The Chang's turbulent upper course, called the Jinsha or Kinsha, is roughly half its total length and flows southeast through forested, steep-walled gorges 2,000-4,000 ft (610-1,220 m) deep. After receiving the Yalong River, its first great tributary, at the Sichuan-Yunnan border, the Chang turns NE toward the Sichuan basin. At Yibin, on the western edge of the Sichuan basin, the river becomes the Chang proper and is joined by the "four rivers of Sichuan" (Min, Tuo, Fou, and Jailing). There is a hydroelectric power plant at Chongqing, on the basin's eastern edge.
Leaving the Sichuan basin, the Chang receives the Wu River and flows through the spectacular Chang gorges that extend from Fengjieh to Yichang; there the river is a serious hazard and at times navigation is impossible. Temples and pagodas are perched on prominent hills along the gorges. The Gezhouba Dam near Yichang regulates seasonally fluctuating water levels and harnesses the river's hydroelectric potential. In 1994 construction began farther upriver on the Three Gorges Dam, 30 mi (48 km) west of Yichang; the dam was completed in 2006, but its hydroelectric plant will not be fully operational until 2009.
East of Yichang, the Chang enters the lake-studded middle basin of Hubei, Hunan, and Jiangxi provs., a rich agricultural and industrial region; Wuhan, at the confluence of the Han and Chang, is the principal city. The huge Dongting and Poyang lakes, which receive the Yuan, Zi, and Xiang rivers and the Gan River, respectively, are linked by numerous channels with the Chang and serve as natural overflow reservoirs. Now shallow because of sedimentation, the lakes are less effective as regulators of the Chang's flow. Dikes protect large areas of the river's middle basin from floodwaters. Although the Chang does not often experience the devastating floods that characterize the Huang He (Yellow River), it has occasionally caused wide damage; great floods occurred in 1931, 1954, and 1998. The fertile middle basin is China's most productive agricultural region; rice is the main crop.
The river enters the East China Sea through the extensive, ever-expanding delta region of Anhui and Jiangsu provs. Dikes have been built to reclaim coastal marshes and create additional farmland. The Chang carries its greatest volume during the summer rainy season. It is navigable for oceangoing vessels to Wuhan, c.600 mi (970 km) upstream; during the summer high-water period, Yichang, c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) upstream, is the head of navigation.
In 2000, China announced plans to divert water from the Chang to the Huang He, which often runs dry from overuse, and to Beijing, Tianjin, and other northern cities. An eastern route would bring water from the lower Chang to the Huang He and Tianjin, utilizing in part sections of the Grand Canal, while a central route connect the Han (a tributary of the Chang) and the Chang to the Huang He, Beijing, and Tianjin. These routes are expected to be largely completed in a decade. A third, western route, linking the headwaters of the Chang to those of the Huang He, is expected to take up to 50 years to fully complete.
(born March 19, 1875, Haicheng, Liaoning province, China—died June 4, 1928, Shengyang, Liaoning) Chinese warlord. After fighting in the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95), Zhang organized a self-defense militia in his native district. By 1912 he was in command of a division, and he set out to dominate Manchuria (northeastern China), relying on the tacit support of the Japanese, to whom he granted concessions in Manchuria. In 1918 he became inspector general of Manchuria's three provinces, which he ruled as a virtually autonomous state. In 1920 he pushed south into the Chinese heartland and in 1924 took Beijing, but his troops had to abandon their position in the face of the 1927 Northern Expedition. Zhang was killed by a bomb planted by Japanese extremists who hoped his death would provoke the Japanese into occupying Manchuria.
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(born Sept. 2, 1837, Xingyi, Guizhou province, China—died Oct. 4, 1909) Chinese classicist and one of the foremost reformers of his time. From 1862 to 1882 he was a scholar and educational director; from 1882 to 1907 he rose from a provincial to a national leader. He supported the dowager empress Cixi, who in turn favoured him with many promotions. Concerned with rejuvenating China, he searched for a way for China to survive in the modern world that could accommodate Western knowledge but preserve traditional ways. His attempt to launch China's first iron-and-steel works failed, but he later built a railway that extended from Hankou to near Beijing, and he founded a mint, tanneries, tile and silk factories, and paper, cotton, and wool mills. In response to China's defeat in the Sino-Japanese War, Zhang turned his attention to education, encouraging study abroad for Chinese students, establishment of a school system, translation of Western and Japanese books, and acquisition of knowledge from foreign newspapers. He also urged that civil service examinations be abolished, which occurred in 1905. Seealso Zeng Guofan.
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