Land reclamation in China

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Land reclamation of Yangshan Deepwater Port in Shanghai, and the Donghai Bridge can be seen in the distance.

China is rather active in land reclamation. Since 1949 a large amount of artificial land has been reclaimed, mainly on its coastlines. China is among the countries which have built the most artificial land; from 1949 to 1990s, the total area of land reclaimed from the sea of China was about 13,000 km2.[1]

Mainland China[edit]

A dike protecting newly-reclaimed land (on the right) on the north shore of Donghai Island, Guangdong
A land reclamation project in progress in Xiamen

A grand total of 150 km2 was planned to be reclaimed from the sea in 2009.[2]


From June 2004 to the present, land reclamation is going on at Shantou. Project surface to reclaim is 146 km2.[3]


Between 2009 and 2020, Jiangsu will reclaim 21 parcels of tidal areas along the southern Yellow Sea, yielding a total of 1,817 square km of new land.[4]


Starting in March 2005, the Caofeidian Land Reclamation Project (曹妃甸围海造地工程) reclaimed a total of 310 km2 [5] next to the island of Tangshan. The first stage of 12 km2 was finished on 28 March 2006.[6] The plan is to make space for the new industrial base of Shougang.


Between 2003 and 2006, the Shanghai government spent 40 billion yuan on the Nanhui New City, formerly called Lingang New City Project (临港新城计划) of Shanghai, to reclaim 133.3 km2 of artificial land from the sea.[7]


Starting in 1975, the largest single land reclamation project in Zhejiang Province has been the Xuanmen Land Reclamation Project (漩门围垦工程) in Yuhuan County. It has three phases, of which phase II covered 53.3 km2 (February 1999 - April 2001), and phase III 45.3 km2 (March 2006 - 2010).[8]

  • Total land reclamation in the area of Taizhou City between 2004 and 2010, including the project mentioned above, will be 266.7 km2.[9]

Special Administrative Regions[edit]

Hong Kong[edit]

The government of Hong Kong started reclaiming land from the surrounding sea as early as the 1840s. Formal reclamation starts at 1860s and its land reclamation is still proceeding. A notable achievement is Hong Kong International Airport, built in the 1990s on reclaimed land, absorbing the former islands Chek Lap Kok and Lam Chau.


The original size of Macau was expanded by 170% (17 km2 of artificial land).[10] Currently the land reclamation of Macau is still ongoing.

South China Sea[edit]

In the 21st century, the PRC has upheld the 1947 claims of the Republic of China (modified by Zhou Enlai into a Nine-Dash Line) over most of the South China Sea through a series of disputed mid-ocean land reclamation projects in the Spratly Islands known as the "Great Wall of Sand". The islands being expanded or created by the project are notionally administered as parts of Sansha in Hainan Province. As of December 2016, the projects in the Spratlies covered 3,200 acres (1,300 ha) of land protected by "'significant' weapons systems, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems".[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ChinaNews: 中國圍填海造地面積增長迅猛 (in traditional Chinese. "China's land reclamation from sea increases dramatically") Archived 2012-06-04 at "據統計,從一九四九年到上世紀末期,中國沿海地區圍填海造地面積達到一點二萬平方公里 ..."
  2. ^ 2 trillion yuan to create artificial lands
  3. ^ 广东省海洋功能区划获批 将围海造地146平方公里
  4. ^ 江苏沿海将开发近四成未围滩涂 规划建21个围区
  5. ^ 海江工程船赴曹妃甸围海造地
  6. ^ 曹妃甸钢铁围海造地一期工程竣工[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ 上海400亿填海造城被疑破坏环保
  8. ^ 中国广播网:玉环漩门围垦开启“环漩门湾时代” Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ 台州规划围海造地40万亩 Archived 2012-07-18 at
  10. ^ Homepage of Macao SAR Archived 2012-06-29 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Phillips, Tom (2016-12-14). "Images show 'significant' Chinese weapons systems in South China Sea". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-12-15.