Beijing is China's second largest city in terms of population, after Shanghai. It is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and expressways entering and leaving it in all directions. It is also the focal point of many international flights to China. Beijing is recognized as the political, educational, and cultural center of the People's Republic of China, while Shanghai and Hong Kong predominate in economic fields.-------------------The Communist Party of China reverted the name to Beijing (Peking) in 1949 again in part to emphasize that Beijing had returned to its role as China's capital. The government of the Republic of China on Taiwan has never formally recognized the name change, and during the 1950s and 1960s it was common in Taiwan for Beijing to be called Beiping to imply the illegitimacy of the PRC. Today, almost all of Taiwan, including the ROC government, uses Beijing, although some maps of China from Taiwan still use the old name along with pre-1949 political boundaries.----------------------During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Beiping fell to Japan on 29 July 1937. During the occupation, the city was reverted to its former name, Beijing, and made the seat of the Provisional Government of the Republic of China, a puppet state that ruled the ethnic Chinese portions of Japanese-occupied North China. It was later merged into the larger Wang Jingwei Government based in Nanjing. With Japan's surrender in World War II, on 15 August 1945, however, Beijing's name was changed back to Beiping.-------------------On January 31, 1949, during the Chinese Civil War, Communist forces entered Beijing without a fight. On October 1 of the same year, the Communist Party of China, under the leadership of Mao Zedong, announced in Tian'anmen the creation of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. Just a few days earlier, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference had decided that Beiping would be the capital of the new government, and that its name would be changed back to Beijing.----------------------At the time of the founding of the People's Republic, Beijing Municipality consisted of just its urban area and immediate suburbs. The urban area was divided into many small districts inside what is now the 2nd Ring Road. Since then several surrounding counties have been incorporated into the Municipality, enlarging the limits of Beijing Municipality by many times and giving it its present shape. The Beijing city wall was torn down between 1965 and 1969 to make way for the construction of the 2nd Ring Road.------------------------------Following the economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping, the urban area of Beijing has expanded greatly. Formerly within the confines of the 2nd Ring Road and the 3rd Ring Road, the urban area of Beijing is now pushing at the limits of the recently-constructed 5th Ring Road and 6th Ring Road (currently under construction), with many areas that were formerly farmland now developed residential or commercial neighborhoods. A new commercial area has developed in the Guomao area, Wangfujing and Xidan have developed into flourishing shopping districts, while Zhongguancun has become a major center of electronics in China.
As the national capital, Beijing has also been the site of political turmoil in recent years. Tian'anmen Square, a well-known landmark in the city, was the site of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1976 and then the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, which ended in a military crackdown. Tian'anmen Square has also been the site of protests by Falun Gong.-------------------n recent years, the expansion of Beijing has also brought to the forefront some problems of urbanization, such as heavy traffic, poor air quality, the loss of historic neighborhoods, and significant influx of migrants from poorer regions of the country, especially rural areas.
Early 2005 saw the approval by government of a plan to finally stop the sprawling development of Beijing in all directions. Development of the Chinese capital would now proceed in two semicircular bands just outside of the city centre (both west and east) instead of being in concentric rings.
Beijing has been chosen to host the 2008 Summer , an event that has sparked nationalistic pride across China.
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