Monday, January 14, 2008
(Chinese: 福建; Pinyin: Fújiàn; Wade-Giles: Fu-chien; Postal map spelling: Fukien, Foukien; local transliteration Hokkien from Min Nan or Taiwanese 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 (PRC). However, the archipelagoes of Quemoy and Matsu are under the control of the Republic of China (ROC) based in Taiwan. Thus, de facto there are two provinces (in the sense of government organizations) with the same name. The two sides are rendered in different Romanizations of Mandarin. The PRC side renders the name of the province in Hanyu Pinyin, yielding "Fujian", while the ROC side renders the name of the province in Tongyong Pinyin, Wade-Giles and Postal map spelling, resulting in "FuJian", "Fuchien" and "Fukien", respectively.
The existence of two parallel Fujian provincial governments is a result of the Chinese Civil War. After losing mainland China (including most of Fujian) to communist forces in 1949, the Republic of China (ROC) retreated to Taiwan while retaining control over a few offshore islands of Fujian. Since then, the PRC (mainland) and ROC (Taiwan) have maintained separate provincial governments for Fujian. This article is concerned mainly with Fujian administered by the PRC; see Fujian (ROC) for more information on the ROC's province of Fujian.
Fuzhou is the provincial capital of PRC-controlled Fujian while Quemoy is the seat of the ROC-controlled Fujian, though in practice most powers in ROC-controlled Fujian are delegated to the two counties of Quemoy and Matsu Islands.
The province is mostly mountainous, and is traditionally described to be "Eight parts mountain, one part water, and one part farmland" (八山一水一分田). The northwest is higher in altitude, with the Wuyi Mountains forming the border between Fujian and Jiangxi. The highest point of Fujian is Huanggang Peak in the Wuyi Mountains, with an altitude of 2157 m.
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 ragged 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 on Taiwan.
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 summer temperatures are high, and province is threatened by typhoons coming in from the Pacific. Average annual precipitation is 1400-2000 mm.
The People's Republic of China controls most of the province, and divides it into nine prefecture-level divisions, all of them prefecture-level cities:
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 County is nominally controlled by Quanzhou prefecture-level city, but it is administered in its entirety by the Republic of China on Taiwan. The PRC-administered Lianjiang County, under the jurisdiction of Fuzhou prefecture-level city, nominally includes the Matsu Islands, but Matsu is in reality controlled by the Republic of China on Taiwan, which administers Matsu as Lienchiang County (same name Romanized differently).
See List of administrative divisions of Fujian for a complete list of county-level divisions.
Fuzhou (Simplified Chinese: 福州市; Hanyu Pinyin: Fúzhōu Shì)
Xiamen (厦门市 Xiàmén Shì)
Zhangzhou (漳州市 Zhāngzhōu Shì)
Quanzhou (泉州市 Quánzhōu Shì)
Sanming (三明市 Sānmíng Shì)
Putian (莆田市 Pútián Shì)
Nanping (南平市 Nánpíng Shì)
Longyan (龙岩市 Lóngyán Shì)
Ningde (宁德市 Níngdé Shì) Administrative divisions
Fujian is hilly and farmland is sparse. Rice is the main crop, supplemented by sweet potatoes and wheat. 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 2005, Fujian's nominal GDP was 648.7 billion yuan (US$81 billion), a rise of 11% from the previous year. 
Han Chinese make up most of the population. Hakka, a Han Chinese people with its own distinct identity, live in the southwestern parts of the province. The She, scattered over mountainous regions in the north, is the largest minority ethnic group of the province. Genetic studies have suggested that a significant proportion of Han Chinese ancestry in Fujian descend (predominantly matrilineally) from pre-Sinicization aborigines.
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 American aliens residing in the United States.
See also: Music of Fujian, Hakka architecture, and Dog Kung Fu
Because of its mountainous nature and the numerous waves of migration from central China in the course of history, Fujian is one of the most linguistically diverse places in all Han Chinese areas of China. Local dialects can become unintelligible within 10 km. This is reflected in the expression that "if you drive five miles in Fujian the culture changes, and if you drive ten miles, the language does". Classification of these various dialects have confounded linguists. In general, most dialects of Fujian are put into a broad Min category, then subdivided into Min Bei, Min Dong, Min Zhong, Min Nan, Pu Xian, and Shao Jiang. (The seventh subdivision of Min, Qiong Wen, is not spoken in Fujian.) The Fuzhou dialect is part of Min Dong, but some linguists classified it as Min Bei; the Xiamen dialect is part of Min Nan. Hakka, another subdivision of spoken Chinese, is spoken around Longyan by the Hakka people who live there.
As is true of other provinces, the official language in Fujian is Standard Mandarin, which is used for communication between people of different localities. During the Qing dynasty, traders in Fujian also used pidgin English as a common language, although this is now extinct.
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 prestiged dish is Fotiaoqiang (literally "Buddha Jumps Over 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 lacquerware, a famous type of lacquerware, 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.
Places of interest include:
Guanghua Temple, mainland Putian
Gulangyu Island, Xiamen
Kaiyuan Temple, Quanzhou
Mount Tailao, Fuding
Mount Wuyi, listed by the UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites (1999)
Nanshan Temple, Zhangzhou
The Matsu pilgrimage centers around Meizhou Island (Putian Municipality), because she was born there (and died on Matsu Islands).
Yongquan Temple, Fuzhou
Hakka architecture Tourism
The province also has a tradition of educational achievement, and has produced many important scholars and statesmen since the time of the Song dynasty, such as:
Zheng Qiao (1108-1166), historian.
Zhu Xi (1130-1200), Confucian philosopher.
Hong Chengchou (1593-1665), Ming dynasty official.
Lin Zexu (1785-1850), scholar and official.
Lin Shu (1852-1924), translator.
Yan Fu (1854-1921), scholar and translator.
Zheng Zhenduo (1898-1958), literary historian.
Go Seigen (born 1914), pseudonym of Go champion Wú Qīngyuán. Colleges and universities
"Uniting China to Speak Mandarin, the One Official Language: Easier Said Than Done", New York Times Article by Howard W. French, July 10, 2005.
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