Jiangsu Province JIANGSU PROVINCE is the most densely populated and agriculturally productive region of China. Located near Shanghai and encompassing much of the Yangtze River Delta, it occupies a small fraction of China's territory yet it is home to a large portion of its population. Supporting all these people is some of the China's most fertile land: much of it on a plain built by rich, productive silt deposited over the millennium by Yangtze River floods. Crisscrossing the plain is dense network of canals and waterways, where houses have traditionally been bunched up along the waters edge and backed by a patchwork of long narrow fields. Jiangsu is a relatively rich province. Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces are known as yu mi zhi xiang (“land of fish and rice”) after their good soil, water and climate.
Jiangsu Province has a population density of 820 people per square kilometer. According to the 2020 Chinese census the population was around 85 million. About 70 percent of the population lives in urban areas and 99.6 percent are Han Chinese. Nanjing is the capital and largest city, with about 12 million people in its metro area. Jiangsu province is the coast of China and is called “Su” for short. It is a place of rivers and lake with a throbbing economy, advanced education and flourishing culture. The Jiangsu cities of Nanjing and Suzhou are regarded as birthplaces of capitalism and industry in China, mainly in the form of smelting and forging bronze wares and later developing China’s silk, textile, flour and coal mining industries.
The population of Jiangsu was 84,748,016 in 2020; 78,659,903 in 2010; 73,043,577 in 2000; 67,056,519 in 1990; 60,521,114 in 1982; 44,504,608 in 1964; 41,252,192 in 1954; 36,080,000 in 1947; 36,469,000 in 1936-37; 34,126,000 in 1928; 32,283,000 in 1912. [Source: Wikipedia, China Census]
Jiangsu is China’s richest province (after Beijing and Shanghai) with a per capita GDP of over US$35,000.Since the initiation of economic reforms in 1990, Jiangsu has been a hot spot for economic development, and now has the highest GDP per capita of all Chinese provinces. The southern regions are richer than the north. Jiangsu is home to many of the world’s leading exporters of electronic equipment, chemicals and textiles. It has also been China's largest recipient of foreign direct investment since 2006. Its nominal GDP as of 2011, based on 2012 exchange rates, is half the size of India's. The name Jiangsu (pinyin: Jiāngsū; Wade–Giles: Chiang-su; Postal map spelling: Kiangsu) comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning (now Nanjing), and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is " " (sū), the second character of its name.
Jiangsu possesses cultural and geographical features the four regions including Kingdom of Wu, Jinling, Huaiyang and Central Plain, all of which have ancient history dating back thousands of years. Tourist attractions include historical sites associated with the Six Dynasties period, the Classical Gardens of Suzhou, Taihu Lake, the Bamboo Sea of Yixing, water towns like Tong-li and Zhouzhuang. The Yangtze River is wide and broken into delta branches. The Grand Canal is still used today along with other canals to transport a wide range of goods. Among the other scenic water bodies are Slender West Lake, Xuanwu Lake, and Yunlong Lake. There are mountains too: Langshan Mountain; Jinshan Mountain; Beigu Mountain along the Yangtze River as well as Zijin Mountain and the Mountain of Flowers and Fruits. Maps of Jiangsu chinamaps.org ; Tourist Office: Jiangsu Tourism Bureau, 255 North Zhongshan Rd, 210003 Nanjing, Jiangsu, China, Tel. (0)-25-342-1333, fax: (0)-25-334-3960.
See Separate Articles on NANJING, SUZHOU AND THE WATER TOWNS OF JIANGSU AND ZHEJIAN
Geography and Climate of Jiangsu
Jiangsu Province covers 102,600 square kilometers (39,600 square miles). It borders Shandong in the north, Anhui to the west, and Zhejiang and Shanghai to the south. Jiangsu has a coastline of over 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) along the Yellow Sea, and the Yangtze River passes through the southern part of the province.
Jiangsu mapJiangsu is very flat and low-lying, with plains covering 68 percent of its total area (water covers another 18 percent), and most of the province stands not more than 50 meters (160 feet) above sea level. Jiangsu is also laced with a well-developed irrigation system, which earned it (especially the southern half) the moniker of (shu xiāng "land of water"); the southern city of Suzhou is so crisscrossed with canals that it has been dubbed "Venice of the East" or the "Venice of the Orient". The Grand Canal of China cuts through Jiangsu from north to south, traversing all the east-west river systems. Jiangsu also borders the Yellow Sea. The Yangtze River, the longest river of China, cuts through the province in the south and reaches the East China Sea. Mount Yuntai near the city of Lianyungang is the highest point in this province, with an altitude of 625 meters. Large lakes in Jiangsu include Lake Taihu (the largest), Lake Hongze, Lake Gaoyou, Lake Luoma, and Lake Yangcheng.
Historically, the river Huai He, a major river in central China and the traditional border between North China and South China, cut through north Jiangsu to reach the Yellow Sea. However, from 1194 the Yellow River further to the north changed its course several times, running into the Huai He in north Jiangsu each time instead of its other usual path northwards into Bohai Bay. The silting caused by the Yellow River was so heavy that after its last episode of "hijacking" the Huai He ended in 1855: the Huai He was no longer able to go through its usual path into the sea. Instead it flooded, pooled up (thereby forming and enlarging Lake Hongze and Lake Gaoyou), and flowed southwards through the Grand Canal into the Yangtze. The old path of the Huai He is now marked by a series of irrigation channels, the most significant of which is the North Jiangsu Irrigation Main Channel, which channels a small amount of the water of the Huai He alongside south of its old path into the sea.
Most of Jiangsu has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa or Cwa in the Köppen climate classification), beginning to transition into a humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa) in the far north. Seasonal changes are clear-cut, with temperatures at an average of −1 to 4 °C (30 to 39 °F) in January and 26 to 29 °C (79 to 84 °F) in July. Rain falls frequently between spring and summer (meiyu), typhoons with rainstorms occur in late summer and early autumn. The annual average rainfall is 800 to 1,200 millimeters (31 to 47 inches), concentrated mostly in summer during the southeast monsoon.
Yangtze Delta is 320 kilometers (200 miles) wide and covers an area of 358,000 square kilometers). It is laced with canals, streams and rivers and dotted with natural and made-made lakes. Shanghai is on the southern side of it and Nanjing is on the west side and kind of marks its beginning. The delta was originally a wetland then a rich agricultural area and now is being developed very quickly and is heavily industrialized. Some Chinese geographers claim that the Yangtze River Delta is the most productive agricultural land in the world, and getting more productive all the time as new paddy soil is created — or at least it was like that before the Three Gorges Dam deprived it of silt and causing it to shrink .
The Yangtze Delta — which is located primarily in Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces and Shanghai — is one of China's primary economic and industrial engines. People here are known for working hard, producing all kinds of products and making money. In recent years prosperity has begun to spread up river. On businessman in Chongqing, told the Wall Street Journal that "The Yangtze River area can be Asia's next dragon." The Yangtze corridor now has China's largest concentration of industry, accounting for more than a quarter of the country growth. Incomes are increasing at a rate of 20 percent a year.
Shanghai, the southern part of Jiangsu Province, the northern part of Zhejiang Province, the eastern part of Anhui Province, Nanjing, Wuxi, Changzhou, Suzhou, Nantong, Yangzhou, Zhenjiang, Yancheng, Taizhou, Jiangsu, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Huzhou, Jiaxing, Shaoxing, Jinhua, Zhoushan, Taizhou, Hefei and Wuhu all lie within the Yangtze Delta. Since the fourth century, when the national capital was moved to Jiankang (present-day Nanjing) at the start of the Eastern Jin dynasty (A.D. 317–420), the Yangtze Delta has been a major cultural, economic, and political centre of China. Hangzhou served as the Chinese capital during the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279), and Nanjing was the early capital of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) before the Yongle Emperor moved the capital to Beijing in 1421.
The Yangtze delta has few protected areas left. In some places there are cities, In others there are factories. Places that have been urbanized or industrialized are full of fish farms and vegetable fields. Areas that are filled with reeds also have roads and trucks that are used to carry the reeds out. Since 2003, when the Three Gorges Dam began operating, the Yangtze River delta front has experienced severe erosion and significant sediment coarsening. Yangtze-River-derived sediments do not really disperse across the East China Sea continental shelf; rather they form elongated distal subaqueous mud wedge (up to 60 meters thick and about 800 kilometers long that extends from the Yangtze River mouth southward off the Zhejiang and Fujian coasts into the Taiwan Strait. Yancheng Reserve in the Yangtze Delta is home to red-crowned cranes, reed parrotbills. Oriental storks and the world's last 2,000 or so black-faced spoonbills. Web Site: Wikipedia Wikipedia
Early History of Jiangsu Province
During the earliest Chinese dynasties, the area in what is now Jiangsu was far removed from the center of Chinese civilization, which was in the northwest Henan; it was home of the Huai Yi., an ancient ethnic group. During the Zhou Dynasty more contact was made, and eventually the state of Wu (centered at Gusu, now Suzhou) appeared as a vassal to the Zhou Dynasty in south Jiangsu, one of the many hundreds of states that existed across northern and central China at that time. Near the end of the Spring and Autumn Period, Wu became a great power under King Helu of Wu, and was able to defeat in 484 B.C. the state of Qi, a major power in the north in modern-day Shandong province, and contest for the position of overlord over all states of China. The state of Wu was subjugated in 473 B.C. by the state of Yue, another state that had emerged to the south in modern-day Zhejiang province. Yue was in turn subjugated by the powerful state of Chu from the west in 333 B.C. Eventually the state of Qin swept away all the other states, and established China as a unified nation in 221 B.C.
One of the tortoise stelae of Xiao Dan (478-522), a member of the Liang royal family. Ganjiaxiang, Qixia District, near Nanjing Under the reign of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 220 A.D.), which brought China to its first golden age, Jiangsu was a relative backwater, far removed from the centers of civilization in the North China Plain. Jiangsu was at that time administered under two zhou (provinces): Xuzhou Province in the north, and Yangzhou Province in the south. Although south Jiangsu was eventually the base for the kingdom of Wu (one of the Three Kingdoms from 222 to 280), it did not become significant until the invasion of northern nomads during the Western Jin Dynasty, starting from the fourth century. As northern nomadic groups established kingdoms across the north, ethnic Han Chinese aristocracy fled southwards and set up a refugee Eastern Jin Dynasty in 317, in Jiankang (modern day Nanjing). From then until 581 (a period known as the Southern and Northern Dynasties), Nanjing in south Jiangsu was the base of four more ethnic Han Chinese dynasties facing off with northern barbarian (but increasingly sinicized) dynasties. In the meantime, north Jiangsu was a buffer of sorts between north and south; it initially started as a part of southern dynasties, but as northern dynasties gained more ground, it became part of northern dynasties.
In 581 unity was reestablished again, and under the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907) China once more went through a golden age, though Jiangsu at this point was still rather unremarkable among the different parts of China. It was during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), which saw the development of a wealthy mercantile class and emergent market economy in China, that south Jiangsu emerged as a center of trade. From then onwards, south Jiangsu, especially major cities like Suzhou or Yangzhou, would be synonymous with opulence and luxury in China. Today south Jiangsu remains one of the richest parts of China, and Shanghai, arguably the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan of mainland China cities, is a direct extension of south Jiangsu culture.
The Jurchen Jin Dynasty gained control of North China in 1127, and Huai River, which used to cut through north Jiangsu to reach the Yellow Sea, was the border between the north, under the Jin, and the south, under the Southern Song Dynasty. The Mongols took control of China in the thirteenth century. The Ming Dynasty, which was established in 1368 after driving out the Mongols who had occupied China, initially put its capital in Nanjing. Following a coup by Zhu Di (later, the Yongle Emperor), however, the capital was moved to Beijing, far to the north. (The naming of the two cities continue to reflect this: "Nanjing" literally means "southern capital", "Beijing" literally means "northern capital.) The entirety of modern day Jiangsu as well as neighbouring Anhui province kept their special status, however, as territory-governed directly by the central government, and were called Nanzhili ("Southern directly governed"). Meanwhile, South Jiangsu continued to be an important center of trade in China; some historians see in the flourishing textiles industry at the time incipient industrialization and capitalism, a trend that was however aborted, several centuries before similar trends took hold in the West.
The Qing Dynasty changed this situation by establishing Nanzhili as Jiangnan province; in 1666 Jiangsu and Anhui were split apart as separate provinces, and Jiangsu was given borders approximately the same as today. "In 1727 the to-min or "idle people " of Cheh Kiang province (a Ningpo name still existing), the yoh-hu or " music people " of Shan Si province, the si-min or "small people " of Kiang Su province, and the tan-ka or "egg-people" of Canton (to this day the boat population there), were all freed from their social disabilities, and allowed to count as free men."
Later History of Jiangsu Province
With the start of the Western incursion into China in the 1840s, the rich and mercantile south Jiangsu was increasingly exposed to Western influence; Shanghai, originally an unremarkable little town of Jiangsu, quickly developed into a metropolis of trade, banking, and cosmopolitanism, and was split out later as an independent municipality. South Jiangsu also figures strongly in the Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864), a massive and deadly rebellion that attempted to set up a Christian theocracy in China; it started far to the south in Guangdong province, swept through much of South China, and by 1853 had established Nanjing as its capital, renamed as Tianjing ("Heavenly Capital").
The Republic of China was established in 1912, and China was soon torn apart by warlords. Jiangsu changed hands several times, but in April 1927 Chiang Kai-Shek established a government at Nanjing; he was soon able to bring most of China under his control. This was however interrupted by the second Sino-Japanese War, which began full-scale in 1937; on December 13, 1937, Nanjing fell, and the combined atrocities of the occupying Japanese for the next 3 months would come to be known as the Nanjing Massacre. Nanjing was the seat of the collaborationist government of East China under Wang Jingwei, and Jiangsu remained under occupation until the end of the war in 1945.
After the war, Nanjing was once again the capital of the Republic of China, though now the Chinese Civil War had broken out between the Kuomintang government and Communist forces, based further north, mostly in Northeast China. The decisive Huaihai Campaign was fought in northern Jiangsu; it resulted in Kuomintang defeat, and the communists were soon able to cross the Yangtze River and take Nanjing. The Kuomintang fled southwards, and eventually ended up in Taipei, from which the Republic of China government continues to administer Taiwan and its neighboring islands, though it also continues to claim (technically, at least) Nanjing as its rightful capital.
After communist takeover, Beijing was made capital of the People's Republic and Nanjing was demoted to be the provincial capital of Jiangsu. The economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping initially focused on the south coast of China, in Guangdong province, which soon left Jiangsu behind; starting from the 1990s they were applied more evenly to the rest of China. Suzhou and Wuxi, two southern cities of Jiangsu in close proximity to neighboring Shanghai, have since become particularly prosperous, being among the Top Ten cities in China in gross domestic product and outstripping the provincial capital of Nanjing. The income disparity between north Jiangsu and south Jiangsu however remains large.
Culture of Jiansu
The province of Jiangsu originated in the seventeenth century with the splitting of the defunct and erroneously named Jiangnan Province ("south of the river") into Jiangsu and Anhui. Before then, the northern and southern parts of Jiangsu had less connection with each other than they later did. Traditionally, South Jiangsu is referred to as the three more prosperous southern cities including Suzhou, Wuxi and Changzhou. Their culture (the "Jiangnan" culture shared with Shanghai and Zhejiang) is more southern than the rest and is oftened referred to as the Wu. All the other parts of the province is dominated by the so-called "Jianghuai Culture", which means the culture in the area between the Yangtse River (Jiang) and Huaihe River (Huai), though not all of them lie within the district defined by the term. In history, the term North Jiangsu refers to the cities to the north of the Yangtze River. For cities of Nanjing and Zhenjiang, neither the two terms (North Jiangsu and South Jiangsu) refers to them, because though they are to the south of the River, culturally they are still of the Jianghuai Region. Since about 1998, there is a new classification used frequently by the government and defined by economic means. It groups all the cities to the south of the Yangtse River as South Jiangsu, the cities of Yangzhou, Nantong and Taizhou as Middle Jiangsu, and all the rest as North Jiangsu.
Though the terms of classification are very complex, by cultural means only the very north cities of Xuzhou and Lianyungang are culturally north Chinese. All the rest areas of the province are culturally south, though the three South Jiangsu cities are more purely southern while the culture in other cities is more a transitional mixture dominated by the southern.
Two main subdivisions of the Chinese language, Mandarin (not Putonghua, the national standard speech based on the Beijing dialect, also commonly called Mandarin) and Wu, are spoken in different parts of Jiangsu. Mandarin dialects are spoken over the traditional North Jiangsu, Nanjing and Zhenjiang, while Dialect of Wu is used in South Jiangsu. Mandarin and Wu are not mutually intelligible and the dividing line is sharp and well-defined. (See also Nanjing dialect, Xuzhou dialect, Yangzhou dialect, Suzhou dialect, Wuxi dialect, Changzhou dialect). In addition, Standard Chinese (Putonghua/Mandarin) is also spoken by most people.
Jiangsu is rich in cultural traditions. Kunqu, originating in Kunshan, is one of the most renowned and prestigious forms of Chinese opera. Pingtan, a form of storytelling accompanied by music, is also popular: it can be subdivided into types by origin: Suzhou Pingtan (of Suzhou), Yangzhou Pingtan (of Yangzhou), and Nanjing Pingtan (of Nanjing). Xiju, a form of traditional Chinese opera, is popular in Wuxi, while Huaiju is popular further north, around Yancheng. Jiangsu cuisine is one of the eight great traditions of the cuisine of China.
Suzhou is also famous for its silk, embroidery art, jasmine tea, stone bridges, pagodas, and its classical gardens. Nearby Yixing is famous for its teaware, and Yangzhou is famous for its lacquerware and jadeware. Nanjing's yunjin is a famous form of woven silk, while Wuxi is famous for its peaches.
Since ancient times, south Jiangsu has been famed for its prosperity and opulence, and simply inserting south Jiangsu place names (Suzhou, Yangzhou, etc.) into poetry gave an effect of dreaminess, as was indeed done by many famous poets. In particular, the fame of Suzhou (as well as Hangzhou in neighbouring Zhejiang province) has led to the popular saying: (above there is heaven; below there is Suzhou and Hangzhou), a saying that continues to be a source of pride for the people of these two still prosperous cities. Similarly, the prosperity of Yangzhou has led poets to dream of: (with a hundred thousand strings of coins wrapped around the waist, riding a crane down to Yangzhou).
"Su cuisine" describes Jiangsu dishes, including local dishes from Yangzhou, Nanjing, and Suzhou, which are near Shanghai. It features rigorous selection of materials, exquisite cooking, harmonious color matching, and handsome modeling. Su cuisine often features fresh river fish, lake crab, and vegetables. Its cooking methods include stewing, braising, steaming, burning, frying, and emphasizes the making of exquisite soup. Highlighted flavors have been described as fresh, slippery, soft, fat but not oily, light but not thin. The traditional dishes include Crabmeat Meatball, Squirrel with Mandarin Fish, Poached Crucian, Braised Chub Head, Crisp Eel, Phoenix Chicken, Steamed Gansi. [Source: Liu Jun, Museum of Nationalities, Central University for Nationalities, Science Museums of China, China virtual museums, Computer Network Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences, kepu.net.cn ~]
Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces---known as yu mi zhi xiang (“land of fish and rice”) for their soil, water and climate---are famous in China for their regional cuisine. One Hangzhou chef told The New Yorker, “Our flavors are as varied as the Sichuanese, but they tend to be light and bright, without the heavy spiciness. We emphasize regional produce, and the essential tastes of raw materials."
Jiangsu Cuisine is known for its sweet, vinegar-laced lake and river fish, shellfish and rice dishes. Famous dishes include West Lake fish in vinegar (made with a live fish thrown in the stewing pot), a soft shell turtle stew known as "The King Bid Farewell to his Consort," Nanjing pressed-salted duck and squirrel-shaped mandarin Fish. Zhejiang and Jiangsu dishes use little oil, salt sugar or starch and not surprisingly are regarded as very healthy.
Zhenjiang (150 kilometers northwest of Shanghai) is a city in Jiangsu Province not Zhejiang Province. Zhenjiang Serículture Institute is China's main silk agricultural center. It has 300 different kinds of silk worm. Pearl Buck's Residence in Zhenjiang was renovated to honor the 100th anniversary of her birthday in 1992.
Web Sites: Travel China Guide Travel China Guide
Getting There:Zhenjiang is a about 1½ hours from Shanghai on a new fast train and is well connected to other main cities on China. Not all trains that pass through the city stop there. Lonely Planet (click Getting There) Lonely Planet
Jiaoshan Hill (five kilometers northeast of Zhenjiang) stands right in the middle of the Yangtze river. Often called the floating jade hill, it is the home of Jingshan Temple. Because the two seem to merge into one, it is often described as the "temple that embraces the hill." At the top of the hill is the 30 meter high Cishou pagoda and the "Keep the Clouds" pavilion. Also found on this island are rock carvings and stele forests.
Jinshan Temple (on top of Jinshan Hill) is also known as Golden Hill Temple. Located in the center of Jinshan Park, and established 1,600 years ago, the temple became well-known due to Emperor Kangxi's visits during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the temple has been involved in numerous popular folk legends throughout Chinese history. The Temple is in fact a structural complex comprising multiple temples and Buddhist halls. The temple initially gained popularity during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. The temple is visible from far away and it has become a symbol of the city. It attracts millions of visitors every year. Admission: 45 yuan (US$7.12) per person [Source: China.org]
Xuzhou (300 kilometers north-northwest of Shanghai, about midway between Beijing and Shanghai) is the largest city of northern Jiangsu and most ancient city of the province. Near where Jiangsu, Henan and Shandong provinces come together, the city has an important geographic location and was thus sought after kingdoms of ancient and medieval China. Thousands of years of history have left the city with a rich culture. It was the second political center of the Han Dynasty (260 B.C.-A.D. 220). Now, the city is the center of the Huaihai economic development zone and also lies in an important agricultural area Xuzhou Subway Map: Urban Rail urbanrail.net Most tourist sights are reached by bus or taxi
According to Travel China Guide: “The first emperor of the Han Dynasty Gaozu was born in Xuzhou and the culture of that splendid period of China's history was rooted in Xuzhou, leaving the city countless historic treasures. The most symbolic are the 'Handai San Jue' (the three most important items to come from the Han Dynasty) including the Han tombs, the terracotta warriors and the stone sculptures. These ancient cultural relics, together with the beautiful natural mountains and lakes in and around the city, form a large picture of Xuzhou attractions. Additionally, the city has many special villages. A particular Chinese Martial Art, called Wushu in Pinyin, originated in Peixian County, where many people practice martial arts and have developed individual skills. There are also the 'Chinese Folk Custom and Culture Village'-Mazhuang Village in Jiawang District, and the 'Chinese Chess Village'-Qijia Village in Pixian County, which will impress you with very special folk customs. [Source: Travel China Guide travelchinaguide.com
Xuzhou Museum of Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses of Han Dynasty (west side of the Lion Hill) contains thousands of terracotta warriors and horses from the Han era. “Standing in the two pits, the warriors, old or young, silent or naughty, all present different expressions of crying, laughing, frowning or contemplating. The ancient artisans emphasized to show the inner heart world and the characteristics of the warriors through their different gestures and expressions. These vividly made warriors have been shown abroad and won praises and appreciations again and again.”
Guishan Han Tomb (west side of Guishan Mountain in the Jiuli District) is the most famous Han tomb due to it's large scale, exquisite architecture and mysterious building ways. It is the tomb for the sixth prince and princess of the Western Han Dynasty-Liu Zhu (128BC-116 B.C.) and his wife. The workmen at that time dug out the mountainside and built this palace like tomb, which is consisted of two corridors, two tomb paths and five halls including bedrooms, parlors, kitchens and stables.
Gallery of Han Stone Sculptures (the Yunlong Mountain) is a special museum collecting and exhibiting the stone sculptures of the Han Dynasty. It holds over 1,000 stone sculptures. The most precious and famous sculptures amongst the collection are the Weaving Picture, the Cattle Ploughing Picture, the Drinking with Dance and Music Picture as well as the All Birds towards Phoenix. Combined painting and carving art together, these stone pictures present the true life and beautiful fairy stories of the ancient people.
Huaxi, China's Richest Village
Huaxi Village in Jiangyin County in Jiangsu Province is regarded as China’s richest village. Along its Tree-lined boulevards are identical red-roofed villas with manicured lawns and two car garages. As of 2009, each family had a house and at least one car, provided by the community, and assets of $150,000.
Huaxi is home to 30,000 people and remains essentially a commune, with land owned jointly and wealth divided among everyone. Every hour loudspeakers in the village square blast: “If you want to see a miracle, come to Huaxi.”
Gambling and drugs and talking to outsiders are strictly forbidden. There are no bars, karaokes, Internet cafes or nightlife. Anyone who engages in speculation has their property confiscated. For social activities there are lots of meetings and entertainment provided by the village theatrical troupe. Workers receive half their income in regular salaries and half in bonuses. People who move from the village forfeit their property.
The village’s steel, iron and textiles enterprises brought it $7.3 billion in sales in 2008. The Huaxi Group was the first commune corporation to be listed on a Chinese stock market. The underpinning of the community — the 30,000 migrant workers, who keep the factories humming — receive a much smaller share of the wealth than the commune’s residents.
In 2003, Huaxai contained 58 village-owned businesses that did $1.2 billion in business and had fixed assets of $362 million. Villagers earn an average of $6,000 a year, a lot by Chinese standards, and live in houses that average 400 square meters.
Pexian: China’s Dog Eating Center
Peixian (near Xuzhou) is located in the heart of the dog-eating region of China. People here regularly eat dog soup, pulled dog meat sandwiches and dog stew and are particularly fond of starting their day with a breakfast of hot soy milk and a pieces of oily, red dog wrapped in a pita-like flat bread. According to the Global Times: “Peixian in Jiangsu has the third-highest dog consumption trade in China.” People in Guangdong, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and in Northeast China's Jilin also have high levels of dog consumption and trade
In the early 2000s, about 300,000 dogs were raised for food. About half were for local consumption. The others were exported to other parts of China and to Korea. Turtle-flavored, hand-pulled dog meat is a local specialty. It can purchased in boxes or vacuum-sealed plastic in gift shops and at the airport in nearby Xuzhou. Portraits of collies, spaniels and beagles are found throughout the town. [Source: Craig S. Smith, New York Times, July 7, 2001]
The dog meat trade is still alive in Peixian although now it more discreet and smaller in scale. In March 2020, the Global Times reported: Peixian Fankuai Dog Meat Products Co, dog meat processing company, opposed Shenzhen's legislation to ban the consumption of dogs, saying such a ban shows disapproval of China's food culture and that eating dogs can show "the confidence of Chinese culture." "Eating dogs is a tradition with more than 2,000 years of history in Jiangsu ... We should highlight our cultural confidence through the food we eat," an employee of the company told the Global Times on condition of anonymity, adding that the article was deleted due to social pressure. [Source: Global Times, March 10, 2020]
“He noted Shenzhen's draft legislation is only for "extreme dog lovers" instead of dog meat consumers and lacks basis in broad public sentiment. The company said in the article that dogs, which are not wild animals, should not be included on the banned wild animal consumption list, citing the proposed city legislation would contradict national policy and regulations, as the consumption of dogs is not banned in China's Food Safety Law.
“According to Peixian Fankuai's website, the company was established in 1994 and its current total investment is 8 million yuan ($1.15 million). However, enterprise information search platform qixin.com showed the dog meat processor's registered capital was only 500,000 yuan, and that the company began in 2004. The company employee said that in 2019, the firm slaughtered about 1,000 dogs. Before 2010, that number was more than 10,000 as more and more dog lovers have since been campaigning against the consumption of dogs.” Web Site: Travel China Guide (click attractions) Travel China Guide
Changzhou: Home of the World’s Tallest Pagoda
Changzhou (160 kilometers from Shanghai) is city of 3.4 million people on the Yangtze and the home of Tianing Pagoda, a structure completed in 2007 and said to be the tallest pagoda in the world at 153.79 meters. Known in the past for its silk and spider wed of canal, it is now known for its large number of textile factories.
The water in the canals used to be clean enough to drink from but now is polluted with chemicals from the factories. The fish are mostly dead and water is black and gives a foul odor. Afraid to drink the water, the residents of Changzhou began digging wells. Groundwater supplies have been sucked out so that ground levels has shrunk two feet in many places. Farmers have stopped irrigated their paddies because the water is laced heavy metals. To solve its water problems, the city has hired the French company Veolia to clean up and manage its water.
Tianning Temple (in Changzhou City) is regarded as the world’s tallest pagoda. Built between 2002 and 2007 and consecrated in a ceremony attended by hundreds of Buddhist monks, it has 13 stories and reaches a height of 153.79 meters (505 feet). China's tallest existent pre-modern Buddhist pagoda is the 84-meter (275-foot) Liaodi Pagoda built in 1055. The temple grounds where the pagoda was built has a that goes back 1,350 years to the Tang Dynasty (618–907). Money donations for the new pagoda was largely an international effort. Leaders of 108 Buddhist associations and temples worldwide attended the opening ceremony at the temple. On 25 May 2006 the lower levels of the pagoda caught fire. However, no permanent damage was done. [Source: Wikipedia wikipedia.org
Changzhou Dinosaur Park opened in 2000. Andrew China wrote: “This (somewhat) educational theme park remains the fourth most popular theme park on the Mainland. Often called “Eastern Jurassic Park,” it mixes a few rides with a 20,000-square-meter museum devoted to dinosaurs, and is home to 70 different kinds of trees and more than 4,000 plants as part of its ecological commitment. Website: www.cnkly.com/Common/English [Source: Andrew Chin, That’s Shanghai, July 28, 2016]
Web Sites: Travel China Guide a Travel China Guide Hotel Web Site: Sinohotel Sinohotel Budget Accommodation: Check Lonely Planet books; Travellerspoint (click China and place in China) Travellerspoint Getting There: Changzhou is a about one hour and 45 minutes from Shanghai on the new fast train and is well connected to other main cities on China. Not all trains that pass through the city stop there. Changzhou Subway Map: Urban Rail urbanrail.net
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization), China.org, UNESCO, reports submitted to UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, China Daily, Xinhua, Global Times, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Updated in July 2021