北京. Beijing, or as previously romanized, Peking, is the capital of the People's Republic of China. The name, pronounced like bay-jing and not beige-ing, literally means "Northern Capital". note It has been the capital of China since Kublai's Yuan dynasty. It's famous for its roasted duck. As the capital city of the world's largest and most powerful unitary state, the actual urban area of Beijing is the political, cultural and economical center of the modern PRC and the Chinese-speaking world in general. For China's ambitious youth north of Yellow River, Beijing offers the best opportunities to advance in their career and thus climb the ladder of social classes. In a few fields such as performing arts, this situation even apply to all of China. The population of this Mega City is roughly 17.43 million as of 2010, an estimate based on those who have lived there for six months or more. To reside in Beijing and enjoy its full social benefits, you need a residence called "Hukou", which may take years to get. Thus, Beijing is ill-defined, and equating the city proper with the municipality is quite silly. The city's real population continues to grow well past 20 million, despite the high living cost and the infamous smog.note Many people don't have the aforementioned permit to reside in Beijing, and thus live in faraway suburban districts within the municipality, but not in the city proper. The municipality is an entity larger than 40 sovereign states and includes rural areas, other county seats and some satellite cities. Even so, urban sprawl has recently pushed the urban area beyond the municipal borders and into Hebei Province. The central government commonly attempted to control Beijing's overcrowding, with success in the city proper, but with mixed results in the outlying parts of the city. Therefore, the Beijing Municipality has been economically integrated with neighboring areas to prevent districts from decaying into little more than commuter towns. Therefore, an entity that governs over Beijing, Heibei and Tianjin was created, called JingJinJi (named after Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei's one-character abbreviation, Ji). Due to Beijing's enormous size, enormous traffic jams are to be expected. Formerly, bicycles were commonly used; so much, actually, that traffic jams occurred in the bicycle lanes, even though they took half the street (hence Katie Melua's song "Nine Million Bicycles"). However, these days the bicycles have been replaced by myriads of cars, bringing lots of air pollution and thick smog with them. note The pollution had the interesting effect of causing the city to fund a truly gargantuan bike-share program and now there are probably more bicycles in Beijing than every before. To fully comprehend Beijing's size, imagine yourself standing on Tian'anmen square, the center of the city. If you were to walk outwards in any direction, you would reach:
- 3 to 5km away: The place where the Old City Walls once stood. Nowadays, you'll see the 2nd Ring Highway.
- 10 to 15km away: The border of the modern city proper.
- 25 to 35km away: The subway's termini, as well as other county-seats-turned districts, and huge cities in their own right.
- 35 to 50km away: Towns of people who commute to the innermost areas on a daily basis, either by bus or High Speed Rail (as is the case for neighboring Langfang). Some of these towns are located in Hebei Province.
- 50 to 80km away: The terminus for most city buses, the new airport that's under construction, and other counties considering integration into the municipality of Beijing. note
- 80 to 200km away: Independent prefecture-level cities unwilling to become servants of Beijing, most of which have satellite cities of their own. At this point, the city begins to seem more chaotic, as the different bureaucracies of the many entities impede a full integrated development.
- 200 to 400km away: The furthest extend of the city's direct influence, with cities like Handan, that attempt to play into the integration game, accepting industry transfers from Beijing like anyone else in Hebei.note
- Tianjin: Connected to Central Beijing by a 33-minute train ride. This municipality is larger than New York City.
- Shijiazhuang: Capital of Hebei Province. Larger than Chicago.
- Baoding, Tangshan: Both cities are comparable to Dallas.
- Langfang, Cangzhou, Hengshui, Chengde, Zhangjiakou: All single-handedly beating Washington, D.C. in population.
北京 in fiction
- Moment in Peking, a novel by Lin Yutang depicting the changes that took place in Chinese society between the end of the Qing dynasty and the Japanese invasion.
- Beijing Bicycle
- The Last Emperor
- Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
- Command & Conquer: Generals: The game begins with the terrorist Global Liberation Army detonating a nuclear bomb in front of the Forbidden City. The geography is all off, however; Tiananmen Square and 14 Chang'an Street are missing.