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[Audio]Qingdao: Clean Beach plus Great Beer
2005-5-18 15:44:16     
Join us in an audio tour along the boardwalk of Qingdao, one of the most beautiful city in China.

Today we're visiting the beautiful coastal city of Qingdao, in East China's Shandong Province.

Anchor:  Qingdao's clean beaches, European architecture and great beer inspired from Laoshan's crisp spring water make this city an idyllic getaway to spend a few relaxing days strolling along the boardwalk while watching the sunrise over the ocean and sipping China's world famous Qingdao beer. So now let's join our tourguide Yunfeng for more. 

Yunfeng:  Despite having no island, Qingdao is deceptively named "green island" in Chinese. And this doesn't deter locals from referring to this laidback city as the "island city". In southern Shandong Province, Qingdao was only a small scenic fishing village until the might of international politics thrust it upon the world stage. In 1897, two German missionaries in Shandong Province were killed, using this as a pretext, and in 1898, Kaiser Wilhelm II forced the Qing government to lease Qingdao to Germany for 99 years.

The Kaiser intended to keep Qingdao for those 99 years and built a typical German-style city. The Germans expanded Qingdao's infrastructure, expanding its excellent harbor, building a rail connection to the provincial capital and piping in spring water from Laoshan.  Taking advantage of Lao ShanĄ¯s spring water, a beer brewery was built in 1903 and today Qingdao is a center of Chinese beer production.

The city remained in German possession until the First World War when the Japanese, with British aid, took the city. As a member of the Allied Powers, the Chinese government demanded the return of Qingdao to Chinese sovereignty, but under the treaty of Versailles, Qingdao and all German possessions in Asia were given to Japan.  Due to widespread protests, the Chinese delegation refused to sign the treaty and in 1919, the May Fourth Movement broke out.  In 1922, control of Qingdao was finally transferred back to China.

Today, Qingdao's architecture style is a mixture of old world European and modern. The area around Bada Guan, close to the NO.2 Bathing Beach, is the former German residential area, meaning "eight passes".  Bada Guan now has ten streets line with 100 western villas. Spacious and blessed with greenery, each street is lined with a single type of tree; locals can tell what street they're on just by looking at the trees. Close to the ocean and bathed with a yearlong sea breeze, it's easy to understand why many chose this area for their home. Summers here are breathtaking and some of the historic villas are available for rent.

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