Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

Location: The Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is located in southern China. It is bordered by Yunnan Province to the west, Guizhou to the north, Hunan to the northeast, and Guangdong to the southeast, and by Vietnam and the Beibu Bay to the southwest. It covers an area of 236,661 square km, and measures over 770 km from east to west and 610 km from north to south. It is the unique province of China that is located along the coast. Nanning, the regional capital, is about 75 miles southwest of the region's geographic center.

History: Guangxi was known as the land of Baiyue during the late Zhou Dynasty from 453-221 BC. The ancestors of the Zhuang people inhabited the region and had an economy based on rice. East Guangxi was entered by Han people in 214 BC under the Qin dynasty, and the Lingqu Canal was dug to link the Xiangjiang River and Guijiang River to form a north-south waterway.

Climate: Throughout the region, temperatures are warm enough to assure agricultural production throughout the year. The summer, covering a seven-month period from April to October, is marked by enervating heating and high humidity. Winter is mild and snow rare. July temperatures vary between 27°C and 32°C, while January temperatures range between 4°C and 16°C. The north experiences slightly cooler temperature than the south.

Because of the influence of the rain-bearing monsoon wind, which blows from the south and southwest from late April to the end of September, precipitation is abundant; the drier areas are in the northwest, and the wetter areas in the south and east. The average annual rainfall varies from 35 inches in the drier areas to 68 in the wetter zones. Most of the precipitation occurs in the period between May and August. In the extreme south, rain bursts caused by typhoons occur between November and February.

Ethnic groups: The Zhuang live largely in the western two-thirds of the region, while the Han are concentrated in the eastern third. Two distinct Chinese linguistic influences are noted -- a southwest version of Mandarin is spoken in the north, including Guilin and Liuzhou districts while Cantonese dialect is spoken throughout the south of the region. The Yao, Miao, and Dong people are widely scattered.

The Zhuang people have inhabited Guangxi since ancient times. Living on the plains and in the river valleys of the hilly west, they cultivate rice in paddy fields and practice an economy that easily merges with that of the Han people. They are often referred to as "water dwellers" because their settlements are close to water and their dwellings are constructed on piles or stilts. For two millennia, the Zhang have coexisted with the Han; together they constitute the two largest ethnic groups in Guangxi.

Tourist resources: The picturesque scenic spots in Guangxi are famous worldwide, symbolized by Guilin, a natural beauty produced by unique karst geography. At present, the province has established several tourist attractions including three state-level natural scenic spots, 11 state-level forest parks, 30 regional natural scenic spots, 15 state-level cultural and historical relics, 221 regional cultural and historical relics and one state-level tourist resort in Beihai City.

Editor:Liu Kan