An Introduction to Ningbo in Zhejiang Province.
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With a population of 5.38 million and a land area of 1,079 square kilometers, Ningbo is one of the first batch of 14 coastal cities opening-up to the outside world. It ranked 10th in comprehensive competitiveness among China’s major cities including Hong Kong and Macao. Nongbo is an important part of the Shanghai international seaborne transportation hub. The Ningbo Port has a 200,000-ton iron ore wharf, the largest of its kind in China, a 250,000-ton crude oil wharf, an international container wharf and 29 deepwater wharfs each with a capacity of 50,000 tons. At present, the Ningbo Port has established trade links with 560 seaports in 84 countries and regions around the world. Also, a comprehensive transport network including railways, airports, waterways and highways had been formed in Ningbo, The Ningbo Hangzhou Bay Trans-Oceanic Bridge will greatly shorten the distance between Ningbo and Shanghai. Other facilities like the Hangzhou-Ningbo Railway link Ningbo to the rest of the country. Ningbo is one of the most important manufacturing bases in East China. Such pillar industries as steel and iron, power generation, petroleum refining and petrochemicals, and papermaking have been formed in Ningbo. The city is also one of the leading garment producers in China, with a total output that accounts for 12 per cent of the country’s total. The city is one of China’s model cities in environmental protection, which makes it an ideal place to live and work.
Ningbo Bids for Legendary Status
Ningbo, the birthplace of the ancient legend of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, or butterfly lovers, applied on January 7, 2003 to the United Nations to be included on the “World Intangible Cultural Heritage” list. Scholars from the China Art Research Institute, the China Folk Culture Society and the China Folk Art Association unanimously supported the application.
The love story of Liang Shanbo梁山伯and Zhu Yingtai祝英台is one of the finest works of ancient Chinese folk literature regarded as the oriental version of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Originating during the Jin Dynasty (265-420), the legend tells of a love story between Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. Zhu was the daughter of a wealthy family. She was sent to school disguised as a boy. During her three years at school, she became friends with her classmate Liang and secretly fell in love with him. Unfortunately, Zhu’s father suddenly summoned her back, saying that he had found her a husband. Zhu was reluctant to go, but had Hobson’s choice. Liang was unable to discover the truth until Zhu had left. He hurried to Zhu’s home, asking for her hand in marriage, but was turned down and thrown out. In despair, Liang fell sick and died. Zhu was broken-hearted when she heard the news. She ran away from home and visited the Liang’s grave on the day of her marriage. Suddenly, the sky became dark. Liang’s grave opened. Zhu threw herself into it.Legend claims that both Liang and Zhu turned into a pair of beautiful butterflies and lived happily together. Local historical records show that Liang was a county magistrate in Yingxian District in Ningbo about 1,600 years ago. He died of a fatal disease at the age of 21, but because of his kindness, hard work and honesty, he lived on in the legend. The story of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai is one of the most widely spread legends in China. It is deeply rooted in the Chinese folk tradition, and has always been close to the heart of ordinary people. Handed down from generation to generation, today the story has been widely told in the form of operas, traditional paper cuts violin, and bass drum music. In the City of Ningbo, more traditional wedding culture based on the story has also attracted young couples. The entire story meets the requirements for the United Nation’s world intangible cultural relics, which specifies that the applying relic must be deeply rooted in the local traditional culture; that it must manifest the special value and characteristics of an area; that it has great potential for further development; and that it requires protection.
The Ningbo Trans-Oceanic Bridge--Spanning Hangzhou Bay 宁波跨嗨大桥
Construction of the Ningbo Trans-Oceanic Bridge over the Hangzhou Bay began on June 8, 2003 and is expected to be completed in 2008. Adopting the latest technology and using an investment of 16 billion yuan (US $ 1.93 billion), the six-track bridge is to be 36 kilometers long and 33 meters wide upon completion. It will be the largest sea bridge in the world. The designed traffic speed of the bridge will be 100 kilometers per hour. The bridge will greatly shorten the land transportation distance between Shanghai and Ningbo and help form a two-hour transportation “Golden Triangle” among Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Ningbo. It will also be key to the formation of an international mega metropolis group with Shanghai as the center in the Yangtze River Delte.