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Luigong Dao & The Sino-Japanese War Museum

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Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Today I had a massive history lesson, but then when isn’t any given day in the country that has the worlds longest continues civilization a history lesson. Living here for so long I know a lot about the tensions and hatred that the Japanese and the Chinese share but today I found a new reason. Well it wasn’t entirely new to me but I can’t say I had ever studied it in any detail.

One of the reasons I wanted to come to Weihai (besides the beaches and bikini clad Chinese beauties) was the Museum of the 1894 – 1895 Sino-Japanese War during which China suffered a most humiliating naval defeat. Even though they were armed with the latest European warships, the entire Qing Navy was annihilated by a much smaller Japanese Navy.

So I rose early and headed across to the Tourist Wharf at the northern end of the Happy Park that runs along North Haibin Road. There are now several tickets to choose from and they are much more expensive than those that were around when my Lonely Planet was written. Since then both Weihai and Liugong Island have had massive surges in both tourists and money spent on tourism by the government.

The Chinese government are fully aware that you must spend to then receive.

Ticket 1: 110 Yuan which covers the ferry ride to and from the island and several entry fees. Ticket 2: 160 Yuan which covers the ferry ride to and from the island, several entry fees and cable car. Ticket 3: 210 Yuan which covers the ferry ride to and from the island, several entry fees, cable car and a trip around the entire island in a luxury tourist ferry.

I chose Ticket Number 1 as I was told by a bikini clad beauty that if I was to get off the ferry and head left until I got to the stairs that took me to the memorial statue then it was an easy climb both to the memorial statue and then to the gunnery at the top of the mountain near the cable car. She was right on all things and the views at the top were as beautiful as she was.

The Sino-Japanese War Museum was more than worth the ticket price and all of its audio and visual displays are awesome and some border or stunning even though they are simple paintings with flashing lights. I spent around an hour to an hour and a half wandering its two floors and left with a much greater understanding of what it was all about yet of course I still question some of the biased statements made on behalf of the Chinese but, after all it is their museum.

If it was the a Japanese museum it would be empty with a sign at the door saying; It never happened and we didn’t do anything. We never went to China in 1895!

The rest of the island can be described by the lonely planet; Luigong Island lies two kilometers off the coast in the Weihai Gulf. The island was established as a stronghold during the Ming Dynasty to guard against Japanese pirates. Later the Qing government made it their naval base and after their crushing defeat at the hands of the Japanese the island was occupied by the Japanese army for three years. In 1898 the British wrested control of the area and governed it for thirty two years. During this time they built schools, churches and even teahouses, transforming the island into a summer resort for the British Navy. In 1948 Chiang Kaishek and his troops arrived, shortly after by the communists.

I’ve added a heap of information I found on Wikipedia as the island does have a very interesting history and one worthy of a few minutes of your time.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane PS: More information on Luigong Dao can be found beneath the photos below. _______________________________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by, what I believe was one of THE best bands ever formed. The awesome Buffalo Tom. The album was 'Big Red Letter Day’. ________________________________________________________________________________

Liugong Island is located about four kilometers across Weihai Bay from the city of Weihai.

It has an area 3.15 square kilometers, with a maximum length of 4.08 kilometers (in east-western direction) and a maximum width of 1.5 kilometers. The coastline has a total length of 14.93 kilometers. In general, the terrain of the island slopes down from the north to the south. Qiding Mountain, is the highest point of the island and its northern slope is made up of cliffs and the southern side of the hill is much more gentle.

More than half the of island's area (about 1.8 square kilometers) is covered by forest, predominantly consisting of black pine trees.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the island has been inhabited at least from the Warring States Period onwards. During the Han Dynasty (206BC to AD220), the island was settled by members of the Liu family which resulted in the present-day name.

The use of the island was subject to several changes during the Ming Dynasty: At first, all inhabitants left the island because of pirate threats. During the reign of the Jiajing Emperor, a rebel force led by Xian Wang sought refuge on the island, but the rebellion was put down shortly thereafter. Towards the end of the reign of the Wanli Emperor, settlers were recruited to re-cultivate the island. They were guarded against pirate attacks by a detachment of troops. Subsequently, a rise in shipping activities between the north and the south of China brought prosperity and an increase in population to the island. In 1663, the island's population was evacuated yet again, this time in response to the outbreak of an epidemic. Twenty seven years later, in 1690, the island was resettled by three families (Cong, Zou, and Jiang). In 1703, the island was chosen as the base for another rebel force, but again the rebellion was short-lived.

During the reign of the Guangxu Emperor, the Beiyang Fleet was founded as China's first modern navy and a telegraph center, a naval academy, and the headquarter of the Beiyang Naval Units were set up on Liugong Island. This resulted in the construction of many facilities and an increase in the island's population. Eight out of fifteen modern warships which were bought from the United Kingdom and Germany where assigned to the Beiyang Fleet. On September 14, 1888, Ding Ruchang was given the command of the Beiyang Fleet. From 1887 onwards, more than one hundred cannons were setup up around the harbor of Weihai as well as on the islands of Liugong and Ri.

Eventually, Ding Ruchang made Liugong Island his official residence.

A t-shaped dock, known as the "iron dock" was constructed in the years 1889 to 1891.

During the First Sino-Japanese War, the Beiyang Fleet suffered a crushing defeat and in the spring of 1895, the island was occupied by Japanese forces during which Ding Ruchang committed suicide. The Japanese occupation lasted for only three years. In 1898, the United Kingdom bought the island (along with the rest of Weihaiwei) from the Japanese and agreed to hand it back to China after twenty five years of use (or when the Russians left the nearby Port Arthur).

Local Chinese were recruited into a British regiment but the island was not fortified.

The Royal Navy established a base on Liugong Island occupying and extending the existing facilities.

Residences, hospitals, churches, tea houses, a sport ground, a post office and navy cemeteries were constructed as part of the British development of the area. When the Russians left Port Arthur in 1905, the terms of the lease meant Britain should return the island to China. Britain re-negotiated the lease with the Chinese to counter a new German presence in the area. Weihaiwei was returned to the Republic of China in 1930 after which it was a special administrative region. The Chinese government allowed the Royal Navy to continue to use the naval base for another ten years but this was cut short when Japan invaded in 1938.

From 1949 to the present day the island has been occupied by the People's Liberation Army.

Why is it called Liugong Island?

According to the legends, there are two very different explanations.

The simple one tells that a tribe belonging the imperial family sharing the family name Liu came to the island The second version belongs more to a mythological tale. Legend tells of Liugong (Grandpa Liu) and Liumu (Granny Liu) and I will leave it as I found it.

Once upon the time, a commercial boat going from the south to north was struck by a storm on the sea and missed their routes. After many days of wandering, the food and fresh water were almost used up. At the brink of complete despair, a sailor found at night a dot of fire in the distance. He then shouted excited to all the others:"We are saved! We are saved!" This slightest gleam of hope encouraged all the people onboard.

They tried their best to row the boat, and eventually they reached an island, on the beach of which stood an old man, who was holding a torch guiding them. After the boat ran aground, all the people jumped down onto the shore, and rushed to the beach. After that, they all lay on the sand beach and fainted. The old man carried one after another into his hut. Later when they came round, the old said,"My family name is Liu, you can call me Liugong (Mr. Liu or Grandpa Liu)." The old man's wife, granny Liu, was also a kind person. She put a handful of rice into the pot and began to cook for them. A moment later, the diner is ready. But the people were amazed when they found that they could not finish the food cooked with only a handful of rice. Then they realized that both the old man and the old woman are immortals, and kneeled down to thank them for saving their lives.

But they found the two persons disappeared when they looked up.

On the next day, the learned from the inhabitants on the island that Liugong and Liumu often do such kind of good deeds. In order to show their thankfulness towards Liugong and Liumu, they built a temple on the island for them, and named the island Liugong Dao Island.

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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