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From the series Cities of China

So far, in this occasional series showcasing different Chinese cities, I have highlighted cities that I visited during my 20+ years in China. That comes to an end in this post

Even though I have numerous friends who have worked in Hefei over the years (and continue to do so), I somehow never made it to Hefei. I’m not sure how that’s possible,

The capital of Anhui Province, Hefei is located just 80 miles west of Nanjing. One of its main claims to fame is being the home of the University of Science and Technology, one of the nation’s top universities. It is often referred to as the MIT of China.

Like every other city in China, it has undergone rapid development and growth over the past couple of decades, and is a city teeming with skyscrapers, parks, bridges, and shopping malls. Here is a glimpse of the city from the air:

According to, the population of Hefei is 4.1 million people. The economy of the city is based on electronics, steel, and textile manufacturing.

The first Protestant missionaries to enter Anhui were James Meadows and James Williamson, who were sent by the China Inland Mission to set up a mission station in the Yangtze River town of Anqing.

Arguably the most famous missionaries who served in the province were John and Betty Stam, who were killed by Communist soldiers in the province in 1934.

Two famous Christians associated with the province are Watchman Nee and Allen Yuen. Nee died in Anhui in 1972, where he was imprisoned in a Reform-through-labor camp. Allen Yuan, a famous leader of the early house church movement, was from the province. has a helpful prayer guide for the city.

Travelling to Hefei from other cities in China is easy, thanks high-speed rail lines from Beijing and Shanghai. There are also flights from most major cities. Hefei is connected to the world, with flights to/from Bangkok, Seoul, Phnom Penh, and Moscow.

Hopefully on one of my occasional trips to China, I’ll be able to visit this city.

Image credit: 钉钉 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University …View Full Bio

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