Shilong Town is on the banks of the Dongjiang River in the north of Dongguan. In 1922 Sun Yat-Sen set up a campaign camp to launch his crusade against the “insurgent” troops led by Chen Jiongmin who were based to the East in Huizhou City. It was also here that on October 8, 1925 Zhou Enlai gave a speech to a gathering of people, he called on people from all walks of life to unite and join the crusade.
Skipping forward 31 years, we meet a very famous Shilong resident representing Shilong town in the Sino-Soviet Russian Weight Lifting Contest, the year is 1956 and Chen Jingkai broke the world record with his lift of 133 kilograms. He also became the first Chinese athlete to break a world record. Following in his footsteps were other Shilong athletes such as Chen Manlin, Chen Weiqiang and Zeng Guoqiang to name but a few who have broken over 30 world and Asian records. In 1984, the Guangdong Provincial People’s Government gave Shilong town the honorary title “Town of Weight Lifting.”
Once the merchant center of the city, due to its location on the banks of the Dongjiang, residually Shilong is still a booming center for industry with over 200 kinds of industry, including anything from bottling and packaging plants to electronics factories. The prosperity still grows. Noticeable are the number of high-rises and malls, and the town’s plan to keep building manifests as partly built structures throughout the town. Upon approach, the tall buildings within a close proximity of each other, brings memories of Guangzhou on first glance.
Also lingering from its past, sport still plays an important part in Shilong life, which often hosts weight-lifting contests both domestic and international. Great pride is taken in being the “Town of Weight Lifting,” and a walk will gather many references to them such as information signs cast in the shape of weight lifters.
What Can I Do?
In Shilong town you have the Jinshawan Bay tourism zone which boasts several parks and some interesting streets such as Ancient Culture Street and Bambooware Street.
Bambooware Street is, as the name suggests, a street for buying bamboo and ancient culture street doesn’t lie either. Some are genuine and some are fake. Just like the rest of China, the fakes are so good you really do need to be careful when shopping, so if antiques aren’t your thing take along a friend who knows the difference.
Shilong feels very open and wide unlike the rest of Dongguan where the streets tend to be a little narrow. Shilong is full of big open roads. Many of the junctions don’t have traffic lights so if you’re driving or crossing the road take extra care.
Jinshawan Park is just by the Dongjiang River and is quite a small park but does lead out to other places, the whole of Shilong is connected by a series of small paths and roads around the outside of the town which you can walk or cycle around. There are plenty of maps on route too that are bilingual and easy to read. As you walk around the park you might see something quite unique and special, it’s a 100 meter-long relief about the “ancient town of Shilong” that depicts the history of this town.
The bay is also a nice place to relax especially once spring has arrived as the flowers blossom and the tree’s surround the bay, it’s the perfect place to have a family picnic.
Shilong is about 15 kilometers from Dongcheng and is accessible by taking the L2 bus. If you want to go directly to Jinshawan Bay then you can take the number 6 bus at Shilong station.
Location: North of Dongguan on the border
Area: 13.83 sq. kilometers
Population: ~ 65,000 + 20,000 overseas Chinese and Hong Kong & Macau residents
Journey time: ~ 30 minutes Local Attractions: Jinshawan Bay Tourism Zone, Ouxian House, Yat-Sen Park, Ancient Culture Street, Bambooware Street.
Photos by Adam Crase