Changchun, People’s Republic of China
Liaison: Ashvin Vibhakar
Changchun has been a Sister City to Little Rock since 1994.
Changchun, which means “eternal spring,” is the capital and the largest city of Jilin province in northeast China. It is located on the Yitong River in the Songliao Plain and has a humid continental climate with four seasons influenced by monsoons. According to the 2010 census, the city has a population of 7,674,439.
Changchun was established by a Mongol duke in 1796, during the Qing dynasty, as a small trading post. In 1889, the village was elevated to the category of city. It expanded rapidly as the junction between the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railway and the Russian-owned Chinese Eastern Railway. Branch lines originating in Changchun extended into Korea and Inner Mongolia.
In 1932, the city was moved 200 km. to the east and became the capital of Manchukua, a state in Manchuria. Known then as Hsinking, it was a well-planned city with broad avenues and modern public works. The city underwent rapid expansion in both its economy and infrastructure.
During World War II, the city was invaded by the Soviet Red Army and was looted and heavily damaged in 1945. The Soviets maintained a presence until the Chinese civil war in 1946, when Kuomintang forces occupied the city. In 1948, after a 12-month siege by the People’s Liberation Army, the city fell to the communists. Originally designated as an administrative, cultural, and political capital, industrial production expanded rapidly in the following decade.
Renamed Changchun by the People’s Republic of China government, it became the capital of Jilin in 1954.
Changchun has a reputation as China’s “Automobile City” and “Film City”, and as a “City of Science, Technology and Culture” and a “Forest City.”
It is an industrial city with an economy based on coal, petroleum, and iron. The leading industries are automobile production, agricultural product processing, biopharmaceuticals, and energy. The first Jiefang (Liberation) trucks and Hongqu (Red Flag) cars were manufactured in Changchun, and the city is now the largest automobile manufacturing, research, and development center in China.
With a strong industrial base, abundant agricultural resources, advanced scientific and technological infrastructure, and highly developed culture and education system, the city is fast becoming one of the international modern cities in Northeast Asia.
The Changchun dialect belongs to northeast Mandarin, and is very similar to the Beijing dialect.
Because Changchun is the center of the Chinese automobile industry, it is often referred to as the “Detroit of China.” It is also sometimes called the “Hollywood of China” because it is home to the largest film studio in the country. Changchun is the birthplace of China’s first film and the living place of Puyi, China’s last emperor, making the city a seat of culture. There are local operas, folk dances, puppet shows, and sculpture parks, as well as abundant national parks.
Changchun is home to several professional sports teams: Jilin Northeast Tigers (basketball), Changchun Yatai Football Club, and Jilin Tseng Tou (ice hockey). The city is also home to two multi-use stadiums, a gymnasium, and an indoor speed skating arena.
Colleges and Universities
Jilin University (JLU) is one of the largest and most prestigious universities in China. The University has 7 campuses that are home to 43 colleges covering 13 academic disciplines, including economics, law, education, history, science, engineering, medicine, and management. It is a key research base for engineering, technology, and social sciences, sponsored by the Ministry of Education and 11 other government ministries.
The city of Changchun has an International Sister City Sculpture Park in front of the Changchun Municipal People’s Government offices and across from the Changchun World Sculpture Park. The theme of the Sister City Sculpture Park is ‘Friendship, Exchanges, and Development’ and its purpose is to promote exchanges between Sister Cities by offering an international platform to showcase the culture and art of these cities.
In 2008, Michael Warrick, a professor of sculpture at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), was invited to create a sculpture for the park during a 30-day stay in Changchun with the 9th Changchun China International Sculpture Symposium.