[key] [Chin.,=black dragon river (the Amur)], province, c.179,000
sq mi (463,730 sq km), NE China. The capital is Harbin. Heilongjiang constitutes the
northern part of the region known as Manchuria (the Northeast) and is
separated from Russia by the Amur River in the north and the Ussuri in the
east, and is bordered on the west by the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region.
Both the Da Hinggan (Greater Khingan) and Xiao Hinggan (Lesser Khingan)
mountain ranges traverse the province; their heavily forested slopes contain
some of the finest timber in China. Lumbering is a major industry; timber
reserves have been damaged by excessive cutting. The south, which contains
the agricultural, industrial, and economic base of the province, is watered
by the Songhua, the Nen, the Hulan, and the Mudan rivers, and is known as
the Manchurian or Northeast plain. It is a great wheat area; millet,
sorghum, soybeans, sugar beets, and flax are also grown. Farming in
Heilongjiang is highly mechanized, and vast reclamation projects have been
instituted under the Communist government. The Chinese Eastern RR crosses S
Heilongjiang and has many branches to the north; Harbin is the junction
point with the South Manchurian railway system. Heilongjiang, which produces
almost half of China's oil, contains the great Daqing oil field, first
worked in 1959, but increasing Chinese demand for oil led in 2011 to the
importation of oil to Daqing from Skovorodino, E Siberia, via pipeline.
Major coal mines are in Jixi and Hegang. Iron and magnesite are also mined,
and aluminum is produced. Gold is extracted in the Da and Xiao Hinggan.
Harbin is one of the country's leading industrial centers, known especially
for its heavy machinery. Qiqihar, Jiamusi, and Mudanjiang are also industrial cities,
with manufactures ranging from processed foods to locomotives. The
boundaries of Heilongjiang have been changed several times. The former
provinces of Hinggan and Nenjiang were added to it in 1950 and Songjiang was
incorporated in 1954. The northwest section, which became part of Inner
Mongolian Autonomous Region in 1949, was returned to Heilongjiang in the
1969–70 redistricting but subsequently restored to Inner Mongolia in
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