Beijing’s major industries include mining, manufacturing, real estate, retail and tourism. The city has considerably large deposits of coal, marble, limestone, iron and copper ores. Manufacturing industries include chemicals, motor vehicles, machinery, metallurgy, electronics, clothing, toy and household appliances. Beijing is also keen on developing more high-tech industries such as electronic information and pharmaceuticals. The real estate industry has continued to boom in Beijing due to the urbanisation of China and the retail industry has also grown due to the rapid increase of the population and China’s tourism industry. Major exports from Beijing include fabric, clothing, foodstuffs, carpets, and colour TV sets. Major imports include industrial equipment, textiles and chemicals.
Beijing is the main cultural and economic centre of China. It is also the nation’s transport hub. The city is home to the most fully developed railway system in China and the Beijing International Airport is one of the busiest in the country. The airport provides access to more than 60 domestic cities and around 40 overseas countries.
Beijing is located on a site that was first inhabited in prehistoric times. In the early 3rd century it became the political centre of the empire under the Mongols and in 1949 Beijing was chosen as the seat of government for the People’s Republic of China.
Traditional Mandarin is the common language spoken in Beijing. Major tourist attractions include The Forbidden City, The Great Wall and Tiananmen Square. As a hub of higher learning and scientific research Beijing boasts over 70 universities and 560 research institutes. Beijing is famous for its energetic nightlife with many live music clubs, bars and restaurants. The Beijing International Convention Centre hosts over 1000 events each year.
Beijing is generally a safe city in which to live or visit. The current state of the police and security services in the city is robust and most serious crimes are prevented. Most regular crimes are lower level and include pick- pocketing, and credit card fraud.
Traffic is one of Beijing’s man-made difficulties. There are some 5 017 000 cars on Beijing’s roads. If there were that many cars in Brisbane, there would be more than two cars per person. This large amount of automobiles on the streets causes major traffic congestion and has been known to cause traffic jams lasting over eleven days, forcing drivers to live in their cars for up to five days. These images show what living conditions during a multi-day traffic situation are like. Note that the cars seen here are mostly large vehicles, which makes for more resource usage per vehicle and pollutant emissions per vehicle. This problem leads on to the next – air-pollution.
Air-pollution and air-quality are inextricably linked to Beijing’s traffic problem. The millions of cars produce tonnes of pollutants, which then contaminate the air. This can cause cardiovascular diseases, respiratory inflammation, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, birth defects and lung cancer. 104 citizens of Beijing are diagnosed with cancer every day – excluding migrant workers - and 1 in 5 cancer patients have lung cancer. That makes for approximately 21 new lung cancer patients every day, or 7665 per year. This is staggering when compared to Brisbane’s 700 new lung…