Heilongjiang

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Heilongjiang

Heilongjiang or Heilungkiang (both: hā´lŏŏng´jyäng´) [Chin.,=black dragon river (the Amur)], province (2010 pop. 38,312,224), c.179,000 sq mi (463,730 sq km), NE China. The capital is Harbin. Heilongjiang constitutes the northern part of the region known as Manchuria (the Northeast) and is separated from Russia by the Amur River in the north and the Ussuri in the east, and is bordered on the west by the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region. Both the Da Hinggan (Greater Khingan) and Xiao Hinggan (Lesser Khingan) mountain ranges traverse the province; their heavily forested slopes contain some of the finest timber in China. Lumbering is a major industry; timber reserves have been damaged by excessive cutting. The south, which contains the agricultural, industrial, and economic base of the province, is watered by the Songhua, the Nen, the Hulan, and the Mudan rivers, and is known as the Manchurian or Northeast plain. It is a great wheat area; millet, sorghum, soybeans, sugar beets, and flax are also grown. Farming in Heilongjiang is highly mechanized, and vast reclamation projects have been instituted under the Communist government. The Chinese Eastern RR crosses S Heilongjiang and has many branches to the north; Harbin is the junction point with the South Manchurian railway system. Heilongjiang, which produces almost half of China's oil, contains the great Daqing oil field, first worked in 1959, but increasing Chinese demand for oil led in 2011 to the importation of oil to Daqing from Skovorodino, E Siberia, via pipeline. Major coal mines are in Jixi and Hegang. Iron and magnesite are also mined, and aluminum is produced. Gold is extracted in the Da and Xiao Hinggan. Harbin is one of the country's leading industrial centers, known especially for its heavy machinery. Qiqihar, Jiamusi, and Mudanjiang are also industrial cities, with manufactures ranging from processed foods to locomotives. The boundaries of Heilongjiang have been changed several times. The former provinces of Hinggan and Nenjiang were added to it in 1950 and Songjiang was incorporated in 1954. The northwest section, which became part of Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region in 1949, was returned to Heilongjiang in the 1969–70 redistricting but subsequently restored to Inner Mongolia in 1979.

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