Chinese provinces: Fujian - the nearest province to Taiwan
General informationArea: 139,000 square kmPopulation: 34.71 million (2006)Capital City: FuzhouPopulation: 35.35 million(2005).GDP:916 billion RMB(2007)Language: Min Dong, Min Bei, Min Nan, Hakka (around Longyan), and also Mandarin.Residents' income: The disposable income of urban residents was 12,321 yuan per capita. Rural residents' per capita net income was 4,450 yuan in 2005.Fujian province is located on the southeast coast of China. Fujian borders Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait. The name Fujian came from the combination of Fuzhou and Jian'ou, two cities in Fujian, during the Tang Dynasty. It is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse provinces in China with Han Chinese majority.Most of Fujian is administered by the People's Republic of China. However, the archipelagos of Kinmen and Matsu are under the control of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Thus, there are two provinces (in the sense of government organizations; PRC's Fujian and ROC's Fujian).Topography: Mountains and hilly areas constitute over 80% of Fujian's land area. Plains are concentrated in its southeast coastal areas.
Geography of FujianThe province is mostly mountainous, and is traditionally described to be "Eight parts mountain, one part water, and one part farmland" (八山一水一分田). The northwest is higher in altitude, with the Wuyi Mountains forming the border between Fujian and Jiangxi. It is the most forested provincial level administrative region in China, with a 62.96% forest coverage rate in 2009 . The highest point of Fujian is Huanggang Peak in the Wuyi Mountains, with an altitude of 2157 m.The Fujian province faces East China Sea to the east, South China Sea to the south, and the Taiwan Strait to the southeast. The coastline is rugged and has many bays and islands. Major islands include Quemoy , Haitan Island, and Nanri Island.The River Min Jiang and its tributaries cut through much of northern and central Fujian. Other rivers include the Jinjiang River and the Jiulong River. Due to its uneven topography, Fujian has many cliffs and rapids.Fujian is separated from Taiwan by the 180-km-wide Taiwan Strait. Some of the small islands in the Taiwan Strait are also part of the province. Small parts of the province, namely the islands of Quemoy and Matsu, are under the administration of the Republic of China.
Climate of FujianFujian has a subtropical climate, with warm winters. In January the coastal regions average around 7–10 °C while the hills average 6–8 °C. In the summer, temperatures are high, and the province is threatened by typhoons coming in from the Pacific. Average annual precipitation is 1400–2000 mm.
Economy of FujianFujian is hilly and farmland is sparse. Rice is the main crop, supplemented by sweet potatoes and wheat and barley. Cash crops include sugar cane and rapeseed. Fujian leads the provinces of China in longan production, and is also a major producer of lychees and tea. Seafood is another important product, with shellfish production especially prominent.Because of the geographic location with Taiwan, Fujian has been considered the battlefield frontline in a potential war between mainland China and Taiwan. Hence, it received much less investment from Chinese central government and developed much slower than the rest of China before 1978. Since 1978, when China opened to the world, Fujian has received significant investment from overseas Fujianese around the world, Taiwanese and foreign investment. Today, although Fujian is one of the wealthier provinces of China.Minnan Golden Triangle which includes Xiamen, Quanzhou and Zhangzhou accounts for 40 percent of the GDP of Fujian province.Fujian province will be the major economic beneficiary of the opening up of direct transport with Taiwan which commenced on December 15, 2008. This includes direct flights from Taiwan to major Fujian cities such as Xiamen and Fuzhou. In addition, ports in Xiamen, Quanzhou and Fuzhou will upgrade their port infrastructure for increased economic trade with Taiwan.In 2009, Fujian's nominal GDP was 1.194 trillion yuan (US$176.6 billion), a rise of 12% from the previous year. It's GDP per capita was 33,051 yuan (US$4,890)
History of FujianFujian is called “Min” for short, which derived from the name of Minzhongjun Prefecture set up by the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty some two thousand years ago after he had unified China. Five prefectures including the Prefectures of Fuzhou and Jianzhou were set up during the Tang Dynasty. In 733 A.D., the first character of these two prefectures were used to name a newly-established military command, hence the name of Fujian, which has since been in use. The period of the Tang Song and Yuan Dynasties saw rapid development in Fujian. It was during this period that Quanzhou became a major trading part in China. It was also in that period that Fujian saw the flourishing of culture and literature. Many of the Province’s grand and elegant ancient buildings were built during that period. Fujian was officially proclaimed a province in both the Ming and Qing Dynasties.In 1689, the Qing dynasty officially incorporated Taiwan into Fujian province. Settlement of Taiwan by Han Chinese followed, and the majority of people in Taiwan are descendants of emigrants from Southern Fujian. After Taiwan was separated into its own province in 1885 and ceded to Japan in 1895, Fujian arrived at its present extent. It was substantially influenced by the Japanese after the Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1895 until the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) of WWII.Owing to the mountainous landscape, Fujian was the most secluded province of the PRC in eastern China due to the lack of rail and underdeveloped networks of paved roads before the 1950s. The first railway to the province was completed in mid-1950s connecting Xiamen to the rest of the mainland. Since the late 1970s, the economy of Fujian along the coast has greatly benefited from its geographic and cultural proximity to Taiwan. In 2003, Xiamen ranked number eight GDP per capita among 659 Chinese cities, ahead of Shanghai and Beijing, while Fuzhou ranked no. 21 (number 4 among 30 provincial capitals).
Administrative divisions— Sub-provincial city —2 Xiamen 厦门市 Xiàmén Shì Siming District— Prefecture-level city —1 Fuzhou 福州市 Fúzhōu Shì Gulou District3 Longyan 龙岩市 Lóngyán Shì Xinluo District4 Nanping 南平市 Nánpíng Shì Yanping District5 Ningde 宁德市 Nánpíng Shì Jiaocheng District6 Putian 莆田市 Pútián Shì Chengxiang District7 Quanzhou 泉州市 Quánzhōu Shì Fengze District8 Sanming 三明市 Sānmíng Shì Sanyuan District9 Zhangzhou 漳州市 Zhāngzhōu Shì Xiangcheng District
Fujian Local CuisineFujian cuisine is characterized by its delicate sauces and seasonings, its seafood variety, its punctilious selection of ingredients and its careful preparation. In Fujian, the dishes tend to be less oily, rare and spicy. The Juchunyuan Restaurant is one of Fuzhou’s famous restaurants, capable of fixing some two hundred famous dishes. First cooked with some 20 principal ingredients including sea cucumber, tendon, shark’s fin and abalone and over a dozen complementary ingredients through hundreds of processes and then brought, to a simmer in rice wine, the famous “Buddha jumps over wall” is tender, delicious, beautiful decorated and nutritious. Quanzhou’s Mantang Restaurant is widely acclaimed for its chef’s super skill. The Xinmiaoxuan in Xiamen is a specialty restaurant, where delicious yet light dishes are served fresh with sweet, sour and spicy sauce. The Southern Putuo Temple specializes in vegetarian dishes. Both restaurant are widely known in Southeast Asia.
Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of FujianPlaces of interest include: * Fujian Tulou, listed by the UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Site (2008) * Guanghua Temple (Putian), mainland Putian * Gulangyu Island, Xiamen * Kaiyuan Temple, Quanzhou * Mount Tailao, Fuding * Nanshan Temple, Zhangzhou * The Matsu pilgrimage centers around Meizhou Island (Putian Municipality), because she was born there (and died on Matsu Islands). * Wuyi Mountains, listed by the UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Site (1999) * Yongquan Temple, Fuzhou
The Wuyi MountainsThe Wuyi Mountains are a national park of China. They lie in Chong'an County and have an area of 60 square kilometers. Cut off from the outer mountains by streams and deep valleys, sceneries can be divided into seven groups, including Jiuqu (Nine Turns) Stream, Water Curtain Cave, and Wuyi Palace. The Jiuqu Stream runs nine kilometers around the mountain with nine turns and eighteen bends. One taking a bamboo raft downstream will be fascinated by its 36 different rock formations and peaks along the route, each given a name of the animal it resembles. Ascending the summit of Dawang Peak (Peak of the Great King), one can get a full view of the 36 lesser peaks that are in a posture bowing down to Dawang Peak. At the foot of Dawang Peak lies Wuyi Palace, built during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) as a place for feudal rulers to hold sacrificial service in order to honor the Lord of Wuyi. It is also a place in which the Confucians preached Confucianism. As a result of these events, a large number of cultural and historical relics have been unearthed here.
The Yongquan TempleThe Yongquan Temple on Gu Mountain is located in the eastern suburbs of Fuzhou. It was first built in 908 and is considered to be an important Buddhist temple. It consists of 25 halls and owns 27,900 volumes of Buddhist scriptures. With the temple situated in a central location, there are over 160 scenic and historic sites that spread out from the temple in four directions. Over 20 sites including the Lingyuan Cave and the Tingshui Hall are situated in the east. Over 50 sites including the Huilong Hall, the Luohan Terrac, and the Xianglu Peak are situated in the south. 18 caves are located in the west, and over 40 sites including the Jueding Peak and the Baiyuan Cave are in the north. In addition, there are more than 400 passages of literary works carved in the cliffs and stones of Gu Mountain. Gu Mountain is like a treasure house of calligraphy.
Stone Carving in FuzhouThe Fuzhou Stone Carving Factory is located on June First Road in Fuzhou. The products bear the brand name "Shoushan Stone Carving" after the name of the village from where the stone comes. The stones are noted for its fine texture and clear and transparent color. The most precious one is called the Tianhuang Stone or King Stone. More expensive than gold on the market, it is regarded as a world treasure. The making of Shoushan Stone carving has a history of more than 1,500 years. The factory's products have more than 1,000 different kinds.
The Maxwei PortThe Mawei Port is the birthplace of the Chinese navy and the cradle of China's modern industry. Now it is opened as an economic development zone. Rising over the seaside, the Luoxing Tower was first built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and rebuilt between 1621 to 1627 during the reign of Emperor Tianqi of the Ming Dynasty. It is a 31.5-meter-high octagonal stone structure with seven stories and an internationally recognized lighthouse. Ascending to the top of the tower, one can get a panoramic view of the docks and all the economic development area. At the foot of the tower is the Luoxing Park and next to the park is the International Seamen's Club.
Lacquerware in FuzhouThe Bodiless Lacquerware Factory is located on May First Street in Fuzhou. The making of Bodiless Lacquerware's products have a history of 200 years. They are noted for their light weight and durability in addition to their simple, yet graceful shape, color, luster, and pattern. The bodiless lacquerware is produced in Fujian, the cloisonne is made in Beijing, and the porcelain is made in Jingdezhen. The three combined are known as the three treasures of Chinese arts and crafts. Since 1989, it has won gold medals in several international exhibitions. Its products come in over 3, 000 varieties, such as standing screens, hanging penels, human figurines, flower vases, plates, and boxes.
Gulangyu Island<.h5>Gulangyu Island is a tiny island with an area of 1.78 square kilometers to the southwest of Xiamen across the sea. It is covered with beautiful green trees, bushes, and flowers; this is why it is also known as the "Garden on the Sea". Gulangyu Island is free of motor vehicles of any kind, and its local residents love music. More than 500 households on the island own pianos, so the island has a reputation of being an island of music. Because it has preserved many houses in different European styles of the 18th century, it is nicknamed an international exhibition of architecture. The main places of interest are Riguang Rock, Riguang Monastery, Shuzhuang Garden, Zheng Chenggong Memorial Hall, and the newly built Haoyue Park to honor Zheng Chenggong.
The Jimei School VillageThe Jimei School Village has an area of five square kilometers and was built in 1933 with funds from Mr. Tan Kah Kee, a patriot and leader of overseas Chinese affairs. After liberation in 1949, an additional 88 school buildings have been added to the village with the help of the government. The village has five universities and colleges and three secondary vocational schools with 10,000 students and teachers. There are also middle schools, primary schools, bathing beaches, gyms, facilities for sea sports, and navigation clubs. The Ao Park built in 1950 consists of a gallery at the entrance with a monument in liberation of Jimei and the tomb of Mr. Tan Kah Kee.
The Mazu TempleThe Mazu Temple is on Meizhou Island, which is governed by Putian City, and faces Tazhong City of the Taiwan Province across the strait. It is said that Mazu was a girl originally named Lin Mo (960-987) who had saved a large number of fishermen and their vessels from seastorms in her short lifetime. After her death, a temple was erected in her honor. She is worshipped as the goddess of the sea and os also known as Tianhou or Heavenly Empress. The temple was first built in 987 during Emperor Yongxi's reign of the Song Dynasty and was expanded several occasions later. Mazu is the most popular deity along the coasts of China, as well as in all Chinese communities all over Southeast Asia. There are over 1,000 Mazu temples across the world. But the one in Meizhou is regarded as the ancestor of all the Mazu temples and is why it attracts many worshippers.
The South Putuo TempleIt is a famous temple located in the southern Fujian. First built during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it covers 30,000 square meters of land with magnificent main halls and minor buildings. The temple has 28 statues of Buddha from Myanmar carved in jade and tens of thousands Buddhist scriptures both in Chinese and foreign languages. South of the temple is the Academy of Buddhism of Southern Fujian, founded in 1927. The vegetarian food served in the temple is widely known for its delicious taste. At Hulishan Fort nearby a heavy gun has remained intact after being built in 1896.
the Qingjing MosqueThe Qingjing Mosque on Tumen Street was built around 1,000 years ago during the Song Dynasty. Being one of the oldest mosques in China, it covers a floor space of 2,100 square meters. The granite mosque is a copy of the mosque in Damascus of Syria. Its main entrance, 20 meters high and 4.5 meters wide, consists of three gates, one inside the other. All three gates are in arched form with a dome ceiling. However, the outer and the middle gates have a pointed summit at the center of their ceilings. In the middle against the west wall is the alter. The niches in the exterior of the south wall and in the wall of the altar are inscribed with passages from the Koran in Arabic.
the Kaiyuan MonasterySituated on Xi Street of Quanzhou City, the Kaiyuan Monastery was first built during the second year of the reign of Emperor Chuigong of the Tang Dynasty (686). It covers more than 30,000 square meters and is one of the largest Buddhist buildings in the Fujian Province. Its main hall, Daxiongbaodian, is supported by 100 stone columns. Hence, it is nicknamed the Hundred Pillar Hall, each carved in beautiful and different designs. Carved on the cross beams are 24 flying singers and dancers resembling angels in Catholic churches. They are masterpieces of Chinese folk arts and crafts. A hall in the rear keeps five major Buddhist scriptures in 37,000 volumes. In front of the front hall are two towers over 750 years old, the tallest stone towers in China.
Qingyuan Mountainsituated to the north of Quanzhou,Qingyuan Mountain is a national park of China. Also called Beis Shan, Quan Mountain, or Qiyun Mountain, it has been a famous resort in southern Fujian for over 1,000 years. There are woods, streams, grotesque stones, and caves. There is also a giant stone statue of an old man that is carved out of one piece of rock 5.1 meters high, 7.2 meters thick, and 7.3 meters wide. It is believed to be the largest Taoist stone sculpture ever discovered.
Transportation in FujianThe province has worked hard to improve its infrastructure; adding several hundred kilometers of express way as well as railways every year.RoadThere are 54,876 kilometers of highways including 727 kilometers of expressways. The top infrastructure projects in recent years have been the Zhangzhou-Zhaoan Expressway and the Sanmingshi-Fuzhou expressway. For its 11th five-year plan spanning 2006 to 2010, the province aims to double the length of its expressways to 2,450 kilometers.RailwaysRail lines connect Fuzhou and Xiamen with the national network. The Fujian section of the Ganzhou-Longyan railway and the Wenzhou-Fuzhou railway, have received an investment of US$465 million and US$596 million respectively. In order to attract Taiwanese investment, the province intends to increase its rail length by 50 percent to 2,500 kilometers.AirThe major airports are Fuzhou Changle International Airport, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, Quanzhou Jinjiang Airport, Nanping Wuyishan Airport and Longyan Airport. Fuzhou is capable of handling 6.5 million passengers annually with a cargo capacity of more than 200,000 tons. The airport offers direct links to 45 destinations including international routes to Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong.