Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong province, 1,910 kilometers south of Beijing. Guangzhou diocese covers the cities of Guangzhou, Heyuan, Huizhou,Qingyuan, Shanwei and Shaozhou.
The church in Guangdong was separated from Macao diocese becoming the Guangdong Apostolic Prefecture in 1858 which was under the administration of Paris Foreign Missions. Guangzhou Apostolic Vicariate was established in 1914 and became an archdiocese in 1946.
The former Shaozhou (Qujiang) Diocese is administered by Guangzhou now. Shaozhou Vicariate 1920 parted from Guangzhou, under the Salesians. It established diocese in 1946.
Present Bishop Gan was ordained on Dec. 4 2007. Five years after the death of his predecessor, Bishop James Lin Bingliang of Guangzhou, he was elected bishop candidate in October 2006.
In April 2009, Father Francis Xavier Tan Tiande of Guangzhou diocese died at the age of 94. Late Father Tan spent one-third of his life in prison where he celebrated Mass secretly and provided spiritual support to fellow Catholics. Two of the seminarians who were with Father Tan in the labor camp later became the backbone of the "underground" Church - Bishop John Han Dingxiang of Yongnian, Hebei, and Bishop John Gao Kexian of Yantai and Zhoucun in Shandong province. Both died in detention in 2005 and 2007 respectively.
The 120-year-old Sacred Heart Cathedral (photos above), one of the largest Gothic churches in China, is a landmark. As all the walls and pillar of the church were made of granite, it is commonly known as "Stone House Church." The inauguration of the church took place on June 28 1863, on the feast of the Sacred Heart, hence the name of Sacred Heart given to the church. The building, inspired by Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, reopened in February 2007 after a full-scale renovation that lasted two years. The total area of the building of the Cathedral is 2,754 square meters. It is 35 meters in width, from the east to the west 78.69 meters in length from north to south and 58.5 meters in height from the ground to spire.
The population of Guangzhou , capital of south China 's Guangdong Province , is approaching 12 million, according to an official with the city's Communist Party of China (CPC) committee in February 2007. It mainly includes ethnic groups of Han, Yao , Zhuang, Manchu, etc.
Though Mandarin is the official language in China, the local people in southern China prefer speaking the Cantonese dialect in their daily conversation.
Guangzhou is the fourth city in Mainland China to have an underground railway system, behind Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai. Guangzhou's new main airport is the Baiyun International Airport in Huadu District which opened on Aug. 5, 2004. Guangzhou is well connected to Hong Kong by train, coach and ferry. The train ride to Kowloon, Hongkong, takes less than two hours.
Guangzhou has a humid subtropical climate influenced by the Asian monsoon. Summers are wet with high temperatures and a high humidity index. Winters are mild, dry and sunny.
Guangdong Province is in the southeast of China. Guangzhou, also called China's South Gate, is located in the middle south of the province, north of the Pearl River Delta. Zhujiang (The Pearl River), the third largest river of China, runs through Guangzhou and is navigable to the South China Sea.
Guangzhou is one of mainland China's leading commercial and manufacturing regions. In Guangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone, there are six pillar industries, including chemical materials and products, electric machinery, foodstuffs, electronic equipment, metallurgy and metal fabricating, and beverages. The China Import and Export Fair, also called "Canton Fair", is held every year in April and October by Ministry of Trading.
Guangzhou has a history of more than 2,000 years with rich cultural heritage. Cantonese opera, one of the major categories in Chinese opera, originating in southern China's Cantonese culture, is popular in Guangdong. The Cantonese opera tradition may date back as far as the Southern Song Dynasty in the 13th century. Guangdong music, also known as Cantonese music, is a style of traditional Chinese instrumental music from Guangzhou and surrounding areas in Guangdong Province. Of all the regional varieties of Chinese cuisine, Cantonese is renowned both inside and outside China.