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( ) is a northeastern province of the People's Republic of Chinamarker. Its one-character abbreviation is Liao (辽 pinyin: liáo).

"Liáo" is an ancient name for this region, which was adopted by the Liao Dynasty (Khitan Empire) which ruled this area between 907 and 1125. "Níng" means "peacefulness". The modern province was established in 1907 as Fengtian province (奉天 pinyin: Fèngtiān; Postal map spelling: Fengtien) and the name was changed to Liaoning in 1929. Under the Japanese puppet Manchukuo regime, the province reverted to its 1907 name, but the name Liaoning was restored in 1945.

Liaoning is located in the southern part of China's Northeast. Liaoning borders the Yellow Seamarker (Korea Baymarker) and the Bohai Sea in the south, North Koreamarker in the southeast, Jilinmarker Province to the northeast, Hebeimarker Province to the west, and Inner Mongolia to the northwest.

The Yalu River marks the border between North Koreamarker and the Chinese provinces of Jilinmarker and Liaoning. It empties into the Korea Bay between Dandongmarker (Liaoning) and Sinŭijumarker (North Korea).

Quick Facts

  • Between 2006 and 2010 the province expects to create 10 cities with a population of 200,000-500,000, and 10 with a population of 100,000-200,000, taking its urbanization rate to 63 percent in the upcoming years.
  • Currently ranked eighth in China in terms of GDP.
  • Major cities include Shenyangmarker, the provincial capital and the largest city, Anshan, the third largest city in the province, Benxi, Dalian, a flourishing port city once controlled by Japan and Russia, Dandong, border city with North Korea, Fushun, Jinzhou, Xingcheng and Yixian.


Liaoning is located in the southern part of China's Northeast. The Qin and Han dynasties were able to establish rule over much of what is Liaoning; later on governments headed by various people such as the Xianbei, Goguryeo, Khitan and Jurchen ruled Liaoning.

The Ming Liaodong Wall (in purple)
The Ming Empiremarker took control of Liaoning in 1371, just three years after the expulsion of the Mongols from Beijing. Around 1442, a defense wall was constructed to defend the northwestern frontier of the province from a potential threat from the Jurched-Mongol Oriyanghan (who were Ming's tributaries). In 1467-68 the wall was expanded to protect the region from the northeast as well, against attacks from Jianzhou Jurchens (who were later to become known as the Manchu people). Although similar in purpose to the Great Wall of China, this "Liaodong Wall" was of a lower-cost design. While stones and tiles were used in some parts, most of the wall was in fact simply an earth dike with moats on both sides.

Despite the Liaodong Wall, the Ming Liaodong was conquered by the Manchus in the early 17th century, decades before the rest of China fell to them. The Manchu dynasty, styled "Later Jin", established its capital in 1616-1621 in Xingjing (兴京), which was located outside of the Liaodong Wall in the eastern part of the modern Liaoning Province (near today's Xilaocheng Village in Xinbin Manchu Autonomous County (新宾满族自治县), part of Fushunmarker City). It was moved to Dongjing (east of today's Liaoyangmarker, Liaoning), and finally in 1625 to Shengjingmarker (now, Shenyangmarker, Liaoning). Although the main Qing capital was moved from Shengjing to Beijing after it fell to the Qing in 1644, Shengjing retained its importance as a regional capital throughout most of the Qing era.

The Qing conquest of Liaodong resulted in a significant population loss in the area, as many local Chinese residents were either killed during fighting, or fled south of the Great Wall, many cities being destroyed by the retreating Ming forces themselves. As late as 1661, the Civil Governor (Fuyin) of Fengtian Province, Zhang Shangxian reported that, outside of Fengtian City (Shenyang), Liaoyangmarker, and Haicheng, all other cities east of the Liaohe were either abandoned, or hardly had a few hundred residents left. In the Governor's words, "Tielingmarker and Fushunmarker only have a few vagrants". West of the Liaohe, only Ningyuan, Jinzhoumarker, and Guangningmarker had any significant populations remaining.

In the last half of the seventeenth century (starting with laws issued in 1651 and 1653) the imperial Qing government recruited migrants from south of the Great Wall (notably, from Shandongmarker) to settle the relatively sparsely populated area of Fengtian Province (roughly corresponding to today's Liaoning). Many of the current residents of Liaoning trace their ancestry to these seventeenth century settlers. The rest of China's Northeast, however, remained officially off-limits to Han Chinese for most of the Manchu era. To prevent the migration of Chinese to those regions (today's Jilinmarker and Heilongjiangmarker, as well as the adjacent parts of Inner Mongolia), the so-called Willow Palisade was constructed (ca. 1638 - ca. 1672). The Palisade encircled the agricultural heartlands of Fengtian, running in most areas either somewhat outside the old Ming Liaodong Wall, or reusing it, and separating it from the Manchu forests to the northeast and the Mongol grazing lands to the northwest.

Later on, the Qing government tried to stop the migrants flow to Fengtian or even to make some settlers return to their original places of residence - or, failing that, to legalize them. E.g. an edict issued in 1704 commented on the recent Han Chinese settlers in Fengtian having failed to comply with earlier orders requiring them to leave, and asked them to either properly register and to join a local defense group (保, bao), or to leave the province for their original places within the next 10 years. Ten years later, naturally, another edict appeared, reminding of the necessity to do something with illegal migrants... In any event, the restrictive policy was not as effective as desired by the officials in Beijing, and Fengtian's population doubled between 1683 and 1734.

During the QIng Dynasty Manchuria was ruled by three generals, one of whom, the General of Shengjingmarker, ruled much of modern Liaoning.

In 1860, the Manchu government began to reopen the region to migration, which quickly resulted in Han Chinese becoming the dominant ethnic group in the region.

In the twentieth century, the province of Fengtian was set up in what is Liaoning today. When Japanmarker and Russiamarker fought the Russo-Japanese War in 1904–1905, many key battles took place in Liaoning, including the Battle of Port Arthurmarker and the Battle of Mukden, which was, to that point, the largest land battle ever fought.

During the Warlord Era in the early twentieth century, Liaoning was under the Fengtian Clique, including Zhang Zuolin and his son Zhang Xueliang; in 1931, Japan invaded and the area came under the rule of the Japanesemarker-controlled puppet state of Manchukuo. The Chinese Civil War that took place following Japanese defeat in 1945 had its first major battles (the Liaoshen Campaign) in and around Liaoning.

At the founding of the People's Republic of Chinamarker in 1949, Liaoning did not exist; instead there were two provinces, Liaodongmarker and Liaoxi, as well as five municipalities, Shenyang, Luda, Anshanmarker, Fushunmarker, and Benximarker. These were all merged together into "Liaoning" in 1954, and parts of former Rehe province were merged into Liaoning in 1955. During the Cultural Revolution Liaoning also took in a part of Inner Mongolia, though this was reversed later.

Liaoning was one of the first provinces in China to industrialize, first under Japanese occupation, and then even more in the 1950s and 1960s. The city of Anshan, for example, is home to one of the largest iron and steel complexes in China. In recent years this early focus on heavy industry has become a liability, as many of the large state-run enterprises have experienced economic difficulties. Recognizing the special difficulties faced by Liaoning and other provinces in Northeast China because of their heritage of heavy industry, the Chinese central government recently launched a "Revitalize the Northeast" Campaign.


The politics of Liaoning is structured in a dual party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China. The Governor of Liaoning (辽宁省省长) is the highest ranking official in the People's Government of Liaoning. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Liaoning Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary (辽宁省委书记), colloquially termed the "Liaoning CPC Party Chief".

Previous to 1949 and the takeover of the Communist forces, Liaoning was governed by the Fengtian clique of warlords and interchangeably officials of the Chiang Kai-shek bureaucracy. During the Qing Dynastymarker Liaoning was known as the province of Fengtian, and was governed by a zongdu or Viceroy (The Viceroy of the Three Eastern Provinces 东三省总督), along with the provinces of Jilinmarker and Heilongjiangmarker. The province itself also had a governor (xunfu).


It is possible to think of Liaoning as three approximate geographical regions: the highlands in the west, plains in the middle, and hills in the east.

The highlands in the west are dominated by the Nulu'erhu Mountains, which roughly follow the border between Liaoning and Inner Mongolia. The entire region is dominated by low hills.

The central part of Liaoning consists of the watersheds of rivers such as the Liao, Daliao, and their tributaries. This region is mostly flat and at low altitudes.

The eastern part of Liaoning is dominated by the Changbaimarker Shan and Qianshanmarker ranges, which extends into the sea to form the Liaodong Peninsulamarker. The highest point in Liaoning, Mount Huabozi (1336 m), is found in this region.

Liaoning has a continental monsoon climate, and rainfall averages to about 440 to 1130 mm annually. Summer is rainy while the other seasons are dry.

Major cities:

Central Liaoning city cluster

The Central Liaoning city cluster is a Megalopolis centering at Shenyangmarker (urban population 4 million). Within its 150 km radius, it has Anshanmarker (urban population 1.3 million), Fushunmarker (1.3 million), Yingkoumarker (1.1 million), Benximarker (0.95 million), Liaoyangmarker (0.7 million), and Tielingmarker (0.4 million).

Administrative divisions

Liaoning is composed of fourteen prefecture-level cities:

Map # Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Type
1 Shenyangmarker 沈阳市 Shěnyáng Shì Sub-provincial city
2 Dalian 大连市 Dàlián Shì Sub-provincial city
3 Anshanmarker 鞍山市 Ānshān Shì Prefecture-level city
4 Benximarker 本溪市 Běnxī Shì Prefecture-level city
5 Chaoyangmarker 朝阳市 Cháoyáng Shì Prefecture-level city
6 Dandongmarker 丹东市 Dāndōng Shì Prefecture-level city
7 Fushunmarker 抚顺市 Fǔshùn Shì Prefecture-level city
8 Fuxinmarker 阜新市 Fùxīn Shì Prefecture-level city
10 Huludaomarker 葫芦岛市 Húludǎo Shì Prefecture-level city
12 Jinzhoumarker 锦州市 Jǐnzhōu Shì Prefecture-level city
13 Liaoyangmarker 辽阳市 Liáoyáng Shì Prefecture-level city
14 Panjinmarker 盘锦市 Pánjǐn Shì Prefecture-level city
15 Tielingmarker 铁岭市 Tiělǐng Shì Prefecture-level city
16 Yingkoumarker 营口市 Yíngkǒu shì Prefecture-level city

These prefecture-level cities are in turn divided into 100 county-level divisions (17 county-level cities, 19 counties, eight autonomous counties, and 56 districts), which are then further subdivided into 1511 township-level divisions (613 towns, 301 townships, 77 ethnic townships, and 520 subdistricts).

See List of administrative divisions of Liaoning for a complete list of county-level divisions.


Liaoning has the largest economy of North Eastern China. Its nominal GDP for 2008 was 1.346 trillion yuan (ca. US$194 billion) making it the 8th largest in China. Its per capita GDP was 31,259 yuan (US$4,500). Among the three provinces of Northeast China, Liaoning is the largest in terms of GDP.

Leading industries include petrochemicals, metallurgy, electronics telecommunications, and machinery. On a national level, Liaoning is a major producer of pig iron, steel and metal-cutting machine tools, all of whose production rank among the top three in the nation. Liaoning is one of the most important raw materials production bases in China. Industries such as mining, quarrying, smelting and pressing of ferrous metals, petroleum and natural gas extraction, are all of great significance.

Meanwhile, Liaoning is an important production base of equipment and machinery manufacturing, with Shenyang and Dalian being the industrial centers. Enterprises such as Shenyang Jinbei Co. Ltd., Daxian Group Co. Ltd., and Shenyang Machine Tool Co. Ltd., are leaders in their sectors. The province’s light industry mainly focuses on textiles and clothing industries which include cotton and wool spinning, chemical fiber production, knitting, silk production, and the manufacturing of both garments and textile machinery.

In 2008, its tertiary industry accounted for 34.5 percent of total GDP. In the future, Liaoning will continue its efforts to restructure large and medium-sized state enterprises. Meanwhile, the province will concentrate in developing its four pillar industries – petrochemicals, metallurgy, machinery and electronics.


Main agricultural products of Liaoning include maize, sorghum, and soybeans. The region around Dalian produces three-quarters of China's exported apples and peaches. Cotton is also produced.

Liaoning's fruits include apples from Dalian and Yingkoumarker, golden peaches from Dalian, pears from Beizhen of Jinzhoumarker, white pears from Huludaomarker and Suizhong, and apricots and plums from Gushan of Dandongmarker.


Liaoning has the most iron, magnesite, diamond, and boron deposits among all province-level subdivisions of China. Liaoning is also an important source of petroleum and natural gas. Salt is produced along the coast.


Liaoning is one of China's most important industrial bases, covering a wide range of industries, such as machinery, electronics, metal refining, petroleum, chemical industries, construction materials, coal, and so on.

The sea off Dalian abounds with quality seafood, such as abalones, sea cucumber, scallops, prawns, crabs, and sea urchins. The big fish of Dandongmarker, the jellyfish of Yingkoumarker, and the clams of Panjinmarker are known worldwide for their good tastes right from the sea and in products made in Liaoning for export domestically and internationally.


The cities of Dalian and Yingkoumarker have been developed as major ports and economic gateways to all of northeast China.

Economic and Technological Development Zones

Five Points, One Line

The Party Secretary of the Liaoning Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, Li Keqiang, initiated the development of a strategy entitled "5 Points and One Line", which he first proposed on a visit to Yingkoumarker in late 2005. Liaoning Province formally launched the development strategy for the entire Liaoning coastline in early 2006, so as to re-invigorate the provincial economy from its traditional status as the "rustbelt" of Chinese State Owned Enterprises.

The "Five Points" indicate five key development areas in the province and cover seven zones: the Changxing Island Harbor Industrial Zone inDalian; Yingkoumarker Coastal Industrial Base; Liaoxi Jinzhoumarker Bay Coastal Economic Zone; Dandongmarker, and the Zhuanghe Huayuankou Industrial Zone.

The five zones together cover a planned area of nearly 500 square kilometres.

The "One Line" mentioned in the strategy represents a new motorway along the coast. The coastline of 1,433 kilometers will become the connectionbetween the five above zones, through which 6 provincial cities, 21 counties and 113 towns will be interlinked. The new coastal motorway will directly connect the entire rim of five zones around the Bohai sea, and will be completed by 2009.


The population of Liaoning is mostly Han Chinese with minorities of Manchus, Mongols, Hui, Koreans and Xibe.

Ethnic groups in Liaoning, 2000 census
Nationality Population Percentage
Han Chinese 35,105,991 83.94%
Manchu 5,385,287 12.88%
Mongol 669,972 1.60%
Hui 264,407 0.632%
Koreans 241,052 0.576%
Xibe 132,615 0.317%
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)


Liaoning's culture is part of a culture of Northeast China that is quite homogeneous across all of the northeastern China. See Manchuria#Culture for a detailed description.

In paleontology, Liaoning is well known for its extraordinary fossils from the Lower Cretaceous period; e.g., the early 'placental' mammal known as Eomaia. The first widely acknowledged feathered dinosaur, Sinosauropteryx prima, was discovered in Liaoning and unveiled at a scientific meeting in 1996. Other notable discoveries have been an intact embryo of a pterosaur, Repenomamus robustus—a cat-sized mammal who ate dinosaurs, and Sinornithosaurus millenii, nicknamed "Dave the Fuzzy Raptor".


Chongzheng Hall in the Mukden Palace.
The Mukden Palacemarker was the palace of the Qing Dynastymarker emperors before they conquered the rest of China and moved their capital to Beijing. Though not as large nor as famous as its counterpart (the Forbidden Citymarker) in Beijing, the Mukden palace is significant for its representation of palace architecture at the time, and has recently been included on the UNESCOmarker World Heritage Site as an extension of the Imperial Palace site in Beijing.

In addition, three imperial tombs dating from the Qing Dynasty are located in Liaoning. These tomb sites have been grouped with other Mingmarker and Qing Dynasties tombs (such as the Ming Dynasty Tombsmarker in Beijing, and the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleummarker in Nanjingmarker) as a combined UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Wunu Mountain City, a Goguryeo site found in Huanren Manchu Autonomous Countymarker, is part of a combined UNESCOmarker World Heritage Site that also includes sites in Ji'anmarker, Jilinmarker.

Benximarker offers a boat ride though a large stalactite filled cave and underground river.

Anshanmarker boasts the Anshan Jade Buddhamarker, the largest Buddha statue made of jade in the world.

Liaoyangmarker, one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in northeast China, has a number of historical sites, including the White Pagoda (Baita), that dates to the Yuan Dynastymarker.

The port city of Dalian, located on the tip of the Liaodong Peninsulamarker, is a tourist destination in its own right, with beaches, resorts, zoos, seafood, shopping, Russianmarker- and Japanesemarker-era architecture, and streetcars, a rare sight in China.

Dandongmarker, on the border with North Koreamarker, is a medium-sized city that offers a cross-river view of the North Korean city of Sinŭijumarker.

Bijia Mountainmarker is a curious island which joins to the mainland at low tide by a land bridge.


Colleges and universities

Under the national Ministry of Education:

Under various other national agencies:

Under the provincial government:


Liaoning contains one of the foremost paleontological sites in the world since the discovery of Sinosauropteryx, a small feathered meat-eating dinosaur, from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation. Since the 1990s dozens of groundbreaking finds have been discovered there, including the earliest flower, placental mammal, and marsupial, as well as several birds and feathered dinosaurs, including one that was found in a sleeping position. These have added further evidence that birds and dinosaurs may be directly related.


Professional sports teams based in Liaoning include:

See also


  1. Xingjing
  2. Dongjing
  3. Edmonds (1985), p. 113
  4. Edmonds (1985), p. 74
  5. Edmonds (1985), pp. 74-75
  6. Edmonds (1985), pp. 58-61
  7. Edmonds (1985), p. 76

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