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city, northern Guangdong sheng (province), southern China. It lies along the Bei River at the point where it is formed by the junction of the Wu River, flowing southeast from the borders of Hunan, and the Zhen River, flowing southwest from the borders of Jiangxi province. Shaoguan thus commands not only the principal overland route from Guangzhou (Canton) to central and northern China but also the major route via the river systems into Hunan and the other route via the Meiling Pass into Jiangxi. It thus remained a major transportation centre both when the Hunan route predominated (i.e., before the 6th century and after the construction of the Hankou-Guangzhou railway in 1937, which passes through Shaoguan) and when the Jiangxi route was more important during the intervening centuries.