Changchun (simplified Chinese: 长春; pinyin: Chángchūn) is the capital and largest city of Jilin province, located in the northeast of the People's Republic of China, in the center of the Songliao Plain. It is administered as a sub-provincial city with a population of about 7.5 million under its jurisdiction, including counties and county-level cities. The name, which means "Long Spring", originated from the Jurchen language. The urban districts of Changchun's city proper have a total population of 3.58 million.
Changchun started as a minor trading town. In 1800, Emperor Jiaqing of the Qing Dynasty selected a small village on the east bank of the Yitong River and named it "Changchun Ting." In 1889, it was promoted as "Changchun Fu". In May 1898, as Russians were building a railway from Harbin to Lüshun (the southern branch of the Chinese Eastern Railway), Changchun got its first railway station, located in Kuancheng. After Russia's loss of the southernmost section of this branch as a result of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, the Kuancheng station (Kuanchengtze, in contemporary spelling) became the last Russian station on this branch. The next station to the south - the new "Japanese" Changchun station, just a short distance to the south - became the first station of the South Manchuria Railway, which now owned all the tracks running farther south, to Lüshun, which they re-gauged to the standard gauge (after a short stint of using the narrow Japanese gauge during the war). A special Russo-Japanese agreement of 1907 provided that Russian gauge tracks would continue from the "Russian" Kuancheng Station to the "Japanese" Changchun Station, and vice versa, tracks on the "gauge adapted by the South Manchuria Railway" (i.e. the standard gauge) would continue from the Changchun Station to the Kuancheng Station. Changchun expanded rapidly as the junction between of the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railway and the Russian-owned Chinese Eastern Railway which continued to have different rail gauges, as well as permit licences until 1935. Changchun had railway repair shops, and branch lines originating in Changchun extended into Korea and Inner Mongolia. An epidemic of pneumonic plague occurred in surrounding Manchuria from 1910 to 1911. Later, the Japanese established Unit 100 to develop plague biological weapons.
Renamed Changchun by the People's Republic of China government, it became the capital of Jilin in 1954. The Changchun Film Studio is also one of the remaining film studios of the era. From the 1950s, Changchun was designated to become a center for China's automotive industry. Construction of the First Automobile Works began in 1953 and production of the Jiefang CA-10 truck, based on the Soviet ZIS-150 started in 1956. In 1958, FAW introduced the famous Hongqi (Red Flag) limousines.
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