|Abbreviation: 闽 (pinyin: Mǐn)|
|Origin of Name|| 福 fú – Fuzhou|
建 jiàn – Jian'ou
| Capital and|
|CPC Fujian Committee Secretary||Lu Zhangong|
|Area||121,400 km² (23rd)|
| Population (2002) |
| 34,660,000 (18th) |
| GDP (2002)|
- per capita
| 468.2 billion ¥ (11th) |
13508 ¥ (7th)
|Major Nationalities (2000)|| Han – 98%|
She – 1%
Hui – 0.3%
|* These are the official PRC numbers. Quemoy is included as a county and Matsu as a township.|
Fujian (Chinese: 福建; pinyin: Fújiàn; Wade-Giles: Fu-chien; Postal System Pinyin: Fukien, Foukien; local transliteration Hokkien from Min Nan Hok-kiàn) is one of the provinces on the southeast coast of China. Fujian borders Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait.
Most of Fujian is administered by the People's Republic of China. However, the archipelagoes of Quemoy and Matsu are under the control of the Republic of China based in Taiwan. Thus, de facto there are two provinces (in the sense of government organisations) with the same name.
Fuzhou is the provincial capital of PRC-controlled Fujian. Quemoy is the seat of the ROC's Fujian provincial government, though in practice most powers in ROC-controlled Fujian are delegated to the two counties of Quemoy and Matsu.
Table of contents
Quemoy and Matsu
After its defeat in the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the Republic of China retreated to Taiwan. Since then, the communist government of the People's Republic of China has controlled most of Fujian province, while the Republic of China has held on to the islands of Quemoy and Matsu.
The islands of Fujian/Fuchien under the administration of the ROC are:
- Quemoy County
- Lienchiang County (Matsu)
In 1956, the ROC government moved the provincial government of Fujian to Taiwan, and the islands were placed under an extraordinarily tight military administration due to their extreme proximity to Mainland China. With the easing of cross-Straits relationships and the democratization of Taiwan in the 1990s, the islands were returned to civilian government. The provincial government has been moved back to Quemoy.
Recently, the ROC has significantly diluted the powers of the two provinces it administers, namely Taiwan Province and Fujian. Most of the authority of the ROC's Fujian province has been delegated to the two county governments of Quemoy and Matsu.
Recent archaeological discoveries demonstrate that Fujian (especially the northern coastal region around Fuzhou) had entered the Neolithic Age by the middle of the 8th millennium BP (6th millennium BC). From the Keqiutou (壳丘头) site (7450–5590 BP), an early Neolithic site in Pingtan Island located about 70 km southeast of Fuzhou, numerous tools made of stones, shells, bones, jades, and ceramics (including wheel-made-ceramics) have been unearthed, together with spinning wheels, a definitive evidence of weaving. The Tanshishan (昙石山) site (5500–4000 BP) in suburban Fuzhou spans the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Age where semi-underground circular buildings were found in the lower level. The Huangtulun (黄土崙) site (ca.1325 BC), also in suburban Fuzhou, was of the Bronze Age in character. These findings, however, also indicate that the agricultural tradition was weak if not lacking in this area, which is consistent with the early records stating that the indigenous people in Fujian, primarily those living along the Min River, were Austronesians with "large eyes, flat nose and tattooed bodies", who made their living by fishing. These people probably arrived by sea from southeast Asia. They were eventually exiled during Han Dynasty to eastern China (north of present-day Shanghai).
For the Han Chinese, this area was also known as Minyue. The word "Mǐnyuè" was derived by combining "Mǐn", perhaps an ethnic name and associated with a Chinese word with pejorative associations (now pronounced Mán), and "Yue", after the State of Yue, a Spring and Autumn Period kingdom in Zhejiang Province to the north. This is because the royal family of Yuè fled to Fujian after their kingdom was annexed by the State of Chu in 306 BC. Mǐn is also the name of the main river in this area, but the ethnonym is probably earlier.
Minyue was a de facto kingdom until the emperor of Qin Dynasty, the first unified imperial Chinese state, abolished the status. In the aftermath of the fall of the Qin Dynasty, however, civil war broke out between two warlords, Xiang Yu and Liu Bang; the Minyue king Wuzhu sent his troops to fight side-by-side with Liu Bang, and his gambling bit was paid off. Liu Bang was victorious, and founded the Han Dynasty; in 202 BC he restored Minyue's status as a tributary independent kingdom. Thus Wuzhu was allowed to construct his fortified city in Fuzhou as well as a few locations in the Wuyi Mountains, which have been excavated in recent years. His kingdom extended beyond the borders of contemporary Fujian into eastern Guangdong, eastern Jiangxi, and southern Zhejiang. By this time Minyue was being sinicized and had a combination of aborigine (possibly Austronesian) and Han Chinese elements.
After the death of Wuzhu, Minyue maintained its militant tradition and launched several expeditions against their neighboring kingdoms in Guangdong, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang, mostly in the 2nd century BC, only to be stopped by the Han Dynasty. The Han emperor eventually decided to get rid of the potential threat by sending in large forces simultaneously from four directions via land and sea in 111 BC. The rulers in Fuzhou surrendered in time to avoid a futile fight and destruction; thus the first kingdom in Fujian history come to an abrupt end. Nonetheless, the people of northern Fujian still erect temples in memory of their first kings.
The Han Dynasty collapsed at the end of the 2nd century AD, paving the way for the Three Kingdoms era. Sun Quan, the founder of the Kingdom of Wu, spent nearly twenty years of subduing the Shan Yue people, the Yue people living in mountains.
The first wave of immigration of the gentile class arrived in the province in the early 4th century AD when the Western Jin Dynasty collapsed and the north was torn apart by invasions by nomadic peoples from the north, as well as civil war. These immigrants were primarily from eight families in central China: Lin (林), Huang (黄), Chen (陈), Zheng (郑), Zhan (詹), Qiu (邱), He (何), and Hu (胡). The first four remain as the major surnames of modern Fujian.
Nevertheless, isolation from nearby areas owing to ragged terrain contributed to Fujian's relatively backward economy and level of development, despite major population boost from northern China during the "barbarian" invasions. Population density in Fujian remained low compared to the rest of China. Only two commanderies and sixteen counties were established by the Western Jin Dynasty. Like other southern provinces such as Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan, Fujian often served as a destination for exiled prisoners and dissidents at that time.
The Tang Dynasty (618-907) oversaw the next golden age of China. As the Tang Dynasty ended, China was torn apart in the period of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms. During this time, a second major wave of immigration arrived in the safe haven of Fujian, led by general Wang, who set up an independent Kingdom of Min with its capital in Fuzhou. After the death of the founding king, however, the kingdom suffered from internal strife, and was soon swallowed up by Southern Tang, another southern kingdom.
Quanzhou was blooming into a seaport under the reign of the Min Kingdom, and may have been the largest seaport in the Eastern hemisphere. In the early Ming dynasty, Quanzhou was the stationary and supply depot of Zheng He's naval expeditions. Further development was severely hampered by the sea trade ban of the Ming Dynasty, and the area was superseded by nearby ports of Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo and Shanghai despite the lifting of the ban in 1550. Large scale piracy by Wokou (Japanese pirates) was eventually wiped out by Chinese military and Japanese authority of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Late Ming and early Qing Dynasty symbolized an era of large influx of refugees and another 20 years of sea trade ban under the Kangxi Emperor, a measure intended to counter the refuge Ming government of Koxinga in Taiwan. Incoming refugees, however, did not translate into a major labor force owing to their re-migration into prosperous regions of Guangdong province. In 1689, the Qing dynasty officially incorporated Taiwan into Fujian province. Settlement of Taiwan by Han Chinese followed, and the majority of people in Taiwan are descendants of emigrants from Fujian. After Taiwan was separated into its own province in 1885 and ceded to Japan in 1895, Fujian arrived at its present extent. It was substantially influenced by the Japanese after the Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1895 until the Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) of WWII.
Owing to the mountainous landscape, Fujian was the most secluded province of the PRC in eastern China due to the lack of rail and underdeveloped networks of paved roads before the 1950s. The first railway to the province was completed in mid-1950s connecting Xiamen to the rest of the mainland. Despite its secluded location, Fujian has had a strong academic tradition since Southern Song Dynasty. At the time, north China was occupied by the Jurchen Jin Dynasty, which caused a shift of the cultural center of China to the south, benefiting Fuzhou and other southern cities. In the Chinese Academy of Science and Chinese Academy of Engineering, there are more members from Fuzhou than from any other cities. In addition, it should also be pointed out that the slow development of Fujian in its early days was really a blessing in disguise; today, the province has the highest forest coverage rate and the most diverse biosphere in China whereas central China suffers from severe overpopulation and displays severe signs of soil erosion accompanied by frequent draughts and floods due to lack of forest coverage.
Since the late 1970s, the economy of Fujian along the coast has greatly benefited from its geographic and cultural proximity to Taiwan. In 2003, Xiamen ranked number eight GDP per capita among 659 Chinese cities, ahead of Shanghai and Beijing, while Fuzhou ranked no. 21 (number 4 among 30 provincial capitals). The development has been accompanied by a large influx of population from the over-populated areas in the north and west, and much of the farmland and forest as well as cultural heritage sites such as the temples of king Wuzhu have given way to the ubiquitous high-rise buildings. It is a tough challenge for the government at all levels to sustain the development at the same time to preserve the unique and vital natural and cultural heritage of Fujian.
See also: Early western influence in Fujian
The province is mostly mountainous, and is traditionally described to be "8 parts mountain, 1 part water, and 1 part farmland" (八山一水一分田). The northwest is higher in altitude, with the Wuyi Mountains forming the border between Fujian and Jiangxi. The highest point of Fujian is Huanggang Peak in the Wuyi Mountains, with an altitude of 2157 m.
The province faces East China Sea to the east, South China Sea to the south, and the Taiwan Strait to the southeast. The coastline is ragged and has many bays and islands. Major islands include Quemoy (controlled by the Republic of China), Haitan Island, and Nanri Island.
The River Min Jiang and its tributaries cut through much of northern and central Fujian. Other rivers include the Jinjiang River and the Jiulong River. Due to its uneven topography Fujian has many cliffs and rapids.
Fujian is separated from Taiwan by the 180-km-wide Taiwan Strait. Some of the small islands in the Taiwan Strait are also part of the province. Small parts of the province, namely the islands of Quemoy and Matsu are under the administration of the Republic of China on Taiwan.
Fujian has a subtropical climate, with warm winters. In January the coastal regions average around 7–10 °C while the hills average 6–8 °C. In summer temperatures are high, and province is threatened by typhoons coming in from the Pacific. Average annual precipitation is 1400–2000 mm.
- Fuzhou (Simplified Chinese: 福州市; Hanyu Pinyin: Fúzhōu Shì)
- Xiamen (厦门市 Xiàmén Shì)
- Zhangzhou (漳州市 Zhāngzhōu Shì)
- Quanzhou (泉州市 Quánzhōu Shì)
- Sanming (三明市 Sānmíng Shì)
- Putian (莆田市 Pútián Shì)
- Nanping (南平市 Nánpíng Shì)
- Longyan (龙岩市 Lóngyán Shì)
- Ningde (宁德市 Níngdé Shì)
All of the prefecture-level cities except Longyan, Sanming, and Nanping are found along the coast.
The 9 prefecture-level divisions are subdivided into 85 county-level divisions (26 districts, 14 county-level cities, and 45 counties). Those are in turn divided into 1111 township-level divisions (608 towns, 334 townships, 18 ethnic townships, and 151 subdistricts). Note: these are the official PRC numbers. Thus, Quemoy is included as one of the 45 counties and Matsu as one of the 334 townships.
Quemoy County is nominally controlled by Quanzhou prefecture-level city, but it is administered in its entirety by the Republic of China on Taiwan. The PRC-administered Lianjiang County, under the jurisdiction of Fuzhou prefecture-level city, nominally includes the Matsu Islands, but Matsu is in reality controlled by the Republic of China on Taiwan, which administers Matsu as Lienchiang County (same name Romanized differently).
Fujian is hilly and farmland is sparse. Rice is the main crop, supplemented by sweet potatoes and wheat. Cash crops include sugar cane and rapeseed. Fujian leads the provinces of China in longan production, and is also a major producer of lychees and tea. Seafood is another important product, with shellfish production especially prominent.
Fujian is one of the wealthier provinces of China. Xiamen was one of the first cities in China to be classified as a Special Economic Zone. Because of the closeness both geographically and culturally with Taiwan, Fujian receives much investment from there.
Han Chinese make up most of the population. Hakka, a Han Chinese people with its own distinct identity, live in the southwestern parts of the province. The She, scattered over mountainous regions in the north, is the largest minority ethnic group of the province. Genetic studies have suggested that a significant proportion of Han Chinese ancestry in Fujian descend (predominantly matrilineally) from pre-Sinicization aborigines.
Many ethnic Chinese around the world, especially Southeast Asia, trace their ancestry to Fujian. Descendents of Fujian emigrants make up the majority of the majority ethnic Chinese population of Singapore. Fujian, especially Fuzhou, is also the major source of undocumented Chinese American aliens residing in the United States. In some villages, a stay within the United States is considered a rite of passage.
People from Fujian are stereotyped as being of small to medium build, clannish, petty-minded, cunning and risk-taking.
Because of its mountainous nature, Fujian is one of the most linguistically diverse places in all Han Chinese areas of China, with the local dialect becoming unintelligible within 10 km. Classification of these various dialects have confounded linguists. In general, most dialects of Fujian are put into a broad Min category, then subdivided into Min Bei, Min Dong, Min Zhong, Min Nan, Pu Xian, and Shao Jiang. (The seventh subdivision of Min, Qiong Wen, is not spoken in Fujian.) The Fuzhou dialect is part of Min Dong; the Xiamen dialect is part of Min Nan. Hakka, another subdivision of spoken Chinese, is spoken around Longyan by the Hakka people who live there.
As is true of other provinces, the official language in Fujian is Standard Mandarin, which is used for communication between people of different localities. During the Qing dynasty, traders in Fujian also used pidgin English as a common language, although this is now extinct.
The cultural diversity of Fujian is also reflected in the various Chinese opera forms of different regions. Minju (Fujian Opera) is popular around Fuzhou; Gaojiaxi around Jinjiang and Quanzhou; Xiangju around Zhangzhou; Fujian Nanqu throughout the south, and Puxianxi around Putian and Xianyou County.
Fujian cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood, is one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine. It is composed of traditions from various regions, including Fuzhou cuisine and Min Nan cuisine. The most prestiged dish is Fotiaoqiang (literally "Buddha Jumps Over Wall"), a complex dish making use of many ingredients, including shark fin, sea cucumber, abalone, and Shaoxing wine (a form of "Chinese wine").
Many famous teas originate from Fujian, including oolong, Wuyi Yancha, and Fuzhou jasmine tea. Fujian tea ceremony is an elaborate way of preparing and serving tea. In fact, the English word "tea" is borrowed from the Xiamen dialect. (Standard Mandarin pronounces the word as chá.)
Fuzhou bodiless lacquerware, a famous type of lacquerware, is noted for using a body of clay and/or plaster to form its shape; the body later removed. Fuzhou is also famous for Shoushan stone carvings.
Places of interest include:
- Mount Wuyi, listed by the UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites (1999)
- Mount Tailao, Fuding
- Gulangyu Island, Xiamen
- Kaiyuan Temple, Quanzhou
- Yongquan Temple, Fuzhou
- Nanshan Temple, Zhangzhou
- Guanghua Temple, mainland Putian
- The Matsu pilgrimage centers around Meizhou Island (Putian Municipality), because she was born there (and died on Matsu Islands).
Professional sports teams in Fujian include:
Colleges and Universities
- Fujian Normal University (福建师范大学) (founded 1907) (Fuzhou)
- Fuzhou University (福州大学) (Fuzhou)
- Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (福建农林大学) (Fuzhou)
- Fujian Medical University (福建医科大学) (Fuzhou)
- Fujian College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (福建中医学院) (Fuzhou)
- Minjiang University (闽江学院) (Fuzhou)
- Fujian University of Technology (福建工程学院) (Fuzhou)
- Jimei University (集美大学) (Xiamen)
- Quanzhou Normal College (泉州师范学院) (Quanzhou)
- Zhangzhou Normal College (漳州师范学院) (Zhangzhou)
- Putian University (莆田学院) (Putian)
- Yang-en University (仰恩大学) (Quanzhou)
Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.
- PRC Fujian People's Provincial Government (in Simplified Chinese)
- ROC Fukien Provincial Government (in Traditional Chinese)
- Fujian International: Business website with introductions on the Province
- All-text webpages by Fuzhou University, unofficial
- Guide to Fujian Province
|Province-level divisions administered by the People's Republic of China|