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Nanjing (nänˈjĭngˈ) or Nanking (nănˈkĭngˈ) [southern capital], city (1994 est. pop. 2,224,200), capital of Jiangsu prov., E central China, in a bend of the Chang (Yangtze) River. It has served at times in the past as capital of China. The second largest city in the region (after Shanghai), Nanjing is at the intersection of three major railroad lines. Industry, which once centered around “nankeen” cloth (unbleached cotton goods), was vigorously developed under the Communist government. The city now has an integrated iron-steel complex, an oil refinery, food-processing establishments, and hundreds of plants making chemicals, textiles, cement, fertilizers, machinery, weapons, electronic equipment, optical instruments, photographic equipment, and trucks. Nanjing has long been celebrated as a literary and political center. It was the capital of China from the 3d to 6th cent. A.D. and again from 1368 to 1421. The Treaty of Nanjing, signed in 1842 at the end of the Opium War, opened China to foreign trade. During the Taiping Rebellion insurgents held the city from 1853 to 1864. It was captured by the revolutionists in 1911, and in 1912 it became the capital of China's first president, Sun Yat-sen. When in 1927 the city fell to the Communists, the foreign residents fled to the protection of British and American warships on the Chang River. The Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek retook the city, and it became (1928) the regular Nationalist capital. In 1932, when the Japanese were threatening to attack the city, the government was temporarily removed to Luoyang, and on Nov. 21, 1937, just before Nanjing fell to the Japanese, it was moved to Chongqing. The Japanese entry into the city, accompanied by widespread killing and brutality, became known as the “rape of Nanking.” The Japanese established (1938) their puppet regime in Nanjing. Chinese forces reoccupied the city Sept. 5, 1945, and the capitulation of the Japanese armies in China was signed there on Sept. 9. Nanjing again fell to the Communists in Apr., 1949, and from 1950 until 1952, when it became the provincial capital, Nanjing was administered as part of an autonomous region. The city has many institutions of higher learning, notably Nanjing Univ. and Nanjing Institute of Technology. The Nanjing Military Academy is there. The city is also noted for its library, and its astronomical observatory and botanical gardens are among China's largest. The original city wall (70 ft/21 m high), most of which still stands, dates from the Ming dynasty and encircles most of the modern city. The tomb of the first Ming emperor is approached by an avenue lined with colossal images of men and animals. Also of interest are the tomb of Sun Yat-sen, a memorial to China's war dead (a steel pagoda), the Taiping museum, and the 89-story Zifeng Tower (2010). A 4-mi (6.4 km), two-level railway and road bridge was completed across the Chang in 1968.


See I. Chang, The Rape of Nanking (1997).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in China, located on the right bank of the lower Yangtze River. A major national economic and cultural center. Capital of Kiangsu Province. Population, 1,670,000 (1965, estimate).

Nanking is an important transportation junction, with a river port accessible to oceangoing ships. A two-tiered railroad and highway bridge spans the Yangtze at Nanking. Local industrial products include machine tools, turbines, electronic instruments, electrical equipment, trucks, agricultural machinery, metal products, chemicals (particularly chemical fertilizers and synthetic fibers), cement, textiles, and food. A thermal electric power plant is located in the city. Nanking is a scientific and cultural center, with a university, eight other institutions of higher education, a museum, an observatory, a botanical garden, and a zoo.

Nanking was founded in 472 B.C. At various times it was known as Chinling, Moling, Chienyeh, Chienk’ang, and Kiangning. Beginning in the third century A.D., it served as the capital for such major feudal dynasties as the Wu (third century) and the Eastern Chin, Liu-Sung, Southern Ch’i, Liang, and Ch’en (fourth through sixth centuries). Nanking was also the capital of China during the initial period of the rule of the Ming dynasty (1368–1421). From 1421 to 1911 it was the center of the Chiangnan vicegerency (Kiangsu, Kianghsi, and Anhwei provinces). From March 1853 through 1864, under the name of T’ienching (“heavenly capital”), it was the capital of the state established during the Taiping uprising.

Nanking was a leading center of the bourgeois Hsin-hai Revolution (1911–13); from the end of December 1911 until April 1912 it was the capital of China’s first republican government, led by Sun Yat-sen. From April 1912 until 1927, Nanking was the capital of Kiangsu Province. After Chiang Kai’shek’s counterrevolutionary coup, of Apr. 12, 1927, the city became China’s capital. In December 1937, Nanking fell to the Japanese and from 1940 to 1945 was the site of the puppet government set up by the Japanese and headed by Wang Ching-wei. Again from 1946 through 1949, Nanking served as the sent of government of the Republic of China. The city was liberated from the Kuomintang by the People’s Liberation Army on Apr. 23, 1949.

Nanking has an irregular layout. The Imperial City, built in the 14th and 15th centuries according to an elaborate plan and surrounded by a massive stone wall in 1400, is located in the eastern part of the city. Noteworthy architectural monuments of Nanking include the stone Porcelain Pagoda of the Ch’ihsia-shih temple, built during the tenth century; the Wu-liang-tien, a beamless brick temple, constructed in 1398 within the Ling-koshih temple; portions of the city wall that date from the Ming era (from the 14th through the 17th centuries); the imperial tombs of the Liang dynasty (ruled A.D. 502–557); with their monumental stone statuary of fantastic animals; the tomb of Chu Yüan-chang (14th century), with stone figures of officials, warriors, and animals; and the tomb of Sun Yat-sen, constructed 1926–29.


Sushkina, N. N. U drevnikh pamiatnikov. Moscow, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, Nanking, Nan-ching
a port in E central China, capital of Jiangsu province, on the Yangtze River: capital of the Chinese empire and a literary centre from the 14th to 17th centuries; capital of Nationalist China (1928--37); site of a massacre of about 300 000 civilians by the invading Japanese army in 1937; university (1928). Pop.: 2 806 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
She had been appointed to teach religious studies and to assist in directing religious activities at Ginling College in Nanking.
The book begins with a sprawling series that begins to unpack the atrocities at Nanking -- the news coverage, the photos of beheaded Chinese citizens, of women sexually assaulted with various objects.
The film opens to the utter devastation of bombing and killing, with Nanking in ruins around the stoical walls of the Cathedral.
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"Also stolen was a Moorcroft candle-stick holder and vase, a selection of Graf von Faber-Castell pens and pencils and a pair of Nanking Cargo plates."
THE FLOWERS OF WAR by Geling Yan (Harvill Secker, pounds 10) THE Nanking war, when Japanese troops occupied the Chinese city in the 1930s, remains a controversial issue to this day, yet Shanghai-born author Geling Yan has courageously tackled it.
THE FLOWERS OF WAR Geling Yan (Harvill Secker, pounds 10) THE Nanking war, when Japanese troops occupied the Chinese city in the 1930s, remains a controversial issue but Shanghai author Geling Yan has tackled it here.
Toe die Japannese Nanking laglag verower, het hy 'n nuwe droom gekry, oto heldhaftig vir die vaderland te veg en die grootsheid van sy geliefde land te vermeerder en aan die wereld te wys.
The company seems to have grown exponentially in the size, quantity and range of its projects, from China's most expensive epic ever, Zhang Yimou's Nanking drama "The Flowers of War" (on which the company will finalize deals after it screens in December) to the latest horror film from "Paranormal Activity" wunderkind Oren Peli to Jonathan Glazer's sci-fi pic "Under the Skin," starring Scarlett Johannson.
"Large parties of Chinese soldiers laid down their arms and surrendered outside Nanking; within 72 hours after their surrender they were killed in groups by machine gun fire along the bank of the Yangtze River." (1)
The 1842 Treaty of Nanking opened Shanghai, then a small fishing city between the Yangzee and Huangpu Rivers, up to international trade.
ULRICH Tukur plays the eponymous hero, a Nazi who helps establish a Siemens factory in 1937 Nanking just as the Japanese invade China.