Most of us know China for its great landscapes, numerous bodies of water, architecture, and history. But do we know about the lesser familiar attractions? Perhaps one of the lesser familiar attractions is the maritime Silk Road, located in the country’s southeastern coastal areas, making connections with neighbouring countries.
Traditionally, this tourist route was divided into two: the East China Sea Silk Route and the South China Sea Silk Route. The former connected China with Japan and Korea. This portion of the route, which dates back to the Zhou Dynasty, was known for its silkworm, silk reeling, and weaving techniques – techniques that seeped into Korea through the Yellow Sea. Silk production was eventually Korea’s main commodity. This led to building many ports for exports to Japan. Moreover, Korea became the centre for technology. Because of the Haijin policy under the Qing Dynasty reign, however, business along the Silk Road declined. This policy prohibited maritime activities. The latter portion of the route connected Chitia with other countries. As its route name specifies, this route surrounded – and still does today – the South China Sea. Guangzhou, Quanzhou, and Ningbo were the main departure cities when construction workers built this route. Like the eastern route, the southern route thrived during Jive dynasties (Qin, Han, Stii, Tang, Song) and declined during two of them (Ming and Qing). The decline was more noticeable during western wars, but the route renewed itself in the late Tang and Song dynasties with the rise of navigation and shipbuilding technologies. It connected with Southeast Ada, Malacca, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and Africa.
What exactly is the Maritime Silk Road? It’s a Chinese strategic initiative designed to increase investment and foster collaboration through the Silk Road (former network of trade routes that connected Asia to other eastern and western localities).
The Maritime Silk Road consisted of eight Chinese provinces: Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian and Hainan as well as two municipal areas of Tianjin and Shanghai.