The Amur River marks the border between the People's Republic of China and Russia to the north. Heilongjiang contains China's northernmost point (in Mohe County along the Amur) and easternmost point (at the junction of the Amur and Ussuri Rivers).
Under the Manchu Qing Dynasty, the western part of Heilongjiang was under the supervision of the General of Heilongjiang, whose power extended, according to the Treaty of Nerchinsk, as far north as the Stanovoy Mountains; eastern Heilongjiang was under the supervision of the General of Jilin, whose power reached the Sea of Japan. These areas deep in Manchuria were closed off to Han Chinese migration.
However, in 1858 and 1860 the Qing government gave up all land beyond the Amur and Ussuri Rivers to Russia, cutting China off from the Sea of Japan and giving Heilongjiang its present northern borders. At the same time, Manchuria was opened to Han Chinese migration by the Qing government. By the early twentieth century, the Han Chinese had become the dominant ethnic group in the region. In 1932, present-day Heilongjiang became part of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo.
After the Japanese defeat in 1945, Soviet forces entered Manchuria and gave the Chinese communists control over most of the area. Heilongjiang became the first province to be completely controlled by the Chinese communists and Harbin the first major city to be controlled by them. From Manchuria, the communists were able to conduct the initial phases of the Chinese Civil War.
At the beginning of communist rule, Heilongjiang province included only the western portion of the present-day province, and had its capital at Qiqihar. The remaining area was the province of Songjiang; its capital was Harbin. In 1954, these two provinces were merged into present-day Heilongjiang. During the Cultural Revolution Heilongjiang was also expanded to include Hulunbuir League and some other areas previously in Inner Mongolia; this has since mostly been reversed.
The interior of the province, which is relatively flat and low in altitude, contains the Songhua River, the Nen River, and the Mudan River, all tributaries of the Amur, while the northern border forms part of the Amur valley. Xingkai Lake (or Khanka Lake) is found on the border with Russia's Primorsky Krai.
Heilongjiang is subarctic in climate. Winters are long and frigid, with an average of −31 to −15°C in January, and summers are short and cool with an average of 18 to 23°C in July. The annual average rainfall is 500 to 600 mm, concentrated mostly in summer.
The sub-province-level city:
The prefecture-level cities:
(About this last prefecture there is information to find at the section Greater Khingan)
The thirteen prefecture-level divisions of Heilongjiang are subdivided into 130 county-level divisions (65 districts, nineteen county-level cities, forty-five counties, and one autonomous county). Those are in turn divided into 1284 township-level divisions (473 towns, 400 townships, 58 ethnic townships, and 353 subdistricts).
List of Secretaries of the CPC Heilongjiang Committee:
List of Governors:
Heilongjiang is also an important source of lumber for China. Pine, especially the Korean pine and larch are the most important forms of lumber produced in Heilongjiang. Forests are mostly to be found in the Daxingan Mountains and Xiaoxingan Mountains, which are also home to protected animal species such as the Siberian Tiger, the red-crowned crane, and the lynx.
Petroleum is of great importance in Heilongjiang, and the Daqing oilfields are an important source of petroleum for China. Coal, gold, and graphite are other important minerals to be found in Heilongjiang. Heilongjiang also has great potential for wind power, with an average wind energy density of 200 watts per square metre.
Heilongjiang is part of northeast China (Manchuria), the traditional base of industry for the People's Republic of China. Industry is focused upon coal, petroleum, lumber, machinery, and food. Due to its location, Heilongjiang is also an important gateway for trade with Russia. In recent years, however, Manchuria has suffered from stagnation. As a result, the government has started the Revitalize Northeast China campaign to deal with this problem, using privatization as the preferred method of economic reform.
In 2007, Heilongjiang's nominal GDP was 707.72 billion yuan (US$93 billion), an annual growth rate of 12.1%. Its per capita GDP was 18,510 yuan (US$2,434). In 2007, Heilongjiang's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were worth 89.25 billion yuan, 377.95 billion yuan, and 240.52 billion yuan respectively. The per capita disposable income of urban residents in Heilongjiang reached 10,245 yuan (about US$1,350), a rise of 11.6% from the previous year. The per capita net income of rural residents in the province reached 4,132 yuan (about US$540), a rise of 16.3 from 2006.
|Ethnic groups in Heilongjiang (2000 census)||Nationality||Population||Percentage||Han Chinese||34,465,039||95.20%||Manchu||1,037,080||2.86%||Koreans||388,458||1.07%||Mongol||141,495||0.39%||Hui||124,003||0.34%||Daur||43,608||0.12%||Xibe||8,886||0.03%|
Harbin, the provincial capital, is a city of contrasts, with Chinese, Russian, and eclectic worldwide influences clearly apparent. Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant churches dot the city.
The long, cold winter is the backdrop for its famed ice sculpture exhibitions. In 2007 already the 8th Ice and Snow World opened to visitors in Harbin. More than 2000 ice sculptures were on display at the annual event.
Wudalianchi Lakes are a series of five lakes formed between 1719 and 1721 when volcanic eruption shaped one section of a tributary of the Amur into five interconnected lakes. The second lake in particular is renowned for its irregular geological sights.