City, municipality with provincial status (pop., 2003 est.: city, 7,699,300; 2007 est.: municipality, 15,810,000), and capital of China. The municipality is bordered by Hebei province and Tianjin municipality and has an area of 6,500 sq mi (16,800 sq km). Lying on a broad plain in northeastern China, the city has been settled since ancient times and has been known by various names. It became the royal residence of Kublai Khan, who in 1272 named it Dadu. It was chosen as the capital of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) in 1421 and was renamed Beijing, and it remained the capital during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911/12). It suffered heavy damage when it was occupied by European forces in 1860 and 1900 (see Boxer Rebellion). In 1928 the capital was moved to Nanjing, and the name Beiping (Pei-p'ing) was given to the former capital. Nearby, in 1937, the Marco Polo Bridge Incident took place. Beijing's capital status and its name were restored following the communist victory in 1949. It is China's cultural and educational centre. The old Forbidden City contains the former imperial palace, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Abutting it is Tiananmen Square, one of the world's largest public squares. Beijing was the main venue for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
Variants of BEIJING
Beijing or Pei-ching conventional Peking formerly (1928–49) Beiping
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