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Xuzhou

Xuzhou (or Hsuchow), known as Pengcheng in ancient times, is the fourth largest prefecture-level city in Jiangsu Province of China. It is known for its convenient location as a transportation hub in northern Jiangsu, as it has expressways and railway links connecting directly to the provinces of Henan and Shandong, the neighbouring city of Lianyungang, as well as the economic hub Shanghai.

Geography and Climate
Xuzhou is located in the southeast of North China Plain. The area of Xuzhou usually experiences short springs and autumns, and the summers are very long and sun scorching hot, with relatively cold winters, and there is a lower than average level of precipitation.

History
Chinese civilians, massacred by the Imperial Japanese Army, at ditch in Xuzhou during the Second Sino-Japanese War [1]In the Xia and Shang Dynasties, Xuzhou was in the land inhabited by the Dongyi or Huaiyi peoples who constantly warred with the Shang and Zhou Dynasties. During the Spring and Autumn Period, Xuzhou was a collection of small farming/fishing villages and towns, part of the border region between the Chu (state), Wu (state) and Qi (state). It was originally a capital of the Dongyi State of Xu but was exterminated by the the State of Wu in 512 BC. In turn, Wu was conquered by the State of Yue a few decades later. Chu gradually expanded its influence around Xuzhou after absorbing the nearby State of Cai in 447 BC and the conquest of the State of Yue in 334 BC. By the Warring States Period, it was firmly in cultural and administrative sphere of Chu. Liu Bang was born in one of Xuzhou's counties, Pei County. The Xuzhou region was called Huaiyang during the Zhou Dynasty since the Huai River crosses the area. The state of Chu moved to this area after the Qin army captured the old capital, Ying, in modern Jingzhou, Hubei.

At the beginning of the Han Dynasty, Xuzhou became part of the Kingdom of Chu, a principality ruled by relatives of the royal Liu family. Initially, Liu Bang allowed his relatives to rule parts of the country since they were assumed to be the most trustworthy. However, the Kingdom of Chu under third generation ruler Liu Wu rebelled against the central authority during the Rebellion of the Seven Princes and was defeated. His tomb was recently excavated near Xuzhou.

After the Yellow River started to change course in the Song Dynasty, when heavy silting at the Yellow River mouth forced the river to channel its flow to the lower Huai River tributary, the region has since become barren due to persistent flooding, nutrient depletion and salination of the once fertile soil.The area was the site of the final critical battle in the Chinese Civil War, the Huaihai Campaign in 1948-49. The disastrous capitulation of Chiang Kai-shek at Xuzhou (Hsüchow) led eventually to the fall of Nanking.

Cuisine
Xuzhou cuisine is closely related to Shandong cuisine's Jinan-style. Xuzhou's most well known foods include bǎzi ròu (pork belly, and other items stewed in a thick broth), sha tang, and various dog meat dishes.

Scenic Spots
Tourist attractions in Xuzhou include Cloud Dragon Mountain (Yúnlóng Shān) and the nearby Cloud Dragon Lake.

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