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Zhejiang ( ) is an eastern coastal province of the People's Republic of Chinamarker. The word Zhejiang (crooked river) was the old name of the Qiantang River, which passes through Hangzhoumarker, the provincial capital. The name of the province is often abbreviated to "Zhe" (浙).

Zhejiang borders Jiangsumarker province and Shanghai municipality to the north, Anhuimarker province to the northwest, Jiangximarker province to the west, and Fujianmarker province to the south; to the east is the East China Seamarker, beyond which lie the Ryukyu Islandsmarker of Japanmarker.


Zhejiang was outside the sphere of influence of early Chinese civilization during the Shang Dynasty (sixteenth century to eleventh century BC). Instead it was populated by peoples collectively known as the Yue, such as the Dongyue and the Ouyue. Starting from the Spring and Autumn Period, a state of Yue emerged in northern Zhejiang that was heavily influenced by Chinese civilization further north, and under King Goujian of Yue it reached its zenith and was able to wipe out, in 473 BC, the state of Wu further north, a major power at the time. In 333 BC, this state was in turn conquered by the state of Chu further west; and the state of Qin in turn subjugated all the states of China under its control in 221 BC, thereby establishing a unified Chinese empire.

Throughout the Qin Dynasty (221 to 206 BC) and Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD), Zhejiang was under the control of the unified Chinese state, though it was a frontier area at best, and southern Zhejiang was not under anything more than nominal control, it being still inhabited by Yue peoples with their own political and social structures. Near the end of the Han Dynasty Zhejiang was home to minor warlords Yan Baihu and Wang Lang, who fell in turn to Sun Ce and Sun Quan, who eventually established the Kingdom of Wu (222–280), one of the Three Kingdoms.

From the fourth century onwards, China began to be invaded from the north by nomadic peoples, who conquered areas of North China and established the Sixteen Kingdoms and the Northern Dynasties. As a result, massive numbers of refugees arrived from the north and poured into South China, which hosted the refugee Eastern Jin Dynasty and Southern Dynasties; this accelerated the sinicization of South China, including Zhejiang.

The Sui Dynasty reestablished unity and built the Grand Canal of China, which linked Hangzhoumarker to the North China Plain, providing Zhejiang with a vital link to the centers of Chinese civilization. The Tang Dynasty (618–907) presided over a golden age of China. Zhejiang was, at this time, part of the Jiangnandong Circuit, and there began to appear references to its prosperity. Later on, as the Tang Dynasty disintegrated, Zhejiang constituted most of the territory of the regional kingdom of Wuyue.

The Northern Song Dynasty re-established unity in around 960. Under the Song Dynasty, the prosperity of South China began to overtake North China. After the north was lost to the Jurchens in 1127, Zhejiang had its heyday: the modern provincial capital, Hangzhoumarker, was the capital of the Han Chinese Southern Song Dynasty which held on to South China. Renowned for its prosperity and beauty, it may have been the largest city in the world at the time. Ever since then all the way to the present day, north Zhejiang has, together with neighbouring south Jiangsumarker, been synonymous with luxury and opulence in Chinese culture. Mongol conquest and the establishment of the Yuan Dynastymarker in 1279 ended Hangzhou's political clout, though Hangzhou continued to prosper; Marco Polo visited the city, which he called "Kinsay", and called the "finest and noblest city" in the world".

The Zhejiang province, particularly the Longquan district, became renowned during the Southern Song and Yuan dynasty for its production of a particular celadon (greenware) ceramic. The Southern Song Longquan celadon is characterized by a thick unctuous glaze of a particular bluish-green tint over an otherwise undecorated light-grey porcellaneous body that is delicately potted. Yuan Longquan celadons feature a thinner, greener glaze on increasingly larger vessels with decoration and shapes derived from Middle Eastern ceramic and metalwares. These were produced in large quantities for the Chinese export trade to Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and in the Ming, Europe. Ming wares are mainly noted for a decrease in quality and it is in this period that the Longquan kilns declined, to be eventually replaced in popularity and ceramic production by the kilns of Jingdezhen, in neighboring Jiangxi province.Vainker, Shelaugh. Chinese Pottery and Porcelain. London: British Museum Press, 1991.

The Ming Dynastymarker which drove out the Mongols in 1368 were the first to establish Zhejiang Province, and the borders of the province have since changed little.With the invasion of Western capitalism, Zhejiang became the most important bridge between Shanghai, the national economic center, and wealthy Southern China.Following the Doolittle Raid during world war II, most of the B-25 American crews that came down in China eventually made it to safety with the help of Chinese civilians and soldiers. The Chinese people who helped them, however, paid dearly for sheltering the Americans. The Imperial Japanese Army began the Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign to intimidate the Chinese from helping downed American airmen. The Japanese killed an estimated 250,000 civilians while searching for Doolittle’s men.

After the People's Republic of Chinamarker took control of Mainland China in 1949, the Republic of Chinamarker government based in Taiwanmarker continued to control the Dachen Islands off the coast of Zhejiang until 1955, even establishing a rival Zhejiang provincial government there, creating a situation similar to Fujianmarker province today. During the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), Zhejiang was in chaos and disunity, and its economy was stagnant, especially during its high tide (1966–69). These problems were intensified by an agricultural policy favoring grain production at the expense of industrial and cash crops. Mao’s self-reliance policy, and the reduction in maritime trade cut off the lifelines of the port cities of Ningbomarker and Wenzhoumarker. While Mao invested heavily in railroads in interior China, no major railroads were built to improve the poor transportation conditions in South Zhejiang.

Zhejiang has been less favored by the central government due to the lack of natural resources, a location vulnerable to potential flooding from the sea, and an economic base at the national average. Zhejiang, however, has long been an epicenter of capitalist development in China, and has been leading the nation in marketisation and the development of private enterprises. Northeast Zhejiang, as part of the Yangtze Delta, is flat, more developed, and industry oriented, where the earliest civilization in Zhejiang was found. South Zhejiang is mountainous and ill-suited for farming, and has traditionally been poor and underdeveloped. The economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping, however, have brought change to that region unparalleled across the rest of China. Driven by hard work, an entrepreneuring spirit, low labour costs, and an eye for the world market, south Zhejiang (especially cities such as Wenzhoumarker and Yiwumarker) has become a major center of export. This, together with the traditional prosperity of north Zhejiang, has allowed Zhejiang to leapfrog over several other provinces and become one of the richer provinces of China.

Although against the traditional Confucian ideas, intellectuals in Zhejiang, such as Shi Ye of the Yongjia School, had been promoting commercial activities. Over the years, Zhejiang has developed a tradition of active commercial activities and entrepreneurship.


Zhejiang consists mostly of hills, which account for about 70% of its total area. Altitudes tend to be highest to the south and west, and the highest peak of the province, Huangyajian Peak (1921 m), is found in the southwest. Mountain ranges include the Yandang Mountains, Tianmu Mountains, Tiantai Mountains, and Mogan Mountains, which traverse the province at altitudes of about 200 to 1000 m.

Valleys and plains are found along the coastline and rivers. The north of the province is just south of the Yangtze Delta, and consists of plains around the cities of Hangzhoumarker, Jiaxingmarker, and Huzhoumarker, where the Grand Canal of China enters from the northern border to end at Hangzhou; another relatively flat area is found along the Qujiang River, around the cities of Quzhoumarker and Jinhua. Major rivers include the Qiantang River and the Oujiang River. Most rivers carve out valleys in the highlands, with plenty of rapids and other features associated with such topography. Famous lakes include the West Lakemarker of Hangzhoumarker and the South Lake of Jiaxingmarker.

There are over three thousand islands along the ragged coastline of Zhejiang. The largest, Zhoushan Islandmarker, is Mainland China's third largest island, after Hainanmarker and Chongmingmarker. There are also many bays, Hangzhou Bay being the largest.

Zhejiang has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. Spring starts in March and is rainy and weather is changeable. Summer, from June to September is long, hot and humid. Fall is generally dry, warm and sunny. Winters are short but cold except in the far south. Average annual temperature is around 15 to 19°C, average January temperature is around 2 to 8°C, and average July temperature is around 27 to 30°C. Annual precipitation is about 1000 to 1900 mm. There is plenty of rainfall in early summer, and by late summer Zhejiang is directly threatened by typhoons forming in the Pacific.

Major cities:

Administrative divisions

Zhejiang is divided into eleven prefecture-level divisions, all of them prefecture-level cities:

Map # Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Type
1 Hangzhoumarker 杭州市 Hángzhōu Shì Sub-provincial city
2 Ningbomarker 宁波市 Níngbō Shì Sub-provincial city
3 Huzhoumarker 湖州市 Húzhōu Shì Shì Prefecture-level city
4 Jiaxingmarker 嘉兴市 Jiāxīng Shì Shì Prefecture-level city
5 Jinhua 金华市 Jīnhuá Shì Prefecture-level city
6 Lishuimarker 丽水市 Líshuǐ Shì Prefecture-level city
7 Quzhoumarker 衢州市 Qúzhōu Shì Prefecture-level city
8 Shaoxingmarker 绍兴市 Shàoxīng Shì Prefecture-level city
9 Taizhoumarker 台州市 Tāizhōu Shì Prefecture-level city
10 Wenzhoumarker 温州市 Wēnzhōu Shì Prefecture-level city
11 Zhoushanmarker 舟山市 Zhōushān Shì Prefecture-level city

The eleven prefecture-level divisions of Zhejiang are subdivided into 90 county-level divisions (32 district, 22 county-level cities, 35 counties, and one autonomous county). Those are in turn divided into 1570 township-level divisions (761 town, 505 township, 14 ethnic townships, and 290 subdistricts).

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


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

The Governor of Zhejiang is the highest ranking official in the People's Government of Zhejiang. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Zhejiang Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary, colloquially termed the "Zhejiang CPC Party Chief". Zhejiang was home to Chiang Kai-shek and many high ranking officials in the Nationalist Party, who fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the Civil War. Zhejiang has since become the forefront of China’s tense relations with Taiwan.


The province is traditionally known as the "Land of Fish and Rice". True to its name, rice is the main crop, followed by wheat; north Zhejiang is also a center of aquaculture in China, and the Zhoushan fishery is the largest fishery in the country. Main cash crops include jute and cotton, and the province also leads the provinces of China in tea production (the renowned Longjing tea is a product of Hangzhoumarker). Zhejiang's towns have been known for handcraft production of products such as silk, for which it is ranked second among the provinces, and as market towns connecting the cities with the countryside.

See also: Pearl farming in China

Ningbomarker, Wenzhoumarker, Taizhoumarker and Zhoushanmarker are important commercial ports. The Hangzhou Bay Bridgemarker ,between Haiyan Countymarker and Ciximarker, is the longest sea-crossing bridge in the world.

Zhejiang's manufacturing is centered upon electromechanical industries, textiles, chemical industries, food, and construction materials. In recent years Zhejiang has followed its own development model, dubbed the "Zhejiang model", which is based on prioritizing and encouraging entrepreneurship, an emphasis on small businesses responsive to the whims of the market, large public investments into infrastructure, and the production of low cost goods in bulk for both domestic consumption and export. As a result, Zhejiang has made itself one of the richest provinces, and the "Zhejiang spirit" has become something of a legend within China. However, some economists are now worrying that this model is not sustainable, in that it is inefficient and places unreasonable demands on raw materials and public utilities, and also a dead end, in that the myriad small businesses of Zhejiang producing cheap goods in bulk are unable to move to more sophisticated or technologically-oriented industries. The economic heart of Zhejiang is moving from Hangzhou-surrounded North Zhejiang southeastward to more complex combinations of several strong municipalities. The per capita disposable income of urbanites in Zhejiang reached 22,727 yuan (US$3,272) in 2008, an annual real growth of 5.4%. The per capita pure income of rural residents stood at 9,258 yuan (US$1,333), a real growth of 6.2% year-on-year. Its nominal GDP for 2008 was 2.15 trillion yuan (US$309 billion) with a per capita of 42,214 yuan (US$6,078). In 2008, Zhejiang's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were worth 109.5 billion yuan (US$15.8 billion), 1.158 trillion yuan (US$166.7 billion), and 881.1 billion yuan (US$126.9 billion) respectively.

Zhejiang is the first province of China, which had no counties in the poverty-county list of the central government. Zhejiang has become one of the most marketised and richest provinces in China. Compared to many other Chinese provinces, the development in different regions in Zhejiang is more balanced. While the countyside still lags far behind, in 2006, the per capita disposable incomes for eleven major cities in Zhejiang were all ranked among the top 30 in Chinese cities.

Economic and Technological Development Zones


Han Chinese make up the vast majority of the population. The She and Hui nationalities are the two largest minorities.


The Zhejiang Radio & Television, Hangzhou Radio & Television Group, Ningbo Radio & Television Group are the local broadcasters in Zhejiang Province. Programs are produced by Guinness of China Television and entertainment is produced by Wenzhou Television.



Zhejiang is mountainous and has therefore fostered the development of many individual localized cultures. Linguistically speaking, Zhejiang is extremely diverse. The inhabitants of Zhejiang speak Wu, a subdivision of spoken Chinese, but the Wu dialects are very diverse, especially in the south, where one valley may speak a dialect completely unintelligible to another valley a few kilometers away. Non-Wu dialects are spoken as well, mostly along the borders; Mandarin and Huizhou dialects are spoken on the border with Anhuimarker, while Min dialects are spoken on the border with Fujianmarker. (See Hangzhou dialect, Shaoxing dialect, Ningbo dialect, Wenzhou dialect, Taizhou dialect, Jinhua dialect, Quzhou dialect for more information). Throughout history there has been numerous lingua franca in the area to allow for better communication. The dialects spoken in Hangzhou, Shaoxing and Ningbo have taken on this role historically. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Standard Mandarin, which is not mutually intelligible with any local dialects, has been promoted as the standard language of communication in all of China. As a result, most of the population now have a good grasp on speaking and comprehending Mandarin and can code-switch when necessary, while the majority of the population educated since 1978 can speak Mandarin flawlessly. Urban areas tend to be more fluent in Mandarin than rural areas. Nevertheless, a Zhejiang accent is detectable in almost everyone from the area communicating in Mandarin, and the home dialect of any native resident remains an important part of the everyday lives and cultural identity of most Zhejiang residents.


Zhejiang is the home of Yueju (), one of the most prominent forms of Chinese opera. Yueju originated in Shengzhoumarker and is traditionally performed by actresses only, in both male and female roles. Other important opera traditions include Yongju (of Ningbomarker), Shaoju (of Shaoxingmarker), Ouju (of Wenzhoumarker), Wuju (of Jinhua), Taizhou Luantan (of Taizhoumarker) and Zhuji Luantan (of Zhujimarker).


Longjing tea (also called dragon well tea), originating in Hangzhou, is one of the most prestigious, if not the most prestigious Chinese tea. Hangzhou is also renowned for its silk umbrellas and folding fans. Zhejiang cuisine (itself subdivided into many traditions, including Hangzhou cuisine) is one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine.

Place names

Since ancient times, north Zhejiang and neighbouring south Jiangsumarker have been famed for their prosperity and opulence, and simply inserting north Zhejiang place names (Hangzhoumarker, Jiaxingmarker, etc.) into poetry gave an effect of dreaminess, as was indeed done by many famous poets. In particular, the fame of Hangzhoumarker (as well as Suzhoumarker in neighbouring Jiangsumarker province) has led to the popular saying: 上有天堂,下有苏杭 ("Above there is heaven; below there is Suzhoumarker and Hangzhoumarker"), a saying that continues to be a source of pride for the people of these two still prosperous cities.

Notable people

Politics and Military

Ancient drawing of Gou Jian, the King of Yue.




Tourist destinations in Zhejiang include:


Professional sports teams based in Zhejiang include:

Colleges and universities


External links

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