(Postal map spelling: Fukien, Foukien; local transliteration from Hokkien: Hok-kiàn) is one of the provinces on the southeast coast of China. Fujian borders Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait. The name Fujian comes from the combination of Fuzhou and Jian'ou, two cities in Fujian. The name was coined during Tang Dynasty.
Most of Fujian is administered by the People's Republic of China. However, the archipelagos of Kinmen (POJ (Hokkien): Kim-mn̂g) and Matsu (POJ: Má-chó) are under the control of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Thus, there are two provinces (in the sense of government organizations; PRC's Fujian and ROC's Fujian).
The Tanshishan (昙石山) site (5500-4000 BP) in suburban Fuzhou spans the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Age where semi-underground circular buildings were found in the lower level. The Huangtulun (黄土崙) site (ca.1325 BC), also in suburban Fuzhou, was of the Bronze Age in character.
This area was also the place for the kingdom of Minyue. The word "Mǐnyuè" was derived by combining "Mǐn" (閩/闽; POJ: bân), perhaps an ethnic name and associated with the Chinese word for barbarians (蠻/蛮; pinyin: mán; POJ: bân), and "Yue", after the State of Yue, a Spring and Autumn Period kingdom in Zhejiang Province to the north. This is because the royal family of Yuè fled to Fujian after their kingdom was annexed by the State of Chu in 306 BC. Mǐn is also the name of the main river in this area, but the ethnonym is probably earlier.
Minyue was a de facto kingdom until the emperor of Qin Dynasty, the first unified imperial Chinese state, abolished the status. In the aftermath of the fall of the Qin Dynasty, however, civil war broke out between two warlords, Xiang Yu and Liu Bang; the Minyue king Wuzhu sent his troops to fight side-by-side with Liu Bang, and his gamble paid off. Liu Bang was victorious, and founded the Han Dynasty; in 202 BC he restored Minyue's status as a tributary independent kingdom. Thus Wuzhu was allowed to construct his fortified city in Fuzhou as well as a few locations in the Wuyi Mountains, which have been excavated in recent years. His kingdom extended beyond the borders of contemporary Fujian into eastern Guangdong, eastern Jiangxi, and southern Zhejiang.
After the death of Wuzhu, Minyue maintained its militant tradition and launched several expeditions against their neighboring kingdoms in Guangdong, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang, mostly in the 2nd century BC, only to be stopped by the Han Dynasty. The Han emperor eventually decided to get rid of the potential threat by sending in large forces simultaneously from four directions via land and sea in 111 BC. The rulers in Fuzhou surrendered to avoid a futile fight and destruction; thus the first kingdom in Fujian history came to an abrupt end. Nonetheless, the people of northern Fujian still erect temples in memory of their first kings.
The Han Dynasty collapsed at the end of the 2nd century AD, paving the way for the Three Kingdoms era. Sun Quan, the founder of the Kingdom of Wu, spent nearly twenty years subduing the Shan Yue people, the branch of the Yue people living in mountains.
The first wave of immigration of the noble class arrived in the province in the early 4th century AD when the Western Jin Dynasty collapsed and the north was torn apart by invasions by nomadic peoples from the north, as well as civil war. These immigrants were primarily from eight families in central China: Lin (林), Huang (黄), Chen (陈), Zheng (郑), Zhan (詹), Qiu (邱), Ho (何), and Hu (胡). The first four remain as the major surnames of modern Fujian.
Nevertheless, isolation from nearby areas owing to rugged terrain contributed to Fujian's relatively backward economy and level of development, despite major population boost from northern China during the "barbarian" invasions. Population density in Fujian remained low compared to the rest of China. Only two commanderies and sixteen counties were established by the Western Jin Dynasty. Like other southern provinces such as Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan, Fujian often served as a destination for exiled prisoners and dissidents at that time.
The Tang Dynasty (618-907) oversaw the next golden age of China. As the Tang Dynasty ended, China was torn apart in the period of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms. During this time, a second major wave of immigration arrived in the safe haven of Fujian, led by general Wang, who set up an independent Kingdom of Min with its capital in Fuzhou. After the death of the founding king, however, the kingdom suffered from internal strife, and was soon swallowed up by Southern Tang, another southern kingdom.
Quanzhou was blooming into a seaport under the reign of the Min Kingdom, and may have been the largest seaport in the Eastern hemisphere. In the early Ming dynasty, Quanzhou was the staging area and supply depot of Zheng He's naval expeditions. Further development was severely hampered by the sea trade ban of the Ming Dynasty, and the area was superseded by nearby ports of Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo and Shanghai despite the lifting of the ban in 1550. Large scale piracy by Wokou (Japanese pirates) was eventually wiped out by Chinese military and Japanese authority of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Late Ming and early Qing Dynasty symbolized an era of large influx of refugees and another 20 years of sea trade ban under the Kangxi Emperor, a measure intended to counter the refuge Ming government of Koxinga in Taiwan. Incoming refugees, however, did not translate into a major labor force owing to their re-migration into prosperous regions of Guangdong province. In 1689, the Qing dynasty officially incorporated Taiwan into Fujian province. Settlement of Taiwan by Han Chinese followed, and the majority of people in Taiwan are descendants of emigrants from Southern Fujian. After Taiwan was separated into its own province in 1885 and ceded to Japan in 1895, Fujian arrived at its present extent. It was substantially influenced by the Japanese after the Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1895 until the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) of WWII.
Owing to the mountainous landscape, Fujian was the most secluded province of the PRC in eastern China due to the lack of rail and underdeveloped networks of paved roads before the 1950s. The first railway to the province was completed in mid-1950s connecting Xiamen to the rest of the mainland. Despite its secluded location, Fujian has had a strong academic tradition since the Southern Song Dynasty. At the time, north China was occupied by the Jurchen Jin Dynasty, which caused a shift of the cultural center of China to the south, benefiting Fuzhou and other southern cities. In the Chinese Academy of Science and Chinese Academy of Engineering, there are more members from Fuzhou than from any other city. In addition, it should also be pointed out that the slow development of Fujian in its early days has proven a blessing for the province's ecology; today, the province has the highest forest coverage rate and the most diverse biosphere in China whereas central China suffers from severe overpopulation and displays severe signs of soil erosion accompanied by frequent droughts and floods due to lack of forest coverage.
Since the late 1970s, the economy of Fujian along the coast has greatly benefited from its geographic and cultural proximity to Taiwan. In 2003, Xiamen ranked number eight GDP per capita among 659 Chinese cities, ahead of Shanghai and Beijing, while Fuzhou ranked no. 21 (number 4 among 30 provincial capitals). The development has been accompanied by a large influx of population from the over-populated areas in the north and west, and much of the farmland and forest as well as cultural heritage sites such as the temples of king Wuzhu have given way to ubiquitous high-rise buildings, and the government faces a challenge at all levels to sustain development while, at the same time, preserving the unique and vital natural and cultural heritage of Fujian.
The province faces East China Sea to the east, South China Sea to the south, and the Taiwan Strait to the southeast. The coastline is rugged and has many bays and islands. Major islands include Quemoy (controlled by the Republic of China), Haitan Island, and Nanri Island.
The River Min Jiang and its tributaries cut through much of northern and central Fujian. Other rivers include the Jinjiang River and the Jiulong River. Due to its uneven topography, Fujian has many cliffs and rapids.
Fujian is separated from Taiwan by the 180-km-wide Taiwan Strait. Some of the small islands in the Taiwan Strait are also part of the province. Small parts of the province, namely the islands of Quemoy and Matsu, are under the administration of the Republic of China.
Fujian has a subtropical climate, with warm winters. In January the coastal regions average around 7-10 °C while the hills average 6-8 °C. In the summer, temperatures are high, and the province is threatened by typhoons coming in from the Pacific. Average annual precipitation is 1400-2000 mm.
The prefecture-level cities:
The sub-province-level city:
All of the prefecture-level cities except Longyan, Sanming, and Nanping are found along the coast.
The nine prefecture-level divisions are subdivided into 85 county-level divisions (26 districts, 14 county-level cities, and 45 counties). Those are in turn divided into 1107 township-level divisions (605 towns, 328 townships, 18 ethnic townships, and 156 subdistricts). Note: these are the official PRC numbers. Thus, Quemoy is included as one of the 45 counties and Matsu as one of the 334 townships.
Quemoy (Jinmen) County is nominally controlled by Quanzhou prefecture-level city, but it is administered in its entirety by the Republic of China. The PRC-administered Lianjiang County, under the jurisdiction of Fuzhou prefecture-level city, nominally includes the Matsu Islands (Mazu), but Matsu is in reality controlled by the Republic of China, which administers Matsu as Lienchiang County (same name Romanized differently). The Wuchiu (Wuqiu) islands are nominally administered in the PRC by the Xiuyu District of the Putian prefecture, but is in reality controlled by the Republic of China, which administers Wuchiu as part of Quemoy County.
List of Governors
Fujian is hilly and farmland is sparse. Rice is the main crop, supplemented by sweet potatoes and wheat and barley. Cash crops include sugar cane and rapeseed. Fujian leads the provinces of China in longan production, and is also a major producer of lychees and tea. Seafood is another important product, with shellfish production especially prominent.
Fujian is one of the wealthier provinces of China. Xiamen was one of the first cities in China to be classified as a Special Economic Zone. Because of the closeness both geographically and culturally with Taiwan, Fujian receives much investment from there.
In 2006, Fujian's nominal GDP was 916.01 billion yuan (US$120 billion), a rise of 15.1% from the previous year.
Many ethnic Chinese around the world, especially Southeast Asia, trace their ancestry to Fujian. Descendants of Fujian emigrants make up the majority of the majority ethnic Chinese population of Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia. Fujian, especially Fuzhou, is also the major source of undocumented Chinese immigrants in the United States.
As is true of other provinces, the official language in Fujian is Standard Mandarin, which is used for communication between people of different localities.
Several regions of Fujian have their own form of Chinese opera. Minju (Fujian Opera) is popular around Fuzhou; Gaojiaxi around Jinjiang and Quanzhou; Xiangju around Zhangzhou; Fujian Nanqu throughout the south, and Puxianxi around Putian and Xianyou County.
Fujian cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood, is one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine. It is composed of traditions from various regions, including Fuzhou cuisine and Min Nan cuisine. The most prestigious dish is Fotiaoqiang (literally "Buddha jumps over the wall"), a complex dish making use of many ingredients, including shark fin, sea cucumber, abalone, and Shaoxing wine (a form of "Chinese alcoholic beverage").
Many famous teas originate from Fujian, including oolong, Wuyi Yancha, and Fuzhou jasmine tea. Fujian tea ceremony is an elaborate way of preparing and serving tea. In fact, the English word "tea" is borrowed from Min nan language. (Standard Mandarin and Standard Cantonese pronounce the word as chá.)
Fuzhou bodiless lacquer ware, a famous type of lacquer ware, is noted for using a body of clay and/or plaster to form its shape; the body later removed. Fuzhou is also famous for Shoushan stone carvings.
Professional sports teams in Fujian include: