Provinces of China: Hebei - the Province surrounding Beijing and Tianjin municipalities


China Territory  Updated: Sat, Jul 21, 2012 04:55 AM   By HugChina


Chinese provinces,Hebei


Hebei Province 河北 is located in North China. Major cities: Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Handan, Zhangjiakou, Chengde, Qinhuangdao, Baoding. Places of interest include Shanhai Pass, Beidaihe Beach, Chengde imperial summer resort, Eastern Imperial Tombs, etc.

General information

Area: 190,000 square km

Population: 67.44 million (2006)

Capital City: Shijiazhuang

Nationalities: Han, Hui, Manchu, Mongolian, and Korean.

GDP : CNY1,161,370,000(2007)

Average temperature: -14oC to -2oC in January, 20oC - 27oC in July.

Annual average rainfall: 400 - 800 mm, high precipitation on the seaward side of mountains.

Mountains: Yanshan Mountains in the north; Taihang Range along the western border.

Rivers: Haihe River and tributaries; Luanhe River in the northeast.

Neighboring areas: Beijing and Tianjin Municipalities; Shandong, Henan, Shanxi, and Liaoning Provinces; Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Major cities: Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Handan, Zhangjiakou, Chengde, Qinhuangdao, Baoding.

Hebei (Chinese: 河北; pinyin: Hébĕi) Province is located in North China. Its one-character abbreviation is “冀” (pinyin: jì), named after Ji Province (冀州 Jì Zhōu), a Han Dynasty province (zhou) that included southern Hebei. The name Hebei means “north of the (Yellow) River“.

In 1928 Hebei was formed after the central government dissolved the province of Zhili (直隶), which means “Directly Ruled (by the Imperial Court).”

Hebei completely surrounds Beijing and Tianjin municipalities (which also border each other). It borders Liaoning to the northeast, Inner Mongolia to the north, Shanxi to the west, Henan to the south, and Shandong to the southeast. Bohai Bay of the Yellow Sea is to the east. A small part of Hebei, an exclave disjointed from the rest of the province, is wedged between the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin.

A common alternate name for Hebei is Yānzhào (燕趙), after the state of Yan and state of Zhao that existed here during the Warring States Period of early Chinese history.

Geography of Hebei

Hebei Province is situated in the north China Plain, north of the

lower reaches of the Huanghe (Yellow) River. Washed by Bohai Sea in the east, it has a coastline of some 500 kilometers. The whole province is 190,000 square kilometers and is inhabited by 67.44 million (2006) people of Han, Hui. Manchu, Mongolian and Korean nationalities. Shijiazhuang is the provincial capital.

Climate of Guizhou

The climate of Hebei Province is temperate continental. It has a cold winter in the north, but hot and rainy summer in the south. It has a windy spring and sunny and pleasant autumn. The average temperature of January, the coldest month is -22ºC to -3ºC (-7.6ºF to 26.6 ºF). from the north to south; that of the hottest month July is 17ºC to 28ºC (62.6ºF to 82.4 ºF) from the north to the south. The annual average precipitation is between 400mm to 800mm.

Economy of Hebei

In 2008, Hebei's GDP was 1.62 trillion yuan (US$233 billion) and ranked 6th in the PRC. GDP per capita reached 23,239 Renminbi. Disposable income per capita in urban areas was 13,441 RMB, while rural pure income per capita was 4,795 RMB.

Hebei's main agricultural products are cereal crops including wheat, maize, millet, and sorghum. Cash crops like cotton, peanut, soya bean and sesame are also produced.

Kailuan, with a history of over 100 years, is one of China's first modern coal mines, and remains a major mine with an annual production of over 20 million metric tonnes. Much of the North China Oilfield is found in Hebei, and there are also major iron mines at Handan and Qian'an.

Hebei's industries include textiles, coal, steel, iron, engineering, chemical production, petroleum, power, ceramics and food.

History of Hebei

During the Spring and Autumn Period (722 BC - 476 BC), Hebei was under the rule of the states of Yan (燕) in the north and Jin (晉) in the south. Also during this period, a nomadic people known as Dí (狄) invaded the plains of northern China and established Zhongshan (中山) in central Hebei. During the Warring States Period (403 BC - 221 BC), Jin was partitioned, and much of its territory within Hebei went to Zhao (趙).

The Qin Dynasty unified China in 221 BC. The Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) ruled the area under two provinces (zhou), Youzhou Province (幽州) in the north and Jizhou Province (冀州 Jì Zhōu) in the south. At the end of the Han Dynasty, most of Hebei came under the control of warlords Gongsun Zan in the north and Yuan Shao further south; Yuan Shao emerged victorious of the two, but he was soon defeated by rival Cao Cao (based further south, in modern-day Henan) in the Battle of Guandu in 200. Hebei then came under the rule of the Kingdom of Wei (one of the Three Kingdoms), established by the descendants of Cao Cao.

During the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) the area was formally designated "Hebei" (north of the Yellow River) for the first time. During the earlier part of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, Hebei was fragmented among several regimes, though it was eventually unified by Li Cunxu, who established the Later Tang Dynasty (923 - 936). The next dynasty, the Later Jin Dynasty under Shi Jingtang, posthumously known as Emperor Gaozu of Later Jin, ceded much of modern-day northern Hebei to the Khitan Liao Dynasty in the north; this territory, called The Sixteen Prefectures of Yanyun, became a major weakness in China's defense against the Khitans for the next century, since it lay within the Great Wall.

During the Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127), the sixteen ceded prefectures continued to be an area of hot contention between Song China and the Liao Dynasty. The Southern Song Dynasty that came after abandoned all of North China, including Hebei, to the Jurchen Jin Dynasty in 1127.

The Mongol Yuan Dynasty divided China into provinces but did not establish Hebei as a province. The Ming Dynasty ruled Hebei as "Beizhili" (北直隸, pinyin: Běizhílì), meaning "Northern Directly Ruled", because the area contained and was directly ruled by the imperial capital, Beijing; the "Northern" designation was used because there was a southern counterpart covering present-day Jiangsu and Anhui. When the Manchu Qing Dynasty came to power in 1644, they abolished the southern counterpart, and Hebei became known as "Zhili", or simply "Directly Ruled". During the Qing Dynasty, the northern borders of Zhili extended deep into what is now Inner Mongolia, and overlapped in jurisdiction with the leagues of Inner Mongolia.

The Qing Dynasty collapsed in 1912 and was replaced by the Republic of China. Within a few years, China descended into civil war, with regional warlords vying for power. Since Zhili was so close to Peking (Beijing), the capital, it was the site of frequent wars, including the Zhiwan War, the First Zhifeng War and the Second Zhifeng War. With the success of the Northern Expedition, a successful campaign by the Kuomintang to end the rule of the warlords, the capital was moved from Peking (Beijing) to Nanking (Nanjing). As a result, the name of Zhili was changed to Hebei to reflect that fact that it had a standard provincial administration, and that the capital had been relocated elsewhere.

The founding of the People's Republic of China saw several changes: the region around Chengde, previously part of Rehe Province (historically part of Manchuria), and the region around Zhangjiakou, previously part of Chahar Province (historically part of Inner Mongolia), were merged into Hebei, extending its borders northwards beyond the Great Wall. The capital was also moved from Baoding to the upstart city of Shijiazhuang, and, for a short period, to Tianjin.

On July 28, 1976, Tangshan was struck by a powerful earthquake, the Tangshan earthquake, the deadliest of the 20th century with over 240,000 killed. A series of smaller earthquakes struck the city in the following decade.

Administrative divisions

Hebei is made up of 11 prefecture-level divisions, which are all prefecture-level cities:

# Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Administrative Seat

— Prefecture-level city —

1 Shijiazhuang 石家莊市 Shíjiāzhuāng Shì Chang'an District

2 Baoding 保定市 Bǎodìng Shì Xinshi District

3 Cangzhou 滄州市 Cāngzhōu Shì Yunhe District

4 Chengde 承德市 Chéngdé Shì Shuangqiao District

5 Handan 邯鄲市 Hándān Shì Hanshan District

6 Hengshui 衡水市 Héngshǔi Shì Taocheng District

7 Langfang 廊坊市 Lángfāng Shì Anci District

8 Qinhuangdao 秦皇島市 Qínhuángdǎo Shì Haigang District

9 Tangshan 唐山市 Tángshān Shì Lunan District

10 Xingtai 邢台市 Xíngtái Shì Qiaodong District

11 Zhangjiakou 張家口市 Zhāngjiākǒu Shì Qiaoxi District

Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of Gansu

There are many well-known sights of interest throughout the province that is backed with mountains bordering the sea. It covers a great variety of topographies and land forms, such as plateaus, mountains, plains, lakes, and coastal areas. Near the eastern suburbs of Beijing there are the East and West Mausoleums of the Qing Dynasty; the Qinhuangdao, the Nandaihe & Beidaihe Resorts, the Shanghai Pass in the east; the Chengde Summer Resort in the north; the Baiyangdian Scenic Area in the center; and the Pilu Temple, the Bridge of Zhao County, and Cangyan Mountain near the capital, Shijiazhuang, in the south.

Capital city, Shijiazhuang (Village of the Shi's), is 4 hours by train south of Beijing. It is an important center of the railway system and also played an important role in China's revolutionary history.

Qinhuangdao (the Qin Emperor's Island) is on the northeastern tip of Hebei on the Bohai Sea and is one of China's busiest harbors. The city is named after a legend that describes how the Qin Emperor found pills of longevity in the city. Visitors can walk along the waterfront and watch fishing boats or visit the shell-carving factory and the Qin Emperor's Temple.

Shanhai Pass

Built in 1381, the Shanhai Pass is a national tourist attraction and the first strategic pass at the eastern terminus of the Great Wall. Shanhai Pass, 15 kilometers from the tourist city of Qinhuangdao, is so-called because it is situated between the Yanshan Mountains and the Bohai Sea. As the strategic passage between North and Northeast China, the pass has always been a bone of contention for military strategists since the ancient times. On the eastern city tower hangs a huge plaque bearing the horizontal inscription of five Chinese characters in bold script, meaning the "Pass under Heaven." The magnificent city tower, the almost inaccessible terrain, and the calligraphic art of the inscription are regarded as three unique aspects of the Shanhai Pass.


Laolongtou (Old Dragon Head) is a national tourist attraction that is situated four kilometers south of Shanhai Pass. Washed by the Bohai Sea, it was the eastern end of the Great Wall during the Ming Dynasty. Built in 1381, it was the Ninghai Stone City being a half kilometer in diameter and jutting 23 meters into the sea with the Chenghai Tower standing on the city wall. Later, it was destroyed in the havoc of war and today, only broken walls remain. Fortunately, the stone city and the tower was restored in 1985 during the national campaign of renovating the Great Wall.

Beidaihe Beach

Situated 15 kilometers southwest of Qinhuangdao, Beidaihe Beach is a nationally recognized scenic attraction of China. Washed continiously by the Bohai Sea, the beach is two kilometers wide and 10 kilometers long with the bay winding along. Being a gentle beach, Beidaihe is ideal for sea baths in the steamy heat. As far back as 1898, the Qing government officially turned the beach into a summer resort. Since 1949, when New China was founded, over 3,000 restaurants, shops, hotels, and guesthouses have been built on Beidaihe Beach, making it one of the most famous tourist attractions in North China.

Eastern Imperial Tombs

As China's largest and best-preserved imperial tomb complex, the Eastern Imperial Tombs are located at the southern foot of the Changruishan Mountain in Zunhua County, 125 km from Beijing. Construction began in 1663 in the 48-square-km area where 15 tombs of five emperors, 14 empresses and 136 imperial concubines lay. Empress Dowager Cixi's tomb is the most luxurious of all. Its Long'en (Great Benevolence) Hall is decorated with sculptured white marble. And leading to her tomb is a flight of stone steps carved with dragons and phoenixes. The underground palace was built of white marble. Inside the complex are not only many coffin chambers but also more than 1,000 palace halls, tablet towers and stone elephants together with an excellent collection of stone-carved art treasures.

Chengde and its Imperial Resort

Chengde is situated in northeastern Hebei, 220 kilometers from Beijing. Throughout the Ming Dynasty and the first part of the Qing Dynasty, the city was known as Rehe Shangying and became the base for the activities of the Qing Dynasty government.

During the reign of Emperor Yongzheng (1723-1735), in order to furnish the wishes of Emperor Kangxi, it was renamed as Chengde.

Chengde is 300 meters above sea level in a valley . It is surrounded by nature and, being cool, it is an ideal place to which to escape in the summer. The city therefore is putting a lot of work into promoting the city as a tourist spot. As it is home to many of China's national historic treasures - the Imperial Mountain Resort and the Temple Park - it has been designated as one of UNESCO's world cultural heritage areas.

Tucked away in a hill-encircled basin 155 miles northeast of Beijing, the mountain resort at Chengde, formerly known as the Jehol Summer Palace, is one of the biggest and most celebrated former imperial gardens in China. Opened in recent years to foreign tourists, the imperial garden is far less well-known than Beijing's Forbidden City or Summer Palace, despite the fact that it is bigger than both of them combined--5.64 million square meters to be precise. The imperial summer resort is the world's largest imperial garden and boasts 120 terraces, pavilions, and towers that are characteristic of gardening architecture. Seventy-two scenic spots in the imperial garden bear inscriptions by Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong. In the resort there also is a well furnished Mongolian Yurt hotel, where accommodation will add much to the novelty of a sightseeing tour.

Hebei Culture

Dialects of Mandarin are spoken over most of the province, and most Mandarin dialects in Hebei are in turn classified as part of the Ji Lu Mandarin subdivision. Regions along the western border with Shanxi, however, have dialects that are distinct enough for linguists to consider them as part of Jin, another subdivision of Chinese, rather than Mandarin. In general, the dialects of Hebei are quite similar to and readily intelligible with the Beijing dialect, which forms the basis for Standard Mandarin, the official language of the nation. However, there are also some distinct differences, such as differences in the pronunciation of certain words that derive from entering tone syllables (syllables ending on a plosive) in Middle Chinese.

Traditional forms of Chinese opera in Hebei include Pingju, Hebei Bangzi (also known as Hebei Clapper Opera), and Cangzhou Kuaiban Dagu. Pingju is especially popular: it tends to be colloquial in language and hence easy to understand for audiences. Originating from northeastern Hebei, Pingju has been influenced by other forms of Chinese opera like Beijing opera. Traditionally Pingju makes use of just axiaosheng (young male lead), a xiaodan (young female lead), and a xiaohualian (young comic character), though it has since diversified with the use of other roles as well.

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