Chong Qing Now and Then: A Glance at Chong Qing Chronicle

Being a recently-emerging industrial city in China does not mean that Chong Qing has no significant historical records. Despite its rapid development and consistent transformation into a modern city-state, Chong Qing actually has been playing a considerably major role during the development of China’s civilization for over 3000 years.

Early in the 11th century B.C when the Shang Dynasty was replaced by the Zhou Dynasty, Chong Qing was the main settlement for Ba ethnic whose authentic culture becomes the Chong Qing’s local and original culture, and since then it consistently serves as the capital for the State of Ba. At its peak time, the State of Ba covered a large area, including present-day eastern Sichuan province, southern Shaanxi province, western Hubei province, northwestern Hunan province, and northern Guizhou Province.

Chongqing was once known as Jiangzhou in ancient times, and later was called Ba Prefecture, Chu Prefecture, Yu Prefecture, and Gong prefecture at different times. Essentially, the name Chong Qing was originally suggested by Emperor Guang Zong of Song Dynasty when he seized the throne in 1189.

Undoubtedly, the most important period among Chong Qing’s historical record is between year 1937 to 1946, when Chong Qing served as the capital for China in a response to the annexation of eastern China by Axis forces. During this period, Chong Qing became the  headquarter of national military command for the Anti-Fascist War as well as the centre for politics, economy, and culture in China.

In the early years after the founding of New China, Chongqing served as the seat of the Southwest Military and Administrative Commission, and the political, economic, and cultural centres of Southwest China. Essentially, along with the China’s economic reform led by Deng Xiaoping in 1983, Chongqing became China’s first pilot city in the project of initiating a comprehensive transformation to modern China.

On March 14, 1997, Chongqing became China’s fourth municipality directly under the central government, the only one in west China, opening a new chapter in the history of Chongqing.

Since Chong Qing had been serving as the Capital of China for almost ten years (1937 to 1946), the city was also known with many historical World War II buildings or sites:

  • The People’s Liberation Monument, located in the center of Chongqing city used to be the highest building in the area but is now surrounded and dwarfed by numerous shopping centres. Originally named the Monument for the Victory over Axis Armies, it is the only building in China for that purpose. Today, the monument serves as a symbol for the city.

Liberation Monument

  • Great Hall of the People (Chongqing), based on the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. This is one of the largest public assembly buildings in China which, though built in modern times, emulates traditional architectural styles. It is adjacent to the densely populated and hilly central district, with narrow streets and pedestrian only walkways.Chongqing-People-Hall-2
  • Red Rock Village Museum, a diplomatic site for the Communist Party in Chongqing during World War II. It is where Mao Zedong signed the “Double 10 (10 October) Peace Agreement” with the GuoMinTang.Red Rock Museum