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Chongming[dead link] (崇明区 Chóngmíng Qū) is a region of Shanghai Municipality consisting of three islands; from largest to smallest: Chongming Island, Changxing Island and Hengsha Island. These are alluvial islands located where the Yangtse River reaches the sea and drops its silt, low-lying and quite fertile.

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Chongming is the least urban area of Shanghai Municipality and has the largest land area. It was the last administrative division to be classed as a county rather than a district (explanation of terms), though it was promoted to district status in 2017. Population was about 700,000 as of the 2010 census. There are development projects going on; Chongming was used as a resettlement area for people displaced by the Three gorges dam project. A new "eco-city" called Dongtan has been proposed for the south end of the island, but the project has encountered various complications and delays. It has had both some awards and some pointed criticism.

In Amy Tan's novel The Kitchen God's Wife the leading character's mother is sent to live with relatives on "Tsungming Island" for part of her childhood. She describes it (pre-World War II) as distinctly rural and quite unpleasant for a Shanghai urbanite.

Even earlier, in the bad old days of the 19th century, Hengsha Island was the main anchorage for opium hulks in the Shanghai region. These were heavily-laden and heavily-guarded ships parked outside the reach of Chinese law but close enough to be convenient for local smugglers.

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Map of Shanghai/Chongming

There is a highway using a combination of bridges and tunnels running from the Pudong district of Shanghai to Changxing Island then to the main Chongming Island, and over to the North bank of the Yangtze where the highway continues to cities in Jiangsu province. Nantong is the first major town upstream on that side of the river and the road goes all the way to the provincial capital, Nanjing.

There are ferries connecting all the islands, and connecting the islands to both sides of the Yangtze. One goes to the Baoyang Road terminal in Baoshan District, Shanghai; this is next to the Baoshan Road station on metro line  3 .

This area is not yet connected to the Shanghai metro system.

  • Chongming line. This is a planned metro line which will connect Pudong to the two larger islands. Construction began in 2021, and the first phase, to Changxing Island, is scheduled to open in 2025.  

Chongming Island also has its own small airport, but it is not used for any scheduled passenger flights. There are a number of small ports, used mainly for ferries and fishing boats.

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Nanmen town
  • 1 Dongping National Forest Park (东平国家森林公园 Dōngpíng Guójiā Sēnlín Gōngyuán). On the north side of Chongming Island. With an area of 358 hectares (about 1.4 square miles), it is the largest forest park in Shanghai Municipality.    
  • Chongming Island National Geopark. Chongming Island is the world's largest estuary alluvial sand island, and the national government has made the entire island officially part of the park.

The island also has a wetlands reserve and another nature reserve.

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