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Shanghai, China's largest city, is directly under the central government. Being on the east coast due west of the southern tip of Japan, it was the scene of countless anti-imperialist struggles for a hundred years. Divided into foreign concessions after the Opium War in 1840, Shanghai continued to be an open port until the 1940s. During these years, uprisings against western-powers, students' demonstrations against Japanese invasions and armies' fights against Japanese attacks never stopped. It was of great importance in China's revolution. The first Congress of the Communist Party of China was held here secretly in 1921.

Today, Shanghai is one of China's biggest and busiest ports, and an important industrial and commercial center. Its population is 12 million, with a population density of 41,000 per square km. It has the second of China's two stock exchanges. Its residents are known for their business talents, quick wit and sophistication. Its fashions and standards of products and services are more international than other Chinese cities.

For tourists, Shanghai is a museum of 19th-century European and Japanese architecture, though some of the buildings are not well-preserved. Its most famous garden is Yuyuan Garden, laid out between 1559 and 1577 now covering an area of 20,000 square meters. The top of its Rockery Hill used to be the highest point in the city with dragon walls, beautifully-shaped doors, bamboo groove, winding walkways and elegant furniture, all in the typical South China style. Nearby is Yuyuan Market, once the busiest in the city. Shanghai Municipal Museum houses a large variety of ancient relics, the demonstration of bronze casting and pottery making. In Shanghai Art and Handicrafts Research Institute, top artisans develop new crafts. The Jade Buddha Temple was founded in 1882. It housed two Buddhas, one of which carved from one piece of white jade in Burma. Longhua Pagoda and Temple is also a noted scenic spot. It is the oldest temple in the district. There are Former Residence of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and Tomb of Song Qingling, Dr. Sun's widow. There is Museum and Tomb of Lu Xun. Lu Xun was a great writer and philosopher, honored as China's national hero. The residence of Chou En-lai was also in Shanghai. In the outskirts of the city are 48.5-meter-high Square Pagoda, Confucius Temple, a Roman Catholic cathedral, Grand View Garden, and Dingshan Lake. Shanghai's Kunqu Opera is more melodic and graceful than Beijing's Opera.

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Site Created: September 16, 1998; Updated: September 23, 2007.