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County-level city
Location of Taishan City (pink) within Jiangmen City (yellow) and Guangdong
Location of Taishan City (pink) within Jiangmen City (yellow) and Guangdong
Taishan is located in Guangdong
Location of the city centre in Guangdong
Coordinates: 22°15′N 112°47′E / 22.250°N 112.783°E / 22.250; 112.783Coordinates: 22°15′N 112°47′E / 22.250°N 112.783°E / 22.250; 112.783
Country People's Republic of China
Province Guangdong
Prefecture-level city Jiangmen
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal code 529200 - 529267
Area code(s) 750
Simplified Chinese 台山
Traditional Chinese 臺山
Taishanese Jyutping Hoisan
Hanyu Pinyin Táishān
Postal Map Toishan

Taishan (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; Mandarin Pinyin: Táishān; Jyutping: toi4 saan1; Taishanese: Hoisan [hɔ̀isān]) is a coastal county-level city in southern Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. The city is part of the Greater Taishan Region and the people who live here are known as Taishanese people or Sze Yup Cantonese.

The city is located in the Pearl River Delta, southwest of Jiangmen (to which it administratively belongs) and 140 kilometres west of Hong Kong. It contains 95 islands and islets, including the largest island in Guangdong, Shangchuan Island. It is one of the Five Counties in Guangdong (previously called Sze Yup, excluding Heshan).

Taishan is famous as the birthplace of Chinese volleyball, brought to Taishan by overseas Chinese; the city went on to win many provincial and national championships. The city is also famous as one of the birthplaces of Guangdong music, the other being Guangzhou.

One quarter of the “Flying Tigers”, the legendary group of American airmen who fought the Japanese during the Second World War before the United States entered Taishan, were from here.[1]

Taishan is also famous as a county of Jiangmen Star Park, known as the origin of more international Chinese celebrities than any region/city in China.


County history[edit]

On 12 February 1499 in the 12th year of the reign of the emperor Hongzhi during the Ming Dynasty, Taishan was founded as Xinning County (Chinese Postal Map Romanisation: Sunning County; Chinese: 新宁县) from land in the southwest of Xinhui County. Xinning has also been romanized as Sinning, Hsinning, Hsînnîng, and Llin-nen.

From 1854 to 1867 a civil war broke out mainly in Taishan County between the Punti and Hakka people with disastrous results for both sides.

In 1914, Xinning was renamed Taishan to avoid confusion with the Xinnings of Hunan and Sichuan.[2] Unfortunately it is now confused in English with Taishan (Mount Tai) in Shandong Province.

In March 1941, Japanese soldiers invaded Taishan's capital and killed nearly 280 people.

On 17 April 1992, Taishan's status was upgraded from county (县) to county-level city (县级市).[2]

In 2010, parts of the movie Let the Bullets Fly were filmed in Taishan.[3][4]

Overseas Taishanese history[edit]

After a number of natural disasters, Taishanese started to search for new lives overseas after the First Opium War.[5] The migration of Taishanese to North America started with the Gold Rush. Many Taishanese went to California as contract labourers. Later, another spike in human movement occurred during the construction of the transcontinental railways in the United States and Canada.[6] In 1870, there were 63,000 Chinese in the United States, almost all in California.[7] To overcome discrimination and language barriers, the first Chinatown formed to allow Taishanese (or Chinese) to live alongside and help each other.


Education in the city of Taishan enjoys significant support from overseas Chinese professionals and businessmen. Many secondary schools were built and financed by Chinese living in the Special Administrative Regions of (Hong Kong and Macau) and various foreign countries, such as the United States, Canada, and Brazil. To honour their benefactors, these schools often bear their names or the names of their parents. An example is the Taishan City Peng Quan School (鹏权中学), constructed during 1999–2001, and now integrated into the city's public school system. It is situated on the west side of the city, and was built by a Hong Kong businessman.[8] There are many middle schools and high schools in Taishan, but no four-year universities. Students must study rigorously in order to be accepted at universities located in other cities.

Taishan schools include:


  • Deng Xiaoping-era Television University (磐石电视大学).

High schools and middle schools:

  • Taishan No. 1 High School (台山第一中学)
  • Taishan Overseas Chinese Middle School (台山市华侨中学)
  • Peiying Middle School (台山培英职业高级中学)
  • Taishan Teaching School (台山师范学校)
  • Taishan City Peng Quan School(台山市鹏权中学)
  • Taishan Shi Li Tan Geng kai Jinian Zhong Xue (台山市李谭更开纪念中学)


Taishan is under the jurisdiction of Jiangmen and is responsible for a 3,286 km2 (1,269 sq mi) area comprising 16 towns (镇), which are subdivided into 313 village residential committees (村居委会) and 3,655 natural villages (自然村).[2]

These towns are:

These "natural villages" (自然村) include:


Taishan is accessible by bus and hydrofoil ferry (require bus connection, ferry is not direct service). There is a bus station in Taicheng and a port at GongYi on the Tan River which flows into the Pearl River Delta. The ferry service from Hong Kong to GongYi has been discontinued. Taicheng is the centre of Taishan, and a majority of schools and shopping centres are located in this area.

Until the Japanese War, there was a limited railway system constructed by Chen Yixi linking various parts of Taishan with Jiangmen. It was one of only three built, owned and run by Chinese during the years prior to the Communist Revolution of 1949.[9]

Ferry service connects the mainland part of the Taishan county-level city with the islands of Shangchuan, which are also part of the same county-level city. The Shangchuan ferry runs from the Shanzui Harbor (山咀港) in Chuandao Town on the mainland to the Sanzhou Harbor (三洲港) on the Shangchuan island. There is also a daily ferry service between Shangchuan's Sanzhou Harbour and the nearby Xiachuan Island (also part of Taishan county-level city). [10][11]


The main language of Taishan is Taishanese. While most Taishanese today use Mandarin in school or formal occasions, Taishanese is the de facto language. Schools require their students to speak Mandarin in the classroom, and teachers are required to lecture in Mandarin. Taishanese is a dialect of Yue Chinese, a large group which includes, but is broader than, the Cantonese spoken in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Thus Cantonese and Taishanese are related but distinct. Before the 1980s, Taishanese was the predominant Chinese language spoken throughout North America's Chinatowns.[12] Cantonese is also widely known in Taishan, as it serves as lingua franca of Guangdong Province.


If considering the total Greater Taishan Region or Sze Yap Region, which includes Kaiping, Xinhui, Enping and Taishan, there are about 8 to 9 million Taishanese people worldwide. According to American historian Him Mark Lai, approximately 430,000 or 70% of Chinese Americans in the 1980s were Taishanese according to 1988 data.[13] Currently some 500,000 Chinese Americans claim Taishanese origins.[13]

While Taishan itself has a population of about 1 million, there are around 1.3 million Taishanese people overseas, distributed in 91 countries and regions.[14] It is estimated that, up to the mid- to late-20th century, over 75% of all overseas Chinese in North America claimed origin in Taishan; the city is also known as the "Home of Overseas Chinese."[12][15] As late as 1988, those with ancestry from Taishan accounted for 70% of Chinese Americans.

An office of the local Taishan Bureau of Overseas Chinese can help to arrange visits of overseas Chinese people.[16]

Power stations[edit]


Climate data for Taicheng
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 18
Average low °C (°F) 10
Precipitation mm (inches) 43
Source: Weatherbase [17]

List of notable people from or with ancestry traced back to Taishan[edit]

Actors/actresses and singers[edit]


  • Alan Chin: San Francisco Bay Area contemporary artist
  • Tyrus Wong: painter, muralist, ceramicist, lithographer, designer and kite maker
  • Mel Chin: Contemporary conceptual artist



  • Chin Siu Dek (aka Jimmy H. Woo): martial artist of Sanba and a Grandmaster of Kung Fu San Soo.
  • Ken Hom: Chinese American chef, author and British television-show presenter. In 2009 he was awarded by Queen Elizabeth II with an honorary OBE for "services to culinary arts".
  • Kylie Kwong: Chinese Australian chef, restauranteur, author and global television-show presenter.
  • William Poi Lee: San Francisco author of The Eighth Promise.
  • Li Enliang: Chinese civil engineer and educator.

Historical figures[edit]

  • Wu Lien-teh: First Han Chinese and Malaysian Chinese to be nominated for a Nobel prize in physiology or Medicine
  • Patrick Soon-Shiong: A world famous surgeon who performed the first encapsulated human and invented the first FDA approved protein nanoparticle technology . In 2011 Forbes ranked Taishanese businessman fortune at $7.2 billion, ranking him #39 among US billionaires.
  • Chen Yunchang: a very famous Shanghainese actress. She starred some popular movies including Mulan Joins the Army. She is the 3rd "Chinese Film Queen"; while the 1st is Hu Die who is also of Sze Yap origin.
  • Chin Foin: the leading Chinese-American restaurateur and importer in Chicago during the period 1900-1924.
  • Arthur Chin: America's first ace in World War II
  • Raymond Kwok Chow (a.k.a. Shrimp Boy): San Francisco Chinatown mobster, Dragon Head of the San Francisco Chapter Chinese Freemasons
  • Evan Low: the youngest Asian American mayor in the United States.
  • James Wong Howe: master cinematographer of Hollywood.
  • Anna May Wong: the first Chinese American and international movie star of Asian descent.
  • Julian Mardock: WWII U.S. Air Force pilot—awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal for combat duty in the ETO.
  • Gin Foon Mark: The fourth generation master of the Southern Praying Mantis Gung Fu system.


  • Julius Chan: former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea of An Nan Jiang Chao village in Doushan.
  • Margaret Chin: New York City-based American politician. A Democrat, she was elected to the New York City Council (First Chinese American elected to this position) on November 3, 2009, to represent District 1 in Lower Manhattan.
  • Adrienne Clarkson (née Adrienne Poy): Governor General of Canada, 1999–2005.
  • Hiram Fong (a.k.a. Hiram Kwong) (1906–2004): former US Senator from Hawaii.
  • Matt Fong (a.k.a. Matt Kwong) (1953–2011): former Treasurer of the State of California.
  • Bill Lann Lee: United States Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Clinton Administration.
  • Gary Locke: Governor of Washington State (1996–2006); Secretary of Commerce, US Ambassador to China (2011–)
  • John Tsang: Financial Secretary of Hong Kong.
  • Wong Kim Ark: defendant in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898).
  • Leland Yee: California State Senator. In 2004 Yee became the first Asian American to be appointed Speaker pro Tempore.
  • Patrick Yu: Hong Kong lawyer and Crown Counsel, and founder of its first law school.
  • Ed Lee: Mayor of San Francisco, California.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "webmail http://webmail.ovh.net". Overseaschinesenetwork.com. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  2. ^ a b c http://www.cnts.gov.cn/Disp.Aspx?ID=1753&ClassID=65
  3. ^ Kaiping Location of "Let the Bullets Fly", CRI English.com, 3 December 2010
  4. ^ Travel Around Taishan, CNTV, March 2011
  5. ^ "Official Web of Taishan-Overseas Chinese Hometow". Tsinfo.com.cn. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  6. ^ Mutze. "Remembering origins from Taishan, China" DailyQi. 2008-11-03
  7. ^ ""From Gold Rush to Golden State". California history Collection". Memory.loc.gov. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  8. ^ tspqz.com
  9. ^ Chinese Emigration, the Sunning Railway and the Development of Toisan by Lucie Cheng and Liu Yuzun with Zheng Dehua, Amerasia 9(1): 59-74, 1982.
  10. ^ Shanzui-Shangchuan ferry schedule for 2007 (Chinese)
  11. ^ Transportation information for Shangchuan Island (Chinese)
  12. ^ a b Pierson, David (2007-05-11). "Taishan’s U.S. well runs dry". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  13. ^ a b Wu, Olivia (February 18, 2007). "Young Americans find roots in China: S.F. program offers history and genealogy, helps locate relatives". San Francisco Chronicle. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-12-24. 
  14. ^ http://www.tsinfo.com.cn/en/index.htm
  15. ^ Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home by Madeline Y. Hsu, Stanford University Press, Stanford CA 2000, page 3.
  16. ^ Wudunn, Sheryl (1992-11-15). "You Can Go Home Again, Even to China". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  17. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Taicheng, China". Weatherbase. 2011.  Retrieved on November 24, 2011.

External links[edit]