Beijing (also known as Peking) is a metropolis in northern China and the capital of the People's Republic of China. Governed as a municipality under direct administration of the central government, Beijing is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China.
Beijing is China's second largest city, with more than 17 million people in Beijing's area of jurisdiction.
Few cities in the world besides Beijing have served as the political and cultural centre of an area as immense as China for so long.
The United States maintained a detachment of Marines in Peking after the Japaneseinvaded in 1937. As the U.S. was neutral, the Marines were forbidden from engaging Japanese troops. It was not uncommon for Americans and Japanese to pass each other on the streets and eye each other warily.
Sgt. Pete McGill was among the Marines stationed in Peking in 1938. His activities included drinking, enjoying Peking's brothels, and listening to the radio.