Shanxi

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Not to be confused with the neighbouring province of Shaanxi.
Shanxi Province
山西省
Province
Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese 山西省 (Shānxī Shěng)
 • Abbreviation simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: (pinyin: Jìn)
Map showing the location of Shanxi Province
Map showing the location of Shanxi Province
Coordinates: 37°42′N 112°24′E / 37.7°N 112.4°E / 37.7; 112.4Coordinates: 37°42′N 112°24′E / 37.7°N 112.4°E / 37.7; 112.4
Named for shān - mountain
西 xī - west
"west of the Taihang Mountains"
Capital
(and largest city)
Taiyuan
Divisions 11 prefectures, 119 counties, 1388 townships
Government
 • Secretary Wang Rulin
 • Governor Li Xiaopeng
Area[1]
 • Total 156,000 km2 (60,000 sq mi)
Area rank 19th
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 35,712,111
 • Rank 18th
 • Density 230/km2 (590/sq mi)
 • Density rank 19th
Demographics
 • Ethnic composition Han - 99.7%
Hui - 0.2%
 • Languages and dialects Jin, Zhongyuan Mandarin, Jilu Mandarin
ISO 3166 code CN-14
GDP (2011) CNY 1110.0 billion
US$ 176.2 billion (21st)
 - per capita CNY 26,283
US$ 3,883 (17th)
HDI (2010) 0.693[3] (medium) (15th)
Website www.shanxigov.cn (Chinese)

Shanxi (Chinese: 山西; pinyin: About this sound Shānxī; Wade–Giles: Shan-hsi; Postal map spelling: Shansi) is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the North China region. Its one-character abbreviation is "" (pinyin: Jìn), after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period.

The name Shanxi means "West of the Mountains", a reference to the province's location west of the Taihang Mountains.[4] Shanxi borders Hebei to the east, Henan to the south, Shaanxi to the west, and Inner Mongolia to the north and is made up mainly of a plateau bounded partly by mountain ranges. The capital of the province is Taiyuan.

History[edit]

In the Spring and Autumn Period (722–403 BC), the state of Jin was located in what is now Shanxi. It underwent a three-way split into the states of Han, Zhao and Wei in 403 BC, the traditional date taken as the start of the Warring States period (403–221 BC). By 221 BC all of these states had fallen to the state of Qin, which established the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC).

The Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220) ruled Shanxi as the province of Bingzhou (幷州 Bīng Zhōu). During the invasion of northern nomads in the Sixteen Kingdoms period (304–439), several regimes including the Later Zhao, Former Yan, Former Qin, and Later Yan continuously controlled Shanxi. They were followed by Northern Wei (386–534), a Xianbei kingdom, which had one of its earlier capitals at present-day Datong in northern Shanxi, and which went on to rule nearly all of northern China.

The Tang Dynasty (618–907) originated in Taiyuan. During the Tang Dynasty and after, the area was called Hédōng (河東), or "east of the (Yellow) river". Empress Wu Zetian, China's only female ruler, was born in Shanxi.

During the first part of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–960), Shanxi supplied rulers of three of the Five Dynasties, as well as being the only one of the Ten Kingdoms located in northern China. Shanxi was initially home to the jiedushi (commander) of Hedong, Li Cunxu, who overthrew the first of the Five Dynasties, Later Liang (907–923) to establish the second, Later Tang (923–936). Another jiedushi of Hedong, Shi Jingtang, overthrew Later Tang to establish the third of the Five Dynasties, Later Jin Dynasty, and yet another jiedushi of Hedong, Liu Zhiyuan, established the fourth of the Five Dynasties (Later Han) after the Khitans destroyed Later Jin, the third. Finally, when the fifth of the Five Dynasties (Later Zhou) emerged, the jiedushi of Hedong at the time, Liu Chong, rebelled and established an independent state called Northern Han, one of the Ten Kingdoms, in what is now northern and central Shanxi.

Shi Jingtang, founder of the Later Jin Dynasty, the third of the Five Dynasties, ceded a large slice of northern China to the Khitans in return for military assistance. This territory, called The Sixteen Prefectures of Yanyun, included a part of northern Shanxi. The ceded territory became a major problem for China's defense against the Khitans for the next 100 years, because it lay south of the Great Wall.

During the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127), the sixteen ceded prefectures continued to be an area of contention between Song China and the Liao Dynasty. Later the Southern Song Dynasty abandoned all of North China, including Shanxi, to the Jurchen Jin Dynasty (1115–1234) in 1127 after the Jingkang Incident of the Jin-Song wars.

The Mongol Yuan Dynasty divided China into provinces but did not establish Shanxi as a province. Shanxi only gained its present name and approximate borders during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). During the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), Shanxi extended north beyond the Great Wall to include parts of Inner Mongolia, including what is now the city of Hohhot, and overlapped with the jurisdiction of the Eight Banners and the Guihua Tümed banner in that area.

During most of the Republic of China's period of rule over mainland China (1912–1949), the warlord Yen Hsi-shan held Shanxi. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Japan occupied much of the province after winning the Battle of Taiyuan. Shanxi was also a major battlefield between the Japanese and the Chinese communist guerrillas of the Eighth Route Army during the war.

After the defeat of Japan, much of the Shanxi countryside became important bases for the communist People's Liberation Army in the ensuing Chinese Civil War. Yen had incorporated thousands of former Japanese soldiers among his own forces, and these soldiers became part of his failed defense of Taiyuan against the People's Liberation Army in early 1949.

For centuries Shanxi served as the center of trade and banking – the "Shanxi merchants" (晋商 jìnshāng) were once synonymous with wealth. The well-preserved city and UNESCO World Heritage site Pingyao shows many signs of its economic importance in the Qing Dynasty. In modern times, coal mining is important to Shanxi's economy, but critics have complained of deplorable mine conditions. Since 2004 the province has been plagued with labour safety issues, including a slave labour scandal involving children, causing significant civil unrest and national embarrassment.

Geography[edit]

Shanxi is located on a plateau made up of higher ground to the east (Taihang Mountains) and the west (Lüliang Mountains) and a series of valleys in the center through which the Fen River runs. The highest peak is Mount Wutai (Wutai Shan) in northeastern Shanxi with an altitude of 3058 m. The Great Wall of China forms most of the northern border with Inner Mongolia. The Zhongtiao Mountains run along part of the southern border and separate Shanxi from the east-west part of the Yellow River. Mount Hua is to the southwest.

The Huang He (Yellow River) forms the western border of Shanxi with Shaanxi. The Fen and Qin rivers, tributaries of the Huang He, run north-to-south through the province, and drain much of its area. The north of the province is drained by tributaries of the Hai River, such as Sanggan and Hutuo rivers. The largest natural lake in Shanxi is Xiechi Lake, a salt lake near Yuncheng in southwestern Shanxi.

Shanxi has a continental monsoon climate, and is rather arid. Average January temperatures are below 0 °C, while average July temperatures are around 21 - 26 °C. Winters are long, dry, and cold, while summer is warm and humid. Spring is extremely dry and prone to dust storms. Shanxi is one of the sunniest parts of China; early summer heat waves are common. Annual precipitation averages around 350 to 700 millimetres (14 to 28 in), with 60% of it concentrated between June and August.

Major cities:

Administrative divisions[edit]

Shanxi is divided into eleven prefecture-level divisions: all prefecture-level cities:

Map # Name Administrative Seat Hanzi
Hanyu Pinyin
Population (2010)
Shanxi prfc map.png
Prefecture-level city
1 Taiyuan Xinghualing District 太原市
Tàiyuán Shì
4,201,591
2 Changzhi Chengqu District 长治市
Chángzhì Shì
3,334,564
3 Datong Chengqu District 大同市
Dàtóng Shì
3,318,057
4 Jincheng Chengqu District 晋城市
Jìnchéng Shì
2,279,151
5 Jinzhong Yuci District 晋中市
Jìnzhōng Shì
3,249,425
6 Linfen Yaodu District 临汾市
Línfén Shì
4,316,612
7 Lüliang Lishi District 吕梁市
Lǚliáng Shì
3,727,057
8 Shuozhou Shuocheng District 朔州市
Shuòzhōu Shì
1,714,857
9 Xinzhou Xinfu District 忻州市
Xīnzhōu Shì
3,067,501
10 Yangquan Chengqu District 阳泉市
Yángquán Shì
1,368,502
11 Yuncheng Yanhu District 运城市
Yùnchéng Shì
5,134,794

The 11 prefecture-level divisions of Shanxi are subdivided into 119 county-level divisions (23 districts, 11 county-level cities, and 85 counties). Those are in turn divided into 1388 township-level divisions (561 towns, 634 townships, and 193 subdistricts).

Politics[edit]

The Politics of Shanxi Province is structured in a dual party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China.[citation needed]

The Governor of Shanxi (山西省省长) is the highest-ranking official in the People's Government of Shanxi. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Shanxi Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary (山西省委书记), colloquially termed the "Shanxi CPC Party Chief".

The province went through significant political instability since 2004, due largely to the number of scandals that have hit the province, mostly on labour safety.[citation needed] Yu Youjun and Meng Xuenong were top officials appointed by the central government to resolve sensitive issues as the province's party boss. However, the situation has, by and large, deteriorated during their tenures in office. As a result both Yu and Meng were forced to relocate themselves to relatively insignificant positions elsewhere in the country.[citation needed] In 2008 Shanxi's regional political problems were complicated by the death of Political Consultative Conference Chair Jin Yinhuan due to a car accident.

Since Xi Jinping's ascendancy to power in 2012, numerous prominent highly ranked officials in Shanxi have been placed under investigation for corruption related offenses, including Ling Zhengce, the provincial Political Consultative Conference vice-chair and the older brother of Ling Jihua, and Chen Chuanping (陈川平), the party secretary of Taiyuan.

Economy[edit]

The GDP per capita of Shanxi is below national average. Compared to the provinces in East China, Shanxi is less developed for many reasons. Its geographic location limits it participation in international trade, which involves mostly eastern coastal provinces. Important crops in Shanxi include wheat, maize, millet, legumes, and potatoes. The local climate and dwindling water resources limits agriculture in Shanxi.[5]

Shanxi possesses 260 billion metric tons of known coal deposits, about one third of China's total. As a result, Shanxi is a leading producer of coal in China and has more coal companies than any other province,[6] with an annual production exceeding 300 million metric tonnes. The Datong (大同), Ningwu (宁武), Xishan (西山), Hedong (河东), Qinshui (沁水), and Huoxi (霍西) coalfields are some of the most important in Shanxi. Shanxi also contains about 500 million tonnes of bauxite deposits, about one third of total Chinese bauxite reserves.[7][8]

Industry in Shanxi is centered around heavy industries such as coal and chemical production, power generation, and metal refining.[citation needed] There are countless military-related industries in Shanxi Province due to its geographic location and history when it is used to be the base of the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army. Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre, one of China's three satellite launch centers, is located in the middle of Shanxi Province with China's largest stockpile of nuclear missiles.

Many private corporations joint with the state-owned mining corporations have invested billions of dollars in the Mining Industry of Shanxi Province. Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing has made one of his largest investment ever in China on exploiting coal gas in Shanxi. Foreign investors include mining companies from Canada, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy.[citation needed]

The mining related companies include Daqin Railway Co. Ltd., which runs one of the busiest and most technologically advanced railway in China connecting Datong and Qinhuangdao and exclusively for coal shipping.[citation needed] The revenue of Daqin Railway Co. Ltd. is among the highest in Shanxi Province's companies due to its exporting of coal to Japan, Korea, and South-East Asia.

Shanxi's nominal GDP in 2011 was 1110.0 billion yuan (US$176.2 billion), ranked 21st in China. Its per-capita GDP was 21,544 yuan (US$3,154).[9]

Shanxi has received criticism for bad working conditions in coal mining and other heavy industries.[citation needed] Thousands of workers have died every year in those industries. Cases of child labour abuse were discovered recently.[10][11]

In contrast with the poverty, Shanxi is known for its wealthy mine owners in China.[citation needed] Consortiums of mine owners from Shanxi have influences in Beijing's real estate market because of their speculation. The only other wealth group in China having the same influence is the entrepreneurs from Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province which is the centre of light industry of China and the world.[citation needed]

Industrial zones[edit]

  • Taiyuan Economic & Technology Development Zone

Taiyuan Economic & Technology Development Zone is a state-level development zone approved by State Council in 2001, with a planned area of 9.6 km2 (3.7 sq mi). It is only 2 km (1.2 mi) away from Taiyuan Airport and 3 km (1.9 mi) away from railway station. The National Highway 208 and 307 passes through the zone. So far, it has formed a "four industrial base, a professional industry park" development pattern.[12]

  • Taiyuan Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone

Established in 1991, Taiyuan Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone is the only state-level Hi-tech Development Zone in Shanxi Province, with total area of 24 km2 (9.3 sq mi). It is situated close to Taiyuan Wusu Airport and Highway G208. The nearest port to the zone is Tianjin Port.[13]

Transportation[edit]

The transport infrastructure in Shanxi is very developed. There are many important national highways and railways that connect the province with neighboring provinces.[14]

Road[edit]

Shanxi's road hub is in the capital, Taiyuan. The major highways in province form a road network connecting all the counties. Examples of major highways are:

Rail[edit]

Shanxi has extensive rail infrastructure to neighboring provinces. The rail network connects to major cities Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang, Beijing, Yuanping, Baotou, Datong, Menyuan and Jiaozuo. The province also have extensive rail network to coastal cities such as Qinhuangdao, Qingdao, Yantai and Lianyungang.[14]

The province has a rail network called the Shuozhou-Huanghua Railway. It will service Shenchi county in Shanxi with Huanghua port in Hebei. It will become the second largest railway for coal transport from west to east in China.[15]

Aviation[edit]

Shanxi's main aviation transport hub is Taiyuan Wusu Airport (IATA: TYN). The airport has routes connecting Shanxi to 28 domestic cities including Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu and Chongqing. There are international routes to Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Russia. There is also another airport in Datong, which has domestic routes to other mainland cities.[14][16]

Demographics[edit]

The population is mostly Han Chinese with minorities of Mongol, Manchu, and the Hui.

Ethnic groups in Shanxi, 2000 census
Nationality Population Percentage
Han Chinese 32,368,083 99.68%
Hui 61,690 0.19%
Manchu 13,665 0.042%
Mongol 9,446 0.029%

Source: Department of Population, Social, Science and Technology Statistics of the National Bureau of Statistics of China (国家统计局人口和社会科技统计司) and Department of Economic Development of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission of China (国家民族事务委员会经济发展司), eds. Tabulation on Nationalities of 2000 Population Census of China (《2000年人口普查中国民族人口资料》). 2 vols. Beijing: Nationalities Publishing House (民族出版社), 2003. (ISBN 7-105-05425-5)

In 2004, the birth rate was 12.36 births/1000 population, while the death rate was 6.11 deaths/1000 population. The sex ratio was 105.5 males/100 females. [2]

Health[edit]

In the 2000s, the province was considered to be one of the most polluted areas in China.[6] The pollution, caused in part by heavy coal mining, has deteriotated health problems in the province.[17]

Culture[edit]

The Shanxi Museum located on the west bank of Fen River in downtown Taiyuan.
The Pagoda of Fogong Temple, Ying County, built in 1056.

Language[edit]

The dialects spoken in Shanxi have traditionally been included in the Northern or Mandarin group. Since 1985, some linguists have argued that the dialects spoken in most of the province should be treated as a top-level division called Jin, based on its preservation of the Middle Chinese entering tone (stop-final) category, unlike other dialects in northern China. These dialects are also noted for extremely complex tone sandhi systems. The dialects spoken in some areas in southwestern Shanxi near the borders with Henan and Shaanxi are classified in the Zhongyuan Mandarin subdivision of the Mandarin group.

Cuisine[edit]

Shanxi cuisine is most well known for its extensive use of vinegar as a condiment and for its noodles. A dish originating from Taiyuan, the provincial capital, is the Taiyuan Tounao (太原头脑, literally "Taiyuan Head"). It is a soup brewed using mutton, shanyao (山药, Chinese wild yam), lotus roots, astragalus membranaceus (黄芪, membranous milk vetch), tuber onions, as well as cooking liquor for additional aroma. It can be enjoyed by dipping pieces of unleavened cake into the soup, and is reputed to have medicinal properties.

Music[edit]

Shanxi Opera (晋剧 Jinju) is the local form of Chinese opera. It was popularized during the late Qing Dynasty, with the help of the then-ubiquitous Shanxi merchants who were active across parts of China. Also called Zhonglu Bangzi (中路梆子), it is a type of bangzi opera (梆子), a group of operas generally distinguished by their use of wooden clappers for rhythm and by a more energetic singing style; Shanxi opera is also complemented by quzi (曲子), a blanket term for more melodic styles from further south. Puzhou Opera (蒲剧 Puju), from southern Shanxi, is a more ancient type of bangzi that makes use of very wide linear intervals.

Ancient commerce[edit]

Shanxi merchants (晉商 Jinshang) constituted a historical phenomenon that lasted for centuries from the Song to the Qing Dynasty. Shanxi merchants ranged far and wide from Central Asia to the coast of eastern China; by the Qing Dynasty they were conducting trade across both sides of the Great Wall. During the late Qing Dynasty, a new development occurred: the creation of piaohao (票號), which were essentially banks that provided services like money transfers and transactions, deposits, and loans. After the establishment of the first piaohao in Pingyao, the bankers in Shanxi dominated China's financial market for centuries until the collapse of Qing Dynasty and the coming of British banks.

Tourism[edit]

A Pingyao street.
  • Jinci in Taiyuan, noted for its temples, Song Dynasty paintings and architecture.
  • Zuoquan County, known for its China Communist Party battlefield sites.
  • The Yungang Grottoes, its literal translation being the Cloud Ridge Caves, are shallow caves near Datong. There are over 50,000 carved images and statues of Buddhas and Boddhisatvas within these grottoes, ranging from 4 centimeters to 7 meters tall.a World Heritage Site in Datong, consist of 252 caves noted for their collection of 5th and 6th century Buddhist grotto sculptures and reliefs.
  • Mount Hengshan (Heng Shan), in Hunyuan County, is one of the "Five Great Peaks" of China, and is also a major Taoist site. Not far from Heng Shan, the Hanging Temple is located on the side of a cliff and has survived for 1400 years despite earthquakes in the area.
  • Pagoda of Fogong Temple, in Ying County, is a pagoda built in 1056 during the Liao Dynasty. It is octagonal with nine levels (five are visible from outside), and at 67 m (220 ft) in height, it is currently the tallest wooden pagoda in the world. It is also the oldest fully wooden pagoda in China, although many no-longer-existing wooden pagodas have preceded it, and many existing stone and brick pagodas predate it by centuries.

Education[edit]

Major Post-Secondary institutes in Shanxi include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Wilkinson, Endymion (2012). Chinese History: A New Manual. Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series 84. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center. ISBN 978-0-674-06715-8. 

External links[edit]