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Edit Title:[HugChina] Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
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Bernd Chang
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Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region(广西壮族自治区)with the capital Nanning is located in South China created specifically for the Zhuang minority. The abbreviation of the province is 桂 (Gui), which comes from the city of Guilin, the former capital and a major city in the autonomous region.

General information

Area: 236,700 square km

Population: 49.25 million (2005)

Population % of Zhuang 32.79%

Capital City: Nanning

Nationalities: Zhuang (32%), Han (62%), Yao (3%), Miao (1%), Dong (0.7%), and Gelao (0.4%).

GDP (2007): CNY 588.6 billion

Administrative divisions: 11 cities, 65 counties and 12 autonomous counties.

Neighboring areas: Yunnan, Guizhou, Hunan and Guangdong Provinces.

Neighboring country: Vietnam.

Major cities: Nanning, Liuzhou, Guilin, Wuzhou, Beihai, Pingxiang, Baise.

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region(Chinese:广西壮族自治区) is located in South China and autonomous region created specifically for the Zhuang people.

The abbreviation of the province is 桂 (Gui), which comes from the city of Guilin, the former capital, center of much of Guangxi's culture, politics, and history, and currently a major city in the autonomous region.

Geography of Guangxi

Located in the southern part of the country, Guangxi is bordered by Yunnan to the west, Guizhou to the north, Hunan to the northeast, and Guangdong to the southeast. It is also bounded by Vietnam in the southwest and the Gulf of Tonkin in the south.

Guangxi is a mountainous region. The Nanling Mountains are found in the northeast border, with the Yuecheng Mountains (越城岭) and Haiyang Mountains (海洋山) being its shorter branching ridges. Nearer to the center of the region are the Dayao Mountains (大瑶山) and the Daming Mountains (大明山). To the north there are the Duyao Mountains (都阳山) and the Fenghuang Mountains (凤凰山), while on the southeast border there are the Yunkai Mountains (云开大山). The highest point is Mount Mao'er (猫儿山) located in the Yuecheng Mountains, at 2141 m.

Many rivers cut valleys through the mountains. Most of these rivers form the tributary basin of the West River:Guangxi has a short coastline on the Gulf of Tonkin. Important seaports include Beihai, Qinzhou and Fangchenggang.

Climate of Guangxi

Located in a subtropical area and enjoying a humid and monsoon climate, Guangxi has long and hot summer, and occasionally cold winter, with distinctive dry and rainy seasons. The annual average temperature is 17ºC-23ºC (62.6 ºF and 73.4 ºF), with a frost-free period exceeding 300 days. The annual rainfall averages between 1,000mm to 2,800mm.

Economy of Guangxi

Important crops in Guangxi include rice, maize, sweet potatoes, and wheat. Cash crops include sugar cane, peanuts, tobacco, and kenaf.

Guangxi has more tin, manganese, and indium deposits than any other province of China.

Liuzhou is the main industrial center and is a major motor vehicle manufacturing center. The city also has a large steel factory and several related industries.

In recent years Guangxi's economy has languished behind that of its wealthy neighbour and twin, the province of Guangdong.

Guangxi's 2008 nominal GDP was about 717.2 billion yuan (US$103 billion) and ranked seventeenth in China. Its per capita GDP was 14,966 yuan (US$2,155).

Beibu Gulf Economic Zone

In 2008, the central government has approved China's first international and regional economic cooperation zone in Guangxi in late February. The construction of the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone began in 2006. With the approval, the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone will be formally incorporated into national development strategies.

The Beibu Gulf Economic Zone covers six coastal cities along the Beibu Gulf. It integrates the cities of Nanning, the region's capital, Beihai, Qinzhou, Fangchenggang, Chongzuo and Yulin. The state will adopt policies and measures to support mechanism innovation, rational industry layout and infrastructure construction in the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone.

History of Guangxi

Part of the region officially became part of China in 214 BC, when the army of the Qin Dynasty claimed most of southern China. The name "Guangxi" can be traced to the Song Dynasty, which administered the area as a circuit called the Guangnanxi Circuit (literally "Guang-South West Circuit"). During the late Mongol Yuan Dynasty the name was revived again to name a province in the region, but it was shortened to "Guangxi", or "Guang-West". For the next six centuries, Guangxi was a province of China, until its conversion into an autonomous region by the People's Republic of China because of its large minority population.

During the late Qing Dynasty, Guangxi was the site of the Jintian Uprising (金田起义), which occurred in what is now Guiping county in eastern Guangxi on January 11, 1851. On March 23, 1885, Zhennan Pass (now Youyi Pass) on the border with Vietnam was also the site of the Battle of Bang Bo (镇南关战役) during the Sino-French War. During the battle, a French incursion was met by Chinese forces under Feng Zicai (冯子才) and driven back across the border.

After the founding of the Republic of China, Guangxi served as the base for one of the most powerful warlord cliques of China: the Old Guangxi Clique. Led by Lu Jung-t'ing (陆荣廷) and others, the clique was able to take control of neighbouring Hunan and Guangdong provinces as well. The Old Guangxi Clique crumbled in the early 1920s, to be replaced by the New Guangxi Clique, led by Li Zongren and Bai Chongxi. Guangxi is also noted for the Baise Uprising (百色起义), a communist uprising led by Deng Xiaoping in 1929.

In 1944, near the end of World War II, Japan invaded Guangxi as part of Operation Ichigo (also known as the Henan-Hunan-Guangxi Campaign (豫湘桂战役), in an attempt to seize the Hunan-Guangxi railway line and open a land link to French Indochina. The operation succeeded and most major cities in Guangxi came under Japanese occupation.

Being in the far south, Guangxi was not taken by communist forces until after the People's Republic was formed; it joined in December 1949, two months after the People's Republic's foundation. In 1958, Guangxi was converted into an autonomous region for the Zhuang.

For most of its history, Guangxi was landlocked. In 1952, a small section of Guangdong's coastline was given to Guangxi, giving it access to the sea. This was reversed in 1955, then restored in 1965.

While some development of heavy industry occurred in the province in the 1960s and 1970s, it remained largely a scenic tourist destination which attracted people from all over the world. Even the economic growth in China in the 1990s seemed to leave Guangxi behind.

Guangxi celebrated its 50th anniversary as an Autonomous Region on December 11, 2008.

Administrative divisions

Guangxi is divided into fourteen prefecture-level cities, fifty-six counties, thirty-four districts, twelve ethnic autonomous counties and seven county-level cities. The fourteen prefecture-level cities are:

# Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Zhuang Administrative Seat

— Prefecture-level city —

1 Baise 百色市 Bǎisè Shì Baksaek Si Youjiang District

2 Hechi 河池市 Héchí Shì Hozciz Si Jinchengjiang District

3 Liuzhou 柳州市 Liǔzhōu Shì Liujcouh Si Chengzhong District

4 Guilin 桂林市 Guìlín Shì Gveilinz Si Xiangshan District

5 Hezhou 贺州市 Hézhōu Shì Hohcouh Si Babu District

6 Chongzuo 崇左市 Chóngzuǒ Shì Cungzcoj Si Jiangzhou District

7 Nanning 南宁市 Nánníng Shì Namzningz Si Qingxiu District

8 Laibin 来宾市 Láibīn Shì Leizbingz Si Xingbin District

9 Guigang 贵港市 Guìgǎng Shì Gveigangj Si Gangbei District

10 Wuzhou 梧州市 Wúzhōu Shì Ngouzcouh Si Wanxiu District

11 Fangchenggang 防城港市 Fángchénggǎng Shì Fangzcwngzgangj Si Gangkou District

12 Qinzhou 钦州市 Qīnzhōu Shì Ginhcouh Si Qinnan District

13 Beihai 北海市 Běihǎi Shì Baekhaij Si Haicheng District

14 Yulin 玉林市 Yùlín Shì Yoglinz Si Yuzhou District

Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of Guangxi

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is in the west part of South China. Its capital is the city of Nanning. The entire region is surrounded by mountains while the central part is covered with hills and plains. Karst geomorphy (areas of irregular limestone formations in which erosion has produced fissures, sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns) is wide-spread in the region, creating numerous natural scenic spots that inspired such eulogies as "Guilin, the most beautiful spot in the world" and "Yangshuo, the best of Guilin". Major tourist attractions are Guilin, the Li River, the West Hills in Guiping, Huashan, and the Silver Beach in Beihai. This is a region where many ethnic groups inhabit. People in the region are warm and friendly, and customs and habits show great versatility. It is a very popular destination for tourists from home and abroad.

The Lijiang River

The Lijiang River rises from the Maoer Mountains northeast of Guilin. Winding its way through Guilin and Yangshuo down into the Xijiang River in Wuzhou, its course of 437 kilometers is flanked by green hills and beautiful scenery. A river cruise between Guilin and Yangshuo offers tourists a rare opportunity to enjoy the most magnificent scenery in China. Special attractions along the river are the Elephant Trunk Hill, Tunnel Hill, Pagoda Hill, Crown Hill, Yellow Cloth Hill, Nine-Horse Mural Hill, Embroidery Hill, and Green Lotus Peak. Traveling at different times and in different weather conditions offers kaleidoscopic views. The river makes one feel as if traveling in front of a huge traditional Chinese landscape painting. The Lijiang River cruise is a must for every tourist in Guilin.

Yangshuo

Located 65 kilometers southeast of Guilin City is the county of Yangshuo. Surrounded by 10 peaks, the county looks like a green lotus. Houses are dotted among the rows of mountain peaks, and the scenery here is reputed to be Guilin's best. Each spot has its own unique characteristics. Yangshuo also offers another aspect of the karst landscape that seems to stretch forever. Well-known scenic attractions include Green Lotus Peak and Old Ferry Under the Banyan. To the north of Yangshuo is Xingping, a small city with a long history. During the Jin Dynasty (265-420), Xingping was a district capital. This peaceful and romantic spot is an ideal place to observe life in the country.

Guilin, City of Cassia Trees

"I often sent pictures of the hills of Guilin which I painted to friends back home, but few believed what they saw." The writer is Song-Dynasty scholar Fan Chengda, and his comments show that the scenery of Guilin has been attracting and astonishing visitors for many centuries. It has also been the inspiration for classical Chinese landscapes of fantastically shaped peaks, studded with pines and small pavilions that are partly shrouded in mist.

People have summed up the special features of the scenery of Guilin in four major points: beautiful peaks; a crystal river; unique caves; and graceful rocks. The Lijiang River, which runs through the center of Guilin, is a complementary attraction to the peaks and a setting for displays of cormorant fishing. Fishermen on bamboo rafts use strong lights suspended over the water to attract the fish. The cormorants, which are tethered with rings around the base of their necks, catch the fish and then disgorge them for the fishermen. These shows are regular features of the high season along with riverboats for an evening's entertainment afloat.

The best hills for climbing are found in the north of the city. Fubo Hill rises from the banks of the river and offers superb views from its summit, while halfway up is a huge cooking pot and a bell weighing 2.5 tons. At the base of Fubo is the Returned Pearl Cave with 300 Buddhist carvings on its walls.

The Solitary Beauty Peak (Duxiu Feng) rises up in the middle of the city north of the Lijiang Hotel. It presents the observer with a wonderful natural theater with a change of colors which range from golden to purple in the mist of dawn or the glow of the setting sun. On Duxiu Feng's western slope is Nantian Men, Southern Celestial Gate. From there, one can enjoy a wonderful view of the city and its environment.

Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Yan) is located in the northwestern section of Guilin. It is 240 meters deep and is probably the largest and most magnificent cave in Guilin. Ludi Cao, reed grass, grows in front of the cave and can be used to make the most wonderful flutes. This is what gave the cave its name. It used to be a popular place for the local people to hide themselves in times of war or trouble. Situated at the southern foot of Guangming Hill, the cave is a huge and fantastic cavern eroded out of a karst formation. It is lined along its entire 500-meter zigzag length with stalactites and stalagmites in the shapes of agination forms. They include Shilin Zhaoxia (lion and forest under the glow of dawn), Gaoxia Feibo, (flying waterfall from the high gorge), Primitive Forest, Crystal Palace, Xiongshi Songke and others. Beautiful, colourful, and fantastic, the cave has been as widely acclaimed as an "Art Gallery of Nature."

Seven Star Park is one of Guilin's most important sights on the Lijiang's west bank. The seven stars symbolize the seven mountains around which the park grounds were laid out. The mountains are arranged in the order of the seven stars in the Big Dipper. The four northern mountains make up Putuo Shan while the remaining three southern mountains form Yueya Shan. Many large caves are located on Putuo Shan. Qixing Yan, Seven Star Cave, is one of these. The Seven Star Cave is located on the western slope of Putuo Mountain in Guilin city. It is the largest and most fascinating cave in Guilin and contains three layers. The upper layer is roughly 8-12 meters higher than the middle one. There is a 1,000-meter-long tunnel that is a gallery of stalactites and stalagmites of the most spectacular shapes and forms. The cave became a tourist attraction as early as the Sui and Tang dynasties (518-907 AD). Over the centuries, many poems and other inscriptions have been left behind on its interior walls by scholars.

At the confluence of Lijiang River and Yangjiang River lies the Elephant Trunk Hill. A hole in the hill gives the appearance of an elephant sipping water with its trunk and is why it was named the Elephant Trunk Hill. Between the trunk and the body, there is a round-shaped space known as the Water-Moon Arch. Under a moonlit night, looking at its silhoutte from a small boat provides a fantastic picture. A narrow path winding leads to the top of the hill where the Samantabhadra Tower stands. Built in the Ming Dynasty of solid brick, its core is round like a bottle or a sword handle and is why it is called the Precious Bottle Tower or the Sword Handle Tower. On the rock walls of the Water-Moon Cave, more than 50 sculptures have been left behind through the ages.

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