Chinese provinces: Heilongjiang - China's most northern province and key petroleum producer
General informationArea: 469,000 square kmPopulation: 36.89 million (2006)Capital City: HarbinNationalities: Han (95%), Manchu (3%), Korean (1%), Mongolian (0.4%), and Hui (0.3%)GDP : CNY707.7 billion(2007)Neighboring areas: Jilin Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.Neighboring country: Russia.Major cities: Harbin, Qiqihar, Mudanjiang, Jiamusi, Jixi, Hegang, Shuangyashan, Daqing, Heihe.Average temperature:-32oC to -17oC in January, 16oC to 23oC in July; coldest in the northwestMountains:Amur, Yilehuli, and Lesser Hinggan Mountains in the north; in the south, part of the Changbai Mountains.Rivers:Heilong River along the northern border; Nenjiang and Songhua Rivers in the middle; Wusuli River along the eastern border.Administrative divisions: 19 cities, 59 counties, and 1 autonomous countyTourist attractions: ice festival and Sun Island, Harbin; Jingpo Lake near Mudanjiang.Heilongjiang (Chinese: 黑龙江省; pinyin: Hēilóngjiāng Shěng)province is located in the northeastern part of the country. "Heilongjiang" literally means Black Dragon River, which is the Chinese name for the Amur. The one-character abbreviation is 黑 (pinyin: Hēi). Heilongjiang borders Jilin in the south and Inner Mongolia to the west; it also borders Russia to the north and east.As China's most northern province, Heilongjiang has the highest latitude of all provinces in China.The Amur River marks the border between the People's Republic of China and Russia to the north. Heilongjiang contains China's northernmost point (in Mohe County along the Amur) and easternmost point (at the junction of the Amur and Ussuri Rivers).
Geography of HeilongjiangHeilongjiang is a land of varied topography. Much of the province is dominated by mountain ranges such as the Greater Khingan Range and Lesser Khingan Range, Zhangguangcai Mountains, Laoye Mountains, and Wanda Mountains. The highest peak is Mount Datudingzi at 1690 m (5545 ft), located on the border with Jilin province). The Greater Khingan Range contains China's largest remaining virgin forest and is an important area for China's forestry industry.The interior of the province, which is relatively flat and low in altitude, contains the Muling River, the Naoli River, the Songhua River, the Nen River, and the Mudan River, all tributaries of the Amur's basin, while the northern border forms part of the Amur valley. Xingkai Lake (or Khanka Lake) is found on the border with Russia's Primorsky Krai.
Climate of HeilongjiangHeilongjiang Province has a long and severe winter and a short summer, the average annual temperature between -6ºC and -4ºC. The average temperature of January, the coldest month of the year, is between -32ºC and -17ºC, while that of July, the hottest month, 16ºC to 23ºC. The annual frost-free period lasts from three to four month or longer. The annual precipitation 250-700mm, mostly concentrated in June through August.
Economy of HeilongjiangThe agriculture of Heilongjiang, heavily defined by its cold climate, is based upon crops such as soybeans, maize, and wheat. Commercial crops grown include beets, flax, and sunflowers.Heilongjiang is also an important source of lumber for China. Pine, especially the Korean pine and larch are the most important forms of lumber produced in Heilongjiang. Forests are mostly to be found in the Daxingan Mountains and Xiaoxingan Mountains, which are also home to protected animal species such as the Siberian Tiger, the red-crowned crane, and the lynx.Herding in Heilongjiang is centered upon horse and cattle. Heilongjiang has the greatest number of milk cows and the highest production of milk among all the province-level divisions of China.Petroleum is of great importance in Heilongjiang, and the Daqing oilfields are an important source of petroleum for China. Coal, gold, and graphite are other important minerals to be found in Heilongjiang. Heilongjiang also has great potential for wind power, with an average wind energy density of 200 watts per square metre.Heilongjiang is part of northeast China, the traditional base of industry for the People's Republic of China. Industry is focused upon coal, petroleum, lumber, machinery, and food. Due to its location, Heilongjiang is also an important gateway for trade with Russia. In 2008, Heilongjiang's nominal GDP was 828.8 billion yuan (US$121 billion), an annual growth rate of 2%. Its per capita GDP was 21,640 yuan (US$3,168). Its primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were worth 108.9 billion yuan, 436.6 billion yuan, and 285.5 billion yuan respectively.
History of HeilongjiangIn ancient times Heilongjiang was far from any literate civilization, and information was sparse. Chinese and other sources state that Heilongjiang was inhabited by people such as the Buyeo, the Mohe, and the Khitan. The eastern portion of Heilongjiang was ruled by the kingdom of Balhae between the 7th century and 10th century. The Jurchen Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) that subsequently ruled much of north China arose within the borders of modern Heilongjiang.Heilongjiang as an administrative entity was created in 1683, during the Kangxi era of the Manchu Qing Dynasty, from the northwestern part of the Jilin province. This Heilongjiang Province only included the western part of today's Heilongjiang Province, and was under the supervision of the General of Heilongjiang (the title is also translated as the Military Governor of Heilongjiang), whose power extended, according to the Treaty of Nerchinsk, as far north as the Stanovoy Mountains. The eastern part of what's today Heilongjiang remained under the supervision of the General of Jilin, whose power reached the Sea of Japan. These areas deep in Manchuria were closed off to Han Chinese migration.In 1858 and 1860 the Qing government were forced to give up all land beyond the Amur and Ussuri Rivers to the Russian Empire, cutting China off from the Sea of Japan and giving Heilongjiang its present northern borders. At the same time, Manchuria was opened to Han Chinese migration by the Qing government. By the early twentieth century, the Han Chinese had become the dominant ethnic group in the region.In 1932, present-day Heilongjiang became part of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo.After the Japanese defeat in 1945, Soviet forces entered Manchuria and gave the Chinese communists control over most of the area. Heilongjiang became the first province to be completely controlled by the Chinese communists and Harbin the first major city to be controlled by them. From Manchuria, the communists were able to conduct the initial phases of the Chinese Civil War.At the beginning of communist rule, Heilongjiang province included only the western portion of the present-day province, and had its capital at Qiqihar. The remaining area was the province of Songjiang; its capital was Harbin. In 1954, these two provinces were merged into present-day Heilongjiang. During the Cultural Revolution Heilongjiang was also expanded to include Hulunbuir League and some other areas previously in Inner Mongolia; this has since mostly been reversed.
Administrative divisionsThere are 13 prefecture-level divisions immediately below the province level:— Sub-provincial city —1 Harbin 哈尔滨市 Hā'ěrbīn Shì Daoli District— Prefecture-level city —2 Daqing 大庆市 Dàqìng Shì Sartu District3 Hegang 鹤岗市 Hègǎng Shì Xingshan District4 Heihe 黑河市 Hēihé Shì Aihui District5 Jiamusi 佳木斯市 Jiāmùsī Shì Qianjin District6 Jixi 鸡西市 Jīxī Shì Jiguan District7 Mudanjiang 牡丹江市 Mǔdānjiāng Shì Aimin District8 Qiqihar 齐齐哈尔市 Qíqíhā'ěr Shì Longsha District9 Qitaihe 七台河市 Qītáihé Shì Taoshan District10 Shuangyashan 双鸭山市 Shuāngyāshān Shì Jianshan District11 Suihua 绥化市 Suíhuà Shì Beilin District12 Yichun 伊春市 Yīchūn Shì Yichun District— Prefecture —13 Daxing'anling 大兴安岭地区 Dàxīng'ānlǐng Dìqū Jiagedaqi District
Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of HeilongjiangWith its beautiful landscape, Heilongjiang Province is one of China's famous scenic provinces. The province contains the Five Grand Lakes of the Volcano Park; the Jingpo Lake, which is actually a barrier lake in the high mountains; the misty Xingkai Lake with a wild expanse; the world- famous Zhalong National Preserve for Red-Crowned Cranes; and the North Pole Village where you can witness the wonderful aurora borealis. Every year, a Snow and Ice Festival is held in Harbin attracting many tourists from abroad and from home.Capital city Harbin has a 6-month long winter with an average lowest temperature of -38° C. Yet despite the bitter cold, wintertime is brightened by the Ice Sculpture Festival. The festival lasts for over two months from January 5th to February 25th. On coming to the festival, one can see a world full of ice pagodas, bridges, lanterns, human figures, and palaces. It brings visitors into a magical land with its twinkling lights.
Songhua RiverThe beautiful Songhua River runs along the northern side of Harbin City, its southern bank being a tourist destination with many attractions. The landscape stretches along the willow-lined banks interspersed with three parks and various flower beds. One of the parks stretches over five kilometers from east to west along the river and is considered to be China's longest river-side park. On the northern bank of the river lies the Sun Island where people go swimming, fishing, and sunbathing. In the summer, the river is dotted with yachts and boats; yet in the winter, the river freezes, allowing people to skate. In the Zhaolin Park, an ice lantern festival coupled with an international ice sculpture competition is held every winter.
Sun IslandThe Sun Island is a 38-square-kilometer sand-dune located in the Songhua River near its northern bank. In the summer, it is a resort for sun-worshippers who go for camping, bathing, sunbathing, and picnics. During the five-month-long ice-bound winter, the place turns into a world of snow and ice. An international snow sculpture competition is held here every January.
Jingpo LakeAbout 110 kilometers from Darjiang City lies a huge S-shaped lake surrounded by high mountains on all sides. This lake is Jingpo Lake. It is a 90-square-kilometer lake that is known for its tranquil surroundings, mirror-like water surface, wooded mountains, and the fresh air. The scenery is particularly enchanting in the summer and autumn with the lush vegetation. Adding to the site's variety are beautiful waterfalls, volcanic craters, and kant caves.
Zhalong Nature PreserveThere are many other places to visit in Heilongjiang. China's biggest bird sanctuary, the Zhalong Nature Preserve, is 280 kilometers away from Harbin. Its cranes, storks, swans, geese, and herons are best seen from April to September. From Heihe, a town at the Russian border, one can make a day trip to Siberia. Heilongjiang also has China's biggest oil field, the Daqing.
Transportation in HeilongjiangTransportation to and from Heilongjiang Province is relatively accessible with 6 airports as well as convenient railway, long-distance bus and passenger ship connections.The Harbin International Airport is located 33km northwest of Harbin City, providing flights to over 50 domestic and international destinations, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xi’an and cities in the States, Russia, Japan, Malaysia and England. Shuttle buses provide cheap access to and from the airport, costing around 20 RMB for the journey. Alternatively a taxi to the airport will cost around 60 RMB.Harbin has two railway stations in its city, linking cities such as Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Jinan. The city is also crossed by the Trans-Manchurian line of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which runs all the way between Moscow and Beijing. For more information about the Trans-Siberian Railway.The Nangang Bus Station in Harbin offers coaches and long-distance buses covering the majority of Heilongjiang Province and well as destinations such as Shenyang in Liaoning Province and Changchun in Jilin Province. Recently a new route opened between Harbin and Vladivostok in southeast Russia, with the twelve-hour journeys running daily.
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