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CPC100 - Songjiang’s Desheng Port: where China saw off the pirates


10 April 2021 | By Wu Miaomiao, Niu Lichao | Songjiang News

  • Photos by Niu Lichao, Che Xuan

  • Photos by Niu Lichao, Che Xuan

  • Photos by Niu Lichao, Che Xuan

D

esheng Port, formerly known as “Tangkou,” is located in Songjiang District’s Chedun Town, where water from the Yantietang Pond flows into the Huangpu River. It commemorates China’s historic victory against invaders in ancient times.

“‘Desheng’ means victory in battles. The name of the port comes from the fight against Japanese pirates who infested the coast of China and Southeast Asia during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644),” said scholar Qian Mingguang, who researches Songjiang’s history and culture.

Qian said that, during Jiajing’s reign (1522-1566) in the Ming Dynasty the pirates repeatedly invaded China’s territory, winning victories over Chinese troops in many battles, and causing panic among the people.

In June 1554, the enemy entered the Huangpu River through Yexie Pond, which was used at that time for transporting salt and iron. China’s general Tang Kekuan led an attack on the Japanese ships on the river and defeated them, boosting the Chinese people’s morale. To commemorate the victory, the place was given the name “Desheng Port.”

To the south of Desheng Port is the Huangpu River and to the north is Desheng Village. Chen Jianhua, 67, whose ancestral home is located in the village, said that old people in his family said that the place used to be “bustling and lively.”

A ferry crossing was built in the late Ming Dynasty, and the village grew into a small market town. Chen recalled that the road in the town was about 260 meters long, paved with bricks and stones, and lined on both sides with shops selling tofu, cloth, meat and medicines.

“I looked at some old records and found that every family had a store at that time. The number peaked at around 50 between 1942 and 1945,” he said.

The people on the water were as busy as those on the land. Chen remembers the ships from downtown Shanghai that would dock there with their cargoes of fertilizer. Each production brigade would come and take fertilizer back on a boat, distributing it according to the land occupation of each household.

Many residents near Desheng Port were fishermen, and there was a fish warehouse in town. Chen said that one of his jobs for the production team was to take fish by bike from the port to the east gate of Songjiang District.

“The days were tough but also full of joys.” Chen said that when he was tired of working all day, he would plunge into the Huangpu River for a swim. Sometimes, hearing that there was a film on in Yexie Town on the other side of the river, he would swim across to the other side to see it, even if the film was half finished by the time he got there.

People crossed the river by boat. Chen remembers that the boat was poled by two old men and it cost him five cents to get to Yexie Town.

These days, the town is mainly populated by older people. Many young people have moved out. But with the old houses rebuilt, roads widened, walls repainted and a series of environmental improvements in recent months, residents’ lives here become more comfortable and convenient than they were several years ago.

“It's definitely a good place with good scenery and a good climate. People here live a long life,” Chen said with a smile. “If you add up the ages of my parents, you get to almost 200 years, but they are still pretty healthy.”

At the end of the road in the town is the Huangpu River. There are still many ships on the river, but they no longer stop at the port.

The construction of Songpu Bridge, the first bridge across the Huangpu River in Shanghai, began in 1974 near Desheng Port and was completed in 1976. When the bridge opened to traffic, the port declined in importance and was finally abandoned.

“This is the inevitable result of the upgrading of transport infrastructure,” Qian said. “With the development of vehicles and other land transportation, many market towns in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai that had ferry crossings have gradually declined.”

Desheng Port is a key area for the protection of the Huangpu River. Around Chen’s ancestral home, a series of water-related environmental improvements have been completed, such as the construction of new dams and bridges, and the replacement of muddy dirt roads with cement roads.

In the future, a sightseeing road will be built along the Huangpu River, so that people can enjoy the wind and scenery, while listening to the tales of yesteryear told by the older generation.

 

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Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email : news@shisu.edu.cn

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading