Harbin was unimportant until Russia was granted a concession (1896) and built a modern section alongside the old Chinese town. (Russia surrendered its concession in 1924.) Flooded by White Russian refugees after 1917, Harbin had one of the largest European populations in East Asia. Most of the Europeans left the city following the rise to power of the Chinese Communists. Harbin's institutions of higher learning include Harbin Polytechnical Univ., a medical college, and several technical institutes. The city has a well-known winter ice festival.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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