Xiuying Fort - History and Facts | History Hit

Xiuying Fort

Hainan, China

Xiuying Fort is located in Haikou City, Hainan Province, China. It was constructed in 1890 by the Qing government to counter the threat of the French.

Peta Stamper

26 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Anna Frodesiak / CC

About Xiuying Fort

Xiuying Fort is located in Haikou City, within Hainan Province and island, China, and is one of the four famous forts of the late Qing Dynasty. The complex has been listed in the monuments of the People’s Republic of China since 2006.

Xiuying Fort history

The fort was constructed in 1890 by the Qing Emperor Guangxu to counter the threat of a French invasion. After decades of British control, including insulting treaty clauses forcing the Chinese to write official documents in English, the period of cooperation between Chinese reformers and the European powers in China ended with the Tientsin Massacre of 1870. The massacre was incited by the murder of French nuns, and saw the Chinese attack Christian missionaries.

The result was an unofficial conflict with France beginning in 1884, as the French continued expanding control in Indochina. The Sino-French War strengthened the Qing government, but China had to abandon claims over Vietnam, Annam and Tonkin, formalising France’s diplomatic victory.

The fort consisted of five towers named Zhenwu, Zhendong, Gongbei, Dingxi and Zhenwei, built in a line from East to West and face the sea to the North. The fort also housed five cannon emplacements on the top of the hillock, facing onto the Qiongzhou straits.

The twenty-four cm cannons from the German Krupp Works were last used to defend the fort against the Japanese during the ‘Cole Attack’ in 1932, as Japan invaded the new Republic of China from the Strait of Hainan Island. They were later captured in 1939 as the Japanese Army colonised East Asia.

Xiuying Fort today

Xiuying Fort is now a popular tourist destination in the city centre, with plenty of English signage. Visitors might find at the Xiuying Forst an oasis of peace and quiet alongside the bustle of the city’s daily life. If not in a rush, you can spend 45 minutes wandering around the battery, exploring the ammunition storage rooms, old billets for soldiers as well as short underground tunnels.

Getting to Xiuying Fort

If driving or taking a taxi, you can reach the Xiuying Fort from Haikou Meilan International Airport in 40 minutes, taking the G1501 and exiting at Pobincun. There is ample roadside parking in the area, but be aware that the city is often busy with traffic.

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