Saturday, September 13, 2008

Changdao County


Ten of the islands are occupied, and there are twenty-two uninhabited islands, some little more than sand spits. There is one large town, Touji Town , population 8,495; and seven smaller towns with forty villages, with a total population in the county of 52,000.


The major occupation is marine farming, producing products such as sea cucumbers, abalone, sea urchins, bivalves, kelp, scallops, and even fish. Tourism is also important; many of the villages sport resort hotels.


The islands are regularly served by a ferry from Penglai. There is a small military airport on the largest island, Changdao Island.


Both Changdao National Forest Park and Changdao National Nature Reserve are located on the islands, which are on a cross-Bohai Sea flyway.

The islands are often referred to as the Temple Islands because of the large number of temples that were built there. Xianying Palace is a temple that was built during the Northern Song Dynasty, starting in 1122. It was originally a Taoist temple to the sea goddess , but became Buddhist later. At the present time the local government has restored the temple to its Ming Dynasty appearance, although many additions had been made during the .

Changdao Island is closed to non-Chinese nationals. Westerners found on the island are swiftly taken to the passenger ferry terminal and placed on the next ferry back to Penglai by the islands Police service. Islanders promptly report all "outsiders" to the islands police service. '''' Police explain the reasons for this, due to the high number of military installations on the Island.

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