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( ; Postal map spelling: Hopeh) is a northern province of the People's Republic of Chinamarker. Its one-character abbreviation is " " (pinyin: jì), named after Ji Province ( Jì Zhōu), a Han Dynasty province (zhou) that included southern Hebei. The name Hebei means "north of the Rivermarker".

In 1928 Hebei was formed after the central government dissolved the province of Zhili ( ), which means "Directly Ruled (by the Imperial Court)".

Hebei completely surrounds Beijing and Tianjinmarker municipalities (which also border each other). It borders Liaoningmarker to the northeast, Inner Mongolia to the north, Shanximarker to the west, Henanmarker to the south, and Shandongmarker to the southeast. Bohai Bay of the Yellow Seamarker is to the east. A small part of Hebei, an exclave disjointed from the rest of the province, is wedged between the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin.

A common alternate name for Hebei is Yānzhào ( ), after the state of Yan and state of Zhao that existed here during the Warring States Period of early Chinese history.


Plains in Hebei were the home of Peking manmarker, a group of Homo erectus that lived in the area around 200,000 to 700,000 years ago. Neolithic findings at the prehistoric Beifudi site date back to 7000 and 8000 BCE.

During the Spring and Autumn Period (722 BC - 476 BC), Hebei was under the rule of the states of Yan (燕) in the north and Jin (晉) in the south. Also during this period, a nomadic people known as (狄) invaded the plains of northern China and established Zhongshan (中山) in central Hebei. During the Warring States Period (403 BC - 221 BC), Jin was partitioned, and much of its territory within Hebei went to Zhao (趙).

The Qin Dynasty unified China in 221 BC. The Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) ruled the area under two provinces (zhou), Youzhou Province (幽州) in the north and Jizhou Province (冀州) in the south. At the end of the Han Dynasty, most of Hebei came under the control of warlords Gongsun Zan in the north and Yuan Shao further south; Yuan Shao emerged victorious of the two, but he was soon defeated by rival Cao Cao (based further south, in modern-day Henanmarker) in the Battle of Guandumarker in 200. Hebei then came under the rule of the Kingdom of Wei (one of the Three Kingdoms), established by the descendants of Cao Cao.

After the invasions of northern nomadic peoples at the end of the Western Jin Dynasty, the chaos of the Sixteen Kingdoms and the Northern and Southern Dynasties ensued. Hebei, firmly in North China and right at the northern frontier, changed hands many times, being controlled at various points in history by the Later Zhao, Former Yan, Former Qin, and Later Yan. The Northern Wei reunified northern China in 440, but split in half in 534, with Hebei coming under the eastern half (first the Eastern Wei; then the Northern Qi), which had its capital at Ye (鄴), near modern Linzhang, Hebei. The Sui Dynasty again unified China in 589.

During the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) the area was formally designated "Hebei" (north of the Yellow River) for the first time. During the earlier part of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, Hebei was fragmented among several regimes, though it was eventually unified by Li Cunxu, who established the Later Tang Dynasty (923 - 936). The next dynasty, the Later Jin Dynasty under Shi Jingtang, posthumously known as Emperor Gaozu of Later Jin, ceded much of modern-day northern Hebei to the Khitan Liao Dynasty in the north; this territory, called The Sixteen Prefectures of Yanyun, became a major weakness in Chinamarker's defense against the Khitans for the next century, since it lay within the Great Wall.

During the Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127), the sixteen ceded prefectures continued to be an area of hot contention between Song China and the Liao Dynasty. The Southern Song Dynasty that came after abandoned all of North China, including Hebei, to the Jurchen Jin Dynasty in 1127.

The Mongol Yuan Dynastymarker divided China into provinces but did not establish Hebei as a province. The Ming Dynastymarker ruled Hebei as "Beizhili" (北直隸, pinyin: Běizhílì), meaning "Northern Directly Ruled", because the area contained and was directly ruled by the imperial capital, Beijing; the "Northern" designation was used because there was a southern counterpart covering present-day Jiangsumarker and Anhuimarker. When the Manchu Qing Dynastymarker came to power in 1644, they abolished the southern counterpart, and Hebei became known as "Zhili", or simply "Directly Ruled". During the Qing Dynasty, the northern borders of Zhili extended deep into what is now Inner Mongolia, and overlapped in jurisdiction with the league of Inner Mongolia.

The Qing Dynastymarker collapsed in 1912 and was replaced by the Republic of Chinamarker. Within a few years, China descended into civil war, with regional warlords vying for power. Since Zhili was so close to Peking (Beijing), the capital, it was the site of frequent wars, including the Zhiwan War, the First Zhifeng War and the Second Zhifeng War. With the success of the Northern Expedition, a successful campaign by the Kuomintang to end the rule of the warlords, the capital was moved from Peking (Beijing) to Nanking (Nanjingmarker). As a result, the name of Zhili was changed to Hebei to reflect that fact that it had a standard provincial administration, and that the capital had been relocated elsewhere.

The founding of the People's Republic of Chinamarker saw several changes: the region around Chengdemarker, previously part of Rehe Province (historically part of Manchuria), and the region around Zhangjiakoumarker, previously part of Chaharmarker Province (historically part of Inner Mongolia), were merged into Hebei, extending its borders northwards beyond the Great Wall. The capital was also moved from Baodingmarker to the upstart city of Shijiazhuangmarker, and, for a short period, to Tianjinmarker.

On July 28, 1976, Tangshanmarker was struck by a powerful earthquake, the Tangshan earthquake, the deadliest of the 20th century with over 240,000 killed. A series of smaller earthquakes struck the city in the following decade.

In 2005, Chinese archaeologists unearthed what is being called the Chinese equivalent of Italymarker's Pompeiimarker. The find in question, located near Liumengchun Village (柳孟春村) in Cang County in east-central Hebei, is a buried settlement destroyed nearly 700 years ago by a major earthquake. Another possible explanation may be the four successive floods which hit the area around the time when the settlement met its sudden end. The settlement appears to have been a booming commercial center during the Song Dynasty.


Most of central and southern Hebei lies within the North China Plain. The western part of Hebei rises into the Taihang Mountainsmarker (Taihang Shan), while the Yan Mountains (Yan Shan) run through northern Hebei, beyond which lie the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. The Great Wall of China cuts through northern Hebei from east to west as well, briefly entering the border of Beijing Municipality, and terminates at the seacoast of Shanhaiguanmarker in northeastern Hebei. The highest peak is Mount Xiaowutai in northwestern Hebei, with an altitude of 2882 m.

Hebei borders Bohai Sea on the east. The Hai Hemarker watershed covers most of the province's central and southern parts, and the Luan He watershed covers the northeast. Not counting the numerous reservoirs to be found in Hebei's hills and mountains, the largest lake in Hebei is Baiyangdianmarker, located mostly in Anxin Countymarker.

Hebei has a continental monsoon climate, with temperatures of -16 to -3 °C in January and 20 - 27 °C in July, and with annual precipitation of 400 to 800 mm, occurring mostly in summer.

Major cities:

Administrative divisions

Hebei is made up of 11 prefecture-level divisions, which are all prefecture-level cities:

Map # Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Type
1 Shijiazhuangmarker 石家莊市 Shíjiāzhuāng Shì Prefecture-level city
2 Baodingmarker 保定市 Bǎodìng Shì Prefecture-level city
3 Cangzhoumarker 滄州市 Cāngzhōu Shì Prefecture-level city
4 Chengdemarker 承德市 Chéngdé Shì Prefecture-level city
5 Handanmarker 邯鄲市 Hándān Shì Prefecture-level city
6 Hengshuimarker 衡水市 Héngshǔi Shì Prefecture-level city
7 Langfangmarker 廊坊市 Lángfāng Shì Prefecture-level city
8 Qinhuangdaomarker 秦皇島市 Qínhuángdǎo Shì Prefecture-level city
9 Tangshanmarker 唐山市 Tángshān Shì Prefecture-level city
10 Xingtaimarker 邢台市 Xíngtái Shì Prefecture-level city
11 Zhangjiakoumarker 張家口市 Zhāngjiākǒu Shì Prefecture-level city

These are subdivided into 172 county-level divisions (22 county-level cities, 108 counties, 6 autonomous counties and 36 district). Those are, in turn, divided into 2207 township-level divisions (1 district public office, 937 town, 979 township, 55 ethnic townships, and 235 subdistricts).

For a complete list of the county-level divisions of Hebei, see List of administrative divisions of Hebei.


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

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


In 2008, Hebei's GDP was 1.62 trillion yuan (US$233 billion), an increase of 10.1% over the previous year and ranked 6th in the PRC. GDP per capita reached 23,239 Renminbi. Disposable income per capita in urban areas was 13,441 RMB, while rural pure income per capita was 4,795 RMB. The primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors of industry contributed 203.46 billion, 877.74 billion, and 537.66 billion RMB respectively. The registered urban unemployment rate was 3.96%.

Hebei's main agricultural products are cereal crops including wheat, maize, millet, and sorghum. Cash crops like cotton, peanut, soya bean and sesame are also produced.

Kailuan, with a history of over 100 years, is one of China's first modern coal mines, and remains a major mine with an annual production of over 20 million metric tonnes. Much of the North China Oilfield is found in Hebei, and there are also major iron mines at Handanmarker and Qian'an.

Hebei's industries include textiles, coal, steel, iron, engineering, chemical production, petroleum, power, ceramics and food.

Economic and Technological Development Zones

  • Baodingmarker Hi-Tech Industry Development Zone
  • Qinhuangdaomarker Economic & Technological Development Zone
  • Qinhuangdao Export Processing Zone
  • Shijiazhuangmarker Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone


The population is mostly Han Chinese with minorities of Mongol, Manchu, and Hui Chinese.

Ethnic groups in Hebei, 2000 census
Nationality Population Percentage
Han Chinese 63,781,603 95.65%
Manchu 2,118,711 3.18%
Hui 542,639 0.78%
Mongol 169,887 0.26%
Zhuang 20,832 0.031%
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 and Department of Economic Development of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission of China , eds. Tabulation on Nationalities of 2000 Population Census of China . 2 vols. Beijing: Nationalities Publishing House (民族出版社), 2003. (ISBN 7-105-05425-5)

In 2004, the birth rate was 11.98 births/1000 population, while the death rate was 6.19 births/1000 population. The sex ratio was 104.52 males/100 females.


Dialects of Mandarin are spoken over most of the province, and most Mandarin dialects in Hebei are in turn classified as part of the Ji Lu Mandarin subdivision. Regions along the western border with Shanximarker, however, have dialects that are distinct enough for linguists to consider them as part of Jin, another subdivision of Chinese, rather than Mandarin. In general, the dialects of Hebei are quite similar to and readily intelligible with the Beijing dialect, which forms the basis for Standard Mandarin, the official language of the nation. However, there are also some distinct differences, such as differences in the pronunciation of certain words that derive from entering tone syllables (syllables ending on a plosive) in Middle Chinese.

Traditional forms of Chinese opera in Hebei include Pingju, Hebei Bangzi (also known as Hebei Clapper Opera), and Cangzhou Kuaiban Dagu. Pingju is especially popular: it tends to be colloquial in language and hence easy to understand for audiences. Originating from northeastern Hebei, Pingju has been influenced by other forms of Chinese opera like Beijing opera. Traditionally Pingju makes use of just a xiaosheng (young male lead), a xiaodan (young female lead), and a xiaohualian (young comic character), though it has since diversified with the use of other roles as well.
Quyang Countymarker, in central Hebei, is famous for its Dingzhou porcelain, which includes various vessels such as bowls, plates, vases, and cups, as well as figurines. Dingzhou porcelain is usually creamy white, though it is also made in other colours.

Hebei cuisine is typically based on wheat, mutton and beans.

Famous people born in Hebei Province include:

  • Feng Dao (881-954), Confucian minister
  • Yan Yuan (1635-1704), Confucian philosopher
  • Chi Jushan (1876-1962), playwright and scholar


Hebei is served by Hebei Television.


Hebei surrounds Beijing, so many important railway lines radiating out of Beijing pass through Hebei. The Jingguang Railway (Beijing-Guangzhou) is one of the most important: it passes through many major cities like Baodingmarker, Shijiazhuangmarker, Xingtaimarker and Handanmarker on its way through Hebei from north to south. Other important railways include the Jingjiu Railway (Beijing-Kowloon), the Jinghu Railway (Beijing-Shanghai), the Jingha Railway (Beijing-Harbin), and the Jingbao Railway (Beijing-Baotou). Under the 11th five-year plan, Beijing and Hebei are collaborating on a new passenger railway. The RMB 82.6 billion network will add 844 kilometers to the system. Current railway systems for Hebei trains are also being upgraded and will soon be able to travel at speeds of between 160 and 200 kilometers per hour.

The recent expressway boom in China has not left Hebei behind. There are expressways to every prefecture-level city of Hebei except Chengdemarker, totalling to approximately 2000 kilometers. The total length of highways within Hebei is around 40,000 kilometers.

There are a number of ports along the Bohai Sea, including Qinhuangdaomarker (the second busiest in China with a capacity of over 100 million tons), Huanghua, and Jingtang. Shijiazhuang's Zhengding Airport is the province's center of air transportation, with domestic and international flights.


The east end of the Ming Great Wall is located on the coast at Shanhaiguanmarker (Shanhai Pass), near Qinhuangdaomarker. Informally known as the "First Pass of The World" (天下第一關), Shanhaiguan was the place where Ming general Wu Sangui opened the gates to Manchu forces in 1644, beginning nearly 300 years of Manchu rule; Shanhai Pass also marks the psychological entrance / exit of Manchuria, so that for centuries Manchuria was known as "outside the Pass" or "east of the Pass". Beidaihemarker, located near Shanhaiguan, is a popular beach resort wellknown as a former meeting place for top governmental officials.

The Ming Great Wall crosses the northern part of Hebei.

The Chengdemarker Mountain Resortmarker and its outlying temples are a World Heritage Site. Also known as the Rehe Palace, this was the summer resort of the Manchu Qing Dynastymarker emperors. The Chengde Resort was built between 1703 and 1792, and consists of a palace complex, a large park area consisting of lakes, pavilions, causeways, bridges, etc., and a number of Tibetan Buddhist and Han Chinese temples in the surrounding area.

There are Qing Dynastymarker imperial tombsmarker at Zunhuamarker (Eastern Qing Tombsmarker) and Yixianmarker (West Qing Tombsmarker). The Eastern Qing Tombs are the resting place of 161 Qing emperors, empresses, and other members of the Qing imperial family, while the West Qing Tombs have 76. These are also part of a World Heritage Site.

The Zhaozhou Anji Bridgemarker, built by Li Chun during the Sui Dynasty, is the oldest stone arch bridge in China, and one of the most significant examples of pre-modern Chinese civil engineering.

Baodingmarker, the old provincial capital, contains the historical Zhili Governor's Residence.

Xibaipo, a village about 90 km from Shijiazhuangmarker, was the location of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the headquarters of the People's Liberation Army during the decisive stages of the Chinese Civil War between May 26, 1948 and March 23, 1949, at which point they were moved to Beijing. Today, the area houses a memorial site.


Sports teams based in Hebei include:

Chinese Basketball Association

There are no teams based in Hebei.

Chinese Football Association

There are no teams based in Hebei.

Colleges and universities

Under the national Ministry of Education:

Under other national agencies:

Under the provincial government:

See also


External links

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