Xiamen, alternately known as
Amoy, is a sub-provincial city in southeastern Fujian province, People's
Republic of China, beside the Taiwan Strait. It is divided into six
districts: Huli, Siming, Jimei, Tong'an, Haicang, and Xiang'an.
Altogether, these cover an area of 1,699.39 square kilometers with a
population of 3,531,347 as of 2010. The urbanized area of the city has
spread from its original island to include parts of all six of its
districts, with a total population of 1,861,289. This area connects to
Quanzhou in the north and Zhangzhou in the west, making up a metropolis
of more than five million people. The Kinmen Islands (Quemoy)
administered by the Republic of China lie less than 6 kilometers (4 mi)
Xiamen Island possessed a natural harbor in Yundang Bay, but Fujian's international trade was long restricted to Quanzhou or to Guangzhou in Guangdong. Due to the siltification of Quanzhou's harbor, the British insisted that Xiamen be opened to foreign trade in the treaty that ended the First Opium War in 1842. Under the Qing, both before and after the war, there was a large-scale emigration of Chinese from southern Fujian who spread Hokkien-speaking communities to Singapore, Malaysia (especially in Penang), Indonesia (Medan and Riau Province) and the Philippines. The overseas Chinese continue to support Xiamen's educational and cultural institutions. As part of the Opening Up Policy under Deng Xiaoping, Xiamen became one of China's original four special economic zones opened to foreign investment and trade in the early 1980s. Its former harbor was enclosed using land excavated during the city's expansion, however, the city remains an island connected by bridges to the rest of mainland China.
The city is well known for its mild climate, Hokkien culture and Gulangyu Island, as well as its relatively low pollution. In 2006, Xiamen was ranked as China's second-"most suitable city for living", as well as China's "most romantic leisure city" in 2011.
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