Building boom A Communist government came to power in China in 1949 (see page 11). Under its rule, Beijing rapidly expanded beyond the Inner and Outer Cities. Builders knocked down the old city walls and other ancient structures. They created large numbers of new buildings, including high- rise tower blocks and factories. Building and demolition work still goes on all day and night. Local government Beijing is an independent municipality, one of four in China. Its central area is divided into ten districts and the countryside around is divided into eight counties. Beijing is run by a group called a Congress, chosen by the Chinese Communist Party. Congress members elect the city government.

FAST FACTS BEIJING STATUS Capital of the People’s Republic of China; one of China’s four independent municipalities AREA (municipality) 6,336 square miles (16,800 square km) POPULATION 21,150,000 (2013) GOVERNING BODY People’s Congress of Beijing Municipality; Beijing People’s Government CLIMATE Temperatures average 14 to 34°F (-10 to 1°C) in January and 70 to 88°F (21 to 31°C) in July TIME ZONE Greenwich Mean Time plus 8 hours CURRENCY Renminbi (People’s Money ) I yuan = 10 jiao = 100 fen

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE Putonghua (Mandarin Chinese)

The Zhongnanhai compound is guarded by soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army. ⌂

National government China’s national government is based in Beijing. Its members belong to the Chinese Communist Party. The government meets in the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square (see page 14). Top government members live in the Zhongnanhai compound. This is known as the New Forbidden City because the public are not allowed inside.

⌂ Heavy downpours of warm rain are common during Beijing summers, but the city’s many cyclists are well prepared.



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