Dalian (大连 in Chinese) is a the second largest city in the northeastern province of Liaoning (辽宁省). A city of just over 6.5 million people, it lies at the tip of the Liaodong peninsula and has sub-provincial administrative status (a city governed by the province except when it comes to the economy and law). As it is on the coast, Dalian has a history of being handed between foreign powers for use of its ports and is now an important financial, logistics and shipping centre for northeast Asia. The economy of modern day Dalian relies on agriculture and aquaculture as well as heavy and light industry.
Dalian is in the most southern part of the Liaoning province, about 240 miles from the provincial capital Shenyang (沈阳). Liaoning is bordered by Hubei province (湖北省) to the west, Inner Mongolia (内蒙古) and Jilin province (吉林省) to the north, North Korea (朝鲜) to the east and the Yellow Sea (黄海) to the south.
The climate in Dalian sees warm, wet summers due to the East Asian monsoons and cold, windy, dry winters thanks to the Siberian anticyclone. Temperatures can range from -3º at its lowest to 24º at its peak.
Dalian is one of China’s most heavily developed industrial areas. Within the municipal area, there is what is considered Dalian proper and also Lüshunkou ( 旅顺口), known historically in the West as Port Arthur.
In ancient history Dalian has been part of Korean kingdoms and multiple Chinese dynasties. Port Arthur (Lüshun) got its name from a Royal Navy Lieutenant while the area was under British occupation. Once handed back to China, the city’s defences were strengthened and Lüshun was one of the areas allowed to trade with foreigners.
During the First Sino-Japanese War (July 1894 – April 1895) the Japanese committed the Port Arthur massacre and upon their victory, the Liaodong peninsula was one of the areas ceded by China to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki. However, the Triple Intervention by Russia, France and Germany transferred power back to China. Russian forced the Qing Dynasty into leasing the peninsula in 1898 and built Dal’niy as its only ice-free port.
Missionaries and converts were killed on the peninsula during the Boxer Rebellion, an anti-imperialist, foreign and Christian uprising. The peninsula was once again at the centre of fighting during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) and Port Arthur was eventually surrendered. Dalian and the Liaodong Peninsula became part of Manchukuo, the Japanese puppet state established in 1932, but was once again leased to Japan.
After World War II, control was returned to Russia from Japan until 1950 when it was eventually returned to China. It was renamed Dalian in 1981 and in 1984 was designated a Special Economic Zone by the Chinese government.
Dalian attracts tourists, many from Japan, Russia and South Korea, because of its many beaches and importance in recent history. In 2007 it was named as one of China’s top tourist cities, along with Hangzhou and Chengdu. In 2006, the China Daily named Dalian the most liveable city in China.