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A Brief Description of China's Provinces and Regions

Anhui to Guangdong

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Local political boundaries in China include 22 provinces, five autonomous regions and four municipalities. There are also two special administrative regions and one "renegade" province. (Guess which one that is).

The provinces:

Anhui (安徽): Located in east China to the west of Zhejiang Province in the Yangtze River Delta. Size: 53,800 square miles (139,600 sq. km). Population: 65 million as of 2004. Major cities: Hefei (capital), Huaibei, Suzhou, Bozhou, Bengbu, Fuyang. Economy: 2007 GDP: 735 billion yuan ($109 billion), up 14 percent over 2006. Major Crops/Industry: Rice, wheat, cotton, vegetable oil crops, tea, iron and copper ore. Historical Note: Created in the Qing Dynasty in 1667 Anhui’s name is a combination of the first character of two prefectures at the time: Anqing and Huizhou. It is also referred to as “Wan” for a mountain and an ancient nation that was located in the area during the Spring and Autumn period (722-481 BCE). Official Chinese Website: http://www.ah.gov.cn/

Fujian (福建): Located on the southeastern China coast, just north of Guangdong Province and directly parallel to Taiwan. Size: 46,900 square miles (121,400 sq km). Population: 35 million as of 2005. Major Cities: Fuzhou (capital), Xiamen, Quanzhou, Zhangzhou, Putian. Economy: 2007 GDP: 916 billion yuan ($134 billion), up 11 percent from 2004. Major Crops/Industry: Rice, sweet potatoes, wheat, tea, machine, electrical, food, chemical, leather goods. Historical Note: An old region of China, Fujian was known as Minyue in the Spring and Autumn period (722-481 BCE). Min is the name of an important river in the province. It was named Fujian in the Tang Dynasty. Because of its place as a sea navigation hub, Fujianese have been migrating overseas for centuries. Many overseas Chinese trace their roots to Fujian. Official Chinese Website: http://www.fujian.gov.cn/

Gansu (甘肃): Located in northwest China in the upper reaches of the Yellow and Yangtze River and southwest of Inner Mongolia. Size: 176,000 square miles (455,000 sq km) Population: 26 million in 2004. Major Cities: Lanzhou (capital), Tianshui, Baiying, Jinchang, Qingyang. Economy: 2007 GDP: 270 billion yuan ($40 billion), up 12 percent from the previous year. Major Crops/Industry: Melons, vegetables, hops, barley, traditional Chinese medicines, animal husbandry. Historical Note: A main stop on the Silk Road, Gansu has long held a place in ancient Chinese nation building. It has served as a province for more than 700 years and is also rich in ancient Buddhist temples carved inside caves. The province also has a significant ethic minority population which accounts for about 2.2 million people. Official Chinese Website: http://www.gansu.gov.cn/

Guangdong (广东): Located at the southern tip of China, just below Fujian, Guangdong has long been a site for international trade. Today it is one of China’s most developed provinces. Size: 68,600 square miles (177,600 sq. km.) Population: 92 million in 2005. Major Cities: Guangzhou (capital), Chaozhou, Dongguan, Shenzhen, Shantou, Zhuhai. Economy: 2007 GDP: 3 trillion yuan ($440 billion). Major Crops/Industry food processing, textiles, sugar refining, silk processing, metal processing, manufacture of machinery, shipbuilding, rice. Historical Note: Guangdong has been an established administrative region of China for over 2,000 years. Its name was given in the Ming Dynasty. In the 1800s, thousands of Chinese laborers migrated from Guangdong to the United States to participate in the gold rush and build the trans-continental railroad. Official Chinese Website: http://www.gd.gov.cn/

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