The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Weihaiwei
WEIHAIWEI, wā'hī'wā', China, a duty-free seaport and British naval and coaling station, in the province of Shantung, near the eastern extremity of the Shantung Peninsula, 40 miles east of Chefu. It lies on the south shore of the entrance to the Gulf of Pechili, opposite Port Arthur on the north shore, about 100 miles distant. During the Chino-Japanese War, the Japanese destroyed a Chinese fleet here and captured the town, which they evacuated early in 1898. By a convention of 1 July 1898 the port of Weihaiwei, together with the adjacent waters and some neighboring territory, was leased to Great Britain. The leased territory included the island of Liu Kung, all the islands in the bay and a belt of land 10 miles wide along the whole coast of the bay; area, 280 square miles; pop. 120,000; but the population of the town of Weihaiwei is only about 2,500 inhabitants, being an old-time walled town. By the terms of the lease Great Britain has sole jurisdiction within the limits of this territory, but within the walls of the city, Chinese officials may exercise such authority as is not inconsistent with the defense of the territory. The British government may also erect fortifications and carry out other defensive works in a defined region lying outside of the leased territory. Chinese war-vessels retain the right to use the waters. Weihaiwei is not to be fortified, but is intended to be a naval base, place of exercise and sanatorium for the British squadron on the China station. The station is used as a flying naval base, but no troops are stationed there, and the Chinese troops that were located there were disbanded. In 1917, 639 steamers and 2,563 iunks entered and cleared at Weihaiwei. The imports are mainly petroleum, flour, cotton goods, sugar, foodstuffs and coal; the exports are ground nuts and ground-nut seeds (290,687 hundred-weight in 1917), and salt fish. There is a mail service to Shanghai and Europeans seek the locality in summer to escape the heat of the region farther south. Consult Annual Report on Weihaiwei; Bruce-Mitford, C. E., ‘The Territory of Weihaiwei’ (Shanghai 1902); Johnston, R. F., ‘Lion and Dragon in Northern China’ (London 1910).