Northeast China

Northeastern China is made up of the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang. In Chinese, they are known as 东北三省  (Dōngběi sānshěng, the Three Northeastern Provinces). The area, under the Northeast Area Revitalization Plan by the State Council of the People's Republic of China, also includes five cities in Eastern Mongolia. All three provinces are pictured below in blue and numbered three, four, and five.

Northeast China, also known as Manchuria, borders Russia and North Korea. On the Russian and Koren border's, Northeast China is surrounded by five different rivers (the Amur, Argun, Ussuri, Yalu and Tumen rivers). On the Mongolian border, it is surrounded by the Greater Khingan mountain range.

A town right outside of the Great Khingan range

Northeast China is known for it's cold temperatures and bad farming compared to the rest of China.  In the north, although farming is indeed impossible, there is good fishing along the Amur river. In the more southern region's of Northeast China, it is much warmer. In the rural areas, maize, millet, soybeans, flax, wheat, and barley are farmed. Sheep and pigs are very abundant throughout the warmer regions (though Sheep can also be found in the north). Northeast China is home to most of China's winter sports, including hockey and ice skating. In the city of Harbin, the world's largest ice and snow festival takes place during during the month of January. Full size buildings are created out of ice and then put on display during the night.

Harbin, capital of the Heilongjiang province, during the Ice Festival
Ice Festival in Harbin

Northeast China has gone through many changes, politically and culturally. Northeast China's location and relative proximity to other foreign powers have made it easy for it to become a center of different ideals, religions, practices and languages.

Culture

Originally home to the Manchu (满族), Ulchs (ульчи), and Hezhen (нанайцы/赫哲族), Northeast China went through various changes in leadership (including Mongolian rule) before being unified with the rest of China in 1644 under the Qing Dynasty (清朝). This lasted until 1897, when Northeast China would come under the influence of the Russian Federation during the building of the Chinese Eastern Railway. The railway, an extension of Trans-Siberian Railway, connected Russia straight to Beijing (through Harbin). Russia, who wanted to monopolize Manchuria, occupied the territory during the construction of the railway.

The border of Russia along the Chinese Eastern Railway

After the victory of Japan in the Russo-Japanese war, Japan gained control of Manchuria, and a puppet state called Manchukuo (满洲国, means State of Manchuria) was set up to control the Chinese population. It would later fall back into the hands of the Russian's, now under there Soviet regime, after the nuclear bombings on Japan during World War 2. It would later become home to the Communist People's Liberation Army during the Chinese Civil War (1945-1950).

The Chinese Communist Party celebrating Stalin's birthday in 1943

Because of these changes in leadership and constant influx of new people and cultural heritage, Northeast China has become a melting pot of such. The culture is mostly based on North China, the Shandong province (where most of the Han's originated from) While Mandarin is the primary language in the region, Japanese, Russian, and even Tungusic languages are spoken. The cuisine of the region is particularly interesting, as not only is it a mix of all of the cultures that are currently there, but they are the only region not to cook vegetables. As the birthplace of Chinese Communism, Northeastern China became very industrialized.

Economy

At one point, Northeastern China was the real economic powerhouse of the entire country, averaging over 1.63 trillion yen in the early 2000's (that's equal to about 261 billion US dollars, today). Northeast China first starting industrializing during the Japanese rule over the region, leading to many big cities being built, including Harbin,  Jilin, Anshan, Dalian, etc. Northeast China was able to build up it's industry because of it's abundant coal reserves, which bring in a lot of profit.

A bookstore, located in Harbin

Most of the cities focus on equipment manufacturing. This includes industries in steel, automobile, shipbuilding, aircraft manufacturing, and even petroleum refining. As already mentioned earlier on, the southern part of Northeastern China is focused mostly on faming and agriculture. As China began to privatize and liberalize it's economy, infrastructure within the industry started to fall through, and profits started to drop. In 2010, the State Council of China put the Northeast Area Revitalization Plan into effect. The goal is to revitalize the region's traditional industry. This includes speeding up the development of structural regulation, creating economic reform, and creating a more environmentally friendly economy.

Smog over the city of Hardin

Northeast China is a very diverse area, with a very unique population, history, culture, and economy due to its geography. Thank you for visiting my exhibit, and I hope you learned some new, interesting things!

-Jesse Goodman

Works Cited

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