Wuhan wo͞o-hän [key], city (1994 est. pop. 3,519,600), capital of Hubei prov., central China, at the junction of the Han and Chang rivers. The great industrial, commercial, and transportation center of central China, Wuhan comprises (since 1950) the former cities of Hankou, Hanyang, and Wuchang. Situated in the heart of China, virtually equidistant from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu, it is an air, river, and rail hub dominating the middle Chang plain; China's main north-south railroad runs through the city. The Chang is there spanned by a mile-long bridge that accommodates both trains and motor vehicles. The busy port on the Chang, although about 600 mi (970 km) from the sea, handles large oceangoing vessels. Wuhan is one of the most important industrial centers in China; it has the country's second largest concentration of metallurgical facilities. Also in the city are railroad shops, automotive works, textile mills, food-processing establishments, and plants making heavy machinery, glass, cement, fertilizer, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and paper products. The many institutions of higher learning include Wuhan Univ., Central China Technical Univ., and a medical college. A bridge across the Han River links Hankou and Hanyang. Wuhan was the apparent origin of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and experienced China's highest death rate from the disease and most severe quarantine.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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