Qinhuangdao

Qinhuangdao (QHD) was my Chinese home for six and half years, while I taught English at Hebei Agricultural University’s Ocean College in Haigang district.

There is very little information available in English on the history of QHD, so the following is mostly from some snippets I was able to pick up from my Chinese colleagues and students. Any inaccuracies are either my own fault or result from poor translations, which are not necessarily mine.


Qinhuangdao’s name comes from one of the most famous figures of Chinese history, the first Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. It is the only Chinese city named after an emperor. In 215 BC, Qin Shi Huang came here on military manoeuvers and there are a number of local stories associated with him.
After the Boxer rebellion, the area was occupied by Russian troops, although there were bases or encampments of troops of all the Eight-Nation Alliance (Russian, British, Japanese, German, French, American, Austro-Hungarian, and Italian).
The design and construction of the harbour and port was undertaken by the partnership of Sir John Wolfe-Barry (more famous for Tower Bridge and Kew Bridge in London) and Lt Col Arthur John Barry (his nephew) at the turn of the 20th century.

The city* of Qinhuangdao is made up of three urban districts – Shanhaiguan (blue), Haigang (lilac), and Beidaihe (dark green) – and 4 mostly rural counties – Qinglong Manchu Autonomous County (pale green), Lulong (brown), Funing (yellow), and Changli (pale blue). More detail on each of these is available via the links.

* City, definition: The Government of China in 1982–1997 upgraded many counties to cities by decree, thereby increasing their city count from 250 to more than 650 during this period. Almost 15% of the counties in China became cities. The new “cities” often include large rural areas as well as urban areas. The upgrade was considered desirable by local governments because the new status provides additional powers of taxation and administration, the right to expand the size of government, and an increase in the proportion of land which could be converted from agriculture to buildings.
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