Qingdao China

Trip Start Aug 01, 2007
Trip End Jul 05, 2008

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Flag of China  , Shandong,
Sunday, June 15, 2008

Qingdao is another slice of China history.  It was never an imperial city like Beijing, Nanjing, Xi'an or Shenyang, but it has played a contributing role to China's history for several thousand years, certainly the most lively of which has been the last hundred.
It is on China's East Coast about midway between Shanghai and Dalian.  The setting is spectacular with bays and islands on a public beachfront that extends almost 40 kilometers.  It is possible to walk the full length, but bus, taxi and boats are also handy every few blocks.  The oceanfront setting ranges through 50 story buildings, temples, shopping centers, airport, industry, bathing beaches, national park, and forest along the 40 kilometer stretch.
Humans have been in the area since about 4000 BC and eventually it attracted the attention of the Chinese dynasties for its natural setting.  Small cities were established by 700 BC, and in about 600 BC in the nearby mountains, scholar Lao-Tzu started Taoism, one of China's 3 major religion-philosophies along with Buddhism and Confucianism.  The mountains around Qingdao came to be considered some of the most sacred in China.  Ying Zheng, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, in the 3rd century BC was known to have climbed nearby Mt. Langyatai, in a repeating ritual during his reign.  This status led to construction of hundreds of temples and retreats, continuing to the present. 
During the Tang dynasty (681-907), the city then called Jiao'ao became a full fledged commercial center and it has continued in that regard, developing into one of China's premiere industrial, tourism, and shipping centers.
The 1st Opium War (1840-1842), formally ended in the Treaty of Nanjing, in which China basically lost control of her coastal cities to Europe and the US.  China did not quite understand it at the time, and it took the aliens a few years to figure out their plan, but the gist of it became a free-for-all between Britain, France, Germany and the US to grab whatever territory they could, on whatever terms they wanted, against a helpless and defenseless China.  Under the treaty, Britain took over Hong Kong, Shanghai went to Britain, France and the US.  Germany eventually got Qingdao
In 1891, the Qing Government had designated Qingdao a defense base and made plans to develop a city of naval power.  But they had no resources, and the plan lingered.  On November 14, 1897, German forces seized and occupied Qingdao because two German missionaries had been murdered.   The Chinese resented the foreign occupation, fostered by the foreigner's inclination to take over whatever resources were available, and they took it out on the most obvious intruders.  As a result, Qingdao became a German "concession area" and Germany began a period of development that could only be characterized as opportunistic.  When the Germans arrived they found a town of about 1000 inhabitants. By 1902, it had grown to 15,000 including 668 Caucasians.
The Germans plowed heavy investments into Qingdao, developed the port into something Germany would be proud of.   They based their Far East Squadron here, with the intention of having a permanent base in Asia.  They planned and built the streets, buildings, and some of the most obvious institutions of the city, many of which are today Qingdao's finest, including the brewing plant that ultimately became the Tsingtao Brewery.
Under the "terms" of the concession, Germany was supposed to occupy Qingdao for 99 years, like Britain's Hong Kong deal, but World War I distracted Germany, and when Japan realized there would be little resistance, they invaded and occupied Qingdao.  When Germany was defeated, China rightfully expected to regain control of Qingdao, but the allies, who did not accept China's offer to attend, implemented the Treaty of Versailles, which gave the German concessions to Japan. It was outrageous.  Britain, France and the US decide its OK to give away another country's rights.  The Chinese were furious, culminating in the May 4th Movement (1919) when thousand of Chinese protestors flooded the streets in protest of the allie's actions and the Japanese occupation.
After much animosity, the Japanese were convinced by the allies that they needed to give Qingdao back to China.  In 1922 Japan pulled back to Manchuko, (Dalian and Manchuria), where they plotted their next attempt to invade China.   They waited 16 years, then forced occupation again on Qingdao, Shanghai, Nanjing and many other cities which lasted until they were defeated in WW2. 
After Japan was evicted, in 1945, Chang Kai Shek (KMT) allowed the US Navy to set up the headquarters of the Western Pacific Fleet in Qingdao, which lasted until June 1949 when Mao's Communist Party entered Qingdao and closed the gates.
After Mao died, Deng Xiaoping opened China for international business.  In 1984 Qingdao was one of 14 coastal cities declared open by the Chinese government.  Qingdao was designated base of China Navy's Northern fleet, and quickly grew into China's fourth largest manufacturing port.  It cleaned itself up for tourism, built new highways to the Laoshan Mountains and proceeded to promote Tsingtao beer into an international business.
Qingdao today has 7 urban districts and 5 county-level cities, with a total area of 10,654 square kilometers and a population of 7,156,500. Qingdao is one of the greatest Asian destination cities, averaging an impressive 15 million visitors a year.  This year Qingdao hosts the 2008 Olympics Beach activities: sailing and beach volleyball.
Certainly the most successful result of the last 200 years in Qingdao is the Tsingtao Brewery.  Established by the invading Germans in August 1903 as the Nordic Brewery Co., Ltd. Tsingtao Branch, the business has become one of China's favorite references.  It was the first European brewery in China.  Out of nowhere, Tsingtao won the gold medal at the 1906 Munich Germany International Expo.  That put Qingdao and its German alliteration, Tsingtao, on the map. 
The advertising says that the beer is famous for its transparency, fragrance, and flavor along with the usual line about "only the finest barley malt, rice, hops, and yeast"  But what the brewers agree is their best asset is the water from Mount LaoShan. Lao-Tzu was right after all, the place is sacred.

In 1993 Tsingtao Brewery Co., Ltd. was made public, listed on Hong Kong and Shanghai Stock Exchanges and launched an international marketing program.  Now the Company runs some 40 breweries and malt plants in 18 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.  In Qingdao, the whole neighborhood got involved.  Shopping malls, hotels, pubs and "Beer Street" complement the Tsingtao Museum on the site of the old brewery and the Tsingtao headquarters.  Reminds me of Beale Street in Memphis with lights, outdoor vendors and restaurants, except that the brewery has piping running under the street to deliver fresh draft to the taps in the pubs. 
Qingdao also hosts China's largest International Beer Festival - 16 days and 1.5 million visitors.
This just in:  (China Daily)
Beer-Themed Restaurant Appears in Qingdao
Updated: 2008-06-12 10:32
Qingdao, a city already famous for its beer, will give beer enthusiasts another reason to visit.
The city has a beer themed restaurant where every dish and dessert is made with beer.
Qi Shan, owner of the restaurant, says they not only have beer flavored meat, beer stewed fish and bear steamed duck on the menu, but beer ice-cream, beer cake and beer coffee are all bestsellers.
Customers also sit around beer barrel-shaped tables while waiters wear clothes look like beer bottles.
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