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Liugong Island, Not Only An Island
    2007-11-20 06:43:15     CRIENGLISH.com

Liugong Island Expo Park October 14, 2007. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.COM]

Liugong Island is not only a traveling destination but is also the birthplace of the first modern navy force in China and the home of China's first forest park on the sea. On this week's China Horizon, we will land on the beautiful island to enjoy the scenery and to get to know the lives of the locals there.

Covering an area of 3 square kilometers, Liugong Island is 2 sea miles away from downtown Weihai. After a 30-minute trip on a passenger ship, we can't wait to see the pearl of Weihai.

Famous for its splendid natural scenery such as continuous ridges and peaks and densely-grown trees, Liugong Island is known as the "Wonderland beyond the Human World". Then why is it called Liugong Island? According to our tourist guide, there is a story behind it.

"Dating back to Eastern Han Dynasty, wife of Emperor Liu Bian escaped from a palace coup. Later she delivered a boy and named him Liu Ming. They started to live on the island. The boy grew up and saved a girl when he was out fishing. The two tied the knot and saved many more fishermen. People warmly called them by Grandpa Liu, namely Li Gong in Chinese and Granny Liu. In order to show their gratefulness for the couple, they built a temple on the island for them, and named the island Liugong Island."

Liugong Island, the birthplace of Beiyang Fleet - the first modern navy force in China, has witnessed much solemn and tragic history. Now Museum of First Sino-Japanese War, or China Jiawu War Museum, has become a famous base for patriotic education. The name of this museum was written by former Chinese President, Jiang Zemin. More than 1,000 historical pictures as well as over 200 files of cultural relics that are related to Beiyang Fleet and Sino-Japanese War in 1894 are on display in the museum. In addition, lots of precious objects of great historical value, such as the 20-ton cannon on the battleship of Beiyang Naval Units can also be seen here. By using cultural relics, pictures, waxworks, sand table, models, films and so on, the museum vividly illustrates the scene of the battle.

"We have learned about Chinese history and are impressed by the Jiawu War." A visitor, Mr. Lau from Malaysia, said after his visit to the museum.

As the first forest park on the sea appointed by the Ministry of Forest, Liugong Island National Forest Park covers an area of over 4,000 acres, accounting for 74 percent of the whole island. There are more than 50 species of wild plants and over 50 species of birds residing on the island. If you watch carefully, you may find precious wild spotted deer sauntering here and there in the forest park.

Since the opening of Liugong Island in 1985, facilities at the scenic spots and the quality of services have been improved. Sixty-six-year-old Uncle Sui, a local resident who has been living on the island for 48 years, told us his feelings about the changes:

"There have been enormous changes on the island. Liugong Island Expo Park is newly built and China Jiawu War Museum has been restored. It is said that new scenic spots will be expanded to the east of the island. With the development, the quality of our lives has also improved - transportation became more convenient and income has increased as well. Before the founding of the nation, we pumped water from a well. Later we started to use tap water. Now the government promotes desalination of sea water for residents."

Xiao Su, a seller of fishing rods said: "The number of visitors coming to Liugong Island increased by 15 percent every year and the number has hit 1.4 million in 2002. I can sell 70 to 80 fishing rods everyday. With increasing income, our life has also improved. I believe Liugong Island has a bright future."

The Liugong island, with its fresh air, the agreeable climate with small fluctuation in temperature between the day and night, and an annual average temperature of 12 degrees centigrade, is an ideal place for tourism, summer resort and recuperation. Liugong Island, a harmonious coexistence of nature and humanity, welcomes your visit! 

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