/lyow"ning"/, n.
Pinyin, Wade-Giles. a province in NE China. 29,500,000; 58,301 sq. mi. (151,000 sq. km). Cap.: Shenyang. Formerly, Fengtien.

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formerly (1903–28) Fengtian or Feng-t'ien

Province (pop., 2000 est.: 42,380,000), northeastern China.

It lies on the Yellow Sea and is bordered by North Korea, Jilin and Hebei provinces, and Inner Mongolia. With an area of 58,300 sq mi (151,000 sq km), it is the southernmost of the three provinces that form the region of Manchuria. Its capital is Shenyang. It has four main topographical regions: the central plains, the Liaodong Peninsula, the western highlands, and the eastern mountain zone. The area was known as Shenjing during the Qing (Manchu) dynasty (1644–1911). In 1932–45 it was part of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. Shenyang was taken by the Chinese communists in 1948. Liaoning is China's most industrialized province, producing steel, cement, crude oil, and electrical power.

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Chinese (Wade-Giles)  Liao-ning,  (Pinyin)  Liaoning,  

      sheng (province) of the Northeast region of China (formerly called Manchuria). With an area of 56,300 square miles (145,700 square kilometres), Liaoning is bounded on the northeast by the province of Kirin, on the east by North Korea, on the south by the Yellow Sea, on the southwest by the province of Hopeh, and on the northwest by the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The provincial capital is Shen-yang (Shenyang) (formerly Mukden).

      The area, a region of early Chinese settlement in the Northeast, was known as Sheng-ching in Ch'ing, or Manchu, times (1644–1911/12). The area was redefined in 1903 and named Fengtien; in 1928 the boundaries were altered and it was renamed Liaoning. From 1947 to 1954 the territory was divided into a western province, Liaosi, and an eastern province, Liaotung. In 1954, however, a northern zone was detached and it was reestablished as a single province. It achieved its present form in 1956, when the former province of Jehol was partitioned and a portion added to Liaoning. Liaoning, Liaosi, and Liaotung all take their names from the Liao River. Precedents for the names go back to Han times.

Physical and human geography

The land
      Liaoning consists essentially of a central lowland, with Shen-yang at its centre, flanked by mountain masses to east and west. A southward extension of the eastern highlands forms the Liaotung Peninsula. There are four main topographical regions: the central plains, the Liaotung Peninsula, the western highlands, and the eastern mountain zone.

The four main regions
      The central plains are the most important area in the province. Structurally, the depression that it occupies is continuous with that of the North China Plain, but, topographically, the Liaoning plains are erosional rather than depositional in character. The relief of the plain is undulating but low, and natural drainage is inadequate in many places, creating swamps, some of which have been redrained. Most of the landscape of the central plains consists of cultivated fields. Undeveloped areas include swamps and sand formations. The soils of the middle of the Liao lowland are of the calcareous alluvial type; those of the peripheries to east and west, of brown-forest types; those of the northern peripheries, red earths. The swamps have gley soils (having a sticky layer of clay under the waterlogged surface). Wild animals are scarce, apart from rodents. Locusts are the most destructive pest.

      The Liaotung Peninsula (Liaodong Peninsula) is a rugged, mountainous area with a rocky coast. The usual height of the country is 1,000 to 1,500 feet (300 to 450 metres) above sea level. The rock types are very mixed, a fact that tends to create a complex and varied topography. Structurally, the peninsula represents a part of the same fold system as Shantung. The coastline is experiencing submergence. The soils of the peninsula, like the rock types and the topography, are very mixed and varied. Most of the best soils are of brown-forest type or of red or yellow loess (an unstratified wind-borne loamy deposit). There has been serious soil erosion, and skeletal soils occur on the steeper slopes. The natural vegetation is not well preserved because of the extent of cultivation and settlement. The forests that remain, mostly on the eastern sides of the hills, contain birch, lime, elm, and pine, together with typical Manchurian trees—oak, apple, and ash. On the western sides, trees are scarce. Wild animal life is now meagre, being almost limited to rodents.

      Western Liaoning, fringing the northern shore of Liaotung Bay between Shan-hai-kuan and Chin-chou, is predominantly a highland area. These highlands comprise the broken and eroded fringe of the Mongolian Plateau. They rise in Liaoning to general heights of about 1,500 feet. Toward the sea the mountains have been intensely eroded by fast-flowing rivers, so that a complex mass of valleys and ridges has been formed. Vegetation is very mixed and includes oaks, birches, pines, limes, and spruces. In former times, especially between 1911 and 1948, there was much indiscriminate cutting and thinning of the forests, so that many areas now have scattered woodland where formerly thick forest stood. The animal life of the western highlands is impoverished by the extent of both forest clearance and human settlement, but it includes the wolf, fox, marmot, and some kinds of deer.

      The eastern mountain zone lies to the east of Shen-yang. The least developed part of the province, it consists of a complex mountain mass, extending northward into Kirin Province, with elevations averaging about 1,500 feet. Natural vegetation is predominantly a mixed coniferous and broad-leaved forest.

      Temperature extremes and precipitation amounts vary with proximity to the coast. At Lü-ta (Dalian) (Dairen), at the southern tip of the Liaotung Peninsula, the January mean temperature is 23° F (−5° C) and that for July is 74° F (23° C); for Shen-yang, in central Liaoning, the respective mean temperatures are 10° F (−12° C) and 77° F (25° C). At Lü-ta there are about 200 frost-free days, while at Shen-yang there are between 160 and 180 frost-free days per year. Rainfall in Liaoning as a whole diminishes consistently from southeast to northwest. Average annual precipitation is about 29 inches (740 millimetres), three-quarters of it falling in the months of June, July, August, and September, and almost none during December, January, and February. The summer rainfall is often torrential, but everywhere the scarcity of spring precipitation tends to leave crops short of water.

The people
      In Liaoning almost all of the population is recorded as Han (Chinese). The bulk of the national minority population is Manchu, located mainly in the Liao Valley and around Shen-yang, in the southeast around Tan-tung, and in the southwest around Chin-chou. The second significant minority is that of the Mongols (Mongol), who are located toward the frontier of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to the west. Broadly speaking, the Hui (Chinese Muslim) minority follows the Manchu in its distribution. There are two autonomous counties representing the Mongolian minority nationality. One is centred on the coal town of Fu-hsin, and the other is in the southwest. A small Korean minority is located near the Korean frontier.

      Apart from the registered minority populations, many of the Han people of modern Liaoning have origins that are wholly or partly non-Han, usually Mongol or Manchu. Many of them are now totally assimilated into the Chinese sector of the population, in language and custom as well as in the adoption of contemporary Han life-styles.

      All of the large cities are industrial, and some experienced spectacular growth in the 1950s. They include the following: Shen-yang (earlier called Mukden, Feng-t'ien, or Sheng-ching); Lü-ta (comprises Lu-shun, formerly called Port Arthur, and Dairen); Fu-shun; and An-shan.

The economy
      The economy of Liaoning is by far the strongest in the Northeast and is one of the strongest provincial economies in China. Liaoning is one of the country's principal industrial provinces. One reason for the high level of development in Liaoning is the level of capitalization—very high by Chinese standards—which is based both on investments made under the government since 1949 and on important foreign investments made between 1896 and 1945, mainly by the Japanese.

      Liaoning Province is rich in mineral resources, especially iron ore and coal. Most of the iron ores of Liaoning are concentrated in a triangular area to the south of Shen-yang. These ores are generally easy to mine but are of relatively poor quality; ores of better quality occur in the northeastern part of the province. Coal is more widespread, and its distribution partly overlaps that of iron. Coal is exploited in three main areas to the north, east and southeast, and west of Shen-yang. Fu-shun, east of Shen-yang, and Fu-hsin, to the west, have two of the most important collieries in China. Both were exploited under the Japanese but have been expanded since the Communists came to power. Apart from its use as fuel and in smelting, coal is used in Liaoning to produce synthetic petroleum. Petroleum is also produced from oil shale, which occurs in the Fu-shun area and in western Liaoning, generally overlying coal seams. The Liao River oil field, first developed in the late 1960s, has become China's fourth largest onshore producer.

      Rich reserves of manganese ore occur in western Liaoning and in the southeast. In the eastern mountain area there are substantial deposits of copper, lead, and zinc; smaller similar deposits occur in the west, together with an important deposit of molybdenum. Important concentrations of magnesium ore are found southwest of Shen-yang. There are also reserves of other minerals, including bauxite, gold, and diamonds, and sea salt is produced.

      Agricultural advances in Liaoning have been less spectacular than industrial development. There are several reasons for this. Investment has always been much heavier in industry than in farming. The province's inheritance from the Japanese phase was much less valuable in agriculture than in industry. Liaoning also suffers from both natural calamities, such as spring droughts, and from backward cultivation methods in many places, which result in low yields. Exceptional opportunities for employment in industry also tend to deprive agriculture of much of the best labour, in spite of policies designed to prevent this. Yet, in much of Liaoning, topography and soils, and even climate, are quite favourable to agriculture; and the degree of farm mechanization, irrigation, and chemical fertilization is very high by Chinese standards. Liaoning is, nevertheless, an importer of food. It must depend partly on food from Kirin and Heilungkiang to the north and partly on imported grain.

      The summer in Liaoning is not long. Few places, consequently, produce two crops per year. The central plain is the best farming area, and the Liaotung Peninsula, with its shorter winter, has a diversified agriculture. Peanuts (groundnuts), sugar beets, and pears are among the province's major crops. Part of the cultivated area is used for industrial crops (primarily cotton and tobacco) or for export crops like apples; the rest is used for grain crops, vegetables, and soybeans. Higher yielding corn and rice, formerly grown mainly in the east and the southeast, have tended to supplant millet and kaoliang (a variety of grain sorghum) in the plains. The chestnut-leaved oak feeds the tussah silkworm; Liaoning is China's major producer of tussah silk. The forests support commercial lumbering, but the supply of mature trees is limited, due to previous overexploitation, and the output of lumber is low.

      Livestock raising is of minor importance. Pigs are bred mainly in the south and central parts, and in the west other animals are raised. Fishing in the Yellow Sea, on the other hand, is a major income-earning activity.

      During the mid-1950s considerable capital investment was made in Liaoning, primarily in heavy industry. In heavy industrial production, Liaoning ranks first among the provinces of China, producing, in addition to pig iron and steel, a substantial part of China's cement, crude oil, and electrical power. Apart from iron and steel, the industries of Liaoning include nonferrous-metal processing, machinery manufacture, and chemical manufacture, as well as such light industries as those producing textiles, foodstuffs, and paper.

      The primary focus of investment in Liaoning has been the industrial network centred on the An-shan (Anshan) iron and steel complex. An-shan, south of Shen-yang, is the industrial heart of Liaoning and is China's principal steel centre; taken as a whole, it is the biggest single enterprise in industrial investment ever established in China. Shen-yang, also a key industrial city, has been granted provincial-level powers in economic planning. It has a wide and varied range of heavy and light industries. Fu-shun (Fushun) is part of the Shen-yang complex, but its industries are all based on coal. Liao-yang (Liaoyang), directly south of Shen-yang, is a textile centre. Lü-ta (Dalian), near the tip of the Liaotung Peninsula, is of obvious strategic importance. It has the best harbour in the Northeast and is a major Chinese port. Modern engineering industries have been developed there, including shipbuilding and locomotive production. Lü-ta also has provincial-level economic authority and is one of China's coastal cities open to foreign investment. Western Liaoning, centred on Chin-chou (Jinzhou), is less advanced than the Shen-yang–An-shan area or Lü-ta, but it has valuable mineral resources and some industries.

      The rail transportation facilities of Liaoning are the best in China, and the tonnage transported is also the second highest for any province. The backbone of the transportation system is the Ch'ang-ch'un–Lü-ta railway (formerly called the South Manchurian Railway), which passes through Shen-yang and which was double-tracked in 1954. Rail traffic primarily comprises either industrial freight or food products in bulk.

      Highways in the province are extensive, but many are of poor quality. Many of the goods transported by road are carried in carts by animals in the traditional style.

      Navigation by sea or river carries almost none of the internal traffic of Liaoning, but sea navigation is of great importance for transport to other parts of China. Lü-ta is the largest port, followed by Ying-k'ou.

Administration and social conditions
      From 1950 to 1954 Liaoning, divided into Liaotung and Liaosi, was under the jurisdiction of the Northeast Military Administrative Commission. In 1954 the province was reunited, and Liaoning was brought under direct central government rule. During the Cultural Revolution the province was in the forefront of radical reform; it continued to support many of the revolution's initiatives after the death of Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) in 1976, although Liaoning subsequently led the national effort to modernize its industrial plants and open its doors to trade with the outside world. Liaoning Province (sheng) is now divided into two prefectures (ti-ch'ü) and 10 municipalities (shih) at the prefecture level. All of the province's counties (hsien) are under municipal administration.

      Liaoning's economically advanced society has developed significant educational and scientific resources. Only the three province-level cities of Shanghai, Tientsin, and Peking have a greater proportion of population educated at least to the primary level. Liaoning is second only to Peking in adult literacy and has more scientists and technical staff than Shanghai. There are numerous universities and other post-secondary educational institutions in the province.

      Though Sinitic in tradition, Liaoning's culture has been shaped by a kind of “outsider” perspective. Long periods of non-Han rule and the late onset of significant migration to the area have given Liaoning a frontier character. Many of the clan-centred traditions of central and South China have been attenuated in this still mobile society, where roots are shallow and the nuclear family predominates. In addition, as an arena of competition for influence by the Japanese and the Russians, the province has a degree of cosmopolitanism lacking in many other areas of China.

      Most of the present province of Liaoning fell within the confines of the earliest Great Wall of China, built during the reign of the first Ch'in emperor (221–210/209 BC), and hence formed part of China from early times. The environment and traditional Chinese civilization of the central plain in Liaoning continue into the North China Plain and into Shantung to the south. Political power in the region often passed to nonagricultural peoples, such as the Khitan, who invaded the area in the 10th century AD and established the Liao dynasty, and the Juchen, who founded the Ch'in dynasty in the 12th century. During the Yüan dynasty, Chinese (Mongol) power was reasserted over the region, and ties remained relatively close through the Ming dynasty. Chinese immigration from the south also has a long history, but until the last years of the 19th century it was on a modest scale. The traditional economy of Liaoning was one of Chinese peasant farm production in the plains; on the peripheries the economy was based in various places on herding, forestry, fishing, mining, and estate farming. Neither the aristocratic holders of the landed estates nor the people who depended on animals or on the products of the forests or rivers were generally Chinese; as elsewhere in the Northeast, they were of Mongol or Manchu stock.

      Under the Ch'ing dynasty (Qing dynasty) (1644–1911/12), whose own origins lay in the Manchu frontier aristocracy, official efforts were made to protect the Northeast from Chinese encroachment with the exception of the old Chinese-settled area in the Liao Valley. This policy was gradually abandoned, partly because of the pressure of Russian influence in the north.

      Toward the end of the 19th century and into the 20th, two intersecting forces together created a radically novel situation in Liaoning. One was foreign interference—Russian and, later, Japanese. The other was rapidly increasing Chinese immigration. These two forces resulted in the expansion of the economy of Liaoning at a wholly unprecedented rate. Immigrants traveled to Liaoning both by the Shan-hai-kuan land corridor in the southwest and from Shantung by sea to the Liaotung Peninsula in the east. The second group were the more numerous and have been the more successful, both because of the relative ease of travel by sea and because of the better opportunities for both work and settlement in Liaotung. During the first half of the 20th century, the population of the province rose to a size proportionate to its present figure. The population movement was based on seasonal migration for farm work, with about half of the migrants remaining in Manchuria after the harvests each year. Many strong Shantung communities grew up in Liaotung, with traditions of mutual dependence and help.

      The all-important South Manchurian Railway was constructed by the Russians between 1896 and 1903. This railway linked the new Liaotung port of Lü-ta with Ch'ang-ch'un, in Kirin Province, as well as with Harbin in Heilungkiang Province, and with the then new Chinese Eastern Railway branch of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The South Manchurian Railway passed close to Shen-yang, replaced navigation on the Liao and much of the old cart transport, and bypassed the old port of Ying-k'ou. The foundations of the modern geography of Liaoning were laid by this railway. In 1907 the Russian railway, port, and territorial privileges were transferred to Japan at the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05. From that time, Japan continually strengthened its hold on the economic life of Liaoning and all of Manchuria, partly through physical control but also through an active and successful policy of investment and economic expansion. From 1932 to 1945 Liaoning was part of the Japanese-dominated, “independent” state of Manchukuo. Throughout this period, which included the Sino-Japanese War and World War II (1937–45), Japanese policy aimed to develop the resources of Liaoning in a manner that would complement the economic strength of Japan. Heavy industry was particularly developed. This concentration on heavy industry at the expense of light industry and agriculture has been criticized; but, in the face of China's general lack of heavy industrial capacity, these installations have stood her in good stead since 1949.

      Shen-yang fell to the Chinese Communists in 1948. The industrial installations of Liaoning had suffered heavily from war damage and from Soviet seizures of stockpiles and machinery. The new government made the restoration of the Northeast one of its first priorities. After the defeat of the Japanese in 1945, the Soviet Union took over from Japan and retained residual rights to share with China the use of the naval base facilities at Lü-shun and some rights on the former South Manchurian Railway. These rights were given up in 1955.

Frank Andrew Leeming Victor C. Falkenheim Ed.

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Universalium. 2010.

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