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Shanxi Province
Name transcription(s)
  Chinese山西省 (Shānxī Shěng)
  AbbreviationSX / (pinyin :Jìn)
Mount Wutai.JPG
Mount Wutai from the air
Shanxi in China (+all claims hatched).svg
Map showing the location of Shanxi Province
Coordinates: 37°42′N112°24′E / 37.7°N 112.4°E / 37.7; 112.4 Coordinates: 37°42′N112°24′E / 37.7°N 112.4°E / 37.7; 112.4
Country China
Named for , shān – mountain
西 , – west
"west of the Taihang Mountains"
(and largest city)
Divisions11 prefectures, 119 counties, 1388 townships
  Type Province
  Body Shanxi Provincial People's Congress
   CCP Secretary Lin Wu
   Congress chairmanLin Wu
   Governor Lan Fo'an
   CPPCC chairman Li Jia
  Total156,000 km2 (60,000 sq mi)
  Rank 19th
Highest elevation3,058 m (10,033 ft)
 (2020) [2]
  Rank 18th
  Density220/km2 (580/sq mi)
   Rank 19th
  Ethnic composition Han – 99.7%
Hui – 0.2%
  Languages and dialects Jin, Zhongyuan Mandarin, Jilu Mandarin
ISO 3166 code CN-SX
GDP (2020) CNY 1.765 trillion
USD 255 billion (21st) [3]
 - per capita CNY 50,555
USD 7,327 (26th)
 • growthIncrease2.svg 3.6%
HDI (2019)0.752 [4] (high) (16th)
Website (in Chinese)
  1. 1 2 New district established after census: Yunzhou (Datong County). The new district not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  2. 1 2 New districts established after census: Lucheng (Lucheng CLC), Shangdang (Changzhi County), Tunliu (Tunliu County). These new districts not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  3. Huairen County is currently known as Huairen CLC after census.
Shanxi (Chinese characters).svg
"Shanxi" in Chinese characters
Most populous cities in Shanxi
Source: China Urban Construction Statistical Yearbook 2018 Urban Population and Urban Temporary Population [33]
Tai Yuan Shi Zhong Xin .jpg
Cityview Datong Shanxi.jpg
1 Taiyuan 3,979,70011 Xiaoyi 295,900 Chang Zhi Jie Jing  - panoramio.jpg
Yang Quan Shi Zhong Xin .JPG
2 Datong 1,272,80012 Lüliang 279,000
3 Changzhi 754,80013 Jiexiu 222,300
4 Yangquan 638,80014 Hejin 220,000
5 Linfen 617,00015 Yuanping 188,600
6 Yuncheng 570,00016 Yongji 171,000
7 Jinzhong 562,80017 Gujiao 163,000
8 Jincheng 498,00018 Houma 159,800
9 Shuozhou 434,10019 Huozhou 150,100
10 Xinzhou 310,00020 Gaoping 132,000


The Governor of Shanxi is the highest-ranking official in the People's Government of Shanxi. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor is subordinate to the provincial Communist Party Committee Secretary (中共山西省委书记), colloquially termed the "Shanxi Party Committee Secretary". As is the case in almost all Chinese provinces, the provincial party secretary and Governor are not natives of Shanxi; rather, they are outsiders who are, in practice, appointed by the central party and government authorities.

The province went through significant political instability since 2004, due largely to the number of scandals that have hit the province on labour safety, the environment, and the interconnected nature between the provincial political establishment and big coal companies. Yu Youjun was sent by the central government in 2005 to become Governor but resigned in the wake of the Shanxi slave labour scandal in 2007. He was succeeded by Meng Xuenong, who had been previously sacked as Mayor of Beijing in the aftermath of the SARS outbreak. Meng himself was removed from office in 2008 after only a few months on the job due to the political fallout from the 2008 Shanxi mudslide. In 2008, provincial Political Consultative Conference Chair, one of the highest-ranked provincial officials, Jin Yinhuan, died in a car accident.

Since Xi Jinping's ascendancy to General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party at the 18th Party Congress, numerous highly ranked officials in Shanxi have been placed under investigation for corruption-related offenses, including four incumbent members Bai Yun, Chen Chuanping, Du Shanxue, Nie Chunyu of the province's highest ruling council, the provincial Communist Party Standing Committee. They were all removed from office around August 2014. The following were also removed from office:

Shanxi was therefore the "hardest hit" province during the anti-corruption campaign under Xi Jinping. Targeted corruption investigations on such a massive scale were unprecedented; it amounted to a wholesale 'cleansing' of Shanxi's political establishment. In the aftermath of the 'political earthquake', party secretary Yuan Chunqing was removed from his post in September 2014, with Wang Rulin 'helicoptered' into the provincial Party Secretary office.


The GDP per capita of Shanxi is below the national average. Compared to the provinces in east China, Shanxi is less developed for many reasons. Its geographic location limits its participation in international trade, which involves mostly eastern coastal provinces. Important crops in Shanxi include wheat, maize, millet, legumes, and potatoes. The local climate and dwindling water resources limit agriculture in Shanxi. [34]

Shanxi possesses 260 billion metric tons of known coal deposits, about a third of China's total. As a result, Shanxi is a leading producer of coal in China and has more coal companies than any other province, [35] with an annual production exceeding 300 million metric tonnes. The Datong (大同), Ningwu (宁武), Xishan (西山), Hedong (河东), Qinshui (沁水), and Huoxi (霍西) coalfields are some of the most important in Shanxi. Shanxi also contains about 500 million tonnes of bauxite deposits, about a third of total Chinese bauxite reserves. [36] Industry in Shanxi is centered around heavy industries such as coal and chemical production, power generation, and metal refining.[ citation needed ] There are countless military-related industries in Shanxi due to its geographic location and history as the former base of the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army. Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre, one of China's three satellite launch centers, is located in the middle of Shanxi with China's largest stockpile of nuclear missiles.

Many private corporations, in joint ventures with the state-owned mining corporations, have invested billions of dollars in the mining industry of Shanxi . Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing made one of his largest investments ever in China in exploiting coal gas in Shanxi. Foreign investors include mining companies from Canada, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy.[ citation needed ]

The mining-related companies include Daqin Railway Co. Ltd., which runs one of the busiest and most technologically advanced railways in China, connecting Datong and Qinhuangdao exclusively for coal shipping.[ citation needed ] The revenue of Daqin Railway Co. Ltd. is among the highest among Shanxi companies due to its export of coal to Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia.

Shanxi's nominal GDP in 2011 was 1110.0 billion yuan (US$176.2 billion), ranked 21st in China. Its per-capita GDP was 21,544 yuan (US$3,154). [37]

Shanxi is affected by cases of bad working conditions in coal mining and other heavy industries. Thousands of workers have died every year in those industries. Cases of child labour abuse were discovered in 2011. [38] [39] The central government has responded by increasing oversight, including the suspension of four coal mines in August 2021, as well as ongoing investigations in Shanxi and neighboring Shaanxi. [40]

Industrial zones

Taiyuan Economic and Technology Development Zone

Taiyuan Economic and Technology Development Zone is a state-level development zone approved by the State Council in 2001, with a planned area of 9.6 km2 (3.7 sq mi). It is only 2 km (1.2 mi) from Taiyuan Airport and 3 km (1.9 mi) from the railway station. National Highways 208 and 307 pass through the zone. So far, it has formed a "four industrial base, a professional industry park" development pattern. [41]

Taiyuan Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone

Established in 1991, Taiyuan Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone is the only state-level high-tech development zone in Shanxi, with total area of 24 km2 (9.3 sq mi). It is close to Taiyuan Wusu Airport and Highway G208. The nearest port is Tianjin. [42]


The transport infrastructure in Shanxi is highly developed. There are many important national highways and railways that connect the province with neighboring provinces. [43]


Shanxi's road hub is in the capital, Taiyuan. The major highways in province form a road network connecting all the counties. Examples of major highways are:


Shanxi has extensive rail infrastructure to neighboring provinces. The rail network connects to major cities Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang, Beijing, Yuanping, Baotou, Datong, Menyuan and Jiaozuo. The province also have extensive rail network to coastal cities such as Qinhuangdao, Qingdao, Yantai and Lianyungang. [43]

The province has a rail network called the Shuozhou-Huanghua Railway. It will service Shenchi county in Shanxi with Huanghua port in Hebei. It will become the second largest railway for coal transport from west to east in China. [44]


Shanxi's main aviation transport hub is Taiyuan Wusu Airport ( IATA : TYN). The airport has routes connecting Shanxi to 28 domestic cities including Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu and Chongqing. There are international routes to Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Russia. There is also another airport in Datong, which has domestic routes to other mainland cities. [43] [45]


The population is mostly Han Chinese with minorities of Mongol, Manchu, and the Hui.

Ethnic groups in Shanxi, 2000 census [46]
Ethnic group PopulationPercentage
Han Chinese 32,368,08399.68%
Hui 61,6900.19%
Manchu 13,6650.042%
Mongol 9,4460.029%

In 2004, the birth rate was 12.36 births/1,000 population, while the death rate was 6.11 deaths/1,000 population. The sex ratio was 105.5 males/100 females. [47]


Religion in Shanxi [48] [note 1]

   Christianity (2.17%)
  Other religions or not religious people [note 2] (82.22%)

The predominant religions in Shanxi are Chinese folk religions, Taoist traditions and Chinese Buddhism. According to surveys conducted in 2007 and 2009, 15.61% of the population believes and is involved in cults of ancestors, while 2.17% of the population identifies as Christian. [48] The reports didn't give figures for other types of religion; 82.22% of the population may be either irreligious or involved in worship of nature deities, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, folk religious sects, and small minorities of Muslims.

Military police demolished a large Christian church known as Jindengtai ("Golden Lampstand") in Linfen, Shanxi, in early January 2018. [49]

As of 2010, there were 59,709 Muslims in Shanxi. [50]


In the 2000s, the province was considered to be one of the most polluted areas in China. [35] The pollution, caused in part by heavy coal mining, has caused significant public health challenges. [51]


The Shanxi Museum located on the west bank of Fen River in downtown Taiyuan. Shanxi Museum 20110719.jpg
The Shanxi Museum located on the west bank of Fen River in downtown Taiyuan.
The Pagoda of Fogong Temple, Ying County, built in 1056. Muta 2.jpg
The Pagoda of Fogong Temple, Ying County, built in 1056.


The dialects spoken in Shanxi have traditionally been included in the Northern or Mandarin group. Since 1985, some linguists have argued that the dialects spoken in most of the province should be treated as a top-level division called Jin, based on its preservation of the Middle Chinese entering tone (stop-final) category, unlike other dialects in northern China. These dialects are also noted for extremely complex tone sandhi systems. The dialects spoken in some areas in southwestern Shanxi near the borders with Henan and Shaanxi are classified in the Zhongyuan Mandarin subdivision of the Mandarin group.


Shanxi cuisine is most well known for its extensive use of vinegar as a condiment, as well as for a huge variety of noodle dishes, particularly knife-cut noodles or daoxiao mian (刀削面), which are served with a range of sauces. A dish originating from Taiyuan, the provincial capital, is Taiyuan Tounao (Chinese:太原头脑; lit. 'Taiyuan Head'). It is a breakfast dish; a porridge-like stew made with mutton, Chinese yam (山药), lotus roots, astragalus membranaceus (黄芪; 'membranous milk vetch'), tuber onions, and yellow cooking wine for additional aroma. It can be enjoyed by dipping pieces of unleavened flatbread into the soup, and is reputed to have medicinal properties. Pingyao is famous for its unique salt beef, while the areas around Wutai Shan are known for wild mushrooms. The most popular local spirit is fenjiu, a "light fragrance" variety of baijiu that is generally sweeter than other northern Chinese spirits.


Shanxi Opera (晋剧Jinju) is the local form of Chinese opera. It was popularized during the late Qing Dynasty, with the help of the then-ubiquitous Shanxi merchants who were active across parts of China. Also called Zhonglu Bangzi (中路梆子), it is a type of bangzi opera (梆子), a group of operas generally distinguished by their use of wooden clappers for rhythm and by a more energetic singing style; Shanxi opera is also complemented by quzi (曲子), a blanket term for more melodic styles from further south. Puzhou Opera (蒲剧Puju), from southern Shanxi, is a more ancient type of bangzi that makes use of very wide linear intervals.

Ancient commerce

Shanxi merchants (晉商Jinshang) constituted a historical phenomenon that lasted for centuries from the Song to the Qing Dynasty. Shanxi merchants ranged far and wide from Central Asia to the coast of eastern China; by the Qing Dynasty they were conducting trade across both sides of the Great Wall. During the late Qing Dynasty, a new development occurred: the creation of piaohao (票號), which were essentially banks that provided services like money transfers and transactions, deposits, and loans. After the establishment of the first piaohao in Pingyao, the bankers in Shanxi dominated China's financial market for centuries until the collapse of Qing Dynasty and the coming of British banks.


A street in Pingyao. PingYaoCity.jpg
A street in Pingyao.

Shanxi is known for its abundance of heritage sites. There are 3 World Cultural Heritage sites in the province, namely Pingyao, Yungang Grottoes and Mount Wutai, 6 places "National Key Scenic Spots" (国家重点风景名胜区), 6 "National historic and cultural cities" (国家历史文化名城), 7 "National historic and cultural towns" (国家历史文化名镇) and 23 "National historic and cultural villages" (国家历史文化名村). It also possesses 452 Major Historical and Cultural Sites Protected at the National Level, a number that is by far the greatest among all Chinese provinces. Some of the more notable sites are listed below.

Notable individuals


Major tertiary educational institutions in Shanxi include:

See also


  1. The data was collected by the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) of 2009 and by the Chinese Spiritual Life Survey (CSLS) of 2007, reported and assembled by Xiuhua Wang (2015) [48] in order to confront the proportion of people identifying with two similar social structures: ① Christian churches, and ② the traditional Chinese religion of the lineage (i. e. people believing and worshipping ancestral deities often organised into lineage "churches" and ancestral shrines). Data for other religions with a significant presence in China (deity cults, Buddhism, Taoism, folk religious sects, Islam, et al.) was not reported by Wang.
  2. This may include:

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Yan Xishan Chinese general, warlord, and politician (1883–1960)

Yan Xishan was a Chinese warlord who served in the government of the Republic of China. He effectively controlled the province of Shanxi from the 1911 Xinhai Revolution to the 1949 Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War. As the leader of a relatively small, poor, remote province, he survived the machinations of Yuan Shikai, the Warlord Era, the Nationalist Era, the Japanese invasion of China and the subsequent civil war, being forced from office only when the Nationalist armies with which he was aligned had completely lost control of the Chinese mainland, isolating Shanxi from any source of economic or military supply. He has been viewed by Western biographers as a transitional figure who advocated using Western technology to protect Chinese traditions, while at the same time reforming older political, social and economic conditions in a way that paved the way for the radical changes that would occur after his rule.

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Taiyuan Prefecture-level city in Shanxi, China

Taiyuan is the capital and largest city of Shanxi Province, People's Republic of China. It is one of the main manufacturing bases of China. Throughout its long history, Taiyuan was the capital or provisional capital of many dynasties in China, hence the name Lóngchéng.

Datong Prefecture-level city in Shanxi, Peoples Republic of China

Datong is a prefecture-level city in northern Shanxi Province in the People's Republic of China. It is located in the Datong Basin at an elevation of 1,040 metres (3,410 ft) and borders Inner Mongolia to the north and west and Hebei to the east. As of the 2020 census, it had a population of 3,105,591 of whom 1,790,452 lived in the built-up area made of the 2 out 4 urban districts of Pingcheng and Yungang as Yunzhou and Xinrong are not conurbated yet.

Shanxi University

Shanxi University is a public university located in the city of Taiyuan, Shanxi province, China.

The Japanese offensive called 太原作戦 or the Battle of Taiyuan was a major battle fought in 1937 between China and Japan named for Taiyuan, which lay in the 2nd Military Region. The battle concluded in a victory for Japan over the National Revolutionary Army (NRA), including part of Suiyuan, most of Shanxi and the NRA arsenal at Taiyuan, and effectively ended large-scale organized resistance in the North China area.

Youzhou (ancient China) Ancient Chinese province

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Taiyuan campaign Battle of the Chinese Civil War

The Taiyuan campaign was a campaign of the Chinese Civil War fought between the nationalist and communist factions. The campaign was over the control of Taiyuan, the capital of the province of Shanxi, China. The campaign resulted in a communist victory.

Wang Jingguo Chinese general

Wang Jingguo was a KMT general from Shanxi. He was the son-in-law of the warlord who controlled Shanxi from 1911–1949, Yan Xishan. Wang served throughout his career in Yan's army, fighting in numerous campaigns.

Zhao Chengshou Chinese general

Zhao Chengshou, courtesy name Yinfu (印甫), was a KMT general from Wutai County, Shanxi.

Sun Chu

Sun Chu (1890-1962) was a Kuomintang officer from Shanxi. He served in the warlord Yan Xishan's provincial army. He achieved a very high rank in Yan's army, eventually commanding Yan's entire military police force, but owed his high position more to his loyalty and trustworthiness than to any particular military ability. Sun Chu was captured alive when the capital of Shanxi, Taiyuan, eventually fell to Communist forces in 1949.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Taiyuan

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Taiyuan is an archdiocese located in the city of Taiyuan (Shanxi) in China.

Liang Huazhi Chinese Kuomintang official (1906–1949)

Liang Huazhi was a Kuomintang official who served in the warlord Yan Xishan's government. A relative of Yan, Liang rose rapidly through Shanxi's power structure, founding and leading a number of organizations dedicated to combating both internal and external threats to Yan's rule. At first radically socialist and later radically anti-communist, Liang's life illustrates the rapid and dramatic career changes that were not uncommon in the chaotic age in which he lived. Liang is best known for the way that he died, committing suicide in a spectacular fashion as a final act of defiance against Shanxi's Communist invaders.

Datong–Puzhou railway

The Datong–Puzhou or Tongpu railway, is a major trunkline railroad in northern China, and the main axial railway of Shanxi Province. The railway is located entirely within Shanxi and diagonally bisects the province from Datong in the northeast to Fenglingdu, near the village of Puzhou, in the southwest corner. The line is named after Datong and Puzhou, and has a total length of 865 km (537 mi). The line is often referred to by its northern and southern halves with Taiyuan, the provincial capital as the midpoint. Southern Tongpu railway from Taiyuan to Fenglingdu is 513 km (319 mi) in length and was built from 1933 to 1935. The Northern Tongpu railway, from Datong to Taiyuan is 351 km (218 mi) in length and was built from 1933 to 1940. Major cities and towns along route include Datong, Huairen, Shuozhou, Ningwu, Yuanping, Xinzhou, Taiyuan, Yuci, Taigu, Qi County, Pingyao, Huozhou, Hongdong, Linfen, Houma and Fenglingdu.

Imamura Hōsaku was a Japanese military officer in the Kwantung Army who was most notable for staying on in China after the surrender of Japan on August 15, 1945. He and many of his fellow Japanese soldiers became mercenaries in the employ of the pro-Nationalist warlord of Shanxi, Yan Xishan, after the resumption of the Chinese Civil War. Imamura fought against the Communist forces until his death in battle in the closing weeks of the civil war.

Shanxi architecture, or Shansi architecture, or Jin architecture, refers to the architectural style of the Shanxi province in northern China. Shanxi has preserved numerous ancient architectures scattered throughout the province. All of the four remaining wooden structures preserved from Tang dynasty in China are found in Shanxi. The old buildings of Pingyao ancient city and numerous family compounds of Shanxi merchants in the Ming and Qing dynasties are representative of the architecture styles of vernacular architecture in North China. Religious temples in Mount Wutai and Yungang Grottoes in Datong exemplify the sacred buddhist architecture in China.

North Shanxi Autonomous Government Administratively autonomous region of Mengjiang

The North Shanxi Autonomous Government was an administratively autonomous component of Mengjiang from its creation in 1937 to its complete merger into Mengjiang in 1939. Following the Japanese invasion of China in July 1937, regional governments were established in Japanese-occupied territories. After Operation Chahar in September 1937, which extended Japanese control to northern Shanxi region, more formal control of the area was established through the creation of the North Shanxi Autonomous Government, as well as the South Chahar Autonomous Government to the east of Shanxi.



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