Songyuan (Chinese: 松原; pinyin: Sōngyuán) is a prefecture-level city in Jilin province, China.
Even though the present city of Songyuan is predominantly modern in appearance, the area has a long history dating back to the Neolithic age. The city was part of the ancient Buyeo Kingdom 2000 years ago, as well as Balhae 1000 years ago.
During much of the Qing era, an important military and administrative center, known as Boduna (伯都納) was located in the Songyuan area, on the right bank of the Sungari (Songhua) River, in what is today the Ninjiang District of the city. The name was transcribed by the Europeans as Bodune, Po-tu-no, or Petuna. The Boduna fortress was originally constructed in 1693, some 25 li (15 km) east of today's Songyuan central city area. In the late Qing, the administrative center moved to Xincheng (新城, "New city") - the name still preserved by the Xincheng Township of the Ninjiang District, in the part of the Songyan's central urbank area on the right bank of the Sungari. As of the early 20th century Xincheng was the capital of a prefecture within the then Jilin Province, and had the population of around 30,000.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Sun Yat-sen proposed building a transportation hub where the Songhua River and the Nen River meet, which materialized as the current city of Songyuan. Authorized by the national government, Songyuan was founded as a prefecture-level city in 1992. Since then it has undergone rapid modernization, thanks in part to the area's profitable oil companies.
In 2007, it was chosen to be one of the cities for the 2008 Olympic torch relay, and was the first relay stop of the province, on which occasion more than 300 media companies, domestic and international, reported on the city. In the same year, the National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy named a meteor after Songyuan, an honor bestowed only on eight cities in the nation.
In 2009, several exam cheating scandals gained the city nationwide media attention. In July, police arrested thirty-four suspects on charges of selling electronic devices to high school students which would have enabled them to cheat on the national college entrance exam. Police confiscated several hundred devices from the suspects, two of whom were local high school teachers.
Songyuan is in the intersection of the Province of Jilin, Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia. Located in the middle west of Jilin Province, at the center of the Northeast China, the city covers 22,000 square kilometres (8,500 sq mi) with a population of 2.8 million.
There are 7,600 square kilometres (2,900 sq mi) of arable land, with an annual food production of about 6 million tons, a quarter of the total production of Jilin Province. The urban area is 71.76 square kilometres (27.71 sq mi). The second Songhua River crosses the city, which makes it one of the few not completely developed riverside cities in the nation.
Songyuan has a monsoon-influenced, humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa), with long (lasting from November to March), very cold, windy, but dry winters due to the influence of the Siberian high, and hot, humid summers, due to the East Asian monsoon. The coldest month, January, averages −15.5 °C (4.1 °F), while the warmest month, July, averages 23.5 °C (74.3 °F); the annual mean is 5.55 °C (42.0 °F). Over two-thirds of the annual precipitation falls from June to August alone.