Shanghai Research Paper
Shanghai is the largest city in China and the 10th largest city in the world. It is
located in the central, eastern part of china on the coast, making it a port city as well.
Shanghai is administered as a municipality and it has attained province status.
Shanghai began as a textile and fishing town, but in the song dynasty was
upgraded to a market town and finally a city in 1297. A city wall was built during the
Ming dynasty in 1554 to protect it from Japanese pirates. Because of Shanghai’s
economic importance a City God Temple was erected, an honor usually reserved for a
capital city. During the Qing Dynasty the ban on ocean going vessels was lifted, and the
customs office was moved to Shanghai. Due to these reasons Shanghai became the most
important port city in the Yangtze Delta region. Despite all of these advancements they
were still considered to be at the lowest administrative level politically.
Shanghai in the 19th century continued to improve as it was in an ideal location
for trade with the west. After the First Opium War, and the signing of the Treaty of
Nanjing. Shanghai was opened for international trade. When Japan became an industrial
power they too became involved in Shanghai commerce. This effectively made Shanghai
the most important financial center in the Far East. Under the Republic of China
Shanghai’s status was set as a Municipality.
In 1949 the Chinese Communist party controlling the Peoples Liberation Army
gained control of Shanghai. Many changes in the subdivisions of the city occurred over
the following 10 years, including most foreign business moving to Hong Kong as a part
of foreign exodus due to the Communist victory. Shanghai has been the largest tax
revenue contributor during communist control, but this has also crippled Shanghai’s
infrastructure and capital development. Still it has been able to maintain high economic
productivity and relative social stability. In 1991 Shanghai was permitted by the
government to begin economic reforms that have been proven to work in the southern
part of china. and these reforms are ongoing today, especially in the Pudong region of
Shanghai is considered the most important port city in Mainland China. It is
considered to be one of the busiest ports in the world. Since 2005 their cargo traffic has
surpassed Hong Kong to be second in the world only to Singapore. Shanghai was first in
2007 when they handled 560 million tons of cargo. Hong Kong and Shanghai are
battling to become the economic center of China. Hong Kong has a stronger market in
commerce and banking, but Shanghai has a stronger political backing and higher
advancements in manufacturing and technology. Shanghai seems to be winning the
battle as it has increased its role in finance, banking, and corporate headquarters.
Formerly the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was the largest in China but the Shanghai
stock exchange is now known as the fastest growing market in the world.
On top of these advancements Shanghai also has one of the most advanced
transportation systems in China. They rely heavily on busses, trolley busses, taxis, and a
rapidly expanding metro rail system. The Shanghai Metro extends to every urban district
and many suburban districts of Shanghai. Shanghai was the first city to have a
commercial maglev train from Pudong international airport to Longyang road subway
station. Shanghai also has one of the largest bus systems with over one thousand lines
managed by many companies. Still the main form of transportation remains to be bicycle
for much of the Shanghainese population. For this reason the government has agreed to
expand the bicycle safety in Shanghai by adding new bike lanes, and monitoring
intersections with Traffic Assistants.
On a lighter note, Shanghai has a rich tapestry of architectural styles. The bund,
which is a part of Shanghai next to the Huangpu River, has early neoclassical buildings
including the HSBC building, as well as Art Decco buildings such as the Sassoon House.
Other areas such as the Yuyuan garden display a Jiangnan style. Shanghai also has
architecture based solely on Shanghainese and traditional culture, known as shikumen
residences. They blend western style Yangtze style architectures. This has created a
unique style of architecture found only in Shanghai. They have also erected many
skyscrapers, which have beautiful styling. The Shanghai World Financial Center is one
such building. This building has been compared to a bottle opener by our group, but is
one of the most beautiful buildings at night. Another unique building of the Shanghai
skyline is the Oriental Pearl Tower.
The culture of Shanghai is that of firsts for China. It was in Shanghai that the first
automobile was driven, and the first train tracks were laid. Also the first modern sewer
system was laid in Shanghai. Shanghai is also the literary center of china and the site of
the intellectual battle between socialist and bourgeois writers. Shanghai is also known as
the center for Chinese filmmaking.
Shanghai has many museums including the Shanghai Museum of art and history.
This museum boasts the best collection of Chinese historical artifacts in the world, which
includes recent archaeological finds since 1949. All though there are many large
museums such as this there are also many smaller museums usually at historical sites
such as the site of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.
Shanghai has been the center for many events in China and the world including
the 2007 Summer Special Olympics, the Shanghai International Film Festival, and the
city will host the 2010 Expo World’s Fair. The city is also home of the Shanghai
Shenhua of the Chinese Super League, the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball
Association, and the Shanghai Golden Eagles of the Chinese Baseball League. They
have also accepted other modern sports including Formula One racing.
Shanghai cuisine is a blending of cooking styles of surrounding regions that have
proven to go together very well. The cuisine of China always starts with fresh
ingredients but this seems to be the only similarity. Shanghai cuisine uses a lot of soy
sauce, and rock sugar making it abundantly sweet and salty. Some dishes include round
pork sausages with clover, red bean paste or pork in steamed bread (known as a steamed
bun), and sliced pork or chicken pieces. On top of these dishes there are many
international cuisines available in the city, and French cooking is very highly regarded by
the locals. KFC, Mc’donalds, and Pizza Hut are also highly regarded for their fast food
natures due to the hectic lifestyle in shanghai nowadays. The younger generations find
these convenient but they are expensive compared to local cuisines.
It is apparent that Shanghai is a powerhouse of China and certainly an
international phenomenon. They have more culture then most cities in the world and
hold on to that heritage in a lot of ways. It is apparent that cultural pride is deeply rooted
into everything about China.