guangxi zhuang

Guangxi

Guangxi (or Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region; ) is a Zhuang autonomous region of the People's Republic of China.

Its location in southern China, along its border with Vietnam, and mountainous terrain, has made it one of the border frontiers of Chinese civilization. Even into the 20th century it was considered an open, wild territory. The current name "Guang" itself means "expanse", and has been associated with the region since the creation of Guang Prefecture in 226 AD. It was given provincial level status during the Yuan Dynasty and in 1949 was reformed as one of China's five minority autonomous regions.

The abbreviation of the province is 桂 (Gui), which comes from Guilin, former capital, center of much of Guangxi's culture, politics, and history, and currently a major city in the autonomous region.

Geography

Located in the southern part of the country, Guangxi is bordered by Yunnan to the west, Guizhou to the north, Hunan to the northeast, and Guangdong to the southeast. It is also bounded by Vietnam in the southwest and the Gulf of Tonkin in the south.

Guangxi is a mountainous region. The Nanling Mountains are found in the northeast border, with the Yuecheng Mountains (越城岭) and Haiyang Mountains (海洋山) being its shorter branching ridges. Nearer to the center of the region are the Dayao Mountains (大瑶山) and the Daming Mountains (大明山). To the north there are the Duyao Mountains (都阳山) and the Fenghuang Mountains (凤凰山), while on the southeast border there are the Yunkai Mountains (云开大山). The highest point is Mount Mao'er (猫儿山) located in the Yuecheng Mountains, at 2141 m.

Many rivers cut valleys through the mountains. Most of these rivers form the tributary basin of the West River:

Xijiang River system schematic
贺江 Hejiang River 西江 Xijiang River
漓江 Lijiang River 桂江 Guijiang River
北盘江 Beipan River 红水河 Hongshui River 黔江 Qianjiang River 浔江 Xunjiang River
南盘江 Nanpan River
融江 Rongjiang River 柳江 Liujiang River
龙江 Longjiang River
右江 Youjiang River 邕江 Yongjiang River 郁江 Yujiang River
左江 Zuojiang River

Guangxi has a short coastline on the Gulf of Tonkin. Important seaports include Beihai, Qinzhou and Fangchenggang.

Guangxi has a subtropical climate. Summers are generally long and hot. Average annual temperature is 17 to 23°C, while average annual precipitation is 1250 to 1750 mm.

Major cities include: Nanning, Beihai, Guilin, Liuzhou.

Notable towns include: Longmen, Sanjiang, Yangshuo.

History

Part of the region officially became part of China in 214 BC, when the army of the Qin Dynasty claimed most of southern China. The name "Guangxi" can be traced to the Song Dynasty, which administered the area as a circuit called the Guangnanxi Circuit (literally "Guang-South West Circuit"). During the late Mongol Yuan Dynasty the name was revived again to name a province in the region, but it was shortened to "Guangxi", or "Guang-West". For the next six centuries, Guangxi was a province of China, until its conversion into an autonomous region by the People's Republic of China because of its large minority population.

During the late Qing Dynasty, Guangxi was the site of the Jintian Uprising (金田起义), which occurred in what is now Guiping county in eastern Guangxi on January 11, 1851. On March 23, 1885, Zhennan Pass (now Youyi Pass) on the border with Vietnam was also the site of the Battle of Zhennan Pass (镇南关战役) during the Franco-Chinese War. During the battle, a French incursion was routed by Chinese forces under Feng Zicai (冯子才), an event that has been exalted by subsequent Chinese nationalism.

After the founding of the Republic of China, Guangxi served as the base for one of the most powerful warlord cliques of China: the Old Guangxi Clique. Led by Lu Jung-t'ing (陆荣廷) and others, the clique was able to take control of neighbouring Hunan and Guangdong provinces as well. The Old Guangxi Clique crumbled in the early 1920s, to be replaced by the New Guangxi Clique, led by Li Zongren and Bai Chongxi. Guangxi is also noted for the Baise Uprising (百色起义), a communist uprising led by Deng Xiaoping in 1929. Communist bases were set up, but eventually destroyed by Kuomintang forces.

In 1944, near the end of World War II, Japan invaded Guangxi as part of Operation Ichigo (also known as the Henan-Hunan-Guangxi Campaign (豫湘桂战役), in an attempt to seize the Hunan-Guangxi railway line and open a land link to French Indochina. The operation succeeded and most major cities in Guangxi came under Japanese occupation.

Being in the far south, Guangxi was not taken by communist forces until after the People's Republic was formed; it joined in December 1949, two months after the People's Republic's foundation. In 1958, Guangxi was converted into an autonomous region for the Zhuang, by recommendation of Premier Zhou Enlai. This decision was made because the Zhuang were one of the biggest minority groups in China, and were mostly concentrated in Guangxi; however, they form a minority of Guangxi's population.

For most of its history, Guangxi was landlocked. In 1952, a small section of Guangdong's coastline was given to Guangxi, giving it access to the sea. This was reversed in 1955, then restored in 1965.

While some development of heavy industry occurred in the province in the 1960s and 1970s, it remained largely a tourist destination and home of scenery which brought people from all over the world. Even the economic growth in China in the 1990s seemed to leave Guangxi behind. However in recent years there has been a growing amount of industrialization, and concentration on cash crops. Per capita GDP has begun rising more rapidly, as industries in Guangdong seek a way to locate production to lower wage areas.

Administrative divisions

Guangxi is divided into fourteen prefecture-level cities, fifty-six counties, thirty-four districts, twelve ethnic autonomous counties and seven county-level cities. The fourteen prefecture-level cities are:

Politics

Secretaries of the CPC Guangxi Committee:

  1. Zhang Yunyi (张云逸): 1949-1953
  2. Chen Manyuan (陈漫远): 1953-1957
  3. Liu Jianxun (刘建勋): 1957-1961
  4. Wei Guoqing (韦国清): 1960-1966
  5. Qiao Xiaoguang (乔晓光): 1966-1967
  6. Wei Guoqing (韦国清): 1970-1975
  7. An Pingsheng (安平生): 1975-1977.
  8. Qiao Xiaoguang (乔晓光): 1977-1985
  9. Chen Huiguang (陈辉光): 1985-1990
  10. Zhao Fulin (赵富林): 1990-1997
  11. Cao Bochun (曹伯纯): 1997-2006
  12. Liu Qibao (刘奇葆): 2006-2007
  13. Guo Shengkun (郭声琨): 2007-incumbent

Chairmen of Government:

  1. Zhang Yunyi (张云逸): 1949-1953
  2. Chen Manyuan (陈漫远): 1953.08-1955
  3. Chen Manyuan (陈漫远): 1955-1958
  4. Wei Guoqing (韦国清): 1958-1975
  5. An Pingsheng (安平生): 1975-1977
  6. Qiao Xiaoguang (乔晓光): 1977-1979
  7. Tan Yingji (覃应机): 1979-1983
  8. Wei Chunshu (韦纯束): 1983-1990
  9. Cheng Kejie (成克杰): 1990-1998
  10. Li Zhaozhuo (李兆焯): 1998-2003
  11. Lu Bing (陆兵): 2003-December 2007
  12. Ma Biao (马飚): December 2007-incumbent

Economy

Important crops in Guangxi include rice, maize, sweet potatoes, and wheat. Cash crops include sugar cane, peanuts, tobacco, and kenaf.

Guangxi has more tin, manganese, and indium deposits than any other province of China.

In recent years Guangxi's economy has languished behind that of its wealthy neighbour and twin, the province of Guangdong.

Guangxi's 2007 nominal GDP was about 588.6 billion yuan (US$77.4 billion) and ranked sixteenth in China. Its per capita GDP was 12,408 yuan (US$1,632).

Investment

Seventy one Taiwanese ventures have started up in Guangxi in 2007, with contracts bringing in up to US$149 million of investment, while gross exports surpassed US$1 billion. There are a total of 1182 Taiwan ventures in Guangxi, and by the end of 2006, they have brought a total of US$4.27 billion of investment into the province. During the first half of 2007, 43 projects worthy of RMB2.6 billion (US$342 million) have already been contracted between Guangxi and Taiwan investors. Cooperation between Guangxi and Taiwan companies mainly relates to manufacturing, high-tech electronic industries, agriculture, energy resources, and tourism.

Power

Guangxi Power Grid has invested 180 million yuan in 2007 in projects to bring power to areas that still lacked access to electricity. The areas affected include Nanning, Hechi, Bose and Guigang. Around 125,000 people have gained access to electricity. The money has been used to build or alter 738 10-kilovolt distribution units with a total length of wire reaching 1,831.8 kilometers.

Due to lack of investment in construction in the power grid net in rural areas, more than 400 villages in Guangxi Province were not included in the projects. Around 500,000 cannot participate in the policy known as "The Same Grid, the Same Price." Guangxi Power Grid will invest 4.6 billion yuan in improving the power grid during the 11th Five Year Plan.

Guangxi Power Grid has invested 2.5 billion yuan in building electric power system in the first half of 2007. Of the total investment, 2.3 billion yuan has been put into the project of the main power grid. So far, four new transformer substations in Guangxi are in various stages of completion. Wenfu substation went into operation in the city of Hechi on January 2007, and since then it has become a major hub of the electrical power system of the surrounding three counties. When Cangwu substation was completed, it doubled the local transformer capacity. In June 2007, the new substation in Chongzuo passed its operation tests. And in the same month, Qiulong commenced production too. This shall support the power supply system of Qiulong City, as well as the northern part of Guangxi province, and facilitate the nationwide project to transmit power from west to east.

Beibu Gulf Economic Zone

In 2008, the central government has approved China's first international and regional economic cooperation zone in Guangxi in late February. The construction of the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone began in 2006. With the approval, the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone will be formally incorporated into national development strategies.

The Beibu Gulf Economic Zone covers six coastal cities along the Beibu Gulf. It integrates the cities of Nanning, the region's capital, Beihai, Qinzhou, Fangchenggang, Chongzuo and Yulin. The state will adopt policies and measures to support mechanism innovation, rational industry layout and infrastructure construction in the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone.

Guangxi municipality has pledged a 100 billion yuan (US$ 14 billion) investment over the next five years for building and repairing 2,500 km railways to form a network hub in the area. Beibu Gulf Zone will serve as the logistics base, business base, processing and manufacturing base and information exchange center for China-ASEAN cooperation. Beibu Gulf Zone promises broad prospects for further development and its growth potential is rapidly released. But the shortage of talent and professionals in petrochemicals, iron and steel, electricity, finance, tourism, port planning, logistics and marine industries are bottlenecks.

The regional government is also working on speeding up key cooperation projects including transportation, the marine industry, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy development, cross-border tourism, and environmental protection. Beibu Gulf has already attracted a number of major projects such as Qinzhou oil refinery projects and Stora Enso, a Fortune 500 forest products company based in Finland. In January 2008 trade import and export in the Beibu Gulf zone exceeded US$1.3 billion, a record high.

Bauxite reserves

In September 2007, China's Ministry of Commerce said that it has found 120 million tons of new bauxite reserves in Guangxi. The ministry said that the new reserves, which are located in Chongzhou in the southern region of Youjiang, has a very high-quality of bauxite, a raw material for making aluminum. Currently, the proven reserves of bauxite in Guangxi are about 1 billion tons, making the province one of the country's biggest bauxite sources.

Demographics

The region has a high concentration of Zhuang, over 14 million, one of the major minority ethnicities of China. Over 90% of Zhuang in China live in Guangxi, especially in the central and western regions. There is also a significant number of both Dong and Miao minority peoples. Other ethnic groups include: Yao, Hui, Yi (Lolo), Shui, and Gin (Vietnamese).

Culture

"Guangxi" and neighbouring Guangdong literally mean "Guang West" and "Guang East". Together, Guangdong and Guangxi are called the "Two Guangs" (两广, Liǎng Guǎng). Its culture and language are reflected in this. Though now associated with the Zhuang ethnic minority, Guangxi's culture traditionally has had a close connection with the Cantonese. Cantonese culture and language followed the Xi River valley from Guangdong and is still predominate in the eastern half of Guangxi today. Outside of this area there is a huge variety of ethnicities and language groups represented.

Guangxi is known for its ethno-linguistic diversity. In the capital of Nanning, for example, four dialect-languages are spoken locally: Southwestern Mandarin, Cantonese, Pinghua, and Zhuang.

Tourism

The major tourist attraction of Guangxi is Guilin, a town famed across China and the world for its spectacular setting by the Lijiang River (Li River) amongst severe karst peaks. It also used to be the capital of Guangxi, and Jingjiang Princes City, the old princes residence, is open to the public. South of Guilin down the river is the town of Yangshuo, which has become a favourite destination for foreign tourists, particularly backpackers.

Ethnic minorities native to Guangxi, such as the Zhuang and Dong, are also interesting for tourists. The northern part of the province, bordering with Guizhou, is home to the Longsheng rice terraces, said to be some of the steepest in the world. Nearby Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County.

Education

Institutions of higher learning

Twinnings

External links

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