Hubei is located in the transitional region from the second to the third terrace in the terrain of China, thus having a variety of landforms. It is surrounded by Wuling, Wushan, Daba, Wudang, Tongbai, Dabie and Mufu mountains on the west, north and east. Lying in the central and southern parts are the Jianghan Plain which extends to Hunan Province to link with the Dongting Lake Plain. Except for the hills on the fringes of the plain, the altitude on the plain is 35 meters or lower above sea level. The proportion of various landforms to the total area of the province is as follows: Mountains, 55.5 percent; hills and hillocks, 24.5 percent; and plain and lake areas, 20 percent. The elevation of different parts varies greatly. Shennong Summit, the highest peak of Shennongjia in west Hubei, which is known as the "Roof of Central China," is 3,105 meters above sea level, while Tanjiayuan of Jianli County on the eastern plain has an elevation of zero.
Hubei has a subtropical monsoon climate. It enjoys abundant sunlight, with the annual amount of solar radiation totaling 85-114 kilocalories per square cm and annual duration of sunshine averaging 1,200-2,200 hours. Temperature is on the high side, with annual temperature averaging between 13-18íŠ. The highest temperature can reach 41íŠ, while the lowest temperature can drop to 14.9íŠ. The short frost period and abundant precipitation are favorable for agriculture. There are 230 to 300 days free of frost in a year and the annual rainfall has stood at 1,182.3 mm for many years. But rainfall is unevenly distributed. The amount of precipitation in the Wuling mountainous area is as high as 1,600-1,700 mm, while that in west Hubei is as low as 700-800 mm.
By 1997, Hubei had discovered 136 kinds of minerals, 86 of which having their reserves verified. The reserves of phosphorus ore, hongshiite, wollastonite, garnet and marlstone rank the fifth in China, and several others, including iron, phosphorus, copper, gypsum, rock salt, gold amalgam, manganese and vanadium, rank the seventh nationally. But Hubei lacks energy minerals, with limited verified reserves of coal, petroleum and natural gas. The province's recoverable reserves of coal stand at 548 million tons.
Hubei's tourism resources feature both beautiful landscapes and abundant places of historic and cultural interest. There are six national-level scenic spots, 13 national forest parks and three national nature reserves. Shennongjia has been listed in the UNESCO's program of Man and Biosphere and Wudang Mountain in the list of World Cultural and Natural Heritages. The Three Gorges of the Yangtze River, Yellow Crane Tower and Gezhouba have been listed among China's top 40 tourist scenic sports. Hubei encompasses five famous historical and cultural cites designated by the state, 20 cultural sites under state protection, 365 cultural sites under provincial protection, five sites of Chu city ruins, 73 Chu Cultural sites and over 140 sites relating to the Three Kingdoms (220-265).
Environment and current issues
Sulfur dioxide, smoke and dust from burning coal remain the dominant pollutants in the air. Ammonia and nitrogen are the chief pollutants for contamination of rivers, followed by permanganate.
By the end of 2002, Hubei had a population of about 59.878 million. There are more people living in the east of the province than in the west.
The average life expectancy of urban residents is 75.68 years (73.72 years for men and 77.79 years for women); and that of rural residents is 71.25 years (69.23 for male residents and 73.42 for female residents).
Industrial proportions in GDP (1st, 2nd, and tertiary industries): 14.2 : 49.2 : 36.6 in 2002.
Revenues: Hubei's local revenues totaled 24.337 billion yuan in 2002, up 11.2 percent.
Industrial output value
The output value of state-owned industrial enterprises and non-state-owned enterprises with an annual sales value of 5 million yuan or more was 119.895 billion yuan in 2002, up 12.3 percent over the previous year in comparable prices. Of this total, the added value created by state-owned and state-holding enterprises was 64.105 billion yuan, up 12.4 percent; that by state-owned enterprises was 52.621 billion yuan, up 9.7 percent; collectively-owned enterprises, 12.779 billion yuan, up 7.5 percent; cooperative stock-holding companies, 684 million yuan, up 8.9 percent; joint-stock enterprises, 33.195 billion yuan, up 14.8 percent; enterprises invested by foreigners or businesspeople from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, 13.466 billion yuan, 14.8 percent up; and enterprises in other forms of ownership, 5.95 billion yuan, 17.1 percent up. The added value of light industry was 40.191 billion yuan, up 8.5 percent, while that of heavy industry was 79.704 billion yuan, a 14.6 percent increase over the previous year.
Grain production totaled 20.47 million tons in 2002 and the output of cotton reached 322,600 tons, a decrease of 50,900 tons from the previous year. The output of oil-bearing crops was 2.45 million tons, 341,600 tons down from 2001. The output of meat (pork, beef and mutton) exceeded 2.955 million tons, up 2.4 percent, and that of aquatic products reached 2.72 million tons, up 12.3 percent. The area afforested in 2002 was 256,880 hectares and the accomplished area for key state forestry project reached 315,340 hectares, doubling that in the previous years.
Total imports and exports of the province reached US$3.955 billion in 2002, up 10.5 percent. Exports were US$2.099 billion, down 16.8 percent. Imports totaled US$1.856 billion, up 4.2 percent.
The volume of foreign capital actually used in Hubei approached US$2.266 billion in 2002, up 12.3 percent over the previous year. Of this total, foreign direct investment exceeded US$1.4 billion, up 15.8 percent.
The six pillar industries in Hubei's economy are auto making, machine-building, metallurgy, chemical industry, light and textile industries, building materials and construction. Of these, the auto industry has formed a considerable scale of production, with its output leading the country.
Poverty alleviation plan
Vigorous efforts were made in 2002 to push reemployment projects. A total of 106,000 urban laid-offs found jobs.
By the end of 2002, the registered unemployment rate in the province's cities and towns was 4.3 percent.
Hubei is one of China's most developed provinces in terms of inland water transportation. With the Yangtze and Hanjiang rivers as the two major waterways, over half of the province's counties and cities are located along water transport lines. The Yangtze River is the most important inland waterway open for navigation all year round. The ports of Wuhan, Huangshi, Shashi and Yichang are all open to foreign ships, with the Wuhan Port being one of the largest of its kind on the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. It has opened freight shipping lines to Hong Kong, Japan and Southeast Asian countries. Hanjiang River is an important waterway linking northwest Hubei with the Jianghan Plain. Xiangfan and Laohekou are major ports on the Hanjiang River.
One of the busiest transport lines in China, the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway runs through east Hubei, making the volume of transit goods far exceed the amount of goods loaded and unloaded within the province. Goods transported are mainly coal, iron and steel and products, timber, grain, minerals and building materials. The Jiaozuo (Henan)-Zhicheng (Hubei) and Zhicheng (Hubei)-Liuzhou (Guangxi) railways traverse west Hubei, while the Wuhan-Danjiang Railway passes through the central part of Hubei and the Xiangfan (Hubei)-Chongqing Railway cuts through the mountainous area of northwest Hubei, with Wuhan and Xiangfan being the intersecting stations. Combined, they form the province's land transportation network. The Xiangfan-Daxian section of the Xiangfan-Chongqing Railway is the third electrified rail line in China.
By the end of 2000, traffic mileage in Hubei had reached 57,800 km, with graded roads stretching 48,063 km. All towns and townships are linked by roads and 91 percent of villages are accessible to vehicles. Between 2001-05, the province will build 1,000 km more expressways, 4,609 km first- and second-class highways, and 10 bridges on the Yangtze and Hanjiang rivers. Traffic mileage will reach 65,000 km, with graded roads accounting for 91 percent.
By 2000, there were four airline companies, five civil airports and one airport for both military and civilian purposes. There are 107 domestic and international air routes linking Hubei with 57 Chinese cities and foreign countries and regions. The Tianhe Airport in Wuhan is one of the 10 largest airports in China. Designed as 4E-class national civil airport, it is the largest modern airport with the most complete functions in central China
Lying on the northern bank of the Yangtze River, Yichang covers an area of about 21,000 square kilometers (8,108 square miles). It is an ancient city and its history can be traced back to 4,000 years ago. During the Spring and Autumn Periods (770 BC-476 BC), Yichang was regarded as a city of great strategic importance. Many famous battles took place here, such as the Changbanpo Battle and the Yiling Battle during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280). Relics of these battles can still be found in the area. Another interesting aspect of Yichang is that several eminent persons were born here in ancient times, such as the concubine Wang Zhaojun during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD) and the patriotic poet Qu Yuan in the Warring States Period (476 BC - 221 BC).
Now, after thousands of years' development, the city stands out with its various unique characteristics. Located in the middle of China, Yichang is the transportation center which connects the eastern and the western parts of China. Sanxia Airport is not far from the city center and there are more than ten domestic airlines with services to the major cities of China, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xi'an. In addition, Yichang Port, Yichang Railway Station and Yichang Bus Station offer visitors convenient ways of traveling to and from other parts of the country.
Yichang has abundant water resources and it is lauded as the largest hydroelectric base in the world, indeed it is a bright pearl shining on the Yangtze River. The river runs through the city center and the Gezhouba Water Conservancy Project and Three Gorges Dam Project are located there. Benefiting from these projects, Yichang has become the largest hydroelectric resource center in China. In Addition, the tourism centered on the Three Gorges has made the city more famous and more prosperous. Xiling Gorge which is located near Yichang is an important part of the 'Three Gorges Gallery'. The Three Gorges Dam Project is one of the great wonders of modern human history and it has become a tourist hot spot of the world. Every year, millions of visitors gather here to witness this great man made project.
Apart from the Three Gorges, the abundant natural resources and historical sites of Yichang are also attractive. Mountains, waterfalls, caves, stone forests and pools form picturesque scenes. There are many natural reserves in or around the city, including Chaibuxi National Forest Park and Houhe Natural Reserve. As an ancient city, Yichang is the site of some important historical relics such as Qu Yuan Hometown, Zhaojun Residence and Ancient Battle Relics of Three Kingdom Period.
Besides the magnificent scenery, Yichang is famous for its local products: oranges, persimmons, Chinese gooseberries, tea, etc. They are sold in the streets and lanes and delight visitors with their excellent flavor. Buying some to take home for families and friends is a good choice for visitors. The regional cuisine of Yichang is similar to that of Chongqing; prickly ash, hot pepper and chilli powder play an important role in people's diets. Formal restaurants, local cafes and even street stalls offer diners delicious local specialties. They are all waiting for you to enjoy.
In terms of accommodation, there is a wide range of hotels offering excellent facilities for you to choose from. For a double room, the price ranges from CNY120-CNY1200 per day. However, for most of the hotels, the average price is between CNY200 and CNY300. For those who like to try something out of the ordinary, accommodation is also available in Manor hotels which are far from the downtown area and may be located deep in the forest or high in the mountains. Another option is one of the smaller, family hotels which allow visitors to experience the real life of the locals.
Wuhan is situated in the middle of Hubei Province of China, the east of Jianghan Plain, and the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and Hanshui River. The metropolitan area comprises three parts - Wuchan, Hankou and Hanyang, commonly called the "Three Towns of Wuhan" (hence the name "Wuhan", combining "Wu" from the first city and "Han" from the other two). The consolidation of these three cities occurred in 1927 and Wuhan was thereby established. These three parts face each other across the rivers and are linked by bridges, including one of the first modern bridges in China, known as the "First Bridge".
Being the technology, culture and education center in central China, the comprehensive technology research and education strength of Wuhan is ranked third in the country, just following Beijing and Shanghai. There are 30 universities, 736 scientific research institutes and 10 state level labs. The city has a solid education and technology research basis with completed facilities and strong technology supporting capacity. There are 45 academicians of China Academy of Science and China Academy of Technology in Wuhan together with more than 400 thousand professional technicians. The state level Opt electric Information Industry Base of China is in Wuhan. Wuhan China Optical Valley has become a competent brand in the competence among the large cities in the world. In the new millennium, Wuhan will continually promote the development of industry and city function, to establish a sustainable economic development model. We will concentrate on the development of telecom, IT, biology engineering, new medicine, integration of the optical, machinery and electricity, new material, laser, software, etc. At the same time, we will transform the existed iron and steel, automobile and machinery industry, finally change Wuhan into an important high-tech industry base in the country.
Wuhan takes great advantage of water supply and power supply. Yangtze River, the third largest river of the world and its largest branch, Hanjiang River intersects at Wuhan, where there are 189 lakes located. The average water resource per person of Wuhan stands at the head of the large cities in the world.
Having abundant human cultural and tourist resources, Wuhan is also a famous city in Chinese history and culture as well as a city with beautiful scenes of hills, water and parks. The famous Yellow Crane Tower, The Guiyuan Temple, East Lake Scenic Zone are all located in Wuhan. The famous 1911 revolution also took place in Wuhan. Wuhan is also the transit city to the famous Three Gorges.
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