Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese

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Brill’s Encyclopedia of China Online is based on the originally a thousand-page reference work on China with a clear focus on the modern period from the mid-nineteenth century to the 21st century. Written by the world’s top scholars, Brill’s Encyclopedia of China is the first place to look for reliable information on the history, geography, society, economy, politics, science, and culture of China.

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(825 words)

Author(s): Chongyi, Feng
Qiong Haikou 20 counties, 8 cities 8.36 million inhabitants 33,900 km² 247 inhabitants per km2 The province of Hainan consists of the island of Hainan and of two million km² in the South China Sea, an area which encompasses 200 islands, among them the Spratly Archipelago (Nansha Qundao). Hainan is situated in the far south of China, opposite the Leizhou peninsula (Guangdong) and beyond the Qiongzhou Strait. Across the Beibu Gulf in the west is North Vietnam. The two most important cities are the provincial cap…

Han Chinese

(950 words)

Author(s): Hansen, Mette Halskov
The Han are one of the 56 officially acknowledged nationalities ( minzu) of modern China. About 92% of China's total population (i. e. 1,137,386,112 individuals according to census conducted in the year 2000) belong to this majority nationality. In addition, there is a large number of people who also consider themselves Han Chinese but live outside the PRC and Taiwan, mainly in Southeast Asia, North America, and Europe (Chinese overseas). The name Han is a reference to the Han dynasty (206 BCE to 220 CE), …


(2,277 words)

Author(s): Schütte, Hans-Wilm
Before the emergence of steam-power and mechanized factory production at the end of the 19th century, handicrafts in principle comprised the entire secondary sector, with guild crafts and (mostly female) home production (primarily textiles) as the major areas (mining and subsistence production cannot be covered here). With progressive industrialization, handicrafts became regarded as the part of non-agricultural production, which preserved handed down structures or was, at the very least, charac…

Han Dynasty

(969 words)

Author(s): Jansen, Thomas
It was with the establishment of the Han dynasty that a man of peasant origin ascended the imperial throne for the first time ever. In the civil war following the demise of the Qin dynasty, Liu Bang (posthumous honorary name: Han Gaodi, reigned 206-195 BCE) had defeated his rival Xiang Yu (232-202 BCE), a descendant of the old aristocracy. The lacking legitimacy of Liu Bang's reign, as well as the potential for resistance against the imperial centralism introduced by the Qin, determined the prag…


(1,640 words)

Author(s): Unschuld, Paul U.
The idea of state-sponsored medicine and health care appeared only sporadically in Chinese society until the beginning of the 20th century. The year 850 saw the first government effort to collect and publish all available medical knowledge. In the 11th and 12th centuries, imperial decrees promoted the creation of hospitals and pharmacies. Such measures did not have far-reaching effects however. A relatively small number of self-taught and local physicians, lacking any formal training, practiced …

Heavy Industry

(2,700 words)

Author(s): Jackson, Steven
Heavy industry is a large yet problematic part of the Chinese economy, and has been a significant political subject as well, since before the revolution in 1949 to the present day. The heavy industrial sector may be defined as the part of the economy which creates producer goods in contrast to consumer goods. As such, it encompasses industries such as iron and steel, machinery (mechanical engineering), and energy (energy industry), which are critical to any economy. It is distinguished from manu…


(1,169 words)

Author(s): Hong, Yang
Ji Shijiazhuang 172 counties, 33 cities 68.98 million inh. 187,700 km2 368 inh./km2 Hebei province is located at China's northern coast; its territory runs from 36°03' to 42°40' northern latitude and from 113°27' to 119°58' eastern longitude. The capital is Shijiazhuang with about 2.31 million inhabitants in the urban center (2006). Hebei's name ("north of the river") refers to its location north of the Yellow River . The largest part of the province's territory is located in the North China Plain. The Tai…


(811 words)

Author(s): Christoffersen, Gaye
Hei Harbin 128 counties, 30 cities 38.23 million inhabitants 453,900 km2 84 inhabitants/km2 Heilongjiang is China's sixth largest province. As a northeast border province, it shares a 3000 km border with the Russian Federation (Russia). The most northern point of China's territory is located in Heilongjiang, at 53°32' N latitude. The entire northern border is demarcated by the Amur (Heilong Jiang), the largest river of the province. Part of the eastern border runs along the Ussuri (Wusuli Jiang). The third …


(1,401 words)

Author(s): Heberer, Thomas
Yu Zhengzhou 159 counties, 38 cities 93.92 million inhabitants 167,000 km2 562 inhabitants/km2 The central Chinese province of Henan is the most populous province of China, with a population of about 94 million people. In 1954, its capital was moved from the traditional cultural center of Kaifeng to the industrial city of Zhengzhou. The largest part of the province lies south of the Yellow River , hence the name "Henan" (south of the river). Two-thousand years ago, it was called Zhongzhou, i.e. the prefectu…