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A park View  Yellow Sea Forest Park
A park View   Yellow Sea Forest Park

General Information
Dongtai, dubbed “Last Uncontaminated Land on the West Coast of Pacific Ocean”, is a city under the jurisdiction of Yancheng Prefecture. Yancheng is one of thirteen prefecture-level cities in Jiangsu Province.

Like its neighbors, Dongtai has a history of around 2,100 years, tracking back to 117 B.C, in which the Xixi Town appeared as a small community governed by an ancient Haining County in 937 A.D. With frequent replacements of dynasties after the Tang dynasty, Dongtai had multiple name alterations and jurisdiction were shifted. The long history has left the town a lot of marvelous historic relics.

The city is becoming a hub in production of stevia, a crop that its leaves taste extremely sweet and has been used to replace cane sugar. Stevia, native to Paraguay, has been used as a sweetener and flavor enhancer for many years. In 2008, the production of the crop in Dongtai occupies 80% of the country's total production.

Geography, Resources and Climate
Under the jurisdiction of Yancheng, Dongtai County is located at the junction of three cities: Nantong, Taizhou and Yancheng municipalitan area. The China East Sea (Yellow Sea), which is a part of Pacific Ocean, is on its east. It has a coastline of 85 km and a total wetland of more than 10,000 hectares. The county is honored “Last Uncontaminated Land on West Coast of Pacific Ocean” by the United Nations.

The county has an oceanic monsoon climate with humid changeable wind and distinct four seasons. The average temperature is 16°C with the hottest 26°C in July and the coldest 4°C in January. The raining season is from the middle of June to July and the annual precipitation is close 950 mm.

Administration and Jurisdiction
Under the jurisdiction of Yancheng, Dongtai is comprised of 23 towns and townships and one provincial economy and development district.

Area and Population
Meaning “East Sea” in Chinese, Dongtai has a physical land mass of 2,340 square kilometers and its population is close 1.2 million.

Economy, Industry and Environment
Dongtai’s economy depended traditionally on its agriculture sector and major agricultural products included cotton, crop, cocoon, etc. Dongtai has been honored as an important agricultural region with a national reputation. In addition, the county has abundant natural resources including forestry and crude oil.

Over years, plantation of stevia, a crop herb native to Paraguay, has becoming significant in Dongtai. Stevia, tasted extremely sweet, has been long used as a sweetener and flavor enhancer. In 2008, Dongtai's stevia production occupies 80% of the country's total production.

The county is considered in the Yangtze Delta Economic Zone and the fast industrial growth has been improving its economic capability. It has established strong economic relations with its neighbor cities in the economic region and many international enterprises have opened an office in the county.

It has been ranked in top in many national competitions, including one of the China’s 100 Top Counties (county-level cities) with its economic strength in 2007.

Transportation and Tourism
Dongtai is connected by three expressways and the Xin-Chang Railway. It takes about 1 hour to the Nantong Xingdong Airport, 2 hours to the Nanjing Lukou Airport or the Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. Via its waterway, commercial goods can reach Dafeng and Nantong ports.

In the inner city, the public transportation including bus, taxi and charted buses to nearby cities or towns provides convenience to commuters and visitors even if the system still needs a major improvement.

The city has recently been recognized as a land without an obvious pollution from industrializing and has become a tourist region for its well preserved land and nature reserves.

Dongtai has an extensive primary education system coving municipal and rural areas. The secondary schools including high schools achieves significant graduate rate. There is no higher learning institution in Dongtai.

Culture and Folklore
There was a popular legend spread widely in China’s folk history, touching and sad:

Dong Yun, a filial piety son and a farmer, lived with his father after his mother died. They were so poor that when his dad died Dong Yun did not even have enough money to buy a coffin for the deceased. In desperation he sold himself to a greedy landlord as a slave in exchange for bucks to bury his father.

His story moved an angel who is the seventh daughter of the Goddess of the Heaven. She broke the rules of the Heaven and descended to the Earth in secret. With her sisters’ help, she was arranged to meet Yun and finally married him. She wove 300 bolts of cloth within a month for the landlord in return for her husband’s relief from slavery.

Months later, however, the Goddess was finally aware of her daughter's disappearing and sent right way warriors to the Earth to take her back. The angel was dragged to leave her husband but Dong Yun chased after his wife to the sky. To prevent fierce warriors from harming her husband, the angel made a river in a hurry, the Milky Way, in the sky using her hairpin, which kept her husband away from warriors but unfortunately separated forever him from joining her.

In the Heaven, the angle gave a birth of a baby boy but the Goddess ruled that the infant should not stay. The newborn was seized from grieving mom and was sent back to Yun who was in poverty. Day and night, the lonely husband bore his crying infant on his back but the sobbing wife was instead in custody in the Heaven.

Touched by the desperate situation, the Goddess eventually agreed that the couple could meet once a year. With help from a bird species, magpie, using their bodies and feather, a bridge is formed over the river by countless flying birds, on which the broken family could ultimately reunite in the evening of the 7th Day of the 7th Lunar Month, each year in China’s lunar calendar. This day is now depicted the China’s Valentine’s Day.

Dongtai is one of three Jiangsu cities, in which each has claimed their city was the origin of the folk legend and the hometown for Dong Yun. Other two cities are Danyang, one county under the jurisdiction of Zhenjiang City, and Jintan, under the jurisdiction of Changzhou City.

Notable Personage
Notable people include Fan Zhongyan (a chancellor in the Song Dynasty).

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