Guangxi (Chinese: 广西, pronounced [kwàŋ.ɕí]; Zhuang: Gvangjish), officially the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is a Chinese autonomous region in South Central China, bordering Vietnam. Formerly a province, Guangxi became an autonomous region in 1958.
Guangxi's location, in mountainous terrain in the far south of China, has placed it on the frontier of Chinese civilization throughout much of China's history. The current name "Guang" means "expanse" and has been associated with the region since the creation of Guang Prefecture in 226 AD. It was given provincial level status during the Yuan dynasty, but even into the 20th century it was considered an open, wild territory.
The abbreviation of the region is "桂" (Pinyin: Guì; Zhuang: Gvei), which comes from the name of the city of Guilin, the provincial capital during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The current capital is Nanning.
Originally inhabited by a mixture of tribal groups known to the Chinese as the Baiyue ("Hundred Yue", Vietnamese: Bách Việt), the region first became part of China during the Qin dynasty. In 214 BC, the Han Chinese general Zhao Tuo (Vietnamese: Triệu Đà) claimed most of southern China for Qin Shi Huang before the emperor's death. The ensuing civil war permitted Zhao to establish a separate kingdom at Panyu known as Nanyue "Southern Yue". Alternatively submissive to and independent of Han dynasty control, Southern Yue expanded colonization and sinicization under its policy of "Harmonizing and Gathering the Hundred Yue" (和集百越) until its collapse in 111 BC during the southward expansion of the Han dynasty.
The name "Guangxi" can be traced to the "Expansive" or "Wide" province (廣州) of the Eastern Wu, who controlled south-eastern China during the Three Kingdoms period. Guilin formed one of its commanderies.
Under the Tang dynasty, the Zhuang moved to support Piluoge's Yi-ruled kingdom of Nanzhao in Yunnan, which successfully repulsed imperial armies in 751 and 754. Guangxi was then divided into an area of Zhuang ascendancy west of Nanning and an area of Han ascendancy east of Nanning.
After the collapse of the Southern Zhao, Liu Yan established the Southern Han (Nanhan) in Xingwangfu (modern Guangdong). Although this state gained minimal control over Guangxi, it was plagued by instability and annexed by the Song dynasty in 971. The name "Guangxi" itself can be traced to the Song, who administered the area as the Guangnanxi ("West Southern Expanse") Circuit. Harassed by both Song and the Jiaozhi in modern Vietnam, the Zhuang leader Nong Zhigao led a revolt in 1052 for which he is still remembered by the Zhuang people. His independent kingdom was short-lived, however, and the tattooed Song general Di Qing returned Guangxi to China.
The Yuan dynasty established control over Yunnan during its conquest of the Dali Kingdom in 1253 and eliminated the Southern Song following the Battle of Yamen in 1279. Rather than ruling Lingnan as a subject territory or military district, the Mongolians then established Guangxi ("Western Expanse") as a proper province. The area nonetheless continued to be unruly, leading the Ming dynasty to employ the different local groups against one another. At the Battle of Big Rattan Gorge between the Zhuang and the Yao in 1465, 20,000 deaths were reported.
The Qing dynasty left the region alone until the imposition of direct rule in 1726, but the 19th century was one of constant unrest. A Yao revolt in 1831 was followed by the Taiping Rebellion in 1850 and the Jintian Uprising on 11 January 1851. The execution of St. Auguste Chapdelaine by local officials in Guangxi provoked the Second Opium War in 1858 and the legalization of foreign interference in the interior. Although Louis Brière de l'Isle was unable to invade its depot at Longzhou, the Guangxi Army saw a great deal of action in the 1884 Sino-French War. Largely ineffective within Vietnam, it was still able to repulse the French from China itself at the Battle of Zhennan Pass (modern Friendship Pass) on 23 March 1885.
Following the Wuchang Uprising, Guangxi seceded from the Qing Empire on 6 November 1911. The Qing governor, Shen Bingdan, initially remained in place, but was subsequently removed by a mutiny commanded by General Lu Rongting. General Lu's Old Guangxi clique overran Hunan and Guangdong as well and helped lead the National Protection War against Yuan Shikai's attempt to re-establish an imperial government. Zhuang loyalty made his Self-Government Army cohesive but reluctant to move far beyond its own provinces. Subsequent feuding with Sun Yat-sen led to defeat in the 1920 and 1921 Guangdong–Guangxi War. After a brief occupation by Chen Jiongming's Cantonese forces, Guangxi fell into disunity and profound banditry for several years until Li Zongren's Guangxi Pacification Army established the New Guangxi clique dominated by Li, Huang Shaohong, and Bai Chongxi.
Successful action in Hunan against Wu Peifu led to the Zhuang GPA becoming known as the "Flying Army" and the "Army of Steel." After the death of Sun Yat-sen, Li also repulsed Tang Jiyao's revolt and joined the Northern Expedition establishing control over other warlords by the Republic of China (1912–49). His was one of the few Kuomintang units free from serious Communist influence and was therefore employed by Chiang Kai-shek for the Shanghai massacre of 1927. Within the People's Republic of China, Guangxi is also noted for the Baise Uprising, a failed Communist revolt led by Chen Zhaoli and Deng Xiaoping in 1929.
After his own falling out with Chiang, Li joined Yan Xishan's revolt in the Central Plains War. His defeat did not remove him from control of Guangxi and the Mukden Incident and Japanese invasion kept Chiang and the Communists from removing his influence until 1949. The 1944 Operation Ichi-Go successfully expanded Japanese control along the rail lines through Guangxi into French Indochina, although the line remained harassed by American bombers and Zhuang guerrillas under Bai Chongxi.
Being in the far south, Guangxi did not fall during the Chinese Civil War, but joined the People's Republic in December 1949, two months after its founding. In 1958, Guangxi was converted into an autonomous region for the Zhuang at the recommendation of Premier Zhou Enlai. This decision was made because the Zhuang are the largest minority group in China and are mostly concentrated in the province.
For most of its history, Guangxi was landlocked. In 1952, a small section of Guangdong's coastline was given to Guangxi, giving it access to the sea. This was reversed in 1955, then restored in 1965.
While some development of heavy industry occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, the province remained largely a scenic tourist destination. Even the economic growth of the 1990s seemed to leave Guangxi behind. However, in recent years, there has been a growing amount of industrialization and increasing concentration on cash crops. Per capita GDP has risen as industries in Guangdong transfer production to comparatively lower-wage areas in Guangxi.
Located in the southern part of the country, Guangxi is bordered by Yunnan to the west, Guizhou to the north, Hunan to the northeast, and Guangdong to the east and southeast. It is also bordered by Vietnam in the southwest and the Gulf of Tonkin in the south.
Guangxi is partly a mountainous region. The Nanling Mountains form the north-east border, with the Yuecheng and Haiyang Mountains branching from them. Also in the north are the Duyao and Fenghuang Mountains. Near the center of the region are the Da Yao and Da Ming Mountains. On the southeastern border are the Yunkai Mountains.
The highest point is Kitten Mountain, in the Yuecheng Mountains, at 2,141 metres (7,024 ft).
Many rivers cut valleys through the mountains. Most of these rivers form the tributary basin of the West River:
|Xi River system schematic
(italics indicates rivers outside Guangxi)
|He River (贺江)||Xi River|
|Li River||Gui River (桂江)|
|Beipan River||Hongshui River||Qian River||Xun River|
|Rong River||Liu River|
|You River||Yong River||Yu River|
Along the border with Vietnam there is the Ban Gioc–Detian waterfall (pinyin: Dé Tiān Pùbù), which separates the two countries.
|Administrative divisions of Guangxi|
|№||Division code||English name||Zhuang||Chinese||Pinyin||Area in km2||Population 2010||Seat||Divisions|
|Districts||Counties||Aut. counties||CL cities|
|Gvangjish Bouxcuengh Swcigih||广西壮族自治区||Guǎngxī Zhuàngzú Zìzhìqū||236700.00||46,026,629||Nanning||40||52||12||7|
|7||450100||Nanning||Nanzningz Si||南宁市||Nánníng Shì||22111.98||6,661,600||Qingxiu District||7||5|
|3||450200||Liuzhou||Liujcouh Si||柳州市||Liǔzhōu Shì||18616.54||3,758,700||Liubei District||5||3||2|
|4||450300||Guilin||Gveilinz Si||桂林市||Guìlín Shì||27622.89||4,748,000||Lingui District||6||9||2|
|10||450400||Wuzhou||Vuzcouh Si||梧州市||Wúzhōu Shì||12554.94||2,882,200||Changzhou District||3||3||1|
|13||450500||Beihai||Bwzhaij Si||北海市||Běihǎi Shì||4016.07||1,539,300||Haicheng District||3||1|
|11||450600||Fangchenggang||Fangzcwngzgangj Si||防城港市||Fángchénggǎng Shì||6181.19||866,900||Gangkou District||2||1||1|
|12||450700||Qinzhou||Ginhcouh Si||钦州市||Qīnzhōu Shì||10820.85||3,079,700||Qinnan District||2||2|
|9||450800||Guigang||Gveigangj Si||贵港市||Guìgǎng Shì||10605.44||4,118,800||Gangbei District||3||1||1|
|14||450900||Yulin||Yilinz Si||玉林市||Yùlín Shì||12828.11||5,487,400||Yuzhou District||2||4||1|
|1||451000||Baise||Bwzswz Si||百色市||Bǎisè Shì||36203.85||3,466,800||Youjiang District||1||9||1||1|
|5||451100||Hezhou||Hocouh Si||贺州市||Hèzhōu Shì||11771.54||1,954,100||Babu District||2||2||1|
|2||451200||Hechi||Hozciz Si||河池市||Héchí Shì||33487.65||3,369,200||Yizhou District||2||4||5|
|8||451300||Laibin||Laizbinh Si||来宾市||Láibīn Shì||13391.59||2,099,700||Xingbin District||1||3||1||1|
|6||451400||Chongzuo||Cungzcoj Si||崇左市||Chóngzuǒ Shì||17345.47||1,994,300||Jiangzhou District||1||5||1|
The region has over 14 million Zhuang, the largest minority ethnicity of China. Over 90 percent of Zhuang in China live in Guangxi, especially in the central and western regions. There is also a significant number of both Dong and Miao minority peoples. Other ethnic groups include: Yao, Hui, Yi (Lolo), Shui, and Gin (Vietnamese).
The predominant religions in Guangxi among the Han Chinese are Chinese folk religions, Taoist traditions and Chinese Buddhism. The large Zhuang population mostly practices the Zhuang folk religion centered around the worship of their ancestral god Buluotuo (布洛陀). According to surveys conducted in 2007 and 2009, 40.48% of the population believes and is involved in ancestor veneration, while 0.26% of the population identifies as Christian.
The reports didn't give figures for other types of religion; 59.26% of the population may be either irreligious or involved in worship of nature deities, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, folk religious sects. The Yao, another numerous ethnic group inhabiting the province, mostly practices a form of indigenised and conservative Taoism.
Secretaries of the CPC Guangxi Committee:
Chairmen of Government:
Liuzhou is the main industrial center and is a major motor vehicle manufacturing center. General Motors have a manufacturing base here in a joint venture as SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile. The city also has a large steel factory and several related industries. The local government of Guangxi hopes to expand the province's manufacturing sector, and during the drafting of China's Five Year Plan in 2011, earmarked 2.6 trillion RMB for investment in the province's Beibu Gulf Economic Zone(See Below).
In recent years Guangxi's economy has languished behind that of its wealthy neighbor and twin, Guangdong. Guangxi's 2011 nominal GDP was about 1171.4 billion yuan (US$185.9 billion) and ranked 18th in China. Its per capita GDP was 15,800 yuan (US$2,300).
Due to its lack of a major manufacturing industry in comparison to other provinces, Guangxi is the fourth most energy efficient province in China, helping to further boost its green image.
Approved by the State Council, Beihai Export Processing Zone (BHEPZ) was established in March 2003. Total planned area is 1.454 square kilometres (0.561 sq mi). The first phase of developed area is 1.135 square kilometres (0.438 sq mi). It was verified and accepted by Customs General Administration and eight ministries of the state, on December 26, 2003. It is the Export Processing Zone nearest to ASEAN in China and also the only one bordering the sea in western China. It is situated next to Beihai Port.
Guilin Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone was established in May 1988. In 1991, it was approved as a national-level industrial zone. It has an area of 12.07 square kilometres (4.66 sq mi). Encouraged industries include electronic information, biomedical, new materials and environmental protection.
Established in 1992, Nanning Economic and Technological Development Zone was approved to be a national level zone in May 2001. Its total planned area of 10.796 square kilometres (4.168 sq mi). It is located in the south of Nanning. It has become the new developing zone with fine chemical engineering, auto parts, aluminum processing, biological medicine and other industries.
Nanning Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone was established in 1988 and was approved as a national-level industrial zone in 1992. The zone has a planned area of 43.7 square kilometres (16.9 sq mi), and it encourages industries that do electronic information, bioengineering and pharmaceutical, mechanical and electrical integration and new materials industry.
In 1992, Pinxiang Border Economic Cooperation Zone was established. It has a total area of 7.2 square kilometres (2.8 sq mi). It focuses on development of hardware mechanical and electrical products, daily-use chemical processing, the services, and international logistics-based storage and information industry.
Seventy-one Taiwanese ventures started up in Guangxi in 2007, with contracts bringing up to US$149 million of investment, while gross exports surpassed US$1 billion. There are a total of 1182 Taiwan ventures in Guangxi, and by the end of 2006, they have brought a total of US$4.27 billion of investment into the autonomous region. During the first half of 2007, 43 projects worthy of RMB2.6 billion (US$342 million) have already been contracted between Guangxi and Taiwan investors. Cooperation between Guangxi and Taiwan companies mainly relates to manufacturing, high-tech electronic industries, agriculture, energy resources and tourism.
Guangxi Power Grid invested 180 million yuan in 2007 in projects to bring power to areas that still lacked access to electricity. The areas affected include Nanning, Hechi, Bose and Guigang. Around 125,000 people have gained access to electricity. The money has been used to build or alter 738 10-kilovolt distribution units with a total length of wire reaching 1,831.8 kilometers.
Due to lack of investment in construction in the power grid net in rural areas, more than 400 villages in Guangxi Province were not included in the projects. Around 500,000 cannot participate in the policy known as "The Same Grid, the Same Price." Guangxi Power Grid will invest 4.6 billion yuan in improving the power grid during the 11th Five Year Plan.
Guangxi Power Grid has invested 2.5 billion yuan in building electric power system in the first half of 2007. Of the total investment, 2.3 billion yuan has been put into the project of the main power grid. So far, four new transformer substations in Guangxi are in various stages of completion. Wenfu substation went into operation in the city of Hechi on January 2007, and since then it has become a major hub of the electrical power system of the surrounding three counties. When Cangwu substation was completed, it doubled the local transformer capacity. In June 2007, the new substation in Chongzuo passed its operation tests. And in the same month, Qiulong commenced production too. This shall support the power supply system of Qiulong City, as well as the northern part of Guangxi province, and facilitate the nationwide project to transmit power from west to east.
In late February 2008, the central government approved China's first international and regional economic cooperation zone in Guangxi. The construction of the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone began in 2006. With the approval, the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone will be formally incorporated into national development strategies.
The Beibu Gulf Economic Zone covers six coastal cities along the Beibu Gulf. It integrates the cities of Nanning, the region's capital, Beihai, Qinzhou, Fangchenggang, Chongzuo and Yulin. The state will adopt policies and measures to support mechanism innovation, rational industry layout and infrastructure construction in the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone.
Guangxi has pledged a 100 billion yuan (US$14 billion) investment over the next five years for building and repairing 2,500 km (1,600 mi) railways to form a network hub in the area. Beibu Gulf Zone will serve as the logistics base, business base, processing and manufacturing base and information exchange center for China-ASEAN cooperation. Beibu Gulf Zone promises broad prospects for further development and its growth potential is rapidly released. But the shortage of talent and professionals in petrochemicals, iron and steel, electricity, finance, tourism, port planning, logistics and marine industries are bottlenecks.
The regional government is also working on speeding up key cooperation projects including transportation, the marine industry, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy development, cross-border tourism, and environmental protection. Beibu Gulf has already attracted a number of major projects such as Qinzhou oil refinery projects and Stora Enso, a Fortune 500 forest products company based in Finland. In January 2008 trade import and export in the Beibu Gulf zone exceeded US$1.3 billion, a record high.
In September 2007, China's Ministry of Commerce said that it has found 120 million tons of new bauxite reserves in Guangxi. The ministry said that the new reserves, which are located in Chongzhou in the southern region of Youjiang, have a very high-quality of bauxite, a raw material for making aluminum. Currently, the proven reserves of bauxite in Guangxi are about 1 billion tons, making the province one of the country's biggest bauxite sources.
The Hunan–Guangxi Railway (Xianggui Line), which bisects the autonomous region diagonally from Quanzhou in the northeast on the border with Hunan to Pingxiang in the southwest on the border with Vietnam, passes through Guangxi's three principal cities, Nanning, Liuzhou and Guilin. Most other railways in Guangxi are connected to the Xianggui Line.
From Nanning, the Nanning–Kunming Railway heads west through Baise to Kunming, Yunnan and the Nanning–Fangchenggang Railway runs south to Qinzhou, Fangchenggang and Beihai on the coast. From Liuzhou, the Guizhou–Guangxi Railway extends northwestward through Hechi to Guizhou and the Jiaozuo–Liuzhou Railway runs due north to Hunan, and eventually Hubei and Henan in central China. From Litang Township on the Xianggui Line between Nanning and Liuzhou, the Litang–Qinzhou Railway runs south to Qinzhou on the coast and the Litang–Zhanjiang Railway (Lizhan Line) extends southeastward through Guigang and Yulin to Zhanjiang, Guangdong.
The Luoyang–Zhanjiang Railway (Luozhan Line), which intersects with the Xianggui Line on the Hunan side of the border at Yongzhou, runs south through Hezhou and Wuzhou in eastern Guangxi and joins the Lizhan Line at Yulin. At Cenxi, a branch of the Luozhan Line heads east to Maoming, Guangdong, forming a second rail outlet from Guangxi to Guangdong.
"Guangxi" and neighbouring Guangdong literally mean "Western Expanse" and "Eastern Expanse". Together, Guangdong and Guangxi are called the "Two Expanses" (simplified Chinese: 两广; traditional Chinese: 兩廣; pinyin: Liǎngguǎng).
Its culture and language are reflected in this. Though now associated with the Zhuang ethnic minority, Guangxi's culture traditionally has had a close connection with the Cantonese. Cantonese culture and language followed the Xi River valley from Guangdong and is still predominate in the eastern half of Guangxi today. Outside of this area there is a huge variety of ethnicities and language groups represented.
Guangxi is known for its ethno-linguistic diversity. In the capital of Nanning, for example, three varieties of Chinese are spoken locally: Southwestern Mandarin, Yue (specifically Cantonese), and Pinghua, in addition to various Zhuang languages and others.
The major tourist attraction of Guangxi is Guilin, a city famed across China and the world for its spectacular setting by the Li Jiang (Li River) among karst peaks. It also used to be the capital of Guangxi and Jingjiang Princes' City, the old princes' residence, is open to the public. South of Guilin down the river is the town of Yangshuo, which has become a favourite destination for foreign tourists.
Ethnic minorities in Guangxi, such as the Zhuang and Dong, are also interesting for tourists. The northern part of the province, bordering Guizhou, is home to the Longsheng Rice Terraces, some of the steepest in the world. Nearby is Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County.
Many Chinese tourists visiting Nanning also visit Ban Gioc–Detian Falls on the China Vietnam border.