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(; Postal map spelling: Shensi) is a province in the central part of Mainland China, and it includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River in addition to the Qinling Mountains across the southern part of this province. Shaanxi is the historical home, along with Gansu of the dialect of the Dungans, Hui people who emigrated out of China to Central Asia.



By regular Hanyu Pinyin rules, if tone marks are not written, both Shaanxi and the neighbouring province of Shanxi, to the east of Shaanxi, should be spelled "Shanxi"; the difference is in tone: Sh nx ( ) and Sh nx ( ). To make the difference clear without tonal marks, the spelling "Shaanxi" was contrived (following the romanization system of Yuen Ren Chao) for the province of Sh nx , while "Shanxi" is used for the province of Sh nx . Shaanxi is the official spelling on Chinese Government's official web portal.[1] This makes "Shaanxi" the only name of Chinese provinces that has not been romanized according to pinyin rules.


Shaanxi is considered one of the cradles of Chinese civilization. Thirteen feudal dynasties established their capitals in the province during a span of more than 1,100 years, from the Zhou Dynasty to the Tang Dynasty.

The province's principal city and current capital, Xi'an, is one of the four great ancient capitals of China and is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, which leads to Europe, Arabia and Africa.

Under the Han Dynasty, the Northern Silk Road was expanded to advance exploration and military purposes to the west. This Northern Silk Road is the northernmost of the Silk Roads and is about 2600 kilometres in length. It connected the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an to the west over the Wushao Ling Pass to Wuwei and emerging in Kashgar before linking to ancient Parthia.[2]

Under the Ming dynasty, Shaanxi was incorporated into Gansu but was again separated in the Qing dynasty.

One of the most devastating earthquakes in history occurred near Hua Shan, in south-eastern part of Shaanxi Province on January 23, 1556, killing an estimated 830,000 people (see 1556 Shaanxi earthquake).

Many Chinese from Shaanxi immigrated to Xinjiang during the Qing dynasty. There they were classified as merchants if they were free.[3] When Jahangir Khoja seized Kashgar in 1826 he captured several Chinese, who were taken to Kokand and sold. The Tajiks bought two Chinese slaves from Shaanxi, they were held as slaves for a year before being returned by the Tajik Beg Ku-bu-te to China.[4]

The end of the short-lived Jiangxi Soviet signalled the beginning of the Long March by Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communists to the Shaanxi Soviet at Yan'an.


The geography of the area is described as desert in the north along the border with Inner Mongolia, the Loess Plateau in the central part of the province, the Qinling mountains running east to west in the south central part, and subtropical climate south of the Qinling mountains.

Going clockwise, Shaanxi borders Shanxi (E, NE), Henan (E), Hubei (SE), Chongqing Municipality (S), Sichuan (SW), Gansu (W), Ningxia (NW), and Inner Mongolia (N). In terms of number of bordering provincial-level divisions, Shaanxi ties Inner Mongolia.

The northern part of Shaanxi is cold in the winters and very hot in the summers, with dry winter and spring seasons. Its southern portion generally receives more rain. Annual mean temperature is roughly between 8 C and 16 C, with January temperatures ranging from −11 C to 3.5 C and July temperatures ranging from 21 C to 28 C.

Other cities include: Baoji, Hanzhong, Lintong, Tongchuan, Xianyang, Yan'an and Ankang.


Shaanxi consists of nine prefecture-level cities and one sub-provincial city:

Map # Name Administrative Seat Hanzi
Hanyu Pinyin
Population (2010)
Sub-provincial city
1 Xi'an Weiyang District
X ' n Sh
Prefecture-level city
2 Ankang Hanbin District
nk ng Sh
3 Baoji Weibin District
B oj Sh
4 Hanzhong Hantai District
H nzh ng Sh
5 Shangluo Shangzhou District
Sh nglu Sh
6 Tongchuan Yaozhou District
T ngchu n Sh
7 Weinan Linwei District
W in n Sh
8 Xianyang Qindu District
Xi ny ng Sh
9 Yan'an Baota District
Y n' n Sh
10 Yulin Yuyang District
Y l n Sh


The politics of Shaanxi is structured in a triple party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China.

The Governor of Shaanxi is the highest ranking official in the People's Government of Shaanxi. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor is considered to have less power than the Shaanxi Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary ( ), colloquially termed the "Shaanxi CPC Party Chief"; since the Governor is always ranked as the First-Deputy Secretary in the Shaanxi Communist Party of China Provincial Committee.

Shaanxi was established as a provincial government since Qing Dynasty. On 10 January 1950, the People's Government of Shaanxi was established in Xi'an. Ma Minfang was then appointed as the first Governor of Shaanxi.


The fossil fuel and high technology sectors compose the two largest industries in Shaanxi province. During 2009, the province ranked third in China for production of coal, natural gas and crude oil.[5] As the home of several of the leading universities and research institutes in Western China, Shaanxi province also plays a major role in China's burgeoning aircraft and aerospace industries, producing more than 50% of the R&D and manufacturing equipment for the country's domestic commercial air industry.[6] Nominal GDP for 2011 was 1,239 billion RMB (US$196.7 billion) and GDP per capita was 21,729 RMB (US$3,179), ranking 17th in the PRC.

Economic and technological development zones

  • Baoji Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone

Established in 1992, Baoji Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone was approved as a national hi-tech zone by State Council. It has a long-term planned area of 40 square kilometers. The transportation system around the zone includes Xi'an-Xianyang International Airport and National Highway 310. Its encouraged industries are auto parts, electronics, IT, pharmaceuticals and bioengineering industries and new materials.[7]

  • Shaanxi Xi'an Export Processing Zone

Shaanxi Xi'an Export Processing Zone (XEPZ) was approved on 21June 2002 by the State Council for its establishment and has been put into operation since 5 April 2004. As the first state-level export processing zone in northwest China, XEPZ has become one of the 7 pioneer EPZs with the function of bonded logistics in China. XEPZ is under the leadership of the Administrative Committee of Xi'an Economic and Technological Development Zone (XETDZ), which is designated by Xi'an municipal government to exercise economic and administrative power within the zone. XEPZ is a special economic zone. By now, there are more than 40 enterprises home and abroad settled in XEPZ, and the pillar industries featuring aviation, machinery, electronics and new energy have taken shape.[8]

  • The Western Triangle

The Western Triangle is a new economic zone composing the three major city-level economies of Western China: Xi'an, Chongqing and Chengdu. It is believed that the addition of Xi'an to the Triangle will spur economic growth in the region and also allow the city an opportunity to capitalize on the commercial potential of its high-technology industries.[9]

  • Xi'an Economic & Technological Development Zone

Established in 1993, Xi'an Economic and Technology Development Zone was approved as a national zone in 2000. The zone is only 20 minutes away from Xi'an Xianyang International Airport, and several National Highways pass through here. It has formed four pillar industries, including automotive, electronics, food, and new materials industries. So far, the zone has attracted more than 1,700 enterprises.[10]

  • Xi'an High-tech Industrial Development Zone

Xi'an HTDZ opened its gates in 1991. It was established as a "pivotal location" for investment by high-tech industry companies in central and northwest China. Established in 1991, Xi an Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone is a national high-tech zone. The zone is surrounded by several National Highways and it is within 30 minutes of Xi'an International Airport. Furthermore, it is ranked in the top three high-tech zones in China.[11]

Xi'an Software Park, established in December 1998, is the professional park for Xi'an to develop scale software and service outsourcing industries. The park has been appraised as a software industry base under the National Torch Program, national software industry base, national software export base, city demonstrational area of national service outsourcing base and it is one of the four parks with "double bases" of software in China currently. Xi'an Software Park assembles 90% of enterprises engaging in software and service outsourcing in Xi'an. There are nearly 780 companies, of which foreign-funded enterprises account for 170, and over 71,000 jobholders in the park by the end of 2008.[12]

  • Yangling Agriculture Hi-Tech Industrial Zone

Yangling Agriculture Hi-Tech Industrial Zone was approved as a national-level hi-tech development zone by State Council in 1997. It is only 82 km from Xi'an to the east and 70 km from Xi'an Xianyang International Airport.[13]


Nearly all the people in Shaanxi are ethnic Han Chinese, with pockets of Hui population in the northwestern region (adjacent to Ningxia). The southern part of Shaanxi, known as Guanzhong, where the provincial capital Xi'an is located, is more populated compared to the northern part.


Shaanxi cuisine
Shaanxi cuisine


Terracotta Army
Terracotta Army
Banpo Neolithic village, near Xi'an


  • Shaanxi Radio serves Xi'an and the surrounding Shaanxi province area with music, and news.


Universities and colleges


Professional sports teams based in Shaanxi include:


External links

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