1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ch'ungk'ing

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CH‛UNGK‛ING, a city in the province of Szech‘uen, China, on the left bank of the Yangtsze, at its point of junction with the Kialing, in 29° 33′ N., and 107° 2′ E. It is surrounded by a crenelated stone wall, which is 5 m. in circumference and is pierced by nine gates. It is the commercial centre for the trade, not only of Szech’uen, but of all south-western China. The one highway between Szech’uen and the eastern provinces is the Yangtsze river route, as owing to the mountainous nature of the intervening country land transit is almost impracticable. The import trade brought up by large junks from Ich‘ang, and consisting of cotton cloth, yarn, metals and foreign manufactures, centres here, and is distributed by a class of smaller vessels up the various rivers of the provinces. Native produce, such as yellow silk, white wax, hides, rhubarb, musk and opium, is here collected and repacked for conveyance to Hankow, Shanghai or other parts of the empire. The city was opened to foreign trade by convention with the British government in 1891, with the proviso, however, that foreign steamers should not be at liberty to trade there until Chinese-owned steamers had succeeded in ascending the river. This restriction was abolished by the Japanese treaty of 1895, which declared Ch‛ungk‛ing open on the same terms as other ports. After that date the problem of steam navigation on the section of the river between Ich‘ang and Ch‛ungk‛ing occupied attention. By 1907 a small steamer had been navigated up the rapids, but it remained a question how far steam navigation could be made a practical success. The trade was carried on by native craft, hauled up against the strength of the current in the worst places by a line of trackers on the bank. The great rise in the river during the summer months, at Ch‛ungk‛ing ordinarily 70 ft. and occasionally as much as 96 ft., added to the difficulties. The population of Ch‛ungk‛ing, including the city of Kiangpei on the opposite bank of the Kialing river, is about 300,000. The foreign residents are very few. In 1898 the value of the trade passing through the maritime customs was £2,614,000, and in 1904 £4,214,568, of which imports counted for £2,644,777 and exports for £1,569,791.