Changchun is the capital and largest city of Jilin province, located in the northeast of the People's Republic of China, in the centre of the Songliao Plain. It is a sub-provincial city. The name originated from the Jurchen language. As of 2000, Changchun has a population of 7.1 million, including counties and county-level cities. The urban districts have a total population of 3.2 million.
It expanded rapidly as the junction between of the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railway and the Russian-owned Chinese Eastern Railway which had different rail gauges, as well as permit licences, from 1905-1935. Changchun had railway repair shops and branch lines originating in Changchun extended into Korea and Inner Mongolia In 1932 moving from Jilin City (Kirin city) 200 km to the east, Changchun became the capital of Manchukuo, a state in Manchuria. Then known as Hsinking 新京 (Pinyin: Xīnjīng, Wade-Giles: Hsin-ching, Japanese: Shinkyō, English trans.: New Capital), the capital was a well-planned city with broad avenues and modern public works. The city underwent rapid expansion in both its economy and infrastructures. From 1931 to 1945 China's last emperor Pu Yi was installed as the Manchukuo government head by the Japanese authority. He resided in the Imperial Palace (帝宮) which is now the Museum of the Manchu State Imperial Palace (偽滿皇宫博物院). Severely damaged during World War II, the city was liberated by the Soviet Red Army in 1945. The Russians maintained a presence in the city after the Chinese civil war until 1956. Kuomintang forces occupied the city in 1946, but were unable to hold the countryside against Chinese Communist forces. The city fell to the communists in 1948 after a 12-month-long siege by the People's Liberation Army that resulted in a massive famine with a civilan death toll of 100,000 to 300,000. 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 factories of the era. From the 1950s, it was designated to become a center for China's automotive industry. The famous Red Flag limousines were made in Changchun as were the Liberation (Jiefang) trucks based on a Ford model used in Russia who supplied much of the early manufacturing machinery.
Changchun hosted the 2007 Winter Asian Games.
Changchun is situated at Northeast Asia's geometric center. South Liaodong peninsula coastline, north to Russia and Eastern Europe, east to North Korea, South Korea, Russia, and west to Mongolia. Changchun is a important transportation and communication hub of Northeast China.
Changchun is the biggest automobile research and development center in China. The first Chinese truck and car was made in Changchun. FAW (First Automotive Works) Group is headquartered in Changchun. The automaker's factories and associated housing and services occupies a substantial portion of the city's southwest end. Specific brands produced in Changchun includes the Red Flag luxury brand, as well as joint ventures with Audi, Volkswagen, and Toyota.
Changchun hosts the yearly Changchun International Automobile Fair, Changchun Film Festival, Changchun Agricultural Fair, Education Exhibition and the Sculpture Exhibition.
Changchun has three passenger rail stations, though most trains only stop at the central Changchun Railway Station (长春站), where there are multiple daily departures to other northeast cities such as Jilin City, Harbin, Shenyang, and Dalian, as well as Beijing. Changchun Longjia International Airport, located well to the east of the city, has flights to cities across eastern and central China, as well as Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan.