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Edit Title:[HugChina] Chinese provinces: Zhejiang - Land of Fish and Rice
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Bernd Chang
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Zhejiang (浙江) with the capital Hangzhou lies in East China. Zhejiang is one of most developed provinces of China. Tourist attractions of Zhejiang include West Lake, Qiangdao Lake, Mount Putuo, etc.

General information

Area: 101800 square km

Population: 48.98 million (2006)

Capital City: Hangzhou

Nationalities: Han (99.2%), and She (0.8%)

Coastline: 2,200 kilometers long

Average temperature: 2oC to 8oC in January, 27oC to 30oC in July; high temperatures in the central basin.

Rivers: Qiantang River in the north; Qujiang River in the south.

Administrative divisions: 18 cities, 57 counties, and 1 autonomous county.

Neighboring areas: Fujian, Jiangxi, Anhui, and Jiangsu Provinces: Shanghai Municipality.

Major cities: Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Shaoxing, Jinhua, Jiaxing, Huzhou

Tourist attractions: West Lake in Hangzhou; Mount Putuo of the Zhoushan Islands, famous for its Buddhist temples; the tide waves of the Qiantang River.

Zhejiang (Chinese: 浙江; pinyin: Zhèjiāng) is an eastern coastal province of the People's Republic of China. The word Zhejiang (crooked river) was the old name of the Qiantang River, which passes through Hangzhou, the provincial capital. The name of the province is often abbreviated to "Zhe" (浙).

Geography of Zhejiang

Zhejiang consists mostly of hills, which account for about 70% of its total area. Altitudes tend to be highest to the south and west, and the highest peak of the province, Huangyajian Peak (1921 m), is found in the southwest. Mountain ranges include the Yandang Mountains, Tianmu Mountains, Tiantai Mountains, and Mogan Mountains, which traverse the province at altitudes of about 200 to 1000 m.

Valleys and plains are found along the coastline and rivers. The north of the province is just south of the Yangtze Delta, and consists of plains around the cities of Hangzhou, Jiaxing, and Huzhou, where the Grand Canal of China enters from the northern border to end at Hangzhou; another relatively flat area is found along the Qujiang River, around the cities of Quzhou and Jinhua. Major rivers include the Qiantang River and the Oujiang River. Most rivers carve out valleys in the highlands, with plenty of rapids and other features associated with such topography. Famous lakes include the West Lake of Hangzhou and the South Lake of Jiaxing.

There are over three thousand islands along the ragged coastline of Zhejiang. The largest, Zhoushan Island, is Mainland China's third largest island, after Hainan and Chongming. There are also many bays, Hangzhou Bay being the largest.

Climate of Zhejiang

Zhejiang has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. Spring starts in March and is rainy and weather is changeable. Summer, from June to September is long, hot and humid. Fall is generally dry, warm and sunny. Winters are short but cold except in the far south. Average annual temperature is around 15 to 19°C, average January temperature is around 2 to 8°C, and average July temperature is around 27 to 30°C. Annual precipitation is about 1000 to 1900 mm. There is plenty of rainfall in early summer, and by late summer Zhejiang is directly threatened by typhoons forming in the Pacific.

Economy of Zhejiang

The province is traditionally known as the "Land of Fish and Rice". True to its name, rice is the main crop, followed by wheat; north Zhejiang is also a center of aquaculture in China, and the Zhoushan fishery is the largest fishery in the country. Main cash crops include jute and cotton, and the province also leads the provinces of China in tea production (the renowned Longjing tea is a product of Hangzhou). Zhejiang's towns have been known for handcraft production of products such as silk, for which it is ranked second among the provinces, and as market towns connecting the cities with the countryside.

Ningbo, Wenzhou, Taizhou and Zhoushan are important commercial ports. The Hangzhou Bay Bridge between Haiyan County and Cixi, is the longest sea-crossing bridge in the world.

Zhejiang's manufacturing is centered upon electromechanical industries, textiles, chemical industries, food, and construction materials. In recent years Zhejiang has followed its own development model, dubbed the "Zhejiang model", which is based on prioritizing and encouraging entrepreneurship, an emphasis on small businesses responsive to the whims of the market, large public investments into infrastructure, and the production of low cost goods in bulk for both domestic consumption and export. As a result, Zhejiang has made itself one of the richest provinces, and the "Zhejiang spirit" has become something of a legend within China.

The per capita disposable income of urbanites in Zhejiang reached 24,611 yuan (US$3,603) in 2009, an annual real growth of 8.3%. The per capita pure income of rural residents stood at 10,007 yuan (US$1,465), a real growth of 8.1% year-on-year. Its nominal GDP for 2009 was 2.28 trillion yuan (US$334 billion) with a per capita of 44,335 yuan (US$6,490). In 2009, Zhejiang's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were worth 116.2 billion yuan (US$17 billion), 1.1843 trillion yuan (US$173.4 billion), and 982.7 billion yuan (US$143.9 billion) respectively.

Zhejiang has become one of the most marketised and richest provinces in China. Compared to many other Chinese provinces, the development in different regions in Zhejiang is more balanced. While the countyside still lags behind, in 2006, the per capita disposable incomes for eleven major cities in Zhejiang were all ranked among the top 30 in Chinese cities.

History of Zhejiang

Zhejiang was outside the sphere of influence of early Chinese civilization during the Shang Dynasty (sixteenth century to eleventh century BC). Instead it was populated by peoples collectively known as the Yue, such as the Dongyue and the Ouyue. Starting from the Spring and Autumn Period, a state of Yue emerged in northern Zhejiang that was heavily influenced by Chinese civilization further north, and under King Goujian of Yue it reached its zenith and was able to wipe out, in 473 BC, the state of Wu further north, a major power at the time. In 333 BC, this state was in turn conquered by the state of Chu further west; and the state of Qin in turn subjugated all the states of China under its control in 221 BC, thereby establishing a unified Chinese empire.

The Ming Dynasty which drove out the Mongols in 1368 were the first to establish Zhejiang Province, and the borders of the province have since changed little. With the invasion of Western capitalism, Zhejiang became the most important bridge between Shanghai, the national economic center, and wealthy Southern China.

After the People's Republic of China took control of Mainland China in 1949, the Republic of China government based in Taiwan continued to control the Dachen Islands off the coast of Zhejiang until 1955.

Zhejiang has been less favored by the central government due to the lack of natural resources, a location vulnerable to potential flooding from the sea, and an economic base at the national average. Zhejiang, however, has long been an epicenter of capitalist development in China, and has been leading the nation in marketisation and the development of private enterprises. Northeast Zhejiang, as part of the Yangtze Delta, is flat, more developed, and industry oriented, where the earliest civilization in Zhejiang was found. South Zhejiang is mountainous and ill-suited for farming, and has traditionally been poor and underdeveloped. The economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping, however, have brought change to that region unparalleled across the rest of China. Driven by hard work, an entrepreneuring spirit, low labour costs, and an eye for the world market, south Zhejiang (especially cities such as Wenzhou and Yiwu) has become a major center of export. This, together with the traditional prosperity of north Zhejiang, has allowed Zhejiang to leapfrog over several other provinces and become one of the richer provinces of China.

Administrative divisions

Zhejiang is divided into eleven prefecture-level divisions, all of them prefecture-level cities:

# Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Administrative Seat

— Sub-provincial city —

1 Hangzhou 杭州市 Hángzhōu Shì Gongshu District

2 Ningbo 宁波市 Níngbō Shì Haishu District

— Prefecture-level city —

3 Huzhou 湖州市 Húzhōu Shì Wuxing District

4 Jiaxing 嘉兴市 Jiāxīng Shì Nanhu District

5 Jinhua 金华市 Jīnhuá Shì Wucheng District

6 Lishui 丽水市 Líshuǐ Shì Liandu District

7 Quzhou 衢州市 Qúzhōu Shì Kecheng District

8 Shaoxing 绍兴市 Shàoxīng Shì Yuecheng District

9 Taizhou 台州市 Tāizhōu Shì Jiaojiang District

10 Wenzhou 温州市 Wēnzhōu Shì Lucheng District

11 Zhoushan 舟山市 Zhōushān Shì Dinghai District

Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of Zhejiang

Zhejiang is one of most developed tourist areas in China due to its rich resources of famous mountains, rivers, and cultural relics. The famous mountains here include: Putuo Mountain - one of the " Four Most Famous Buddhist Mountains" in China;Mogao Mountain - reputed as " The Cool World"-- one of the four largest summer resort mountains; and Yandang Mountain - a treasure house of animals and plants. Its beautiful lakes include the West Lake in Hangzhou, the East Lake in Shaoxing, the Dongqian Lake in Qinxian County, and the Qiandao Lake, an outstanding man-made lake. Other attractions include the karst landscape in the mound area, the Three Caves in Jinhua City, Yaolin Fairyland in Tonglu, the historical remains in Hemudu and in Liangzhu, the Lanting Pavilion, the Tianyige Tower, and the Wenlan Tower on West Lake. People can also visit some museums with unique characteristics, namely: the Zhejiang Museum, the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History, the China Tea Museum, the China Silk Museum, the Guanyao Museum of the Southern Song Dynasty, and the Chinese Medicine Museum of Huqingyutang. Hangzhou, known as "the Paradise on Earth", is the tourist centre of the province.

West Lake

West Lake is one of the ten best scenic spots in China lying to the west of the ancient capital Hangzhou. It covers an area of 5.6 square kilometers and has a circumference of 15 kilometers. Emerald hills embrace the picturesque lake on three sides, and the city stands to the east side. In the lake are Gushan (the Solitary Hill) and a rich collection of cultural relics, the best place for viewing the lake scenery; the Bai Causeway named after Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi [1772-8461]); the Su Causeway (named after Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo [11037- 11011]); Xiaoyin Zhou (Small Fairy Islafid); Huxin Ting (Mid-Lake Pavilion) Island; and Rangong Dun (a mound named after provincial governor Rangong). Around the lake are famous cultural relics and scenic spots shrouded in luxuriant vegetation.

The Moon Reflected in Three Ponds is a unique aspect of the West Lake. In the lake are islands, and on the islands are lakes. The three stone towers here were first built in Yuanyou in the fourth year (1089) of the Song Dynasty. With the wonderful scenery of one moon in the sky having three reflection in the lake, it is one of the wonderful scenes of the West lake.

The Qiandao Lake

The Qiandao Lake is an huge reservoir covering an area of 580 square kilometers. It is situated on the upper reaches of the Xin'an River, 160 kilometers from Hangzhou and the Yellow Mountains. There are 1,078 islets in the lake, which is why the lake is also known as the "Thousand Islets Lake". The limpid lake is embraced by hills with green trees and includes scores of scenic spots: the Huihua Isle, the Mishan Isle, Fengping Hill, Bijia Hill, and the Lesser Stone Forest.

The Tianyi Ge Tower

The Tianyi Ge Tower was built in 1561-1566 and is located in the western part of Ningbo. It has a collection of more than 300,000 books including 80,000 rare ones, precious for the study of Chinese history. The Tianyi Ge Tower is also famous for its succinct design, beautiful garden, and quiet environment.

Mount Putuo

Mount Putuo is a national park of China and is one of China's four most famous Buddist mountains. It is located on the sea to the southeast of the Zhoushan Islands and covers an area of 12.8 square kilometers. It is the place where Guanyin (a Bodhisattva) performed many Buddhist rites. There are numerous historical relics found on this beautiful mountain. The buildings of the three temples of Puji, Fayu, and Huiji are in the typical style of the early Qing Dynasty about 300 years ago. Passenger ships can reach Putuo directly.

Zhejiang Local Cuisine

Zhejiang cuisine is one of the eight famous culinary schools in China, consisting mainly of the specialities of Hangzhou, Ningbo and Shaoxing. Hangzhou cuisine is characterized by its elaborate preparation and varying techniques of cooking, such as sauté, stewing, and stir and deep fired. Hangzhou food tastes fresh and crisp, varying with the change of season. Ningbo food is a bit salty but delicious. Specializing in steamed, roasted and braised seafood, Ningbo cuisine is particular in retaining the original freshness, tenderness and softness. Shaoxing cuisine offers fresh aquatic food and poultry that has a special rural flavour, sweet in smell, soft and glutinous in taste, thick in gravy and strong in season. Famous Hangzhou specialties are: West Lake fish in vinegar sauce, fired shrimps with longjing tea, Songsao fish soup, Dongpo pork, beggar’s chicken and consommé of West Lake water shield.


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