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79.Tianjin, a window of modern China    2008-09-22 11:33

A city with a history of 600 years is not an ancientcity in China, but it is the gateway throughwhich the western civilization of modern timesfirst entered China. Thereby, Tianjin has won aunique status in the modern history. It was oneof the first batch of cities where the Western materialcivilization had first landed and developedand also Tianjin was also one of the first placeswhere the Western culture had been accepted.

When people stroll in the busy streets or roamabout the alleys and lanes or even ramble thedowntown area, they will feel deep in theirheart what strong affinity this city has for bothChinese and Western cultures and how subtlyand harmoniously it has assembled the ancientand the modern, the Western and the Chinese.

Since Tianjin became one of the earliestcoastal cities in North China that opened tothe outside world in modern times, Westernand Chinese cultures clashed here. Continuousdebugging and conflicts result in the uniquegrowth pattern of Tianjin and the extent andspeed to and with which Tianjin integrates withthe world.

Trains were first introduced to China after Tianjinopened its port to the outside world, which washalf a century later compared with the rest ofthe world, then telegrams, which was thirty yearslater. Modern post services were more thantwenty years later compared with the rest of theworld, but it was just a gap of three years whenTianjin introduced telephone in. Not long aftermaroon powder was invented did Tianjin establish‘the biggest and best powder factory’ in theworld. When big cities in the world establishedsuccessively the public traffic system of trolleycar by the early 20th century, Tianjin was almostin line with the world’s pace. What’s more, trains,telegrams, post services, telephones, trolley car,etc, were all first to be used in Tianjin and thenpopularized throughout China.

It is the same with spiritual cultures. ‘PeiyangMartial School’, which was the first militaryacademy that trained the modern army talents,was set up in Tianjin in 1885. The earliest universityof China ‘Peiyang University of WesternStudies’ began running in Tianjin in 1895.Guowen Daily with Yan Fu as the chief editorstarted publication in 1897 in Tianjin. The earliestpolice system was set up in Tianjin in 1902.In the same year, Takung Pao Newspaper, theoldest newspaper of China, started publicationin Tianjin and continues its publication in HongKong until today. In 1906, Peiyang Universityof Politics and Law, the earliest of its kind tonurture talents of politics and law, was set upin Tianjin. Tianjin County Council, the first cityautonomous institution in modern China, wasestablished through vote in 1907. In 1919, themost successful private university of NankaiUniversity was set up.

Spurred by the ‘window effect’ after openingthe port, various operating mechanism of traditionalsociety of China, such as political, military,judicial, educational mechanisms beganto take place in Tianjin. Chinese people havea chance to get access to and experience allkinds of world cultures.

In the political perspective, Tianjin was alwaysin the leading position. Being close to the capitalcity, Tianjin has always been the port andwindow open to the outside world. After twoOpium Wars, Tianjin began to be the stationplace of Chihli Viceroy and Peiyang ministers.Consequently, Tianjin’s diplomatic and politicalstatus hovered zoomed. In the eyes of foreigners,Chihli Viceroy Yamun of Tianjin was almostthe ‘Second Government’ of China.

Tianjin has evolved rapidly from a governmentoffice, county city to a famous northern citywhich drives the modernization for China. Theharmonious coexistence of both traditionaland modern elements constitutes the profoundmeaning and style unique to Tianjin.

Today, this modern economic center of NorthChina is rising with accelerated speed so as to redisplaythe mien of North China economic center.    Editor: Zhao Jing
Preparatory & Coordination Committee of Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2008