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Changchun

Changchun (literally 'Long Spring') is the capital and largest city of Jilin province, located in the northeast of China, in the center of the Songliao Plain. It is administered as a sub-provincial city with a population of about 7.5 million under its jurisdiction, including counties and county-level cities. The name originated from the Jurchen language. The urban districts of Changchun's city proper have a total population of 3.58 million.

History
Changchun started as a minor trading town. In 1800, Emperor Jiaqing of the Qing Dynasty selected a small village on the east bank of the Yitong River and named it "Changchun Ting." In 1889, it was promoted as "Changchun Fu".

-The railway era
In May 1898, as Russians were building a railway from Harbin to Lüshun (the southern branch of the Chinese Eastern Railway), Changchun got its first railway station, located in Kuancheng.

After Russia's loss of the southernmost section of this branch as a result of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, the Kuancheng station (Kuanchengtze, in contemporary spelling) became the last Russian station on this branch. The next station to the south - the new "Japanese" Changchun station, just a short distance to the south - became the first station of the South Manchuria Railway, which now owned all the tracks running farther south, to Lüshun, which they re-gauged to the standard gauge (after a short stint of using the narrow Japanese gauge during the war).

A special Russo-Japanese agreement of 1907 provided that Russian gauge tracks would continue from the "Russian" Kuancheng Station to the "Japanese" Changchun Station, and vice versa, tracks on the "gauge adapted by the South Manchuria Railway" (i.e. the standard gauge) would continue from the Changchun Station to the Kuancheng Station.

Changchun expanded rapidly as the junction between of the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railway and the Russian-owned Chinese Eastern Railway which continued to have different rail gauges, as well as permit licences until 1935. Changchun had railway repair shops, and branch lines originating in Changchun extended into Korea and Inner Mongolia

-Manchukuo and World War II
In 1932 the capital of Manchukuo, a Japan-controlled puppet state in Manchuria, was moved to Changchun from Jilin City (Kirin city) (located within less than 200 km to the east). Then known as Hsinking (Pinyin: Xīnjīng, Wade-Giles: Hsin-ching, Japanese: Shinkyō, English trans.: New Capital), the capital was a well-planned city with broad avenues and modern public works. The city underwent rapid expansion in both its economy and infrastructure.

From 1931 to 1945 China's last emperor Pu Yi was installed as the Manchukuo government head by the Japanese authority. He resided in the Imperial Palace which is now the Museum of the Manchu State Imperial Palace.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937 - 1945) and World War II the Imperial Japanese Army implemented in Changchun the headquarters of Unit 100 ("Wakamatsu Unit"), under command of veterinarian Yujiro Wakamatsu. This facility dedicated itself to both the study of animal vaccines to protect Japanese resources, and, especially, veterinary biological-warfare. Diseases were tested for use against the Soviet and Chinese horses and other livestock. In addition to these tests, Unit 100 ran a bacteria factory to produce the pathogens needed by other units. Biological sabotage testing was also handled at this facility: everything from poisons to chemical crop destruction.

Severely damaged during World War II, the city was taken by the Soviet Red Army in 1945. The Russians maintained a presence in the city after the Chinese civil war until 1946.


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