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[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.
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a province in Northeast China, in the basin of the Amur River (Heilung Chiang). Area, 710,000 sq km. Population, 23.2 million (1973). The capital is Harbin; the other principal cities are Ch’ich’ihaerh, Mutanchiang, Chiamussu, and Hokang.
Natural features. Most of Heilungkiang is occupied by the Sung-Liao and Sanchiang plains, with elevations of 100–400 m. The Greater Khingan Range lies in the northwest, the Lesser Khingan Range in the central region, and the Changpai Shan (East Manchuria Mountains) in the southwest. The climate is continental, with an annual precipitation of 550–600 mm throughout most of the province. The principal rivers are the Amur and Sungari. Forests cover approximately 30 percent of the province and are concentrated in the mountainous areas.
Economy. Heilungkiang has an agricultural and industrial economy; its agriculture is dominated by land crop production. One of China’s major sources of food, the province produces such crops as wheat, maize, kaoliang, potatoes, barley, and oats. It is China’s leading producer of sugar beets, soybeans, fiber flax, and sunflowers.
The province’s industry has undergone considerable development since the victory of the people’s democratic revolution. Coal is mined at Hokang, Chihsi, Shuangyashan, and Chailai-noerh, and oil shales, iron ore, and nonferrous metals are extracted. The petroleum industry is very important—the Tach’ing oil fields account for approximately 40 percent of China’s output. The Tach’ing-Ch’inhuangtao-Peking and Tach’ing-Shanyang-Dairen pipelines carry petroleum to several refineries, the largest of which is located at Tach’ing.
The province has a diversified machine-building industry, largely developed between 1953 and 1957 with the assistance of the USSR. The industry manufactures equipment (including complete units) for power stations and the metallurgical industry, as well as tools and machine tools. Transportation machine building is represented by plants producing railroad cars, river boats, and motor vehicles. There is agricultural machine building and a radio electronics industry.
Products of Heilungkiang’s metallurgical industry include special steels; those of the chemical industry include industrial rubber goods. The province has plants of the lumber, woodworking and paper industries; the woodworking industry processes more than 30 percent of China’s lumber. The building-materials industry manufactures such products as cement. The province’s food-processing industry produces sugar, flour, vegetable oil, milk, wine, spirits, and canned fruit. There is a tobacco industry. Plants of the textile industry produce flax, cotton, and wool fabrics.
Heilungkiang is crossed by more than 4,000 km of railroad lines. The Amur, Sungari, and some sections of the Ussuri are used for navigation.
IU. I. GAVRILOVA
Historical survey. In ancient and medieval times Heilungkiang was inhabited by hunting and stock-raising tribes descended from the Tungus. It was conquered by the Manchus in the 17th century and until the early 20th century was considered a demesne of the Manchu imperial house of Ch’ing, which ruled in China from 1644 to 1911. The Chinese were forbidden to settle in Heilungkiang until the mid–19th century, after which they arrived in large numbers and plowed up the virgin lands. Russia’s construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway from 1897 to 1903 led to the growth of cities and modern industry in the region. In 1907, Heilungkiang Province was established.
The Japanese occupied Northeast China in 1931 and created the puppet state of Manchukuo the following year; from 1934 to 1945, Heilungkiang was divided into several provinces. In August 1945 the Soviet Army drove the Japanese aggressors out of Heilungkiang. From 1945 to 1949 the province was the principal base of the Chinese people’s democratic revolution. Operating from the province, the People’s Liberation Army of China freed all Northeast China and much of North China from the Kuomintang in 1948 and early 1949.
V. P. ILIUSHECHKIN