Cheung Chau

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Not to be confused with Changzhou Island, an island in Guangzhou, China.
Cheung Chau
Blick über Cheung Chau.JPG
Cheung Chau (2013)
Cheungchau island.png
Geography
Location Southwest of Hong Kong
Coordinates 22°12'32.0"N, 114°01'45"E
Area 2.46 square kilometres (608 acres)
Highest elevation 95 metres (312 ft)
Highest point Cheung Chau
Administration
District Islands District
Demographics
Population 22,740(2011)
Density 9882.93/km²
Ethnic groups Chinese(95.58%)
The village of Cheung Chau, viewed from the north. The bay of Tung Wan is on the left and Cheung Chau Typhoon Shelter is on the right.

Cheung Chau (Chinese: 長洲, lit. "Long Province") is an island 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) southwest of Hong Kong Island. It is nicknamed the 'dumbbell island (啞鈴島)' due to its shape. It has been inhabited for longer than most other places in the territory of Hong Kong, and had a population of 22,740 as of 2011.[1] Administratively, it is part of the Islands District.

Geography[edit]

Geographically the island is formed from two mostly granite masses joined by a tombolo. With an area of 2.45 square kilometres (0.95 square miles),[2] the island is therefore "long", hence the name as translated from Cantonese is "Long Island". Thus, it is redundant to say "Cheung Chau Island". The island is dumbbell-shaped, with hills at the northern and southern ends and the settlements concentrated in between.

Economy[edit]

The central part of the island is well developed with shops and houses. The lane-ways are so narrow that normal motor traffic is impossible. Instead, there are small motorised trucks officially termed "village vehicles". For example, there are small specially designed mini-fire engines, ambulances and police cars. Residential areas also exist on the hills of the north and south.

Traditionally the island was a fishing village and there are still fishing fleets working from the harbour. However, in recent years the island has become a major tourist attraction, offering a mixture of sandy swimming beaches, seafood cafés, and traditional Chinese culture.

History[edit]

Under the terms of the 1898 Second Convention of Peking, the New Territories and 200 smaller islands including Cheung Chau were leased to the United Kingdom for 99 years. At that time, Cheung Chau was mainly a fishing village; it had more residents living on junks than on land. Cheung Chau had already been settled by people from other places in Southern China; for example, Hoklo, they are mainly fishing people; Hakka people; Chiu Chau; and Yue Ca. The island slowly evolved into a commercial hub with merchants selling supplies to the local fishing people, boat repair and fishing gear as well as the place to do business for fishing people and small farmers of other nearby islands like Lantau Island.

From 2000, a spate of suicide cases (most of them by "burning charcoal") took place inside rental holiday homes on the island. Hong Kong Chinese-language newspapers soon dubbed the island "Death Island" and stories concerning apparitions appeared in the wake of news about the succeeding suicides. In 2005 a local councillor Lam Kit-sing (林潔聲) proposed a "suicide theme-park" to be built to capitalise on the island's now macabre reputation. Those plans were quickly ridiculed and subsequently rejected. Soon after, the choice of Cheung Chau for would-be suicides tailed off.

Sights[edit]

Rock Carving on Cheung Chau.

Temples[edit]

Temples on Cheung Chau include:[3]

  • Pak Tai Temple – one of the oldest temples in Hong Kong. The temple was built in 1783. It was demolished and completely rebuilt in 1989. In front of the temple, there are 4 pairs of guarding lions. Before the altar are statues of two generals, "Thousand Miles Eye" (千里眼) and "Favourable Wind Ear" (順風耳), who together are traditionally said to be able to hear and see anything
  • Four temples dedicated to Tin Hau
  • Hung Shing Temple. Built in 1813, it is managed by the Chinese Temples Committee.[4]
  • Kwan Kung Chung Yi Ting, a traditional temple built in 1973, dedicated to the god of justice Kwan Tai
  • Kwun Yam Temple (觀音廟) aka. Shui Yuet Temple (水月宮) aka. Lin Fa Kung (蓮花宮), near Kwun Yam Wan beach. Built before 1840, and dedicated to Guanyin (Kwun Yam), it gave its name to the nearby bay Kwun Yam Wan.[5][6]

Others[edit]

Culture[edit]

Festivals[edit]

Temporary altar built during the Cheung Chau Bun Festival.
Bun Scrambling Competition 2010
Date (Chinese Lunar Calendar) Festival
1st day of 1st month Lunar New Year
15th day of 1st month Lantern Festival
3rd day of 3rd month Yuen Mo's Birthday
18th day of 3rd month Birthday of Tin Hau
8th day of 4th month Bun Festival
5th day of 5th month Tuen Ng Festival (Dragon Boat Festival)
24th day of 6th month Birthday of Kwan Tai
15th day of 8th month Mid-Autumn Festival

Bun Festival[edit]

The annual Cheung Chau Bun Festival is a festival which includes a parade of floats, most famously including young children dressed as famous characters doing impossible balancing acts.[9] It last three to four days and attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the island.

Notable people[edit]

  • Lee Lai Shan, a windsurfer, won Hong Kong's first Olympic gold medal in 1996. That Olympic gold was also Hong Kong's last Olympic medal since in 1997 Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and now competes in the Olympics as Hong Kong, China.
  • Vincent Lee Kwun Leung Lee (李冠良), a visual artist

Education[edit]

There are four primary schools and two secondary schools in Cheung Chau, including C.C.C. Cheung Chau Church Kam Kong Primary School, Cheung Chau Fisheries Joint Association Public School (closed), Cheung Chau Sacred Heart School, Kwok Man School, Buddhist Wai Yan Memorial College and Cheung Chau Government Secondary School.

A First Ferry ferry at Cheung Chau Ferry Pier, within Cheung Chau typhoon shelter.

Transportation[edit]

Medical evacuation by helicopter from Cheung Chau's helipad

First Ferry operates ferries service between Central pier number 5 and Cheung Chau. The ferries run approximately every 30 minutes depending upon time of day. Schedules on Sundays and public holidays differ from weekdays. The trip of about 20 kilometres (12 miles) takes 55 minutes or 35 minutes for ordinary ferries and high speed ferries respectively. Ferries operated by Maris Ferry to Aberdeen are also available. Due to inaccessibility to cars and other vehicles, most residents use bicycles for personal transportation, and a number of bicycle rental shops near the ferry pier rent bicycles to tourists.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°12′38″N 114°1′44″E / 22.21056°N 114.02889°E / 22.21056; 114.02889