Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture
延边州 · 연변주
Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture연변 조선족 자치주
Yanji, the prefectural seat of Yanbian
Yanbian (red) in Jilin (orange) and China
|County-level divisions||6 county-level cities
|• Party Secretary||Zhang Anshun|
|• Total||43,509 km2 (16,799 sq mi)|
|• Density||52/km2 (140/sq mi)|
|• Ethnic composition|
|Time zone||China Standard (UTC+8)|
|Licence plate prefixes||吉H|
|Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture|
"Yanbian", as written in Chinese and Korean
|Chinese Korean name|
|Chosŏn'gŭl||연변 조선족 자치주|
Yanbian (Chinese: 延边; Chinese Korean: 연변, Yeonbyeon) is an autonomous prefecture in northeastern Jilin Province, China. Yanbian is bordered to the north by Heilongjiang, on the west by Baishan and Jilin City, on the south by North Hamgyong Province of North Korea, and on the east by Primorsky Krai of Russia. Yanbian is designated as an autonomous prefecture due to the large number of ethnic Koreans living in the region. The prefectural capital is Yanji, and the total area is 42,700 square kilometres (16,500 sq mi).
|Name||Chinese||Hanyu Pinyin||Chinese Korean transliteration||Population (2003 est.)||Area (km²)||Density (/km²)|
|Yanji City||延吉市||Yánjí Shì||연길시||Yeongil-si||Yŏngil-si||410,000||1,332||308|
|Tumen City||图们市||Túmén Shì||도문시||Domun-si||Tomun-si||130,000||1,142||114|
|Dunhua City||敦化市||Dūnhuà Shì||돈화시||Donhwa-si||Tonhwa-si||480,000||11,963||40|
|Hunchun City||珲春市||Húnchūn Shì||훈춘시||Honchun-si||Honch’un-si||220,000||4,938||45|
|Longjing City||龙井市||Lóngjǐng Shì||룡정시||Ryongjeong-si||Ryongjŏng-si||250,000||2,592||96|
|Helong City||和龙市||Hélóng Shì||화룡시||Hwaryong-si||Hwaryong-si||210,000||5,069||41|
|Wangqing County||汪清县||Wāngqīng Xiàn||왕청현||Wangcheong-hyeon||Wangch’ŏng-hyŏn||250,000||8,994||28|
|Antu County||安图县||Āntú Xiàn||안도현||Ando-hyeon||Ando-hyŏn||210,000||7,444||28|
The above counties and cities are divided into 642 villages (边境村).
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In the Ming Dynasty, Yanbian was governed by the Jianzhou Guard (建州衛), and in the late Qing Dynasty the area was divided into the Yanji (延吉廳) and Hunchun (琿春廳) subprefectures. From 1644 to the 1800s the Manchurian administrators of the Qing state attempted to separate northeast China, politically and ethnographically, into a "Manchuria" to which they could retreat in case an ethnically Han Chinese dynasty regained control over China. However, this effort failed because of the trading and agricultural opportunities available to Han Chinese migrants in the northeast region which made it profitable to evade the rules, as well as later Qing relaxation of the same rules to discourage Russian encroachment.
In the 19th century, Korean immigrants migrated en masse from the Korean peninsula to China. After the foundation of the Republic of China, a second wave arrived. Of the 2 million ethnic Koreans in Manchuria at the time of the communist takeover, 1.2 million remained in the region after the end of World War II. Many participated in the Chinese Civil War, most on the side of the Chinese communists. When the civil war was over, the new Chinese government gave Koreans their own autonomous region (区) in 1952. Yanbian was upgraded to an ethnic autonomous prefecture in 1955.
Korean (Joseon) migration into northeast China began in any significant numbers in the last quarter of the 19th century and was mainly motivated by economic hardship on the Korean side of the border. After the Japanese annexed Korea in 1910, a small but significant number of migrants also came to Manchuria for political reasons.
In 1952, the Korean migrants composed some 60% of the local population, but by 2000 their share had shrunk to 32%. The Chinese authorities subsidize Korean language schools and publications, but also take measures to prevent an emergence of Korean irredentism in the area. From the late 1990s the Koreans voluntarily assimilated into mainstream Chinese culture with increasing speed, often switching to daily use of Chinese and choosing to attend the Chinese language schools.
- Geographic coordinates: 41° 59' 47" - 44° 30' 42", 127° 27' 43" - 131° 18' 33" E
- Total border length: 755.2 kilometres (469.3 mi)
- With N Korea: 522.5 kilometres (324.7 mi)
- With Russia: 232.7 kilometres (144.6 mi)
Mountains that are in the prefecture are:
- The central range of Changbai Mountains
- Zhangguangcai Peak (张广才岭)
- Harba Peak (哈尔巴岭)
- Peony Peak (牡丹领)
- Old Master Peak (老爷岭)
- Nangang Mountain Range (南岗山脉)
Average land height is 500 metres above sea level.
Main rivers include:
- Songhua River
- Mudan River (Peony River)
- Tumen River
- Gaya River (流嘎呀河): branch of the Tumen
- Hunchun River (珲春河)
The rivers sustain 28 running water processing facilities.
- Chang-Tu Line (长图线)
- Mu-Tu Line (牡图线)
- Chao-Kai Line (朝开线)
- Yangchuan-Shantun Line (阳川山屯线)
- Tumen-Hunchun Railway: under construction
There are 1,480 kilometres of public roads altogether. There are four airports.
- 2,271,600 (2010)
- Growth rate 0.4%.
Population density: 51 people per km² (132 per mi2).
As on the Korean peninsula, Yanbian Koreans' most common surname is Kim. Many emigrated from Korea during the 19th century, and again during the Japanese Occupation.
Between 1952 and 2002, the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture had among the highest rates of urbanization (城市化水平) at 55.6%, 20 percentage points greater than the provincial average (31.3%) and 25 more than the national average (26.5%).
Colleges and universities:
- Yanbian University, which uses both Chinese and Korean as instruction mediums.
- Yanbian University of Science and Technology
The Museum of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture was planned in 1960, and constructed in 1982. It contains over 10,000 exhibits, including 11 first-level artifacts. The exhibits' labels and explanations are bilingual in Korean and Chinese, and tour guides are also available in both languages.
There are seven public parks in Yanbian's green space (18% of whole prefecture), including:
- Yanji People's Park (延吉人民公园)
- Youth Lake Park (青年湖公园)
Also popular among locals during holidays and festivities.
Nature and environment
Over 70% are originally forest in the prefecture, so there is a rich diversity of life.
In 1955, Yanbian Football Club was founded, although it was a semi-professional one.
The first professional football team in this prefecture is Jilin Three Stars Football Club. From 1994 to 2000, this club had been played each years in the top Chinese football league. In 2000, they were relegated from the top league. Because of poor economic conditions the club was sold to Lucheng Group in Zhejiang Province.
In 2016, Yanbian Football Club was sponsored by Shenzhen Funde Group when they got the permission of Chinese Super League, since they acquired the 1st place in the Chinese Second League in 2015.
In popular culture
The 2006 South Korean drama serial Pure In Heart features a female protagonist, "Yang Guk Hwa" (played by South Korean actress Ku Hye-sun), who came to Seoul from Yanbian. She is portrayed as an honest and warm-hearted young lady who grew up in a poverty-stricken rural region and experiences difficulties living in urban Seoul. Other characters in the drama refer to Guk Hwa as a "country girl" and as a "foreigner" (which would be technically correct since ethnic Koreans in Yanbian are citizens of the People's Republic of China, and in one scene Guk Hwa is shown to own a passport that has a red cover with gold lettering, characteristic of PRC passports). In one scene, Guk Hwa is shown speaking in Chinese.
The action of the 2010 South Korean thriller drama film The Yellow Sea starts in Yanji, in Yanbian Prefecture. Gu-nam, a taxi driver addicted to gambling is offered a deal by the local gangster Myun Jung-hak, a contract killing in South Korea. Yanji is presented as a black market city where people can be hired to perpetrate diverse odd jobs.
The 2013 South Korean crime drama film, New World, includes four countrified hitmen, referred to as the "Yanbian hobos", who arrive on a ferry from Yanbian, and who provide the only comic touches to an otherwise dark drama.
The 2008 South Korean romantic movie "Innocent Steps" includes a female lead character who is Chinese Ethnic Korean, played by Moon Geun-Young, who speaks with accented Korean and uses words typical of that dialect. She is brought to South Korea mistakenly, as she impersonates her older sister who is a skilled ballroom dancer.
- Pyong, Gap Min. "A Comparison of the Korean Minorities in China and Japan." International Migration Review, Vol. 26, No. 1. (Spring, 1992), pp. 4-21.
- Andrei Lankov (2007-08-16). "The gentle decline of the 'Third Korea'". Asia Times. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
- Li Yabiao (李亚彪), Wang Jinghe (王景和) (2002-09-02). 吉林延边朝鲜族自治州城市化水平走在全国前列 (in Chinese). Xinhua. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Yanbian.|
- Official government website (in simplified Chinese)
- Official government Tourism website
- Yanbian Office in Korea (in Korean)
- Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture: by the Information Office of Jilin Provincial Government
- A map labeled in Chinese written in the list in the "Administration" section