Baoding is situated in Hebei province, China, around 150 kilometres southwest to Beijing, the national capital.
Baoding had a total population of 2 million, as of 2002.
Mandarin Chinese is popularly used.
Carved out from Beijing’s ecclesial territory, the vicariate of Central Zhili was established in 1910 and was entrusted to French Vincentians. The vicariate was further divided in 1924 when jurisdiction in neighbouring Anguo and Yixian was established. It was later renamed to Baoding and was elevated to a diocese in the year 1946.
The Vatican recognizes 12 dioceses in Hebei that come under the Archdiocese of Beijing, along with the Diocese of Tianjin. The “open” church community however reorganized them as per the government administrative divisions. It combined Anguo, Zhaoxian and Zhengding diocese to form Shijiazhuang diocese, and merged Yixian into Baoding. The government later restructured the administrative divisions and put Anguo under Baoding.
Baoding is easily accessible by land, and has three expressways to connect it with Beijing, Shijiazhuang and Tianjin. It is also located along the railway line servicing trains from Middle and Southwest China.
Baoding has an airport, but it is too small to be ranked among the top 150 airports of China. Beijing has the largest airport in the country.
Baoding has a continental, monsoon-influenced, semi-arid climate, characterised by hot, humid summers and generally cold, windy, and very dry winters. More than half of the annual rainfall, falls in the summer months of July and August alone, but it is highly variable and not reliable. This amount has averaged to 513 mm per annum, in the city itself.
The State Council of Baoding, in 1992, established the Baoding High-tech Industrial Development Zone (Boading HIDZ).
New energy is the main industry in the development zone, and is known by the name “Valley of Electricity”, in China. The Ministry of Science and Technology in 2003, designated the zone as China’s only national industrial base for new energy and power equipment manufacturing.
Yingli Solar, a 2010 World Cup Sponsor, had its headquarters in the zone. Yingli was once a pioneer in the photovoltaic field. Baoding still houses a huge factory campus, and has a spacious museum dedicated to the glory days of Yingli.
Baoding has 20 universities and tertiary institutes, one of which is North China Electric Power University. The Beijing-based University once moved its base to Baoding in the 1970s, and relocated back to Beijing in 2006. It now has two campuses in the two cities, respectively.
Constructed by and affiliated with the State’s Ministry of Education, the University Council is composed of seven mega-corporations specialized in power supply. It is one of the 100 listed universities of the “211 Project” which was launched in the 1990s, aiming at cultivating strategies for socio-economic development.
Baoding Balls, which has its origins in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), consists of two or more balls that are rotated repeatedly in one’s hand. It is mainly used for physical therapy—to regain muscle strength and motor skills after surgery. It is also used as an exercise tool for enhancing finger dexterity.
Another thing Baoding is famous for is the Lurou Huoshao (Donkey Burger), where shredded donkey meat, lettuce, and chopped green peppers are placed within a roasted, semi-flaky wheaten bread pocket (Huoshao). It is a popular street food in Baoding, and is even served in high-end restaurants there.
Baoding is a prefecture-level city that borders the national capital, Beijing, to the north, and the provincial capital, Shijiazhuang, to the south. It has been nicknamed the “South Gate of Beijing”, owing to its unique geographical location.
It covers three districts, four county-level cities and 18 countries, under government administration division, and has a territorial area of 22,190 sq. kilometer.