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Hainan (hīˈnänˈ), island and province (2010 pop. 8,671,518), c.13,100 sq mi (33,940 sq km), China, in the South China Sea. The province, created in 1988, is coextensive with Hainan Island; Haikou is its capital, largest city, and major port. Sanya, near the island's southern tip, is the second largest city. The second largest island off the China coast (Taiwan is the largest), Hainan is separated from the mainland (Liuzhou Peninsula) by Hainan Strait (c.30 mi/50 km wide). The province also includes the Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands, which are claimed by China and other nations.

The year-round growing season and monsoon climate favor the cultivation of rice, coconuts, palm oil, sisal, tropical fruit, coffee, tea, and sugarcane; the island also produces most of China's rubber. The mountainous interior is thickly forested, yielding tropical hardwoods, including teak and sandalwood. Hainan is rich in minerals, notably high-grade iron and tungsten, but also rich in titanium, manganese, salt, copper, bauxite, molybdenum, gold, silver, coal, cobalt, graphite, and crystal. Hainan's rich offshore fishing grounds provide shrimps, scallops, tuna, and Spanish mackerel, and pearls are harvested in the shallow bays surrounding the island. The growth of Hainan's industries, which include the production of textiles and farm equipment, has been hindered by a lack of energy resources. The Wenchang Satellite Launch Center is located in NE Hainan. With its tropical climate and many beaches, Hainan is becoming a popular resort site. Hainan was designated a special economic zone in 1988 to spur the development of its considerable natural resources, but speculation led to an economic bubble that collapsed in the mid-1990s. The economy recovered slowly; growth is now focused on the tourist industry, which had led to a new boom by 2010.

The many aboriginal Li, who inhabit the forested interior, have been constituted with the Miao into a large Li-Miao autonomous district. Under Chinese control since the 1st cent. A.D., Hainan was not fully incorporated into China until the 13th cent. It became part of Guangdong prov. in the late 14th cent. In World War II it was occupied (1939) by the Japanese, who developed the industries and exploited the great iron-ore deposits. The island was liberated (1945) by the Nationalists. The Chinese Communists landed in Apr., 1949, and, with the aid of Communist guerrillas from the mountains, gained control in 1950. The Yulin naval base, a natural harbor near Sanya developed by the Japanese, has been expanded since 1950.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a Chinese island in the South China Sea, separated from the mainland by the Hainan Strait. It has an area of 34,000 sq krn and, according to a 1970 estimate, a population of approximately 2.5 million.

Alluvial plains are found in the northern part of Hainan; the southern and central regions have lowand medium-mountain relief, reaching an elevation of 1,879 m at Wuchih Shan. The island has a tropical monsoon climate. The plains have an average January temperature of 16°–19°C and an average July temperature of approximately 29°C. Annual precipitation totals 1,200–1,500 mm in the plains and approximately 3,000 mm in the mountains; the greatest amount of precipitation falls in the summer. In the mountains are tropical monsoon forests of palms, screw pines, camphor trees, tung trees, and bamboo. The city of Haik’ou is located in the north.

In antiquity Hainan was inhabited chiefly by ancestors of the modern Li and Miao peoples. It was conquered by the Chinese rulers and annexed to the Chinese state in the second century B.C. From the seventh to 12th centuries the island’s coastal plains were settled by large numbers of Chinese, who pushed the aboriginal population into the central mountainous area. The Li and Miao resisted the oppression of the Chinese feudal lords. Under the Chefoo Convention of 1876, the Chinese government opened the port of Haik’ou to foreign trade. In 1890 and 1891 a major uprising of the Li against the Ch’ing authorities took place.

From 1927 to 1936, Hainan was one of the areas where armed forces led by the Communist Party of China fought against the Kuomintang. The island was occupied from 1939 to 1945 by the Japanese Army, against which the local population waged a partisan war. From 1946 to 1949 the island was the scene of a partisan war against the reactionary Kuomintang regime. Joint operations by the People’s Liberation Army and local partisan detachments completely liberated the island from the Kuomintang on Apr. 30, 1950. In 1952 the Li and Miao on Hainan were united in an autonomous district of Kwangtung Province.




a strait between Hainan Island and the Leichou Peninsula of China. The strait, which connects the South China Sea with the northern part of the Gulf of Tonkin, is 93 km long and 18.5 km wide at its narrowest point. The fairway has a depth of 36–108 km, and tidal currents have a velocity of approximately 6 km/hr. The port of Haik’ou, on Hainan Island, is situated on the Hainan Strait.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, Hainan Tao
an island and province in the South China Sea, separated from the mainland of S China by the Hainan Strait: part of Guangdong province until 1988; mainland China's largest offshore island. Pop.: 8 110 000 (2003 est.). Area: 33 572 sq. km (12 962 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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Hsu, a hermit, refuses to acknowledge any family interest in the dead when carrying out his own version of the mourning rituals for Huang Ch'iung, who had once recommended Hsu for office.