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Xiamen City
Xiamen, also known as Amoy, is a coastal sub-provincial city in southeastern Fujian province, People‘s Republic of China. It looks out to the Taiwan Strait and borders Quanzhou to the north and Zhangzhou to the south.

Xiamen and the surrounding countryside are famous for being an ancestral home to overseas Chinese and one of China‘s earliest Special Economic Zones in the 1980s. It covers an area of 1 565 km² with a local population of 5 million. It was recently named China‘s 2nd most livable city.

History
During the early Jin Dynasty, the place was made Tong‘an District (同安縣) in 282, a sub-entity of Jin‘an Prefecture (晉安郡). During the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), the city was known as a sustainable international seaport, and the Chinese scientist and statesman Shen Kuo (1031-1095) spent some of his youth there while his father was a local bureaucrat on the government staff. In 1387, the Ming Dynasty used the place as base against pirates, and was part of Quanzhou. Koxinga, stationed here in 1650, named it Siming Island (思明洲), or "Remembering the Ming", but the city was renamed by the Manchus in 1680 to Xiamen Subprefecture. The name "Siming" was changed back after the 1912 Xinhai Revolution and the settlement was made a county. Later it reverted to the name Xiamen City. In 1949, Xiamen became a provincial city (省辖市), then was upgraded to a vice-province-class city (副省级市), or a municipality. It was made a Special Economic Zone in 1980.

Xiamen was the port of trade first used by Europeans (mainly the Portuguese) in 1541. It was China‘s main port in the nineteenth century for exporting tea. As a result, Hokkien (also known as the Amoy dialect) had a major influence on how Chinese terminology was translated into English and other European languages. For example, the words "Amoy", "tea" (茶; tê), "cumshaw" (感謝; kám-siā), "ketchup" (茄汁; kiô-chap), and "Pekoe" (白毫; pe̍h-hô), kowtow (磕頭; khàu-thâu), and possibly Japan (Ji̍t-pún) originated from the Hokkien.

Xiamen was one of the five Chinese treaty ports opened by the Treaty of Nanjing (signed in 1842) at the end of the First Opium War between Britain and China. As a result, it was an early entry point for Protestant missions in China.

In 1999, the largest corruption scandal in China‘s history was uncovered, implicating up to 200 government officials. Lai Changxing is alleged to have run an enormous smuggling operation, which financed the city‘s football team, film studios, largest construction project, and a vast brothel rented to him by the local Public Security Bureau. According to Time, "locals used to joke that Xiamen should change its name to Yuanhua, the name of Lai‘s company." They subsequently claimed that potential investors were discouraged by the taint of corruption.


Culture

The local vernacular is Amoy, a dialect of Southern Min (閩南), also called Hokkien. Amoy is widely used and understood across the southern region of Fujian province as well as overseas. While it is widely spoken in and around Xiamen, the Amoy dialect has no official status, and the official language of all government business is Mandarin. Xiamen is famous for South Music, Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra, puppet show, Gezi Opera and temple celebration events. You can find information about these cultural events on www.xiamenwave.com or stroll to Wave Arthouse near Zhongshan Lu to pick up some information.



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