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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shanxi Province
Chinese : 山西省
Shānxī Shěng
Abbreviations:   (pinyin: Jìn)
Shanxi is highlighted on this map
Origin of name 山 shān - mountain
西 xī - west
"west of the Taihang Mountains"
Administration type Province
(and largest city)
CPC Ctte Secretary Zhang Baoshun 张宝顺
Governor Wang Jun 王君
Area 156,800 km2 (60,500 sq mi) (19th)
Population (2004)
 - Density
33,350,000 (19th)
213 /km2 (550 /sq mi) (19th)
GDP (2008)
 - per capita
CNY 693.9 billion (18th)
CNY 20,300 (14th)
HDI (2006) 0.782 (medium) (13th)
Ethnic composition Han - 99.7%
Hui - 0.2%
Prefecture-level 11 divisions
County-level 119 divisions
Township-level* 1388 divisions
ISO 3166-2 CN-14
Official website (Chinese)
Source for population and GDP data:
《中国统计年鉴—2005》 China Statistical Yearbook 2005
ISBN 7503747382
Source for nationalities data:
《2000年人口普查中国民族人口资料》 Tabulation on nationalities of 2000 population census of China
ISBN 7105054255
*As at December 31, 2004
Template ■ Discussion ■ WikiProject China

About this sound Shanxi (Chinese: 山西pinyin: ShānxīWade-Giles: Shan-hsi; Postal map spelling: Shansi) is a province in the northern part of the People's Republic of China. Its one-character abbreviation is Jin (晋 pinyin jìn), after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period.

The name Shanxi literally means "mountain's west", which refers to the province's location west of the Taihang Mountains.[1] Shanxi borders Hebei to the east, Henan to the south, Shaanxi to the west, and Inner Mongolia to the north. The capital of the province is Taiyuan.



Shanxi was the territory of state of Jin during the Spring and Autumn Period (722 BC - 403 BC), which underwent a three-way split into the states of Han, Zhao and Wei in 403 BC, the traditional date taken as the start of the Warring States Period (403 BC - 221 BC). By 221 BC all of these states had fallen to the state of Qin, which established the Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 206 BC).

The Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) ruled Shanxi as the province (zhou) of Bingzhou (幷州 Bīng Zhōu). During the invasion of northern nomads during the Sixteen Kingdoms period (304 - 439), what is now Shanxi was controlled contiguously by several regimes, including Later Zhao, Former Yan, Former Qin, and Later Yan. They were followed by Northern Wei (386 - 534), a Xianbei kingdom, which had one of its earlier capitals at present-day Datong in northern Shanxi, and which went on to rule nearly all of northern China.

The Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) originated in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. Modern Chinese people are called Tang Ren globally due to the power and impact of the Tang Dynasty in history. During the Tang Dynasty and after, the area was called Hédōng (河東), or "east of the (Yellow) river".

During the first part of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (907 - 960), Shanxi supplied three of the Five Dynasties, as well as the only one of the Ten Kingdoms to be in northern China. Shanxi was initially home to the jiedushi (commander) of Hedong, Li Cunxu, who overthrew the first of the Five Dynasties, Later Liang Dynasty (907 - 923) to establish the second, Later Tang Dynasty (923 - 936). Another jiedushi of Hedong, Shi Jingtang, overthrew Later Tang to establish the third of the Five Dynasties, Later Jin Dynasty, and yet another jiedushi of Hedong, Liu Zhiyuan, established the fourth of the Five Dynasties (Later Han Dynasty) after the Khitans destroyed Later Jin, the third. Finally, when the fifth of the Five Dynasties (Later Zhou Dynasty) emerged, the jiedushi of Hedong at the time, Liu Chong, rebelled and established an independent state called Northern Han, one of the Ten Kingdoms, in what is now northern and central Shanxi.

Shi Jingtang, founder of the Later Jin Dynasty, the third of the Five Dynasties, ceded a large slice of northern China to the Khitans in return for military assistance. This territory, called The Sixteen Prefectures of Yanyun, included a part of northern Shanxi. The ceded territory became a major problem for China's defense against the Khitans for the next 100 years, because it lies to the south of the Great Wall.

During the Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127), the sixteen ceded prefectures continued to be an area of contention between Song China and the Liao Dynasty. The Southern Song Dynasty that came after abandoned all of North China to the Jurchen Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) in 1127, including Shanxi.

The Mongol Yuan Dynasty divided China into provinces but did not establish Shanxi as a province. Shanxi only gained its present name and approximate borders in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). During the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), Shanxi extended northwards beyond the Great Wall to include parts of Inner Mongolia, including what is now the city of Hohhot, and overlapped with the jurisdiction of the Eight Banners and the Guihua Tümed banner in that area.

During most of the Republic of China's period of rule over mainland China (1912-1949), Shanxi was held by warlord Yen Hsi-shan, regardless of the frequent political upheavals that shook the rest of China. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Japan occupied much of the province after defeating China in the Battle of Taiyuan. Shanxi was also a major battlefield between the Japanese and the Chinese communist guerrillas of the Eighth Route Army during the war.

After the defeat of Japan, much of the Shanxi countryside became important bases for the communist People's Liberation Army in the ensuing Chinese Civil War. Yen had incorporated thousands of former Japanese soldiers among his own forces, and these soldiers became part of his failed defense of Taiyuan against the People's Liberation Army in early 1949.

For centuries Shanxi was the center of trade and banking, and the term "Shanxi Merchant" (晋商 jìnshāng) was once synonymous with wealth. The well-preserved city of Pingyao in Shanxi also shows many signs of its former dominance as a center of trade and banking. Due to Shanxi's geographic location in the Great China and its natural environment, Shanxi was the richest province in Zhongyuan or Center China. In the Qing Dynasty, Pingyao was the centre of Chinese banking industry, a county in contemporary time famous for its UNESCO ancient city walls and ancient China's Wall Street for its financial importance in history. In modern times, the mining of coal is important in Shanxi's economy, but has also been the subject of severe criticism due to its deplorable conditions. Since 2004 the province has been plagued with labour safety issues, including a slave labour scandal involving children, causing significant civil unrest and national embarrassment.


Shanxi is located on a plateau made up of higher ground to the east (Taihang Mountains) and the west (Lüliang Mountains) and a series of valleys in the center through which the Fen River runs. The highest peak is Mount Wutai (Wutai Shan) in northeastern Shanxi at an altitude of 3058 m. The Great Wall of China forms most of the northern border of Shanxi with Inner Mongolia.

The Huang He (Yellow River) forms the western border of Shanxi with Shaanxi. The Fen and Qin rivers, tributaries of the Huang He, run north-to-south through the province, and drain much of its area. The north of the province is drained by tributaries of the Hai River, such as Sanggan and Hutuo rivers. The largest natural lake in Shanxi is Xiechi Lake, a salt lake near Yuncheng in southwestern Shanxi.

Shanxi has a continental monsoon climate, and is rather arid. Average January temperatures are below 0 °C, while average July temperatures are around 21 - 26 °C. Winters are long, dry, and cold, while summer is warm and humid. Spring is extremely dry and prone to dust storms. Shanxi is one of the sunniest parts of China; early summer heat waves are common. Annual precipitation averages around 350–700 mm, with 60% of it concentrated between June and August. [2]

Major cities:

Administrative divisions

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

Map # Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Administrative Seat
Shanxi prfc map.png
1 Taiyuan 太原市 Tàiyuán Shì Xinghualing District
2 Changzhi 长治市 Chángzhì Shì Chengqu District
3 Datong 大同市 Dàtóng Shì Chengqu District
4 Jincheng 晋城市 Jìnchéng Shì Chengqu District
5 Jinzhong 晋中市 Jìnzhōng Shì Yuci District
6 Linfen 临汾市 Línfén Shì Yaodu District
7 Lüliang 吕梁市 Lǚliáng Shì Lishi District
8 Shuozhou 朔州市 Shuòzhōu Shì Shuocheng District
9 Xinzhou 忻州市 Xīnzhōu Shì Xinfu District, Xinzhou
10 Yangquan 阳泉市 Yángquán Shì Chengqu District
11 Yuncheng 运城市 Yùnchéng Shì Yanhu District

The 11 prefecture-level divisions of Shanxi are subdivided into 119 county-level divisions (23 districts, 11 county-level cities, and 85 counties). Those are in turn divided into 1388 township-level divisions (561 towns, 634 townships, and 193 subdistricts).

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


The Politics of Shanxi Province is structured in a dual party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China (citation needed)!.

The Governor of Shanxi (山西省省长) is the highest ranking official in the People's Government of Shanxi. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Shanxi Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary (山西省委书记), colloquially termed the "Shanxi CPC Party Chief".

The province went through significant political instability since 2004, due largely to the amount of scandals that have hit the province, mostly on labour safety. Yu Youjun and Meng Xuenong were top officials appointed by the central government to resolve sensitive issues as the province's party boss. But the situation has, by and large, deteriorated during their tenures in office. As a result both Yu and Meng were forced to relocate themselves to relatively insignificant positions elsewhere in the country. In 2008 Shanxi's regional political problems were complicated by the death of Political Consultative Conference Chair Jin Yinhuan due to a car accident.


The GDP per capita of Shanxi is below national average. Compared to the provinces in East China, Shanxi is less developed for many reasons. Its geographic location limits it participation in international trade, which involves mostly eastern coastal provinces. Important crops in Shanxi include wheat, maize, millet, legumes, and potatoes. Arid climate and dwindling water resources limits agriculture in Shanxi.[2]

Shanxi possesses 260 billion metric tons of known coal deposits, about one third of China's total. As a result, Shanxi is a leading producer of coal in China, with annual production exceeding 300 million metric tonnes. The Datong (大同), Ningwu (宁武), Xishan (西山), Hedong (河东), Qinshui (沁水), and Huoxi (霍西) coalfields are some of the most important in Shanxi. Shanxi also contains about 500 million tonnes of bauxite deposits, about one third of total Chinese bauxite reserves.[3][4]

Industry in Shanxi is centered around heavy industries such as coal and chemical production, power generation, and metal refining.[citation needed] There are countless military-related industries in Shanxi Province due to its geographic location and history when it is used to be the base of the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army. Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre, one of China's three satellite launch centers, is located in the middle of Shanxi Province with China's largest stockpile of nuclear missiles.

Many private corporations joint with the state-owned mining corporations have invested billions of dollars in the Mining Industry of Shanxi Province. Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing has made one of his largest investment ever in China on exploiting coal gas in Shanxi. Foreign investors include mining companies from British Columbia (CA), Alberta (CA), Colorado (US), Texas (US), Japan, Britain, Germany and Italy.[citation needed]

The mining related companies include Daqin Railway Co. Ltd., which runs one of the busiest and most technologically advanced railway in China connecting Datong and Qinhuangdao and exclusively for coal shipping.[citation needed] The revenue of Daqin Railway Co. Ltd. is among the highest in Shanxi Province's companies due to its exporting of coal to Japan, Korea, and South-East Asia.

Shanxi's nominal GDP in 2008 was 693.87 billion yuan (US$100 billion), ranked eighteenth in China. Its per-capita GDP was 16,835 yuan (US$2 482.59).[citation needed]

Shanxi is infamous for bad working conditions in coal mining and other heavy industries. Thousands of workers have died every year in those industries. Cases of child labour abuse were discovered recently.[5][6]

In contrast with the poverty, Shanxi is known for its wealthy mine owners in China.[citation needed] Consortiums of mine owners from Shanxi have influences in Beijing's real estate market because of their speculation. The only other wealth group in China having the same influence is the entrepreneurs from Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province which is the centre of light industry of China and the world.[citation needed]


The transport infrastructure in Shanxi is very developed. There are many important national highways and railways that connect the province with neighboring provinces.[7]


Shanxi's road hub is in the capital, Taiyuan. The major highways in province form a road network connecting all the counties. Examples of major highways are:

  • Dayun Highway(大運公路)
  • Datong-Yuncheng Highway (大同-運城)
  • Taiyuan-Jiuguan Expressway (太原-舊關高速公路)
  • Beijing-Shijiazhuang expressway (北京-石家庄高速公路)
  • Beijing-Tianjin-Tanggu expressway (京津唐高速公路)
  • Beijing-Shenzhen expressway


Shanxi has extensive rail infrastructure to neighboring provinces. The rail network connects to major cities Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang, Beijing , Yuanping, Baotou, Datong, Menyuan and Jiaozuo. The province also have extensive rail network to coastal cities such as Qinghuandao, Qingdao, Yantai and Lianyungang.[7]

The province has a rail network called the Shuozhou-Huanghua Railway. It will service Shenchi county in Shanxi with Huanghua port in Hebei. It will become the second largest railway for coal transport from west to east in China.[8]


Shanxi's main aviation transport is Taiyuan Airport. The airport has routes connecting Shanxi to 28 domestic cities including Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu and Chongqing. There are international routes from Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Russia. There is also another airport at Datong City which has domestic routes to other mainland cities.[7][9]


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

Ethnic groups in Shanxi, 2000 census
Nationality Population Percentage
Han Chinese 32,368,083 99.68%
Hui 61,690 0.19%
Manchu 13,665 0.042%
Mongol 9,446 0.029%

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)

In 2004, the birth rate was 12.36 births/1000 population, while the death rate was 6.11 deaths/1000 population. The sex ratio was 105.5 males/100 females. [3]


The Pagoda of Fogong Temple, Ying County, built in the year 1056.

People in most regions of Shanxi speak dialects of Jin, a subdivision of spoken Chinese. However, dialects in the southwest, near the border with Henan and Shaanxi, are classified as part of the Zhongyuan Mandarin subdivision of the Mandarin group rather than Jin. In terms of characteristics, Jin dialects are generally distinguished by their retention of the entering tone from Middle Chinese. In this respect they are unique in all of northern China, as most of the surrounding Mandarin dialects (spoken over the remainder of northern China) have lost it. (In central and southern China, it is much more common for the entering tone to be kept.) Jin is also noted for extremely complex tone sandhi systems.

Shanxi cuisine is most well known for its extensive use of vinegar as a condiment and for its noodles. A dish originating from Taiyuan, the provincial capital, is the Taiyuan Tounao (太原头脑, literally "Taiyuan Head"). It is a soup brewed using mutton, shanyao (山药, Chinese wild yam), lotus roots, astragalus membranaceus (黄芪, membranous milk vetch), tuber onions, as well as cooking liquor for additional aroma. It can be enjoyed by dipping pieces of unleavened cake into the soup, and is reputed to have medicinal properties.

Shanxi Opera (晋剧 Jinju) is a popular form of Chinese opera in Shanxi. It was popularized during the late Qing Dynasty, with the help of the then-ubiquitous Shanxi merchants who were active across parts of China. Also called Zhonglu Bangzi (中路梆子), it is a type of bangzi opera (梆子), a group of operas generally distinguished by their use of wooden clappers for rhythm and by a more energetic singing style; Shanxi opera is also complemented by quzi (曲子), a blanket term for more melodic styles from further south. Puzhou Opera (蒲剧 Puju), from southern Shanxi, is a more ancient type of bangzi that makes use of very wide linear intervals.

Shanxi merchants (晋商 Jinshang) constituted a historical phenomenon that lasted for centuries from the Song to the Qing Dynasty. Shanxi merchants ranged far and wide from Central Asia to the coast of eastern China; by the Qing Dynasty they were conducting trade across both sides of the Great Wall. During the late Qing Dynasty, a new development occurred: the creation of piaohao (票号), which were essentially banks that provided services like money transfers and transactions, deposits, and loans. After the establishment of the first piaohao in Pingyao, the bankers in Shanxi dominated China's financial market for centuries until the collapse of Qing Dynasty and the coming of British banks.


A Pingyao street.
  • Jinci in Taiyuan, famous for its temples and Song Dynasty paitings and architectures.
  • Zuoquan County, famous for its China Communist Party battlefield sites.
  • Mount Hengshan (Heng Shan), in Hunyuan County, is one of the "Five Great Peaks" of China, and is also a major Taoist site. Not far from Heng Shan, the Hanging Temple is located on the side of a cliff and has survived for 1400 years despite earthquakes in the area.
  • Pagoda of Fugong Temple, in Ying County, is a pagoda built in 1056 during the Liao Dynasty. It is octagonal with nine levels (five are visible from outside), and at 67 m (220 ft) in height, it is currently the tallest wooden pagoda in the world. It is also the oldest fully-wooden pagoda in China, although many no-longer-existing wooden pagodas have preceded it, and many existing stone and brick pagodas predate it by centuries.
  • The Cloud Ridge Caves are shallow caves near Datong. There are over 50,000 carved images and statues of Buddhas and Boddhisatvas within these grottoes, ranging from 4 centimeters to 7 meters tall.


Major Post-Secondary institutes in Shanxi include:

Major Secondary Schools in Shanxi include:


External links

Coordinates: 38°00′N 112°00′E / 38°N 112°E / 38; 112

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

See also Shaanxi, a neighboring province.

Shanxi (山西) is a province in Northern Central Region of China.


Shanxi Province, whose name means land west of Taihang Mountain, lies in the middle reaches of the Yellow River and on the eastern edge of the Loess Plateau. The Yellow, Haihe, and Fenhe Rivers flow through Shanxi, whose splendid landscape is graced by the celebrated Taihang and Liliang Ranges and Hengshan and Wutai Mountains. Most parts of the province are more than 1000 meters above sea level.

Shanxi's long history is traced back to the days when it was a major cradle of Chinese civilization. In remote antiquity, southern Shanxi was the domain of three legendary kings, Yao (capital: Pingyuan or present day Linfen), Shen (capital: Puban or present day Yongji) and Yu (capital: Anyi or present day Xiaxian County).

A rich cultural heritage mixes with natural wonders to form Shanxi's bustling tourist scene. Datong, Wutai Mountain, Taiyuan, Pingyao, Linfen, and Yuncheng are locations full of historic and cultural significance. Several sites in Shanxi are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Get around

The main sites in Shanxi are clustered around the main provincial highway, an impressive modern tollway which runs from Datong in the north to Yuncheng in the south. This highway passes through or near such major tourist centers as Taiyuan (the capital city), Pingyao, and Linfen. Thus the key tourist sights in Shanxi are easily visited by car. (The main exception being Wutai Shan, which can be reached by car but which is not so close to this main highway.) Unfortunately it is not that easy to rent a car and/or driver in Shanxi, particularly if one is not a Chinese speaker. This is best arranged through a travel agency.

Shanxi also has a major rail line which runs parallel to this highway and which stops at the key cities. It is a good way to get from city to city, although one does need to check the schedules carefully as some cities are served infrequently.

The main airports are in Taiyuan and in Datong.

There are many local and long distance bus lines in Shanxi. In general the buses get to destinations more quickly than the train.

Taxis are freely available for local trips or for daily hire.


Landmarks and buildings

Portions of the Great Wall of China can be seen in the province, including The Outer Wall of Shanxi at Li'erkou to Deshengbu, Juqiangbu to Laoniuwan, and along the Yellow River, near Datong, as well as The Inner Wall of Shanxi at Yanmenguan, Guangwu Old City, Ningwu Pass and Niangziguan.

Grottoes of interest can be found at Yungang Grottoes in Datong and at Tianlongshan Grottoes near Taiyuan.

Pingyao Ancient City in Pingyao is an attraction in itself. Premier sights here are the two temples, Shuanglin Temple and Zhenguo Temple.

The province is dotted with other temples, including Jinci Temple on the outskirts of Taiyuan, Twin Pagodas Temple in Taiyuan, Guangsheng Temple (including Flying Rainbow Pagoda) near Linfen, Yao Temple near Linfen and Guan Di Temple in Xiezhou near Yuncheng.

Other historical sights of interest include Nine Dragon Screen in Datong, Hanging Monastery near Datong, Yingxian Wooden Pagoda near Datong and Yongle Palace in Ruicheng County near Yuncheng.

Parks and nature

Two nature areas should not be missed, Hengshan Mountain in Datong and Hukou Waterfall in Jixian County near Linfen.


For an overview of the history of the province, see Shanxi Museum in Taiyuan. Other museums of interest includes two Folklore Museum, one at Dingcun village in Xiangfen near Linfen, and the other at Qiaojiabao in Taiyuan.


Shanxi has its own cuisine which is rather different than the more commonly experienced Cantonese, Beijing, Shanghai or Sichuan cuisines. Shanxi cuisine is particularly noted for its noodles, which come in many shapes and sizes and come accompanied with many different types of sauce.

Get out

Shanxi sits between Beijing and Xi'an, home of the famous Terracotta Warriors. For those who have time, it makes much sense to travel from Beijing to northern Shanxi to southern Shanxi to Xi'an (in Shaanxi Province)--or from Xi'an to Beijing via Shanxi in the other direction.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also Shaanxi



Wikipedia has an article on:



Shanxi's name literally means "mountains' west", referring to the province's location west of the Taihang Mountains.

Alternative forms

  • Chinese: 山西
  • Pinyin: Shānxī
  • Wade-Giles: Shan-hsi
  • Its one-character abbreviation is Jin (晋 pinyin jìn), after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period.
  • Chinese Postal Map Romanization: Shansi.

Proper noun




  1. A province in the northern part of the People's Republic of China.

See also


Mandarin Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia zh


Proper noun

Shanxi (Pinyin Shānxī)

  1. Shanxi

Simple English

location in China

Shanxi is a province of the People's Republic China. It is located in the northern part of the country and has the Yellow River flowing through it..[1] Shanxi's population in 2005 was 37.2 million people with an annual growth rate of justover four per cent.[1] The name Shanxi means "mountain's west", as it is west of the Taihang Mountains.[2]

Its major cities are its capital Taiyuan, Datong, Changzhi and Yangquan.

Notable residents

Mi Fu, poet


  1. 1.0 1.1 An Introduction to Chinese Provinces,, accessed November 2009
  2. (Chinese) Origin of the Names of China's Provinces, People's Daily Online.

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