Diocese of Baoding
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Baoding is a city in Hebei province, China, approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) southwest of the national capital, Beijing. 

Population

By 2009, Baoding has a total population of 11 million.

Language

Mandarin Chinese is in use.

History

Craved out from Beijing’s ecclesial territory, the vicariate of Central Zhili was established in 1910 and entrusted to French Vincentians. The vicariate was further divided in 1924 when jurisdiction in neighboring Anguo and Yixian were established, and was renamed to Baoding. It was elevated to a diocese in 1946. 

The Vatican recognizes 12 dioceses in Hebei, which are under the Archdiocese of Beijing together with the Tianjin diocese. The “open” church community however reorganized them corresponding to the government administrative divisions. It combined Anguo, Zhaoxian and Zhengding diocese to from Shijiazhuang diocese, and merged Yixian merged into Baoding. The government later restructured the administrative divisions and put Anguo under Baoding.

Transportation

Baoding is easily accessible by land. Three expressways connect it with Beijing, Shijiazhuang and Tianjin. It is also located along the railway line servicing trains from Middle and Southwest China. 

Although Baoding has an airport, it is too small to be ranked among the top 150 airports of China. However, its neighbor, Beijing, has the largest airport in the country.

Climate

Baoding has a continental, monsoon-influenced semi-arid climate characterised by hot, humid summers and generally cold, windy, very dry winters. More than half of the annual rainfall falls in the summer months of July and August alone, but is highly variable and not reliable. In the city itself, this amount has averaged to 513mm per annum.

Economy

Baoding High-tech Industrial Development Zone was established in 1992 by the State Council. 

New energy is the dominant industry in the development zone, which is known as the “Valley of Electricity” in China. In 2003, the zone was designated China’s only national industrial base for new energy and power equipment manufacturing by the Ministry of Science and Technology. 

Yingli Solar is the largest company in the photovoltaic field, as well as China’s largest and the world’s fourth-largest solar cell manufacturer. Having its headquarter in the zone, Yingli was a 2010 World Cup sponsor.

Education

Baoding has 20 universities and tertiary institutes, one of which is North China Electric Power University. The Beijing-based University once moved its base to Baoding in the 1970’s and relocated back to Beijing in 2006. It now has two campuses respectively in the two cities. 

Constructed by and affiliated with the state’s Ministry of Education, the university council is composed of seven mega-corporations specialized in power supply. It is one of the 100 listed universities of the “211 Project” which was launched in 1990’s aiming at cultivating strategies for socio-economic development.

Culture

The most renowned product that has originated from Baoding are Baoding Balls (also known as Chinese exercise balls). They are thought to have been created during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Baoding balls are used for physical therapy while recovering from injuries, and as an exercise tool for improving manual dexterity and strength. They consist of two or more balls which are rotated in one’s hand. 

The most famous dish in Baoding is the Lurou Huoshao (Donkey Burger). The bread used for the burger is Huoshao – a type of baked wheaten cake that is crispy on the outside and soft inside. Typically, sliced donkey meat, lettuce and shredded green peppers are stuffed in between the Huoshao.

Location

Baoding is situated in the middle of Hebei, bordering the national capital of Beijing to the north and the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang to the south. Due to its unique geographic position, Baoding has been nicknamed the "South Gate of Beijing". 

Baoding is a prefecture-level city with a territorial area of 22,190 square kilometer. Under government administration division, it covers 3 districts, 4 county-level cities and 18 counties.

The famous Our Lady’s Church at the piligrimage site of Donglu village