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Beijing

china city capital peking

Beijing (formerly Peking; pop. 7,000,000), capital of the People's Republic of China, lying within the Hebei province, but administered directly by the central government. It is the political, commercial, cultural, and communications center of the country, and embraces a massive industrial complex. The city's rectangular layout was the work of Kublai Khan in the 13th century, and its splendors were described by Marco Polo. It became the permanent capital of China in 1421. Its occupation by French and British troops from 1860 was a contributing cause of the Boxer Rebellion (1900). In 1928 Peking (renamed Peiping) was superseded by Nanking (Nanjing), but regained its capital status and its name with the Communist victory under Mao Zedong in 1949. Beijing has two historic districts: the Inner City, enclosing the Imperial Palace and the Forbidden City, and the Outer City. In mid-1989 a massacre of demonstrators in Beijing's Tiananmen Square signaled the difficulty of China's democracy movement in the face of totalitarian authority.

See also: China.

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