|Name||褔健 (fú jiàn) ['blessing' 'healthy'] Old Name Fukien WG|
|Population||37.9 million (2.76 %) [16th] comparison table|
|Area||122,000 km2 [47,104 mile2] (1.27 %) [23rd]|
|GDP||63,472 (9.62 %) [10th]|
Fujian is a mountainous province that looks primarily out to the South China Sea and as such it has a certain feeling of independence from China. Indeed it remained the semi-independent kingdom of Min yue ➚ (闽蛮) for the period 330 to 110 BCE before it was conquered and assimilated by Han Emperor Wudi. In the last days of the Song dynasty (1276-1279) Fujian was the last refuge from the conquering Mongols. It resisted the Qing conquest in 1644 the longest of all provinces through the efforts of General Zheng Chenggong ➚ ( Guoxingye 国姓爷 Koxinga WG) who grew up near Quanzhou and used Xiamen as his base. Later in 1660 a Japanese invasion of 6,000 pirates and looters ransacked the province.
Historically many of the Chinese diaspora originate from Fujian, some settled on the nearby island of Taiwan which was part of Fujian province in Qing times. With only very poor roads over the mountains, the sea ports of Fujian were used by emigrants to sail away to a new life. Hakka ➚ people live in the south west of the province and still use their own language.
More recently the defeat of Chiang Kaishek and the Republic of China Nationalists in 1949 led to continuing friction between Taiwan and the Communist mainland. The isolated small islands (Jinmen; Mazu islands) within easy sight of the Fujian coast ‘belong’ to the Taiwan regime rather than Fujian and bristle with military defenses. The large, scattered diaspora of Fujianese in Taiwan and throughout south-east Asia has helped their families financially and funded industrial development and universities, as the emigrants still remember their ancestral roots and send money home. Continuing improvement of relations with Taiwan is bringing new opportunities for development.
The coast has a scattering of old attractive ports and islands on a rugged coastline. Inland there are high mountains which still harbor rare tigers. The moist air that often hangs over the mountains makes Fujian an ideal location for the growing of tea.
Xiamen (厦门) is an ancient trading port with historical links to the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch. After the Opium Wars Xiamen came under the control of the British for fifty years. Better known as Amoy following the local dialect, the port and island of Gulangyu faces the island of Taiwan. Nanputuo Temple ➚ is a famous Buddhist site. Gulangyu island was developed by Britain together with other foreign powers as an enclave, it has long been associated with egrets ➚. The Garden of the Countless Rocks (Wanshi Gongyuan) is close by and has pretty landscaped parks and temples. The Lu Xun Memorial Hall is a more modern attraction, commemorating the noted revolutionary poet who lived here in 1926. Lin Zexu ➚ the famous Commissioner who was tasked with stopping the import of British opium was born in Fujian. There are many picturesque islands dotted around Xiamen.
Not far away up the estuary is the ancient city of Zhangzhou, it is sited on the Jiulongjiang (nine dragon river) it boasts many temples including the Southern Mountain Temple ➚ and the Precious Hall of the Great Hero ➚.
The port of Quanzhou (泉州) once was a port as important as Xiamen having been visited by Marco Polo and many other foreigners. Quanzhou, formerly known as Zayton or Chinchew, developed during the Tang dynasty as sea trading began to replace overland transport over the Silk Road to become one of China's four main ports. The streets were lined with coral bean trees ➚ and it was known as the ‘Coral Bean City’ by foreign traders. Kaiyuan Temple ➚ is an amazing example of Tang dynasty architecture with one hundred stone pillars. Here, a 900 year old stone bridge crosses the Luoyang River. Confirming the dominant role of Muslims in sea trade, there is a cemetery at Lingshan dedicated to foreign traders and there is an ancient mosque. It was from here that Muslim Zheng He set out on his impressive voyages of discovery.
By contrast the capital of Fujian Fuzhou (福州) has the feel of a modern industrial city, it became a treaty port under foreign control in late Qing times.
Fishing is a major industry of Fujian, the mountainous inland area is relatively poor with tea growing (particularly Oolong tea ➚ and Lapsang Souchong) the most famous and important crop. Tourist sites include the mountains Wuyi; Tailao; Nanji; Zhiti; Dongyan; Magu; Gushan ➚ and many of these have Buddhist and/or Daoist temples on them. Jinhu ➚ Lake is widely appreciated for its scenic beauty. The ancient Tulou ➚ houses of the Hakka people can be seen at Gaobei; Tianluokeng; Hongkeng and Chuxi. The rocky coastline includes many islands and sandy beaches including those near Xiamen; Pingtan and Putian. In scattered towns there are remnants of old folk traditions such as Quanzhou puppetry ➚ and a local, distinctive Opera tradition. Handicrafts in lacquer-work, bamboo and shells are available widely.
Fujian has a rocky coastline and a mountainous hinterland. It has warm frost-free winters and hot summers, but is subject to damaging floods when typhoons move inland from the South China Sea in late summer.
City populations for 2012, Province statistics National Bureau of Statistics 2014
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