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Liaoning (lyouˈnĭngˈ), province (2010 pop. 43,746,323), c.58,400 sq mi (151,295 sq km), NE China, on the Bohai and Korea Bay. The capital is Shenyang (Mukden). A part of Manchuria, it encompasses the Liaodong peninsula and the plain of the Liao River. The Liao River is navigable in its lower reaches, and an extensive rail net, including sections of the South Manchuria RR, connects the interior with the ports along the coast. Rainfall is adequate, but long, severe winters permit only one harvest annually. Soybeans are the major crop, and millet, sorghum, wheat, rice, sweet potatoes, beans, cotton, tobacco, fruit, and oakleaf silk (pongee silk) are also produced. Along the coast, salt production and fishing are important.

Liaoning is China's largest producer of heavy industrial products, and it supplies one fifth of China's electrical power. It is a major coal-producing area and contains a large percentage of China's iron ore reserves; there are large deposits of oil and magnesite and smaller ones of copper, lead, zinc, and molybdenum. Shenyang is the center of a vast heavy-industrial complex (metallurgy, machinery, chemicals, petroleum, and coal) that also embraces Anshan, a major city for iron and steel; Fushun, a coal and a shale oil producing center; and Dalian, the chief commercial port of Manchuria. Important manufactures include locomotives, tractors, and a wide range of heavy equipment. Liaoning is also a leading producer of machine-made paper, and it has numerous brick and tile factories that utilize waste ash and slag. Textiles and foodstuffs are also produced. In the late 20th cent. the huge state industries became increasingly uneconomical, and the province was the scene of labor unrest as workers went unpaid or were laid off and factories closed. The Supung Dam on the Yalu River, built by the Japanese, supplies power to Liaoning and North Korea.

Liaoning's fine harbors were long coveted by Russia and Japan for their strategic positions. Japan acquired (1895) the Liaodong peninsula after the first Sino-Japanese War, but was forced by Russia, Germany, and France to return it to China that same year. In 1898, Russia received the southern portion of the Liaodong peninsula as a 25-year leasehold. After the Russo-Japanese War (1904–5), Japan took this territory (which it called Kwantung). The growth of railroads after 1900 spurred the development of the province; the Japanese concentrated heavy industry there, especially after 1931. After World War II, an area approximately the same as Kwantung was made the Port Arthur Naval Base District, under joint Soviet and Chinese operation. The district, which is now the city of Dalian and includes the port of Lüshun (Port Arthur), has been under sole Chinese administration since 1955. The eastern part of what was Rehe prov. became part of Liaoning in 1956, and in 1970 more than 30,000 sq mi (77,700 sq km) of territory from the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region were added to Liaoning in the west. This territory was returned to Inner Mongolia in 1979.

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



a province in Northeast China, on the border with the Korean Democratic People’s Republic. On the south it is bounded by the Yellow Sea. Area, 230,000 sq km. Population, 29.5 million (1972), mainly Chinese. The administrative center is Shenyang.

Natural features. The province encompasses the southern part of the Sungliao Plain, the western spurs of the Manchurian-Korean Mountains, including the mountains of Liaotung Peninsula, and the eastern spurs of the Jehol mountains. It has a monsoon climate; summers are hot and humid, and winters are cold but with little snowfall. The annual precipitation ranges from 500 mm in the north to 1,000 mm in the southeast, with the maximum falling in summer. The largest river is the Liao; part of the province belongs to the Yalu basin. The rivers have a monsoon regime with summer floods. The mountains are covered with broad-leaved and coniferous forests, and the plains with steppes and meadows.

Economy. Liaoning is an important industrial region, in which is concentrated about 60 percent of the industry of Northeast China. It accounts for a considerable part of China’s coal output and for a large part of its iron ore and shale, from which about 1.5 million tons of bitumen are produced annually. The province is the country’s leading producer of electric power; there are large thermal power plants around Fushun, and the hydroelectric resources of the Yalu River are used. The ferrous and nonferrous metallurgical industries are of national importance. Liaoning accounts for more than one-fifth of China’s total output of machinery, chiefly mining equipment, machine tools, electrical engineering products, railroad rolling stock, ships, and tractors. Other well-developed industries include the chemical industry, oil refining (plants in Fushun, Liita, Chinchou, and Chinhsi), and the production of building materials (one-third of the country’s cement output), and textiles, chiefly cotton (third place among China’s provinces). Also important is the food industry, especially vegetable-oil extraction and flour milling.

The central part of the province, which is the most industrialized, has large coal mines (Fushun and Fuhsin), iron ore mines and metallurgical plants (Anshan and Penhsi), and various machine-building industries, chiefly heavy machinery (Shenyang). Liita is a major center of the machine-building (including ships), chemical, and food-processing industries.

The chief branch of agriculture is crop cultivation, in part irrigated. Most of the province’s arable land (totaling about 5 million hectares) lies on the plain, which is almost entirely plowed up. The principal crops are grain and legumes, including wheat, rice, and soybeans; the annual grain harvest is estimated at about 5 million tons. Cotton, kenaf, and tobacco are also major crops. Vegetables and fruit, chiefly apples and melons, are grown. Other important branches of the economy are sericulture (85 percent of the country’s cocoon harvest of the oak silkworm, primarily around Antung), fishing, salt production, and maritime shipping. The major ports are Liita, Liishun, Talien, and Yingkou.


Historical survey. The region was conquered by the Chinese in the second century B.Cl Between the first century B.Cl and the 13th century formed a part of several states, including the Korean state of Koguryo (first century B.Cl to the seventh century A.D.), the Korean state of Pohai (eighth to tenth centuries), the Khitan state of Liao (tenth to 12th centuries), and the Juchen state of Chin (12th and 13th centuries). The region was conquered by the Mongols in the 13th century. In the 14th century, after the Mongols were driven out of China, the southern part of Liaoning was incorporated into the Chinese Ming empire. In the 16th century it was conquered by the Manchus, who established their rule over all of China in the 17th century. Under the Manchus it was considered a domain of the ruling Ch’ing dynasty (1644-1911) and subsequently was part of Fengtien Region and Shengking Province (called Fengtien after 1912). Japan seized Liaotung Peninsula—the southern part of Liaoning—in 1895 but soon returned it to China under pressure from Russia, France, and Germany. In 1898, Liaotung Peninsula was leased to Russia, but after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, Russia was forced to surrender its lease to Japan. The entire province was occupied by Japanese troops in 1931 and incorporated into the puppet state of Manchukuo in 1932. It was liberated by the Soviet Army in August 1945. An important battle was fought here from Sept. 12 to Nov. 2, 1948, between Kuomintang troops and the People’s Liberation Army of China, which ended in victory for the latter.

Liaoning Province was formed in 1954 through a merger of Liaotung and Liaohsi provinces, which had been established in 1945.

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


a province of NE China, in S Manchuria. Capital: Shenyang. Pop.: 42 100 000 (2003 est.). Area: 150 000 sq. km (58 500 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005