Diocese of Shijiazhuang (Zhengding)
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Shijiazhuang is the provincial capital of Hebei Province in northern China. It governs 6 districts, 5 prefectural cities and 12 counties, covering a land area of 15,722 sq km. Shijiazhuang is situated in the south-west of the province on the North China Plain and borders Shanxi Province to the west.

Population

Shijiazhuang has a population of 10.28 million.

 

Language

Mandarin is in use.

History

The ecclesial territory of the apostolic vicariate was craved out from Beijing diocese in 1856 during the Qing dynasty and French Bishop Joseph-Martial Mouly, C.M. of Beijing was named as their apostolic administrator. The name of the vicariate changed to Zhengding in 1926 and was elevated to a diocese in 1946 with Chinese Vincentian Bishop Job Chen Qiming as the first diocesan bishop.

 

During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Dutch Bishop Schraven, C. M. was murdered along with 8 other European missionaries by Japanese soldiers. Known as Massacre of Zhengding Church, the deaths were believed to be in retaliation for the clerics’ refusal to provide the Japanese invaders with 200 young “comfort women.” Advocated by Holland-based Msgr. Schraven Foundation, Bishop Schraven’s home diocese of Roermond in Holland received approval to begin proceedings for the beatification of Bishop Schraven and his companions March 2013.

 

The diocese of Zhengding was renamed as Shijiazhuang after the bishop’s house moved to Shijiazhuang city in the 1950s. The government-sanctioned “open” community adopts the new name while the “unregistered” community retains the name “Zhengding.”

 

As urbanization changes along with time, the jurisdictions of the two communities are slightly different. Zhengding diocese covers 16 counties while the Shijiazhuang diocese covers a larger area of 4 city districts, 2 cities and 15 counties.

 

Transportation

Shijiazhuang is one of the major transportation hubs of northern China. Five expressways intersect in Shijiazhuang, leading to Beijing, Tianjin, Qingdao, Zhengzhou and Taiyuan cities. Additionally, the Shijiazhuang Train Station is one of China's major marshalling yards. Shijiazhuang is also close to the Zhengding Airport, which is 20 km from downtown.

Climate

Shijiazhuang has a continental, semi-arid climate. Influenced by East Asian monsoon during the July and August, up to 65% of rainfall occurs in these summer months. The average temperature in July is 26.8 degree Celsius but it goes down to minus 2.3 degree Celsius in January. In spring, the city endures sandstorms blowing in from the Mongolian steppe.

Economy

Nearly half of the GDP is generated by the secondary industry. Shijiazhuang is home to one of the nation’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturing base. Other key industries include textiles, food processing, machinery, as well as chemical-related industries.

Education

Table-tennis is one of the most popular sports in China. Located in the Zhengding county, the National Table Tennis Training Base is where many of the world champions are trained.

Culture

As a young industrial city, Shijiazhuang city is generally considered to have relatively few sights of historical or cultural interest. However, there are still some places of interest, such as the Martyrs' Memorial and Hebei Museum.

Dating back to the Han Dynasty (202 BC- 220 AD), the western area of Shijiazhuang was the nation's major metallurgy base, and produced weapons, armor and tools. One of its rivers, Ye River, was named for its association with metallurgy. Ye River literally means "River for Metallurgy."

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