Mawei was a quiet town for thousands of years until about 150 years ago, when it came to be known as the cradle of the Chinese navy.
Here in 1866, famous officials Zuo Zongtang and Shen Baozhen from the Qing Dynasty (1640-1911) set up the Fujian Shipping Administration in their campaign to learn from the West.
The two then developed a shipyard, built warships, established a school for naval officers and sent students abroad. The first group of returnees in 1879 served the nation well.
The navy school at Mawei was the first in the nation to teach in Chinese and a foreign language and the first school to introduce foreign teachers and teaching methods.
Mawei Shipyard was China's first mechanized shipbuilding facility. It also employed foreign technology, managers and supervisors. The country's first plane manufacturing works, the first submarine plant, and the first warship design institute followed. In January 1883 the first Chinese-made cruiser set sail from Mawei. In January 1887, the first motor torpedo boat was completed. In August 1919, the first waterborne plane took flight.
Data from Mawei shows that the district made 51 maritime firsts in Chinese history.
The hall of the Mawei Shipping School has now been renovated together with a memorial hall for a sea battle with France. The first phase shipping culture sites, begun in 2004, has been completed,
A second phase of construction, initiated last year with 340 million yuan, is expected to be finished around 2010.
Thanks to their protection, the site of shipping relics at Mawei district won the Exemplary Habitat and Environment Award of China in 2005.
Source: China Daily