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Fujian

Fujian (fōˈjēĕnˈ) [key] or Fukien fōˈkēĕnˈ, province (2010 pop. 36,894,216), c.48,000 sq mi (124,352 sq km), SE China, on Taiwan Strait. The capital is Fuzhou. The climate is warm and very moist, the terrain mostly hilly or mountainous. Of the many ports on the heavily indented coast, Xiamen, the only one that can accommodate large vessels, handles most of the trade, although there is some at Fuzhou. Other harbors are undeveloped. About a tenth of the land is arable. Rice, sweet potatoes, wheat, and tea are grown in the uplands, and fruit, silk, and jute are produced in the lowlands. The coastal region from Xiamen to Fuzhou is a major sugar-producing area. The chief oil-producing seed is rapeseed, but peanuts and soybeans are also grown. There is some tobacco, and the extensive forests on the mountains provide considerable lumber (fir, pine, rosewood, bamboo), camphor, and wood oils. Fishing off the island-strewn coast is important. The mineral resources are iron ore, copper, gold, graphite, kaolin, and manganese; coal reserves are poor. The industries are light; most important are lumbering and woodworking, tea processing, sugar refining, salt panning, and the manufacturing of textiles, cement, iron and steel, ceramics, and processed foods, including preserved fruits, for which the province has long been famous. Since 1979, special economic zones have been established at Xiamen and Fuzhou in order to stimulate foreign investment and trade. The rugged, mountainous terrain until recently retarded the building of roads or railroads; lines of communication from the hinterland were chiefly the narrow rivers, which rise in the mountains and flow eastward to the sea. The Min, the most important, flows southeast, emptying below Fuzhou. Chinese painters have often depicted its gorges and the surrounding hills. Because so many of its localities were long isolated, Fujian has perhaps the largest number of dialects of any province (over 100). The people are diverse. Most derive from local Chinese stocks, but many are descendants of ancient Hakka migrants from the northern provinces or of non-Chinese aborigines. The people of Fujian have long been faced with an inadequate food supply, aggravated by the continual immigration of N Chinese fleeing floods and droughts. Since the 17th cent., the people of Fujian have emigrated in large numbers, chiefly to SE Asia; together with Guangdong prov., Fujian has provided the majority of overseas Chinese. Strategically located opposite the island of Taiwan, the location of the Nationalist Chinese government, Fujian has (since 1950) maintained large numbers of troops. Fujian's former economic base of trade with Taiwan has changed, prompting an improvement in internal communications by rail and road and new emphasis on agricultural production. A rail line now links Fujian with Jiangxi prov. and the Chinese transportation net.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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