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Diocese of Chengde
Diocese of Chengde

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Chengde is a diocese located in the city of Chengde in the Ecclesiastical province of Beijing in China. It was erected as diocese of Chengde on 22 September 2018, taken of parts of the territories of the Diocese of Jehol and of the Diocese of Chifeng. It was the first diocese to be erected after the China-Vatican agreement of 22 September 2018, the first new Roman Catholic diocese in China since 1949 and the first change to the Catholic hierarchy in China since 1951.

The boundaries of the diocese are equal to those of the civil prefecture-level city of Chengde in Hebei province. 

History

In 1703, Chengde was chosen by the Kangxi Emperor as the location for his summer residence. Constructed throughout the eighteenth century, the Mountain Resort was used by both the Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors. The site is currently an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since the seat of government followed the emperor, Chengde was a political center of the Chinese empire during these times.

The city of Jehol-an early romanization of Rehe via the French transcription of the northern suffix ér as eul-reached its height under the Qianlong Emperor 1735-1796 (died 1799). The great Putuo Zongcheng Temple, loosely based on the Potala in Lhasa, was completed after just four years of work in 1771. It was heavily decorated with gold and the emperor worshipped in the Golden Pavilion. In the temple itself was a bronze-gilt statue of Tsongkhapa, the Reformer of the Gelugpa sect.

Under the Republic of China, Chengde was the capital of Rehe province. From 1933 to 1945 the city was under Japanese control as a part of the Manchurian puppet state known as Manchukuo. After World War II the Kuomintang regained jurisdiction. In 1948, the People's Liberation Army took control of Chengde. It would remain a part of Rehe until 1955, when the province was abolished, and the city was incorporated into Hebei.

The city is home to large populations of ethnic minorities, Mongol and Manchu in particular.

Climate

Chengde has a four-season, monsoon-influenced humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa), with widely varying conditions through the prefecture due to its size: winters are moderately long, cold and windy, but dry, and summers are hot and humid. Near the city, however, temperatures are much cooler than they are in Beijing, due to the high altitude of at least 1000 metres: the monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from −9.1 °C (15.6 °F) in January to 24.5 °C (76.1 °F) in July, and the annual mean is 9.11 °C (48.4 °F). Spring warming is rapid, but dust storms can blow in from the Mongolian steppe; autumn cooling is similarly quick. Precipitation averages at 512 millimetres (20.2 in) for the year, with more than two-thirds of it falling during the three summer months. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 50% in July to 69% in October, the city receives 2,746 hours of sunshine annually.

Geography

Chengde is located in the northeastern portion of Hebei, with latitude 40° 12'?42° 37' N, and longitude 115° 54'?119° 15' E, and contains the northernmost point in the province. It borders Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Beijing, and Tianjin. Neighboring prefecture-level provincial cities are Qinhuangdao and Tangshan on the Bohai Gulf, and land-locked Zhangjiakou. Due to its Liaoning border, it is often considered a part of both the North and Northeast China regions. From north to south the prefecture stretches 269 kilometres (167 mi), and from west to east 280 kilometres (174 mi), for a total area of 39,702.4 square kilometres (15,329.2 sq mi), thus occupying 21.2% of the total provincial area. It is by area the largest prefecture in the province, though as most of its terrain is mountainous, its population density is low.

The Jehol or Rehe ("Hot River"), which gave Chengde its former name, was so named because it did not freeze in winter. Most sections of the river's former course are now dry because of modern dams.

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