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Zhejiang Province

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Zhejiang Province

For the former Chekiang province of the Republic of China, see Chekiang Province, Republic of China.
Zhejiang Province
Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese 浙江省 (Zhèjiāng Shěng)
 • Abbreviation (pinyin: Zhè)
 • Wu Tsehkaon San

Map showing the location of Zhejiang Province

Coordinates: 29°12′N 120°30′E / 29.2°N 120.5°E / 29.2; 120.5Coordinates: 29°12′N 120°30′E / 29.2°N 120.5°E / 29.2; 120.5

Named for Old name of Qiantang River
(and largest city)
Divisions 11 prefectures, 90 counties, 1570 townships
 • Secretary Xia Baolong
 • Governor Li Qiang
 • Total 101,800 km2 (39,300 sq mi)
Area rank 26th
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 54,426,891
 • Rank 10th
 • Density 530/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
 • Density rank 8th
 • Ethnic composition Han: 99.2%
She: 0.4%
 • Languages and dialects Wu, Huizhou, Jianghuai Mandarin Min Nan (in Cangnan and Pingyang County)
ISO 3166 code CN-33
GDP (2012[2]) CNY 3.460 trillion
US$ 556.37 billion (4th)
 - per capita CNY 63,583
US$ 10,222 (6th)
HDI (2008) 0.841 (high) (5th)

Zhejiang (Hangzhou, the provincial capital. The name of the province is often abbreviated to its first character, "浙".

Zhejiang borders Jiangsu province and Shanghai municipality to the north, Anhui province to the northwest, Jiangxi province to the west, and Fujian province to the south; to the east is the East China Sea, beyond which lie the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.



The area of modern Zhejiang was outside the major sphere of influence of early Chinese civilization during the Shang Dynasty (16th to 11th century BC). Instead, this area was populated by peoples collectively known as the Yue, such as the Dongyue and the Ouyue. In the Spring and Autumn Period, the state of Yue emerged in northern Zhejiang. The Yue state was heavily influenced by the Chinese civilization further north. Under King Goujian of Yue, Yue reached its zenith and was able to wipe out the powerful state of Wu to its immediate north, in 473 BC. Then, in 333 BC, Yue was in turn conquered by the state of Chu, which was to the west. In 221 BC, the state of Qin completed the conquest of the last of the formerly independent states of China, including the state of Chu. This conquest made what is now Zhejiang part of a unified Chinese empire.

Qin, Han, and Three Kingdoms

Throughout the Qin Dynasty (221 to 206 BC) and Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD), Zhejiang was under the control of a unified Chinese state. However, the area of today's Zhejiang was still on the fringe of the empire, at best. Southern Zhejiang was under no more than nominal control. Its Yue inhabitants largely retained their own political and social structures. Near the end of the Han Dynasty, Zhejiang was home to the minor warlords Yan Baihu and Wang Lang. These two were defeated by Sun Ce and Sun Quan, who established the Kingdom of Wu (222–280), one of the three kingdoms of the Three Kingdoms era.

Six Dynasties

From the 4th century onwards, China experienced invasions from the north by nomadic peoples, who succeeded in conquering much of the territory of North China. This ushered in the era of the Sixteen Kingdoms and the Southern and Northern Dynasties. As part of this process, massive numbers of refugees fled the north and arrived in South China. The large numbers of refugees from the north accelerated the sinicization of South China, including Zhejiang, as people from the northern areas became incorporated into the kingdom of the Eastern Jin Dynasty or the other Southern Dynasties states of the time. Though the capital of the Southern Dynasties kingdoms was (almost by definition) Jiankang, in the location of modern Nanjing, in the province of Jiangsu; nevertheless, the Zhejiang area was home to the major metropolis and cultural center of Hangzhou, formerly known as Qiantang, but renamed in 589. Jiankang and Hangzhou together with Chengdu were the three major cities of southern China in this period, and Hangzhou was the main city of what is now Zhejiang.

Sui and Tang

The Sui Dynasty reestablished unity and rebuilt and expanded the Grand Canal of China, which linked Hangzhou to the North China Plain, providing Zhejiang with a vital link to the other centers of Chinese civilization. The Tang Dynasty (618–907) presided over a golden age of China. Zhejiang was, at this time, part of the Jiangnan East Circuit, and there began to appear references to its prosperity. Later on, as the Tang Dynasty disintegrated, Zhejiang constituted most of the territory of the regional kingdom of Wuyue.

Northern Song

The Northern Song Dynasty re-established unity in around 960. Under the Song Dynasty, the prosperity of South China began to overtake that of North China. After the north was lost to the Jurchens in 1127, Zhejiang had its heyday. The modern provincial capital, Hangzhou, was the capital of the Han Chinese Southern Song Dynasty which remained in power in South China. Renowned for its prosperity and beauty, it may have been the largest city in the world at the time.[5] Ever since then, north Zhejiang has, together with neighboring south Jiangsu, been synonymous with luxury and opulence in Chinese culture. The Mongol conquest and the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty in 1279 ended Hangzhou's political clout, though Hangzhou continued to prosper. Marco Polo visited the city, which he called "Kinsay"; he called it the "finest and noblest city" in the world".[6]

Southern Song

The Zhejiang province, particularly the Longquan district, became renowned during the Southern Song and Yuan dynasty for its production of a particular celadon (greenware) ceramic. The Southern Song Longquan celadon is characterized by a thick unctuous glaze of a particular bluish-green tint over an otherwise undecorated light-grey porcellaneous body that is delicately potted. Yuan Longquan celadons feature a thinner, greener glaze on increasingly large vessels with decoration and shapes derived from Middle Eastern ceramic and metalwares. These were produced in large quantities for the Chinese export trade to Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and during the Ming Dynasty, Europe. Ming wares are mainly noted for a decrease in quality. It is in this period that the Longquan kilns declined, to be eventually replaced in popularity and ceramic production by the kilns of Jingdezhen, in neighboring Jiangxi province.[7]


The Ming Dynasty, which drove out the Mongols in 1368, created the province of Zhejiang. The borders of the province have changed little since it was founded.


Under the late Ming dynasty and the Qing dynasty that followed it, Zhejiang's ports were important centers of international trade.

"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 (Jiangsu) 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."[8] "Cheh Kiang" is another romanization for Zhejiang.

During the First Opium War, the British navy defeated Eight Banners forces at Ningbo and Dinghai. Under the terms of the Treaty of Nanjing, signed in 1843, Ningbo became one of the five Chinese treaty ports opened to virtually unrestricted foreign trade. Much of Zhejiang came under the control of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom during the Taiping Rebellion, which resulted in a considerable loss of life in the province. In 1876, Wenzhou became Zhejiang's second treaty port.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, which led into World War II, much of Zhejiang was occupied by Japan and placed under the control of the Japanese puppet state known as the Reorganized National Government of China. Following the Doolittle Raid, most of the B-25 American crews that came down in China eventually made it to safety with the help of Chinese civilians and soldiers. The Chinese people who helped them, however, paid dearly for sheltering the Americans. The Imperial Japanese Army began the Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign to intimidate the Chinese out of helping downed American airmen. The Japanese killed an estimated 250,000 civilians while searching for Doolittle’s men.[9]

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, even establishing a rival Zhejiang provincial government there, creating a situation similar to Fujian province today. During the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), Zhejiang was in chaos and disunity, and its economy was stagnant, especially during the high tide (1966–69) of the revolution. The agricultural policy favoring grain production at the expense of industrial and cash crops intensified economic hardships in the province. Mao’s self-reliance policy and the reduction in maritime trade cut off the lifelines of the port cities of Ningbo and Wenzhou. While Mao invested heavily in railroads in interior China, no major railroads were built in South Zhejiang, where transportation remained poor.[10]

Zhejiang benefited less from central government investment than some other provinces due to its lack of natural resources, a location vulnerable to potential flooding from the sea, and an economic base at the national average. Zhejiang, however, has been an epicenter of capitalist development in China, and has led the nation in the development of a market economy and private enterprises.[10] Northeast Zhejiang, as part of the Yangtze Delta, is flat, more developed, and industral.[10] South Zhejiang is mountainous and largely 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 entrepreneurial spirit, low labor 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 richest provinces of China.

Contrary to traditional Confucian ideas, intellectuals in Zhejiang, such as Shi Ye of the Yongjia School, promoted commercial activity. Over the years, Zhejiang has developed a tradition of commercial activity and entrepreneurship.


Zhejiang consists mostly of hills, which account for about 70% of its total area. Altitudes tend to be the highest to the south and west, and the highest peak of the province, Huangmaojian Peak (1,929 metres (6,329 ft)), is located in the southwest. Mountains and mountain ranges in the province include the Yandang Mountains, Tianmu Mountain, Mount Tiantai, and Mount Mogan, which reach altitudes of 700 to 1,500 metres (2,300 to 4,900 ft).

Valleys and plains are found along the coastline and rivers. The north of the province lies 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 Qu River around the cities of Quzhou and Jinhua. Major rivers include the Qiangtang and Ou Rivers. Most rivers carve out valleys in the highlands, with plenty of rapids and other features associated with such topography. Well-known lakes include the West Lake of Hangzhou and the South Lake of Jiaxing.

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

Zhejiang has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. Spring starts in March and is rainy with changeable weather. Summer, from June to September is long, hot, rainy, 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 (59 to 66 °F), average January temperature is around 2 to 8°C (36 to 46°F) and average July temperature is around 27 to 30°C (81 to 86°F). Annual precipitation is about 1,000 to 1,900 mm (39 to 75 in). There is plenty of rainfall in early summer, and by late summer Zhejiang is directly threatened by typhoons forming in the Pacific.

Administrative divisions

Main articles: List of administrative divisions of Zhejiang and List of township-level divisions of Zhejiang

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

Map # Name Administrative Seat Hanzi
Hanyu Pinyin
Population (2010)
Sub-provincial city
1 Hangzhou Gongshu District 杭州市
Hángzhōu Shì
2 Ningbo Haishu District 宁波市
Níngbō Shì
Prefecture-level city
3 Huzhou Wuxing District 湖州市
Húzhōu Shì
4 Jiaxing Nanhu District 嘉兴市
Jiāxīng Shì
5 Jinhua Wucheng District 金华市
Jīnhuá Shì
6 Lishui Liandu District 丽水市
Líshuǐ Shì
7 Quzhou Kecheng District 衢州市
Qúzhōu Shì
8 Shaoxing Yuecheng District 绍兴市
Shàoxīng Shì
9 Taizhou Jiaojiang District 台州市
Tāizhōu Shì
10 Wenzhou Lucheng District 温州市
Wēnzhōu Shì
11 Zhoushan Dinghai District 舟山市
Zhōushān Shì

The eleven prefecture-level divisions of Zhejiang are subdivided into 90 county-level divisions (32 districts, 22 county-level cities, 35 counties, and one autonomous county). Those are in turn divided into 1570 township-level divisions (761 towns, 505 townships, 14 ethnic townships, and 290 subdistricts).


Main articles: Politics of Zhejiang and List of provincial leaders of the People's Republic of China

The politics of Zhejiang is structured in a dual party-government system like all other governing institutions in Mainland China.

The Governor of Zhejiang is the highest-ranking official in the People's Government of Zhejiang. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Zhejiang Communist Party of China (CPC) Provincial Committee Secretary, colloquially termed the "Zhejiang CPC Party Chief". Zhejiang was home to Chiang Kai-shek and many high-ranking officials in the Nationalist Party, who fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the Civil War.


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. The 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 handicraft production of goods such as silk, for which it is ranked second among the provinces. Its many market towns connect the cities with the countryside.

As of 1832, the province was exporting silk, paper, fans, pencils, wine, dates, tea and "golden-flowered" hams.[3]

Ningbo, Wenzhou, Taizhou and Zhoushan are important commercial ports. The Hangzhou Bay Bridge between Haiyan County and Cixi, is the longest bridge over a continuous body of sea water in the world.

Zhejiang's main manufacturing sectors are 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. However, some economists now worry that this model is not sustainable, in that it is inefficient and places unreasonable demands on raw materials and public utilities, and also a dead end, in that the myriad small businesses in Zhejiang producing cheap goods in bulk are unable to move to more sophisticated or technologically more advanced industries.[11] The economic heart of Zhejiang is moving from North Zhejiang, centered on Hangzhou, southeastward to the region centered on Wenzhou and Taizhou.[10] 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.[12] Zhejiang's nominal GDP for 2011 was 3.20 trillion yuan (US$506 billion) with a per capita GDP of 44,335 yuan (US$6,490).[13] 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.[11][14][15][16]

Zhejiang was the first province of China without any counties in the poverty-county list of the central government. Zhejiang has become one of the most commercial and richest provinces in China. Compared to many other Chinese provinces, the development of different regions in Zhejiang is more balanced. While the countyside still lags behind, in 2006, the per capita disposable incomes of all eleven prefecture-level divisions in Zhejiang ranked among the top 30 in Chinese cities.

Economic and Technological Development Zones

  • Huzhou Economic Development Zone
  • Dinghai Industrial Park
  • Hangzhou Economic & Technological Developing Area
  • Hangzhou New & Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone
  • Hangzhou Export Processing Zone
  • Hangzhou Zhijiang National Tourist Holiday Resort
  • Jiaxing Export Processing Zone
  • Ningbo Economic and Technical Development Zone
  • Ningbo Daxie Island Development Zone
  • Ningbo Free Trade Zone
  • Ningbo Export Processing Zone
  • Quzhou Industrial Park
  • Shenjia Economic and Technological Development Zone
  • Wenzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone
  • Xiaoshan Economic and Technological Development Zone
  • Zhejiang Quzhou Hi-Tech Park
  • Zhejiang Zhoushan Economic Development Zone
  • Zhejiang Donggang Economic Development Zone

Economic and technological development concerns

Waste disposal

On Thursday, September 15, 2011, more than 500 people from Hongxiao Village protested over the large-scale death of fish in a nearby river. Angry protesters stormed the Zhejiang Jinko Solar Company factory compound, overturned eight company vehicles, and destroyed the offices before police came to disperse the crowd. Protests continued on the two following nights with reports of scuffles, officials said. Chen Hongming, a deputy head of Haining's environmental protection bureau, said the factory's waste disposal had failed pollution tests since April. The environmental watchdog had warned the factory, but it had not effectively controlled the pollution, Chen added.[17]


Han Chinese make up the vast majority of the population, and the largest Han subgroup are the speakers of Wu varieties of Chinese. There are also 400,000 members of ethnic minorities, including approximately 200,000 She people and approximately 20,000 Hui Chinese. Jingning She Autonomous County in Lishui is the only She autonomous county in China.[18]


The Zhejiang Radio & Television, Hangzhou Radio & Television Group, Ningbo Radio & Television Group are the local broadcasters in Zhejiang Province. Programs are produced by Guinness of China Television, and entertainment is produced by Wenzhou Television.



Zhejiang is mountainous and has therefore fostered the development of many distinct local cultures. Linguistically speaking, Zhejiang is extremely diverse. Most inhabitants of Zhejiang speak Wu, one of the Chinese languages, but the Wu dialects are very diverse, especially in the south, where one valley may speak a dialect completely unintelligible to the next valley a few kilometers away. Non-Wu dialects are spoken as well, mostly along the borders; Mandarin and Huizhou dialects are spoken on the border with Anhui, while Min dialects are spoken on the border with Fujian. (See Hangzhou dialect, Shaoxing dialect, Ningbo dialect, Wenzhou dialect, Taizhou dialect, Jinhua dialect, and Quzhou dialect for more information).

Throughout history there have been a series of lingua francas in the area to allow for better communication. The dialects spoken in Hangzhou, Shaoxing, and Ningbo have taken on this role historically. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Mandarin, which is not mutually intelligible with any of the local dialects, has been promoted as the standard language of communication throughout China. As a result, most of the population now can, to some degree, speak and comprehend Mandarin and can code-switch when necessary. A majority of the population educated since 1978 can speak Mandarin. Urban residents tend to be more fluent in Mandarin than rural people. Nevertheless, a Zhejiang accent is detectable in almost everyone from the area communicating in Mandarin, and the home dialect remains an important part of the everyday lives and cultural identities of most Zhejiang residents.


Zhejiang is the home of Yueju (), one of the most prominent forms of Chinese opera. Yueju originated in Shengzhou and is traditionally performed by actresses only, in both male and female roles. Other important opera traditions include Yongju (of Ningbo), Shaoju (of Shaoxing), Ouju (of Wenzhou), Wuju (of Jinhua), Taizhou Luantan (of Taizhou) and Zhuji Luantan (of Zhuji).


Longjing tea (also called dragon well tea), originating in Hangzhou, is one of the most prestigious, if not the most prestigious Chinese tea. Hangzhou is also renowned for its silk umbrellas and hand fans. Zhejiang cuisine (itself subdivided into many traditions, including Hangzhou cuisine) is one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine.

Place names

Since ancient times, north Zhejiang and neighbouring south Jiangsu have been famed for their prosperity and opulence, and simply inserting north Zhejiang place names (Hangzhou, Jiaxing, etc.) into poetry gave an effect of dreaminess, as was indeed done by many famous poets. In particular, the fame of Hangzhou (as well as Suzhou in neighbouring Jiangsu province) has led to the popular saying: 上有天堂,下有苏杭 ("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.

Notable people

Politics and military




Tourist destinations in Zhejiang include:

  • Baoguo Temple, one of the oldest intact wooden structures in Southern China, 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north of Ningbo.
  • Mount Putuo, one of the most noted Buddhist mountains in China. Chinese Buddhists associate it with Guan Yin.
  • Qita Temple, Ningbo.
  • Shaoxing, site of the Tomb of Yu the Great, Wuzhen and other waterway towns.
  • The ancient capital of Hangzhou.
  • Mount Tiantai, (天台山), a mountain important to Zen Buddhism.
  • West Lake, in Hangzhou.
  • Yandangshan, a mountainous scenic area near Wenzhou.
  • Qiandao Lake, lit. Thousand-island lake.
  • Guoqing Temple, founded in the Sui Dynasty, the founding location of Tiantai Buddhism
  • Mount Mogan, a scenic mountain an hour from Hangzhou with many pre-World War II villas built by foreigners, along with one of Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang compounds


Professional sports teams based in Zhejiang include:


Colleges and universities




External links

  • Zhejiang Government website (Chinese) (English) (Japanese)
  • (English) (Chinese) Complete Map of the Seven Coastal Provinces from 1821-1850

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