Jilin or Kirin, province (1994 est. pop. 25,150,000), 72,000 sq mi (186,528 sq km), NE China; one of the original Manchurian provinces. The capital is Changchun. It is bordered by Heilongjiang prov. and Russia on the northeast, by North Korea on the southeast, and by the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region on the west. Jilin, crossed by the Songhua River and forming part of the fertile alluvial Manchurian (Northeast) plain, enjoys great agricultural prosperity; soybeans, wheat, upland rice, sweet potatoes, and beans are grown. Mountains in the east rise to more than 9,000 ft (2,740 m). Vast timberlands, among the best in China, are exploited, and iron, coal, gold, copper, zinc, and lead are extracted. Jilin's industries produce chemicals, machine tools, automobiles, and metals. The province has a good network of railroads, including the line between Shenyang, Changchun, and Harbin and its branches. The population, mainly Chinese, is concentrated in the industrial cities of Changchun, Jilin, Siping, and Liaoyuan. Near the North Korean border is the Yanbian Korean autonomous region (est. 1952), which has a large Korean population. Jilin Univ. is in Changchun.
Jilin or Kirin, city (1994 est. pop. 1,117,800), central Jilin prov., China, on the Songhua River. It is a shipping port, a railroad junction, and a commercial and industrial center, with large chemical plants and paper mills. Oil is refined, and fertilizer, cement, lumber, and sugar are also produced. Jilin was the capital of Jilin prov. until 1954. Formerly called Yungki, Jilin is one of the oldest cities in NE China. The name sometimes appears as Chi-lin.

(Postal map spelling: Kirin; Manchu: Girin ula), is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west. The name was transliterated to Kirin before standardization to pinyin.

The name "Jilin" probably originates from Girin ula, a Manchu term meaning "along the river"; this was transcribed into Jilin wula (T: 吉林烏拉 / S: 吉林乌拉) in Chinese, then shortened to Jilin. The literal meaning of the Chinese characters for "Jilin" is "auspicious forest".


In ancient times Jilin was inhabited by various peoples, notably the Mohe and the Wùjí (勿吉). It also formed a part of the Goguryeo kingdom. The kingdom of Balhae was established in the area from 698 to 926 AD. The region then fell successively under the domination of the Khitan Liao Dynasty, the Jurchen Jin Dynasty, and the Mongol Yuan Dynasty. During the Qing Dynasty, much of the area was under the control of the General of Jilin, whose area of control extended to the Sea of Japan to encompass much of what is Russia's Primorsky Krai today. Immigration of Han Chinese was strictly controlled.

However, after the Primorsky Krai area was ceded to Russia in 1860, the Qing government began to open the area up to Han Chinese migrants, most of whom came from Shandong. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Han Chinese had become the dominant ethnic group of the region. In 1932, the area was incorporated into Manchukuo, a puppet state set up by Japan, and Changchun (then called Hsinking), capital of Jilin today, was made the capital of Manchukuo. After the defeat of Japan in 1945, the region, together with the rest of northeastern China, was handed to the communists by the Soviet Union. Manchuria was then the staging ground from which the communists eventually conquered the rest of China (see Chinese Civil War#Post-war power struggle (1945–1947)).

In 1949, Jilin province was smaller, encompassing only the environs of Changchun and Jilin City, and the capital was at Jilin City, while Changchun was a municipality independent from the province. In the 1950s Jilin was expanded to its present borders. During the Cultural Revolution, Jilin was expanded again to include a part of Inner Mongolia, giving it a border with the independent state of Mongolia, though this was later reversed. In recent times Jilin has, together with the rest of heavy industry-based Northeast China, been facing economic difficulties with privatization. This has prompted the central government to undertake a campaign called “Revitalize the Northeast”.


Jilin is highest in altitude in the southeast, and drops gently towards the northwest. The Changbai Mountains run through its southeastern regions, and contains the highest peak of the province, Baiyun Peak at 2691 m. Other mountain ranges include the Jilinhada Mountains, Zhang Guangcai Mountains, and Longgang Mountains.

Jilin is drained by the Yalu and Tumen Rivers in the extreme southwest (which together form the border between the People's Republic of China and North Korea), by tributaries of the Liao River along the southern border, and by the Songhua and Nen rivers, both eventually flowing into the Amur.

Jilin has a northerly continental monsoon climate, with long, cold winters and short, warm summers. Average January temperatures range from -20 to -14°C. Rainfall averages at 350 to 1000 mm.

Major cities:

Administrative divisions

Jilin consists of eight prefecture-level cities and one autonomous prefecture:

The sub-province-level city:

The prefecture-level cities:

  • Baicheng (白城市 : Báichéng Shì)
  • Baishan (白山市 : Báishān Shì)
  • Jilin (吉林市 : Jílín Shì)
  • Liaoyuan (辽源市 : Liáoyuán Shì)
  • Siping (四平市 : Sìpíng Shì)
  • Songyuan (松原市 : Sōngyuán Shì)
  • Tonghua (通化市 : Tōnghuà Shì)

The autonomous prefecture:

For a complete list of the county-level divisions of Jilin, see List of administrative divisions of Jilin. These administrative divisions are explained in greater detail at Political divisions of China.


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

The Governor of Jilin is the highest ranking official in the People's Government of Jilin. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Jilin Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary, colloquially termed the "Jilin CPC Party Chief".


Jilin's agricultural production is centered upon rice, maize, and sorghum. Rice is mostly cultivated in the eastern parts, such as Yanbian prefecture. The Changbai Mountains are an important source of lumber. Herding of sheep is an important activity in the western parts, such as Baicheng prefecture-level city.

Compared to other provinces of China, Jilin has extensive deposits of Kieselguhr, wollastonite, floatstone, and molybdenum.

Industry in Jilin is concentrated on automobiles, train carriages, and iron alloy.

Jilin's nominal GDP for 2007 was 522.6 billion yuan (US$68.7 billion) and ranks 22nd in the country. Its GDP per capita was 19,168 yuan (US$2,520).


Jilin is inhabited by Han Chinese, Manchus, Hui, Mongols and Xibe. Most ethnic Koreans live in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.

Ethnic groups in Jilin (2000 census)
Nationality Population Percentage
Han Chinese 24,348,815 90.85%
Koreans 1,145,688 4.27%
Manchu 993,112 3.71%
Mongol 172,026 0.64%
Hui 125,620 0.47%
Excludes members of the People's Liberation Army in active service.
Source: Department of Population, Social, Science and Technology Statistics of the National Bureau of Statistics of China (国家统计局人口和社会科技统计司) and Department of Economic Development of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission of China (国家民族事务委员会经济发展司), eds. Tabulation on Nationalities of 2000 Population Census of China (《2000年人口普查中国民族人口资料》). 2 vols. Beijing: Nationalities Publishing House (民族出版社), 2003. (ISBN 7-105-05425-5)


Jilin is part of Northeast China, so shares many similaries in culture with neighbouring regions. But Jiju, or Jilin Opera, is a form of traditional entertainment that Jilin has innovated over its short migrant history.

The ethnic Koreans of Jilin have their own distinct culture. See also: Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, Culture of Korea.


The Goguryeo sites and tombs found in Ji'an, Jilin, including Wandu, Gungnae Fortress, and the pyramidal General's Tomb, have been listed as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Baekdu Mountain, especially Heaven Lake on the border with North Korea, are popular tourist destinations due to their natural scenery.

Ancient Tombs at Longtou Mountain, including the Mausoleum of Princess Zhenxiao, are royal tombs of the Balhae kingdom found in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.


Universities and colleges


Professional Sports Teams


External links

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