Dalian is a major city and seaport in the south of Liaoning Province, China. It is the southernmost city of Northeast China and at the tip of the Liaodong Peninsula. Dalian is the province’s second largest city and has sub-provincial administrative status; only the provincial capital (Shenyang) is larger. The Shandong Peninsula lies southwest across the Bohai Strait; Korea lies across the Yellow Sea to the east.
Today, a financial, shipping and logistics centre for Northeast Asia, Dalian has a significant history of being used by foreign powers for its ports. Dalian was previously known as both Dalniy (Russian:Дальний; Dal’nii) and Dairen (Japanese: 大連). However the city was better known as Port Arthur(Russian: Порт-Артур; Port-Artur) and Ryojun (Japanese: 旅順) from the original Port Arthur, now theLüshunkou district.
In 2016, Dalian ranks 31st in the Global Financial Centres Index published by the Z/Yen Group and Qatar Financial Centre Authority, the other Chinese cities on the list being Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen,Beijing and Qingdao. In 2012, Dalian ranked 82nd in the Global City Competitiveness Index, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (The Economist Group). In 2006, Dalian was named China’s most livable city by China Daily.
Modern Dalian originated from Qingniwa (Chinese: 青泥洼; pinyin: Qīngníwā; literally: “blue mud swamp”) or Qingniwaqiao (Chinese: 青泥洼桥; pinyin: Qīngníwāqiáo; literally: “bridge over the blue mud swamp”), a small fishing village. Russia built a commercial town for the Kwantung Leased Territory after assuming control in 1898 and called it “Dalniy” (Russian: Дальний Dal’nii, lit. ‘a remote one (in reference to the town’s location)’, rendered as Chinese: 达尔尼; pinyin: Dáěrní) from 1898–1905. After the Russo-Japanese War, Japan occupied the Kwantung Leased Territory and renamed the city Dairen (Japanese: 大連/だいれん?) after the Chinese name for Dalian Bay (simplified Chinese: 大连湾; traditional Chinese: 大連灣; pinyin: Dàlián Wān). English sources called the city “Dairen” in this period, from the Japanese.
In 1950, Dalian merged with nearby town called Lüshun (Chinese: 旅顺) (formerly “Ryojun” and before that, “Port Arthur”) to form the city of Lüda (Chinese: 旅大; pinyin: Lǚdà), a name formed from the first syllable of each constituent’s name which was usually rendered as Luta in English during that era. In 1981, the State Council again renamed the city, from Lüda to “Dalian” (simplified Chinese: 大连; traditional Chinese: 大連; pinyin: Dàlián, the same Chinese characters as Japanese Dairen), effective 5 March 1981.
In the Qin and Han periods (221 BC–AD 220), Chinese expanded their territories into northern Koreathrough the Dalian region, then under the jurisdiction of Liaodong county. During the Sixteen Kingdoms era (3rd through 5th centuries), the kingdom of Goguryeo controlled this region. In the earlyTang Dynasty (618–907), the Dalian region was part of Andong Prefecture in Jili state; during the Liao Dynasty (916–1125), it was part of Dong Jing Tong Liaoyang county. Dalian was named Sanshan in the period of Wei Jin (220–420), San Shanpu in the Tang Dynasty (618–907), Sanshan Seaport in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), and Qingniwakou during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911).
In the 1880s, Jinzhou, the north of downtown within Dalian, now Jinzhou District, was a walled town and centre for political intrigue and economic activity. The Qing government built bridges and heavily fortified the peninsula. Mining camps on the northern coast of Dalian Bay became the small town of Qingniwa or Qingniwaqiao, near what became downtown Dalian.
British, Russian, and Japanese occupations
The British occupied Qingniwa in 1858, but it returned to Chinese control in the 1880s. Port Arthur at the peninsula’s tip took its English name from Royal Navy Lieutenant William C. Arthur, but Chinese called it Lüshun. Although China heavily fortified the area, in which it allowed trade with foreigners, Japan swiftly overcame those defenses in the First Sino-Japanese War, committing the Port Arthur massacre during the war in November 1894. In April 1895, China conceded defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War, ceding Liaodong Peninsula, Taiwan and Penghu, and making many other concessions in the Treaty of Shimonoseki.
The Triple Intervention by Russia, France and Germany forced Japan to return the Liaodong Peninsula to China, despite the treaty’s terms; instead the Russian Empire coerced a lease of the peninsula from the Qing Dynasty in 1898. For Russia the region of the peninsula was of particular interest as one of the few areas in the region that had the potential to develop ice-free ports. The Russians built a modern commercial port city, which they wanted to become the Paris of the Far East, and called it Dal’niy (Russian: Дальний). Linked to the Trans-Siberian Railway’s branch line from Harbin, Dalniy became Russia’s primary port-city in Asia, and also served other western traders. Russia signed the Pavlov Agreement (1898) with China, which granted Russia a 25-year lease on Dalian and Lüshun and exclusive right to lay a branch of the Chinese Eastern Railway—what would become the South Manchurian Railway. Russia spent more than 10 million golden rubles (equivalent to 11.5 billion of today’srubles) building the new ice-free port city.
Russia heavily fortified both Dalniy (Qingniwaqiao of Zhongshan District) and the Port Arthur naval base (Lüshunkou) before and after the Boxer Rebellion. Missionaries and converts were killed in the peninsula during the insurrection, although the massive massacres of ethnic Chinese Christians includingMetrophanes, Chi Sung occurred at Harbin. Also, Western expeditionary forces suppressed the Boxers across the Yellow Sea in Shandong.
During the Russo-Japanese War, the peninsula became a major battleground. Major-General Baron Anatoly Stoessel defended the siege of Port Arthur, for five months, but the Japanese army managed to sink several Russian ships attempting to relieve him through long-distance fire in early December. Admiral Eugene Alexeyeff was blamed for splitting precious resources shipped 5,000 miles (8,047 km) across the single tracked Trans-Siberian Railway and Manchurian Railway between Dalniy and Port Arthur. After the Japanese navy crippled the remaining Russian battleship Sevastopol in three weeks of constant attacks, and explosives detonated in tunnels destroyed Port Arthur’s remaining defenses at year’s end, Russia surrendered the port on 2 January
The Treaty of Portsmouth ceded Port Arthur to Japan, which set up the Kwantung Leased Territory or Guandongzhou (關東州), on roughly the southern half (Jinzhou District and south) of present-day Dalian. Japanese invested heavily in the region, which became the main trading port between Manchuria and Japan. Japan leased the area from Manchukuo after establishing the puppet state in 1932. In 1937, as the Second Sino-Japanese Warbegan, Japan enlarged and modernized the trade zone as two cities: the northern Dairen (Dalian) and the southern Ryojun (Lüshun or Port Arthur).
Post-World War II
With the unconditional surrender of Japan in August 1945, Dairen was passed to the Soviets, whose Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation had liberated the city. The Soviets and Chinese Communists cooperated to develop the city, relatively undamaged during the war, especially its industrial infrastructure and the port. The Soviet government rented the port and in 1945 the first Chinese Communist mayor of the new Lüda Administrative Office (旅大行政公署) had been appointed.In 1950, the USSR presented the city to the Chinese Communist government without any compensation. Dalian and Lüshun (former Port Arthur) merged as Lüda on 1 December 1950. From 12 March 1953 to 1 August 1954 it was adirect-controlled municipality and not part of Liaoning. Soviet troops left the city in 1955. After the Soviets left, the PRC made Lüda a major shipbuilding centre.
In 1981, it was renamed Dalian, with Lüshunkou becoming a constituent district. In 1984, the Chinese Government designated the city a Special Economic Zone. At the time, Dalian was China’s largest foreign trade port.
The city was upgraded from a prefecture-level city to a sub-provincial cityin May 1994, with no change in its administrative subdivisions. In the 1990s the city benefited from the attention of Bo Xilai (later Communist Party head of Chongqing) who was both the mayor of the city and one of the major leaders in the province, who, among other things, banned motorcycles and planted large, lush parks in the city’s many traffic circles. He also preserved much of Dalian’s Japanese and Russian architectural heritage. He also worked as former Minister of Commerce of the PRC.
In 2008, about 1,000 people protested and blocked traffic as a response of the 2008 Tibetan anti-Chinese protests, and forced the temporary closure of the local Carrefour store.
In 2010, one of the worst recorded oil spills in China’s history occurred in Dalian.
Since 2007, Dalian has been hosting the Annual Meeting of the New Champions (“Summer Davos”), organised by the World Economic Forum, in alternating years with Tianjin. The venue for the forum is Dalian International Conference Center in Donggang CBD.
- 14 August 2011 – Dalian PX protest occurred.
- 14 June 2016 – Dalian taxi incident occurred.
- 5 August 2016 – Dalian Huabiao incident occurred.
Twin towns and sister cities
Dalian is twinned with:
Since 29 April 2008, Dalian has had a friendship city agreement with Dallas, United States.