Shanghai at Night 2

Shanghai Municipality Scenes

2. Shanghai at Night

There has been a lot of building construction in Shanghai. The last time I looked there was over 5,000 buildings being constructed. When we have visited Chinese cities we have visited before it is sometimes hard to recognize exactly where you are because of the changes since the last time you visited.

Opium Wars Significant growth did not occur until the arrival of Europeans in the mid-19th century. In 1842, near the end of the Opium War, Shanghai's garrison surrendered to the British Fleet. From that point until 1949 the city developed largely as an enclave for Western commercial interests in China. Lying off the sea and just upstream from the Yangzi, a river that could be navigated several hundred miles into the interior by oceangoing vessels, Shanghai provided a gateway to a vast internal market. Each of the major foreign powers claimed a section of the city. Residents of these infamous "international concessions" were exempt from the laws of China. Chinese were subjected to the added humiliation of being barred from free access to large portions of their own territory. A sign, preserved still today as a reminder, declares "No dogs or Chinese permitted on the Bund." By 1936, the Western population of Shanghai numbered 60,000.

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