China Travel Answer

Q: I know "jing" in Chinese means "capital." So Beijing is "Northern Capital" and Nanjing is "Southern Capital." There are also many "zhou" in Chinese place names. What does it mean?

"Zhou" in Chinese, at least in place names, common means "state," "prefecture," or "province." It is an ancient term and is no longer used as an administrative unit in China today, with the exception of Automonous Regions, where there are zhou's. Otherwise it is just remains of old China, indicating a city in the old days with some administrative importance. Examples include Guangzhou, Xuzhou, Zhengzhou, Jinzhou, and many others.