—most buses (and the tram) charge 1 Yuan (元) per ride. Private automobiles are becoming very common on the city's congested streets. Bicycles are relatively rare compared to other northeastern Chinese cities, but mopeds, as well as pedal are relatively common.
Changchun Longjia International Airport located 31.2 kilometres (19.4 miles) north-east of Changchun urban area. The airport's construction began in 1998, and was intended to replace the operations of the older Changchun Dafangshen Airport, which was built in 1941. The airport opened for passenger service on August 27, 2005. The operation of the airport is shared by both Changchun and nearby Jilin City. The airport has scheduled flights to major cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. There are also scheduled international flights between Changchun and overseas cities such as Bangkok, Osaka and Khabarovsk.
Changchun is headquarters of the 16th Group Army of the People's Liberation Army, one of the four group armies that comprise the Northern Theater Command responsible for defending China's northeastern borders with Russia, Mongolia and North Korea.
Changchun has 27 regular institutions of full-time tertiary education with a total enrollment of approximate 160,000 students. Jilin University and Northeast Normal University are two key universities in China. Jilin University is also one of the largest universities in China, with more than 60,000 students.Changchun Normal University
Changchun Taxation College
Changchun University of Science and Technology
Changchun University of Chinese Medicine
Jilin College of the Arts
Jilin Huaqiao Foreign Languages Institute, a private college offering bachelor study programs in foreign languages, international trade management and didactics
Northeast Normal University
Jilin Engineering Normal University
High School Attached to Northeast Normal University
Affiliated Middle School to Jilin University
No.72 Middle School of Changchun
International schools include:Changchun American International School
Deutsche Internationale Schule Changchun
As a major Chinese city, Changchun is home to many professional sports teams:Jilin Northeast Tigers (Basketball), is a competitive team which has long been one of the major clubs fighting in China top level league, CBA.
Changchun Yatai Football Club, who have played home soccer matches at the Development Area Stadium since 2009. In 2007 they won the Chinese Super League.
There are two major multi-purpose stadiums in Changchun, including Changchun City Stadium and Development Area Stadium.Changchun Wuhuan Gymnasium, the main venue of the 2007 Asian Winter Games.
It has an indoor speed skating arena, Jilin Provincial Speed Skating Rink, as one of five in China.
Changchun Film Group Corporation
Changchun Film Festival
Ei-ichi Negishi (根岸 英), 2010 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, was born in Japan Imperial-era Hsinking
Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波/刘晓波), 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, was born in Changchun