|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Divisions||9 towns: Yangshe, Tangqiao, Jingang, Jinfeng, Leyu, Fenghuang, Nanfeng, Daxin, Changyinsha|
|• Total||999 km2 (386 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,200/km2 (3,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||China Standard (UTC+8)|
|Vehicle registration plates||苏EF, 苏EG, 苏EH|
Zhangjiagang (simplified Chinese: 张家港; traditional Chinese: 張家港; pinyin: Zhāngjiāgǎng; Wade–Giles: Chang-chia-kang; literally: "Zhangs' Harbor") is a county-level city under the administration of Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China. Zhangjiagang's population is around 1,300,000, with around 100,000 residents of the city proper (urban area). It borders the prefecture-level cities of Taizhou and Nantong across the Yangtze River, as well as Wuxi to the west.
Natives of the area speak a variant of Wu Chinese, close to the Suzhou variant, and similar but distinct from Shanghainese. Communities surrounding the city are mostly rural, and their economies traditionally depended heavily on agriculture and water-based activities. The GDP reached RMB 140.2 billion yuan (US$20.5 billion) in 2009, a growth of 11.7% from 2008. The GDP per capita reached RMB 155,900 yuan (ca. US$22,800). In 2008, Zhangjiagang got the UN Habitat Scroll of Honour Award for setting a new trend in integrated urban-rural development and management through an initiative by the city's authorities to improve the quality of life for farmers and other residents in its hinterland.
Zhangjiagang has been recently undergoing drastic change. Modernization has built up many malls, high class establishments, and recreation facilities. Still, one can easily get around on foot or by bicycle. The city's main thoroughfare is Shazhou Road, which runs east to west and is sectioned off as a pedestrian shopping mall in the city center. The increase in the affordability of cars has added more volume to the roads. A highway connecting Zhangjiagang with Shanghai was built in recent years, reducing the time of travel between the two locations to just an hour and a half, compared to 3 hours previously required. Zhangjiagang lacks a train station, but has two long-distance bus stations which make travel to major destinations relatively fast and convenient.
Only an hour and a half away from Shanghai, Zhangjiagang is located along the Yangtze River. The land surrounding Zhangjiagang is extremely fertile, with large spans of rice paddies as far as the eye can see. Many fish farms are located around the city. A good number of tributaries of the Yangtze have been contaminated from the uncontrolled construction of chemical factories in the suburb areas.
The town formed out of another town which was named Shazhou. In the 1880s, the town, which resides atop of alluvium from the Yangtze River, became the location of land purchase debates between locals and local officials. Community members made their own drawings of the town, including property maps. Eventually, the town was properly surveyed by two local officials, Xie Cunbin and Wu Heng. Around this time, the town had also acquired two other regions: Shouxingsha and Laosha, which were both included in the survey. The survey was completed in five months, and a total of 613.2 square meters of new land for purchase were surveyed. About 510 square meters of old land were surveyed. The survey, after categorizing the land based on quality, was submitted to city officials and land disputes were settled in the process.
Zhangjiagang developed out of a small farm town after the economic reforms of the mid-1980s. By 1994 the city had the second-highest economic rating in China, with an urban per-capita income of $1000/year. The rural population around Zhangjiagang is said to be even wealthier.
In 1993, Zhangjiagang was selected to be a unique model city for all of China. Householders were given pamphlets listing the 10 "don'ts" and 6 "dos" of what the government called "civilized behaviour". The new rules emphasized courtesy, mutual respect, and obedience to authority. Thanks to vigorous enforcement, the rules are followed to such a degree that visitors remark on the beauty, cleanliness and friendliness of Zhangjiagang relative to other Chinese cities. The government began trumpeting their accomplishment nationwide, in a campaign reminiscent of the old "Learn from the Dazhai Commune" propaganda effort of the Cultural Revolution. The current goal of the central government is to turn China into a country of mini-Singapores, with clean, pleasant cities filled with polite, obedient citizens. So far, clean, friendly cities are such a novelty in China that up to 300,000 tourists visit Zhangjiagang every year to sample what could be the future of urban life in China.
There are many agricultural as well as fishing suburbs around Zhangjiagang. They mainly consist of low, one-story concrete homes with open doors. Many chemical factories have also recently been constructed.
A handful of temples can be found in the area surrounding Zhangjiagang, including the Dongdu temple, which according to local legend used to be the home of a monk who traveled by sea to Japan. His story has been memorialized by locally-produced Dongdu cigarettes.
Zhangjiagang is home to several primary and secondary schools, including the Liangfeng Senior Middle School of Jiangsu Province, one of the prestigious middle schools of the nation. Zhangjiagang TV University is one of the most important post-secondary educational institutions in the city. And apart from that, Shazhou Professional Institute of Technology is the first college in China which is ever funded solely by a local county-level city.
Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone, approved by the State Council in 1992, is the only inland river free trade zone in China. It is established to develop export-oriented economy in Zhangjiagang and fasten the links between the Chinese market and the international market. The zone possesses unique locational advantages of being connected with the Yangtze River and comprehensive infrastructure.
Zhangjiagang Bonded Logistics Park
Zhangjiagang Bonded Logistics Park was established by the government in August 2004, with a total area of 1.53 km2. In 2005, it became the third National Free Trade Logistic Zone. It has four functions: international transfer, distribution, purchase and trade. It is located in Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone, and it enjoys complete infrastructure and convenient traffic.