The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Jln Shěng
Abbreviation: 吉 (pinyin: J)
Origin of Name short for 吉林乌拉 jilin wula, Manchu for "along the river"
Administration Type Province
Capital and
Largest City
CPC Jilin Committee Secretary Wang Yunkun
Governor Wang Min
Area 187,400 km² (13th)
Population (2002)
 - Density
26,990,000 (21st)
144/km² (23rd)
GDP (2002)
 - per capita
224.6 billion (18th)
8322 (13th)
Major Nationalities (2000) Han - 91%
Korean - 4%
Manchu - 4%
Mongol - 0.6%
Hui - 0.5%
Prefecture-level divisions 9
County-level divisions 60
Township-level divisions 1011
ISO 3166-2 CN-22

Jilin (; Postal System Pinyin: Kirin), is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west. The name was transliterated to Kirin before standardization to pinyin. Jilin is part of the region known as Manchuria.

The name "Jilin" probably originates from jilin wula, a Manchu term meaning "along the river". Rendered into Chinese, the literal meaning of "Jilin" is "auspicious forest".



In ancient times Jilin was inhabited by various peoples, including the Mohe and the Wuji . The kingdom of Bohai was established in the area from 698 to 926 AD. The region then fell successively under the domination of the Khitan Liao Dynasty, the Jurchen Jin Dynasty, and the Mongol Yuan Dynasty. During the Qing Dynasty much of the area was under the control of the General of Jilin, whose area of control extended to the Sea of Japan to encompass much of what is Russia's Primorsky Krai today. Immigration of Han Chinese was strictly controlled.

However, after the Primorsky Krai area was ceded to Russia in 1860, the Qing government began to open the area up to Han Chinese migrants, most of whom came from Shandong. By the beginning of the 20th century Han Chinese had become the dominant ethnic group of the region. In 1932 the area was incorporated into Manchukuo, a puppet state set up by Japan, and Changchun, capital of Jilin today, was made the capital of Manchukuo. After the defeat of Japan in 1945 the region, together with the rest of Manchuria, was handed to the communists by the Soviets. Manchuria was then the staging ground from which the communists eventually conquered the rest of China.

In 1949, Jilin province was smaller, encompassing only the environs of Changchun and Jilin City, and the capital was at Jilin City, while Changchun was a municipality independent from the province. In the 1950s Jilin was expanded to its present borders today. During the Cultural Revolution Jilin was expanded again to include a part of Inner Mongolia, giving it a border with the independent state of Mongolia, though this was later reversed. In recent times Jilin has, together with the rest of heavy industry-based Northeast China, been facing economic difficulties with privatization. This has prompted the central government to undertake the Revitalize the Northeast Campaign.


Jilin is highest in altitude in the southeast, and drops gently towards the northwest. The Changbai Mountains run through its southeastern regions, and contains the highest peak of the province, Baiyun Peak at 2691 m. Other mountain ranges include the Jilinhada Mountains , Zhang Guangcai Mountains , and Longgang Mountains .

Jilin is drained by the Yalu and Tumen Rivers in the extreme southwest (which together form the border between China and North Korea), by tributaries of the Liao River along the southern border, and by the Songhua and Nen rivers, both eventually flowing into the Amur.

Jilin has a northerly continental monsoon climate, with long, cold winters and short, warm summers. Average January temperatures range from -20 to -14 C. Rainfall averages at 350 - 1000 mm.

Major cities:

Administrative divisions

Jilin is made up of 8 prefecture-level cities and 1 autonomous prefecture.

  • Changchun (长春市 : Chngchūn sh)
  • Jilin City (吉林市 : Jln sh)
  • Siping (四平市 : Spng sh)
  • Liaoyuan (辽源市 : Lioyun sh)
  • Tonghua (通化市 : Tōnghu sh)
  • Baishan (白山市 : Bishān sh)
  • Songyuan (松原市 : Sōngyun sh)
  • Baicheng (白城市 : Bichng sh)
  • Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture (延边朝鲜族自治州 : Ynbiān Choxiǎnz Zzhzhōu)

For a complete list of the county-level divisions of Jilin, see List of administrative divisions of Jilin. These administrative divisions are explained in greater detail at Political divisions of China.


Jilin's agricultural production is centered upon rice, maize, and Chinese sorghum. Rice is mostly cultivated in the eastern parts, such as Yanbian prefecture. The Changbai Mountains are an important source of lumber. Herding of sheep is an important activity in the western parts, such as Baicheng prefecture-level city.

Compared to other provinces of China, Jilin has extensive deposits of Kieselguhr, wollastonite, floadstone , and molybdenum.

Industry in Jilin is concentrated on cars, train carriages, and iron alloy.


Jilin is inhabited by Han Chinese, Koreans, Manchus, Hui, Mongols and Xibe. Most ethnic Koreans live in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.


Jilin's culture is part of a culture of Northeast China that is quite homogeneous across all of the northeastern China. See Manchuria#Culture for a detailed description. In particular, Jiju , or Jilin Opera, is a form of traditional entertainment that Jilin has innovated over its short migrant history.

The ethnic Koreans of Jilin have their own distinct culture. See also: Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, Culture of Korea.


The Goguryeo sites and tombs found in Ji'an, Jilin , including Wandu , Guonei , and the pyramidal General's Tomb , have been listed as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Changbai Mountains, especially Lake Tianchi on the border with North Korea, are popular tourist destinations due to their natural scenery.

Ancient Tombs at Longtou Mountain, including the Mausoleum of Princess Zhenxiao, are royal tombs of the Bohai Kingdom found in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.

Miscellaneous topics

Professional sports teams in Jilin include:

Colleges and universities

Last updated: 08-17-2005 17:07:28
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13