The only county in China where you can use the Euro

This article comes from WeChat public number: nine lines (ID: jiuxing_neweekly), author: Zhong Wuyan, original title: “China’s only county can use the euro, it is too British

Almost two years did not travel abroad old artist, really a little can not resist the stupid heart, but also to dig the hidden treasures of domestic destinations. This is not, recently found a European taste extremely strong county, where a stroll around with a shot, are “pretend to be abroad” series.

The old artist also did not expect that this place is not in the coastal area, but is located in the southeast of Zhejiang Lishui City, a mountain city called Qingtian.

Many people may not have heard of Qingtian County, but there are several names about this small city that make people unaware of it – “the first county in China in terms of house price”, “the first county in terms of foreign exchange”, “the top ten counties in China in terms of finance”, “the first county in terms of per capita deposit” ……

Don’t look at such a mediocre mountain nest, although only 575,000 household population, but 330,000 overseas Chinese across the sea, distributed in more than 120 countries and regions around the world, of which 80% are concentrated in Europe.

No wonder this place is called “small Europe in the mountains”, full of European-style buildings, bars, cafes and Western restaurants everywhere on the street, authentic Spanish ham and espresso floating through, and really think you’ve traveled to a small European town in a trance.

But the mountains and distant water remind me that it is Qingtian, in Lishui, Zhejiang Province.

The most European taste of the county, Qingtian also

Because Zhejiang is so “loose”, it is easy to confuse its temperament, single out a county has its own personality.

For example, Qingtian, most people in China may have heard of China’s four famous stones “Qingtian stone”, but do not know that Qingtian is a county in Zhejiang, located in the middle and lower reaches of the Ou River, belongs to the city of Lishui has been low-key, but the east of Wenzhou and the north of Taizhou is more famous.

Qingtian, located in the mountainous region of southern Zhejiang, has more than 200 peaks above 1000 meters, 90% of the hills, 5% of the rivers and flatlands, and this topographic feature has the description of “nine mountains and half water and half field”.

You may think that such a mountainous city in the south of the Yangtze River is difficult to match with European style, but Qingtian does not follow the usual rules. Qingtian is a great mix.

When you walk along the streets of Qingtian County, you will see a lot of European style buildings, especially on Huating Street and Baozhuan Street in the center of the county.

In the evening, wander around Linjiang Road, which is known as the “European style street”, with hundreds of bars, cafes and western restaurants with their neon lights flashing in the night.

On the other side of the river, there is also Longjin Park, which was built in 1988 and carries the daily life of Qingtian people. Longjin Park is like a condensed version of Qingtian’s landscape, with not only such old sculptures from the 1990s as the Double Crane Monument and the Elephant Stone, but also glimpses of European sculptures such as Napoleon, David and Columbus, with an unexpected mix of the two very different styles of painting.

The only county in China where you can use the Euro

△ Qingtian Longjin Park’s foreign-flavored sculpture.

If the prosperity of the county doesn’t mean anything, when you go to the township of Qingtian, you will find a group of Western-style European villas in Citi Street in Shankou Town or Fushan, one of the birthplaces of overseas Chinese in Qingtian.

The large windows, Roman columns and small courtyards will confuse your eyes and give you the illusion of a time warp: you haven’t traveled to a European castle, have you?

On social media platforms, Qingtian’s countryside is a hidden “Netflix blockbuster harvesting machine”.

The village of Yangao in Shifan Town is known as “Little Kamakura”, with its infinitely extended railway tracks and occasional trains that pass through, resembling the original scene of “Dunking Master”.

Green Bay Villa in Qingtian Rintang Bay Village is known as “Little Santorini” with its infinity pool, crystal church, sky realm and Parisian cottages and other manor landscapes, with a strong Mediterranean flavor.

If you think this is the end, it is still underestimated Qingtian.

Its European flavor is a 360° deathless daily immersion, the local habits and consumption habits, sound a little Versailles – wearing pajamas can go downstairs into an Italian restaurant, eat the purest Italian food and wine; not three steps to a cafe, order a cup of Italian-style strong coffee chatting dull.

According to incomplete statistics, there are nearly 300 cafes in Qingtian, large and small, all over the streets and alleys.

Locals also laughingly say that Qingtian people “kill” nearly 10,000 cups of coffee every day. It is not uncommon for local farmers to have a cup of coffee before cutting rice in the fields or catching fish in the ponds.

By the way, the foreign consumption habits here are so dazzling that CCTV reporters have come here to experience the daily routine of buying groceries and daily necessities in Euros.

To shopping Qingtian people will go to China Overseas Chinese Imported Goods City, where you can buy authentic Spanish ham, Italian steak, pure Brazilian coffee, German beer and other imported goods from around the world.

The only county in China where you can use the Euro

△ China Overseas Chinese Town Imported Goods City can buy many imported goods.

In the center of the county, there is a new street called “Overseas Chinese Wall Street”, and the big screen of the Bank of China is showing the exchange rates of the US dollar, euro and other currencies around the world.

It is said that the first thing they say when they meet in Qingtian is not “Have you eaten? but “how much is the exchange rate today”.

The red envelopes given to children by their elders on New Year’s Day can also be in Euros. Euro is not a rare thing for Qingtian people.

Why is the European flavor of Qingtian so strong?

Many people may not understand, Qingtian is a typical mountainous terrain, and we usually have the impression that it is a poor and remote place, so where does the foreign model come from?

If you know more about Qingtian, you will find that this is the inevitable result of history and natural selection, which contains the blood and tears of Qingtian people’s overseas struggle history.

The only county in China where you can use the Euro

△ Qingtian Overseas Chinese Township Style. /The World Qingtian

Qingtian was founded in the Tang Dynasty and named after Qingtian Mountain in the northwest suburb of the county. It also has an alias – “Crane City”, among which there is a beautiful legend: it is said that during the Tang Dynasty, the Ou River in Qingtian often flooded, making the people suffer, and it so happened that a pair of white cranes flew from the Ou River, the county magistrate Zhu Kuang, who was suffering from the difficulty of water control, had an idea and built a strong city here. Here built a strong city, in memory, Qingtian also got the name “crane city”.

A small place name can often reveal the pulse of a place, and Qingtian’s innate geography is so precarious that it can be considered harsh. As early as the Tang and Song dynasties, it was under the jurisdiction of Lishui City, which was called Lishui Prefecture by the ancients, and was located in a remote place, but it was good to be sandwiched between Zhejiang and Fujian, which was the main throat of the two places.

The so-called “southeast of the stony soil also”, mountainous land, infertile soil, natural disasters and frequent are the natural disadvantages of Qingtian, in the “agricultural-based” ancient traditional society, Qingtian County has been in the center of the cultural periphery since ancient times.

But the good thing is that there is a direct ocean Ou River nourishment, along the Ou River not far to the southeast is the commercial atmosphere of Wenzhou. Qingtian people have to consider the most suitable way to make a living, “poor is thinking of change”, “go out to live” is perhaps the best note of Qingtian people go away.

They had to have a skill in order to have the courage to go out into the world, and Qingtian people relied on Qingtian stone in the early days.

The value of Qingtian stone came into being in the late Qing Dynasty, and as a specialty ore of Qingtian County, it became the first choice of carving artists because of its “wide origin, rich color, peculiar pattern, and many varieties”.

The exquisite Qingtian stone carving skills gave Qingtian people a new way to survive and opened up the overseas market, making Qingtian stone carving a hit in the international market and making Qingtian people rich in foreign countries.

With the traction of Qingtian stone, those who went out to wander could make a living from it. With the unsealing of the Qing government’s closed-door policy, the opening of the Suez Canal and the Siberian Railway, Qingtian people were able to go overseas with convenient transportation.

In the early days, Qingtian people went abroad either by carrying small pieces of stone sculptures to European countries through the Siberian Railway or by water, taking a ship to Europe from Shanghai.

According to the 1935 English edition of the Chinese Almanac, as early as the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, there were Qingtian people selling Qingtian stones in Europe via Siberia, and during the Guangxu period, there were also Qingtian people selling stone sculptures in Japan, and then they turned to be hard workers.

The only county in China where you can use the Euro

△ Qingtian stone carving is famous all over the world. /The World of Qingtian

In addition to the frequent natural disasters in Qingtian, it coincided with the World War I period, when the British and French countries had labor shortages of different degrees, so China took part in the war by “using workers instead of soldiers”. According to the French Ministry of War in 1922, of the 36941 Chinese workers employed in France, more than 2000 came from Qingtian.

The demand for Chinese workers in Japan was also great, which directly promoted the flow of people from Wenzhou and Qingtian to Japan and strengthened the Chinese team.

The only county in China where you can use the Euro

△Qingtian, Zhejiang Province in 1965, the beginning of the foreign atmosphere. /Wikipedia

Natural factors and historical warfare drove Qingtian people to leave their hometowns early on and take their families overseas with them. According to historical records, most of the Qingtian people who started their business overseas after the reform and opening up relied on “three knives and one mention” – that is, those with kitchen knives opened restaurants and worked as chefs; those with scissors worked as tailors in clothing stores; those with razors opened barber stores; and those with baskets sold specialty goods on the street. The ones who carry baskets and sell special goods on the street.

Do not underestimate the small Qingtian, it has more than 300 years of Chinese history, the so-called “every family has overseas Chinese, everyone is an overseas Chinese family”, especially Europe, has become the Qingtian Chinese town, occupying 74.8% of the total population abroad, with Spain and Italy the most.

The only county in China where you can use the Euro

△ Qingtian’s overseas Chinese are mainly located in Europe. /The World Qingtian

The early departure of Qingtian people is the epitome of Zhejiang businessmen, and from 2012 to now, a wave of overseas Chinese began to return to their hometown, just as the European debt crisis broke out and the eurozone economy continued to be in the doldrums, and more and more overseas Chinese returned to their hometown to invest.

It was not until 1997 that Qingtian got rid of the hat of the poor county, and even in the next 18 years, Qingtian County rose to be one of the top 100 counties in China, which is related to the feedbacks of overseas Chinese.

Qingtian people, the rare heroic spirit of Zhejiang

Strangely enough, Qingtian is like a foreigner in Zhejiang, but unexpectedly I saw the true color of Zhejiang – gentle as jade, lacking some angular explosive power, but with more defiant tenacity and broad-mindedness.

I saw the documentary “World Qingtian”, in which the “national style Qingtian” in the eyes of foreign boys and the “foreign style Qingtian” in the eyes of Chinese girls complemented each other. In the old artist’s opinion, this is Qingtian, where the landscape and the neon are reflected, which looks foreign, but the underlying color is the heroic spirit of the mountain town in the south of the Yangtze River.

The only county in China where you can use the Euro

△Qingtian, half Jiangnan and half Europe. /The World Qingtian

In addition to being a guiding stone for the Qingtian people to open their doors to the world, the stone also has a beautiful story – it is said to be a colorful stone left on earth by Nuwa to mend the sky.

It seems that this “stubbornness” may be a wonderful illustration of the character of Qingtian people.

The Qingtian dialect is the most important symbol for Qingtian people to know their hometown. Unlike the soft language of Jiangnan, the accent of Qingtian is more obvious and the speed of speech is faster.

Perhaps it is because of the landscape of Qingtian County, which is “nine mountains and half water and half field”, that the people of Qingtian are hardworking, simple and pragmatic.

The people of Qingtian are known for their “strong nature, no flattering attitude”. In the face of difficulties, Qingtian people do not think of resting on the status quo, but rely on their courageous character of taking risks and striving to develop all the way.

In his book “Ten Years in Germany”, Ji Xianlin mentioned that he met many Qingtian merchants during his study in Germany: “They each carried a bag of Qingtian stones on their backs and hawked them along the way …… Some of them took the sea route and had themselves locked in the cargo box in order to escape from the ticket and save money, and then bribed the crew to open the cargo box secretly at night and send them to the sea when they were sailing. Secretly open the cargo box at night, send some water and dry food, relieve urination and defecation, and then return to the cargo box locked up. When they arrived in Europe and the ship disembarked, they opened the crates and some of them had become corpses.”

Ji said that these Qingtian people worked hard, saved up a little money and tried to find ways to bring it back to their hometown in Qingtian, and these people vowed not to forget their homeland.

During the epidemic, the low-key Qingtian people brushed up their presence and became the link between China and Italy and even Europe. During the seriousness of the epidemic in China, the Rui’an Overseas Chinese General Association in central Italy had donated more than 30,000 masks to their compatriots in China; during the seriousness of the epidemic in Italy, Qingtian also linked up with Lishui and donated epidemic prevention supplies were sent to Italy by air.

“During the seriousness of the epidemic in Italy, Qingtian also joined hands with Lishui to donate epidemic prevention materials to Italy by air.

The only county in China where you can use the Euro

△ Qingtian has a particularly large number of overseas Chinese. /news screenshot

There is also a saying among Qingtian people that they can’t leave the water and mountains of Qingtian without breaking into all continents and going to all seas. Qingtian people are all over the world, and they are famous for their solidarity, with one person abroad taking root and the whole family looking out for each other.

This is why in recent years, high-rise buildings have sprung up in Qingtian, and many villas in the countryside have been built with the same vintage and magnificent European-style houses.

In Qingtian, there is no factory in the county, the local GDP is not high in Zhejiang, but as early as 2016 the per capita deposit exceeded 100,000 yuan, the foreign exchange deposit reached 400 million dollars, and the average price of houses in the county exceeded 20,000 yuan per square meter, and the core location also reached 40,000 yuan per square meter, which is even higher than the price of many provincial capital cities.

If you go to Qingtian, you may feel that the taste of overseas Chinese is particularly strong.

In the village, you can often see an old man with two or three children, whose parents are working abroad. In the old man’s house, there may be three clocks hanging, showing the time in China, Spain and Germany, so that you can make transatlantic phone calls to your children who are working in Europe.

Deep in the mountains of Qingtian, there is also the “United Nations Village” – Long Xian Village in Fang Shan Township, where you can find China’s first foreign currency exchange point in the village’s professional cooperative for fish farming. In the past, when Qingtian people went home for New Year, they talked about their overseas life as if they had gathered half of the United Nations at the dinner table.

The only county in China where you can use the Euro

△ Qingtian people’s dinner is a table of “United Nations”. /The World Qingtian

However, the Tian fish on the table, a kind of fish raised in Ou River, is a variation of carp, which is an unforgettable hometown taste for Qingtian people.

The history of Qingtian fish can be traced back to more than 1200 years ago, and the village of Longxian in Fangshan Township is an ancient village with a strong culture of fish. The “Qingtian Fish Lantern Dance” has become a folk cultural treasure that is well known in China and abroad.

The only county in China where you can use the Euro

△Rice-field fish is a symbol of Qingtian’s hometown. /The World Qingtian

Nowadays, like Qingtian stone carvings, paddy fish has also broken out of the country, selling well in more than 20 countries and regions such as Spain, Italy and France, and becoming the signature of Chinese restaurants.

The fish has penetrated into almost every aspect of Qingtian people’s life – it is a must-have dish for every family during festivals; it is also used as a dowry for the marriage of village daughters; and a traditional craft of the locals includes smoking and drying the fish with charcoal.

These dried fish are taken abroad by Qingtian’s children, and seem to be more like a totem of their hometown than Qingtian stone carvings, reminding them that no matter how dark the road ahead is, there is always a light at home for you; no matter how far you go, remember not to forget your original heart.

The only county in China where you can use the Euro

△Smoked dried fish is the hometown taste of Qingtian people. / “One’s Food


  1. Qingtian of the world, but also China’s Qingtian Feerk Travel
  2. Zhejiang county where you can buy food in Euros, following the locals to eat once really sealed the deal 寻味星球
  3. zhejiang qingtian, why so powerful? Map Emperor
  4. Zhejiang small county 100,000 people in Italy: the epidemic makes us reacquaint with the “hometown of overseas Chinese” World Chinese Weekly
  5. Zhejiang people, the ordinary little genius of making money Netease Upstream
  6. Why are there so many Zhejiang people in Italy? Lookout Think Tank

7.Overseas Chinese in Qingtian and cultural exchange between China and Europe Guo Jianbo and Chen Hongli

  1. Rediscovering Qingtian, an historical discussion on the archives of overseas Chinese in Qingtian, Republic of China Xu Liwang

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