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Archdiocese of Chongqing

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Archdiocese of Chongqing
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Chongqing is at the center of 5 neighboring provinces, with Sichuan to its west. Chongqing was once part of Sichuan. It is made one of the four municipalities, following Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, in 1997, being the largest in terms of geographical size and the only inland one.

It has 19 districts and 19 counties, including four autonomous counties for the Miao and Tujia ethnic groups, in an area of 82,400 square kilometers. While one of the 19 districts and 8 counties belong to the jurisdiction of neighboring Wanzhou (Wanxian) Diocese, Chongqing Diocese takes care of the rest of the territory.


In the census conducted by the municipal's government, there was a population of 33.03 million, in which 1.97 million, or 6.5 percent of the total population belong to 47 different ethnic groups. Tujia ethnic comprise 1.13 million and the ethnic Miao account for slightly more than half a million.


Sichuan dialect and official Mandarin are in use in the area. In addition, the different ethnic groups speak their own languages. The Miao and Tujia languages are used respectively by the Miao and Tujia people.


In 1640, or the time of the Ming dynasty, the first missioner from Italy arrived at Chengdu of Sichuan province. Another missioner from Portugal arrived next year and they evangelized there.

Later in 1702, then Father Johannes M?llener, C.M. bought a house and made it a church, which was regarded as the first one in the region. But he was forced to leave because of the opposition from the Qing dynasty and fled to Macau in 1707. He left Guangzhou in 1712 and returned to Chongqing until he was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Sichuan in 1716.

For over the century, European missioners evangelized in the region and had nurtured priestly vocation among the Chinese people.

After the Opium War in 1840, the open up of China allowed more missioners to come and a prosperous development in the Church in Chongqing. In response to the rapid growth, the Sichuan apostolic vicariate was divided into 3 separate vicariates, namely Northwestern, Eastern and Southern Sichuan, in 1858.

In 1924, the vicariate of Eastern Sichuan was renamed as Chongqing. Five years later, ten counties were taken away from Chongqing to form the Apostolic Vicariate of Wanxian.

Statistics show that four years after its elevation to archdiocese in 1946, Chongqing had a Catholic population of 38, 495. 


Since its elevation to national-level municipality in 1997, the city has dramatically expanded its transportation infrastructure. The municipality has two metro lines running in the city and has 25 bridges across the Yangtze River including half a dozen in the city's urban core.

Chongqing is the biggest inland river port in western China. Historically, most of its transportation, especially to eastern China, is via the Yangtze River. At the completion of the Three Gorges Dam project in 2008, container ships with 3,000 tons displacement are allowed to travel upstream to the municipality. The municipality is a major rail hub in south central China. It also has eight expressways and two national highways passing through. Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport provides links to all parts of China, many South East Asian countries and the Middle East and Europe.


Situated in the subtropical area, Chongqing has a monsoon climate. Known as one of the "Three Furnaces" of the Yangtze River, along with Wuhan and Nanjing, its summers are long and among the hottest and most humid in China, with highs of 33 to 34 degrees Celsius in July and August in the urban area. Winters are short and somewhat mild, but damp and overcast.


Located along the upriver of the Yangtze, Chongqing is the biggest inland river port in western China. Due to its geographical remoteness, its export sector is small. Instead, factories producing local-oriented consumer goods such as processed food and automobiles are common.

It urbanizes rapidly after elevation into municipality. Statistics suggest that new construction add approximately 137,000 square meters daily of usable floor space to satisfy demands for residential, commercial and factory space. In addition, more than 1,300 people move into the city daily, adding almost US$15 million to the local economy.

Chongqing is China's third largest centre for motor vehicle production and the largest for motorcycles. In 2007, it had an annual output capacity of 1 million automobiles and 8.6 million motorcycles. Leading makers of cars and motor bikes include China's fourth biggest automaker; Changan Automotive Corp and Lifan Hongda Enterprise. Chongqing is also one of the nine largest iron and steel centers in China and one of the three major aluminum producers. Important manufacturers include Chongqing Iron and Steel Company and South West Aluminum, which is Asia's largest aluminum plant.

Agriculture remains significant. Rice and fruits especially oranges are the area's main produce. Natural resources are also abundant with large deposits of coal, natural gas, and more than 40 kinds of minerals such as strontium and manganese. Chongqing is also planned to be the site of a 10 million ton capacity refinery to process imported crude oil from the Sino-Burma pipelines.

Recently, there has been a drive to move up the value chain by shifting towards high technology and knowledge intensive industries resulting in new development zones such as the Chongqing New North Zone. Chongqing's local government is hoping through the promotion of favorable economic policies for the electronics and information technology sectors, that it can create a 400 billion RMB high technology manufacturing hub that accounts for 25 percent of its exports.


Chongqing has a history of 3,000 years. Because of its hilly geographical landscape, in ancient time, it was strategically a political and military center as well as an important trade hub.

The Chongqing cuisine is one of the most important elements for its culture. A distinct trait of Chongqing cuisine is its being spicy and numbing, which is different from the spicy flavor from the Chengdu cuisine in the neighboring Sichuan cuisine. One culinary specialty is hot pot. The pot is put at the center of the table and raw food is boiled in a spicy broth.

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