Jiāngsū Shěng
Abbreviation: 苏 (pinyin: Sū)
Jiangsu is highlighted on this map
Origin of Name 江 jiāng - Jiangning (now Nanjing)
苏 sū - Suzhou
Administration Type Province
Capital and
Largest City
CPC Jiangsu Committee Secretary Li Yuanchao
Governor Liang Baohua
Area 102,600 km² (24th)
Population (2003)
 - Density
74,060,000 (5th)
722/km² (4th)
GDP (2003)
 - per capita
CNY 1246 billion (2nd)
CNY 16800 (6th)
Major Nationality (2000) Han - 99.6%
Prefecture-level divisions 13
County-level divisions 106
Township-level divisions 1488
ISO 3166-2 CN-32

Jiangsu (Template:Zh-stpw; Postal System Pinyin: Kiangsu) is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country.

The name "Jiangsu" comes from Jiang, short for the city of Jiangning (now Nanjing), and Su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is 苏 (Hanyu Pinyin: Sū), the second character of its name.

Jiangsu borders Shandong in the north, Anhui to the west, and Zhejiang and Shanghai to the south. Jiangsu has a coastline of over 1,000 km along the Yellow Sea, and the Yangtze River passes through its southern parts.



The province of Jiangsu was formed in the 17th century. Before then, the northern and southern parts of Jiangsu had little to do with each other. South Jiangsu is currently the dominant part, being much wealthier and more influential than the north, and has been so for centuries; it is also firmly a part of southern Chinese culture. North Jiangsu, on the other hand, is at the juncture between North China and South China. Culturally it is of North China, but it has influences from South China, and is indeed still a part of a province that is based in the south.

During the earliest of the Chinese dynasties, Jiangsu was far removed from the center of Chinese civilization, which were to the northwest in Henan; it was home to the Huai Yi (淮夷), an ancient ethnic group. During the Zhou Dynasty more contact was made, and eventually a state of Wu (centered at Gusu, now Suzhou) appeared as a vassal to the Zhou Dynasty in south Jiangsu, one of the many hundreds of states that existed across north and central China at the time. Near the end of the Spring and Autumn Period, Wu became a great power under King Helu of Wu, and was able to defeat in 484 BC the state of Qi, a major power to the north in modern-day Shandong province, and contest for the position of overlord over all the states of China. The state of Wu was subjugated in 473 BC by the state of Yue, another state that had emerged to the south in modern-day Zhejiang province. Yue was in turn subjugated by the powerful state of Chu from the west in 333 BC. Eventually the state of Qin swept away all the other states of China, and established China as a unified nation in 221 BC.

Under the reign of the Han Dynasty (206 BC220 AD), which brought China to its first golden age, Jiangsu was a relative backwater, far removed from the centers of civilization in the North China Plain. Jiangsu was at the time administered under two zhou (provinces): Xuzhou Province in the north, and Yangzhou Province in the south. Although south Jiangsu was eventually the base for the kingdom of Wu (one of the Three Kingdoms from 222 to 280), it did not become significant until the invasion of northern nomads during the Western Jin Dynasty, starting from the 4th century. As northern nomadic groups established kingdoms across the north, ethnic Han Chinese aristocracy fled southwards and set up a refugee Eastern Jin Dynasty in 317, in Jiankang (modern day Nanjing). From then until 581 (a period known as the Southern and Northern Dynasties), Nanjing in south Jiangsu was to be the base of four more ethnic Han Chinese dynasties facing off with northern barbarian (but increasingly sinicized) dynasties. In the meantime, north Jiangsu was a buffer of sorts between north and south; it initially started as a part of southern dynasties, but as northern dynasties gained more ground, it became part of northern dynasties.

In 581 unity was reestablished again, and under the Tang Dynasty (618907) China once more went through a golden age, though Jiangsu at this point was still rather unremarkable among the different parts of China. It was during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), which saw the development of a wealthy mercantile class and emergent market economy in China, that south Jiangsu emerged as a center of trade. From then onwards, south Jiangsu, especially major cities like Suzhou or Yangzhou, would be synonymous with opulence and luxury in China. Today south Jiangsu remains one of the richest parts of China, and Shanghai, arguably the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan of mainland China cities, is a direct extension of south Jiangsu culture.

The Jurchen Jin Dynasty gained control of North China in 1127, and the river Huai He, which used to cut through north Jiangsu to reach the Yellow Sea, was the border between the north, under the Jinn, and the south, under the Southern Song Dynasty. The Mongols took control of China in the 13th century. The Ming Dynasty, which was established in 1368 after driving out the Mongols who had occupied China, initially put its capital in Nanjing. Following a coup by Zhu Di (later Yongle Emperor), however, the capital was moved to Beijing, far to the north. (The naming of the two cities continue to reflect this: "Nanjing" literally means "southern capital", "Beijing" literally means "northern capital.) The entirety of modern day Jiangsu as well as neighbouring Anhui province kept their special status, however, as territory-governed directly by the central government, and were called Nanzhili (南直隸 "Southern directly-governed"). Meanwhile, South Jiangsu continued to be an important center of trade in China; some historians see in the flourishing textiles industry at the time incipient industrialization and capitalism, a trend that was however aborted, several centuries before similar trends took hold in the West.

The Qing Dynasty changed this situation by establishing Nanzhili as Jiangnan province; in 1666 Jiangsu and Anhui were split apart as separate provinces, and Jiangsu was given borders approximately the same as today. With the start of the Western incursion into China in the 1840s, the rich and mercantile south Jiangsu was increasingly exposed to Western influence; Shanghai, originally an unremarkable little town of Jiangsu, quickly developed into a metropolis of trade, banking, and cosmopolitanism, and was split out later as an independent municipality. South Jiangsu also figures strongly in the Taiping Rebellion (18511864), a massive and deadly rebellion that attempted to set up a Christian theocracy in China; it started far to the south in Guangdong province, swept through much of South China, and by 1853 had established Nanjing as its capital, renamed as Tianjing (天京 "Heavenly Capital").

The Republic of China was established in 1912, and China was soon torn apart by warlords. Jiangsu changed hands several times, but in April 1927 Chiang Kai-Shek established a government at Nanjing; he was soon able to bring most of China under his control. This was however interrupted by the second Sino-Japanese War, which began full-scale in 1937; on December 13, 1937, Nanjing fell, and the combined atrocities of the occupying Japanese for the next 3 months would come to be known as the Nanjing Massacre. Nanjing was the seat of the collaborationist government of East China under Wang Jingwei, and Jiangsu remained under occupation until the end of the war in 1945.

After the war, Nanjing was once again the capital of the Republic of China, though now the Chinese Civil War had broken out between the Kuomintang government and Communist forces, based further north, mostly in Manchuria. The decisive Huaihai Campaign was fought in northern Jiangsu; it resulted in Kuomintang defeat, and the communists were soon able to cross the Yangtze River and take Nanjing. The Kuomintang fled southwards, and eventually ended up in Taipei, from which the Republic of China government continues to administer Taiwan and its neighbouring islands, though it also continues to claim (technically, at least) Nanjing as its rightful capital.

After communist takeover, Beijing was made capital of China and Nanjing was demoted to be the provincial capital of Jiangsu. The economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping initially focused on the south coast of China, in Guangdong province, which soon left Jiangsu behind; starting from the 1990s they were applied more evenly to the rest of China. Suzhou and Wuxi, two southern cities of Jiangsu in close proximity to neighbouring Shanghai Municipality, have since become particularly prosperous, being among the top 10 cities in China in gross domestic product and outstripping the provincial capital of Nanjing. The income disparity between north Jiangsu and south Jiangsu however remains large.


Town of , Jiangsu. South Jiangsu is famed for its towns crisscrossed by canals.
Town of Zhouzhuang, Jiangsu. South Jiangsu is famed for its towns crisscrossed by canals.

Jiangsu is very flat and low-lying, with plains covering 68 percent of its total area (water covers another 18 percent), and most of the province not more than 50 m above sea level. Jiangsu is also laced with a well-developed irrigation system, which is earned it (especially the southern half) the moniker of 水乡 (shuǐxiāng "land of water"); the southern city of Suzhou is so crisscrossed with canals that it has been dubbed "Venice of the East". The Grand Canal of China cuts through Jiangsu from north to south, traversing all the east-west river systems. Jiangsu also borders the Yellow Sea. The Yangtze River, the longest river of China, cuts through the province in the south and reaches the East China Sea. Mount Yuntai near the city of Lianyungang is the highest point in this province, with an altitude of 625 m. Large lakes in Jiangsu include Lake Taihu (the largest), Lake Hongze, Lake Gaoyou, Lake Luoma, and Lake Yangcheng.

Historically, the river Huai He, a major river in central China and the traditional border between North China and South China, cut through north Jiangsu to reach the Yellow Sea. However, starting from 1194 AD, the Yellow River further to the north changed its course several times, running into the Huai He in north Jiangsu each time instead of its other usual path northwards into Bohai Bay. The silting caused by the Yellow River was so heavy that after its last episode of "hijacking" the Huai He ended in 1855, the Huai He was no longer able to go through its usual path into the sea. Instead it flooded, pooled up (thereby forming and enlarging Lake Hongze and Lake Gaoyou), and flowed southwards through the Grand Canal into the Yangtze. The old path of the Huai He is now marked by a series of irrigation channels, the most significant of which is the North Jiangsu Irrigation Main Channel (苏北灌溉总渠), which channels a small amount of the water of the Huai He along its old path into the sea.

Jiangsu Province spans the warm-temperate/humid and subtropical/humid climate zones, and has clear-cut seasonal changes, with temperatures at an average of -2 - 4 C in January and 26 - 30 C in July. There are frequently "plum rains" between spring and summer, typhoons with rainstorms in late summer and early autumn. The annual average rainfall is 800 - 1,200 mm, concentrated mostly in summer when the southeast monsoon carries rainwater into the province.

Major cities:

Administrative divisions

Missing image
Prefecture-level cities of Jiangsu

Jiangsu is divided into 13 prefecture-level divisions, all of them prefecture-level cities:

The 13 prefecture-level divisions of Jiangsu are subdivided into 106 county-level divisions (54 districts, 27 county-level cities, and 25 counties). Those are in turn divided into 1488 township-level divisions (1078 towns, 122 townships, 1 ethnic township, and 287 subdistricts).

See List of administrative divisions of Jiangsu for a complete list of county-level divisions.


Modern  skyline.
Modern Nanjing skyline.

Jiangsu has an extensive irrigation system supporting its agriculture, which is based primarily on rice and wheat, followed by maize and sorghum. Main cash crops include cotton, soybeans, peanuts, rape, sesame, ambary hemp, and tea. Other products include peppermint, spearmint, bamboo, medicinal herbs, apples, pears, peaches, loquats, ginkgo. Silkworms also form an important part of Jiangsu's agriculture, with the Lake Taihu region to the south a major base of silk production in China. Jiangsu is also an important producer of freshwater fish and other aquatic products.

Jiangsu has coal, petroleum, and natural gas deposits, but its most significant mineral produces are non-metal minerals such as halite (rock salt), sulfur, phosphorus, as well as marble. The salt mines of Huaiyin has more than 0.4 trillion tonnes of deposits, one of the highest in China.

Jiangsu is historically oriented towards light industries such as textiles and food industry. After 1949 Jiangsu has also developed heavy industries such as chemical industry and construction materials. The economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping has greatly benefited southern cities, especially Suzhou and Wuxi, which outstrip the provincial capital Nanjing in total output. In the eastern outskirts of Suzhou, Singapore has built the Suzhou Industrial Park, a flagship of China-Singapore cooperation and the only industrial park in China that is in its entirety the investment of one single foreign country.

Jiangsu is very wealthy among the provinces of China, with the second highest total gross domestic product (after Guangdong Province). Its GDP per capita was 14500 Renminbi in 2002, but geographical disparity is great, and southern cities like Suzhou and Wuxi have GDP per capita around twice of the provincial average, making south Jiangsu one of the most prosperous regions in China.

Economic indicators in 2003:

Gross domestic product: 1245.18 billion Renminbi
Gross domestic product per capita: 16796 Renminbi
Gross domestic product growth rate: 13.5%
Gross domestic product share by sector (primary/secondary/tertiary): 8.9% / 54.5% / 36.6%
Gross domestic product share by sector (public/private): 49.0% / 51.0%


The majority of Jiangsu residents are ethnic Han Chinese. Other minorities include the Hui and the Manchus.

Demographic indicators in 2000:

Population: 74.058 million (urban: 3463.7 million; rural: 3942.1 million) (2003)
Birth rate: 9.04 per 1000 (2003)
Death rate: 7.03 per 1000 (2003)
Sex ratio: 102.55 males per 100 females
Average family size: 3.25
Han Chinese proportion: 99.64%
Illiteracy rate: 7.88%


There are wide disparities in culture in Jiangsu. North Jiangsu is closer to Shandong and Henan provinces in culture while south Jiangsu is more similar to Zhejiang and Shanghai.

Two main subdivisions of the Chinese language, Mandarin and Wu, are spoken in different parts of Jiangsu. Dialects of Mandarin are spoken over most of northern Jiangsu and central Jiangsu, as well as parts of southern Jiangsu, such as in the provincial capital, Nanjing; a more detailed classification would put dialects of northern Jiangsu (such as in Xuzhou) under "Zhongyuan dialects" and those of central and southern Jiangsu (such as in Yangzhou or Nanjing) under "Jianghuai dialects". Dialects of Wu are spoken in the southernmost parts of Jiangsu, such as in Suzhou, Wuxi, and Changzhou. Mandarin and Wu are not mutually intelligible and the dividing line is sharp and well-defined. (See also: Nanjing dialect, Xuzhou dialect, Yangzhou dialect, Suzhou dialect, Wuxi dialect, Changzhou dialect.)

The Humble Administrator's Garden, one of the classical gardens of
The Humble Administrator's Garden, one of the classical gardens of Suzhou

Jiangsu is rich in cultural traditions. Kunqu, originating in Kunshan, is one of the most prestigious forms of Chinese opera. Pingtan, a form of storytelling accompanied by music, is also popular: it can be subdivided into types by origin: Suzhou Pingtan (of Suzhou), Yangzhou Pingtan (of Yangzhou), and Nanjing Pingtan (of Nanjing). Xiju, a form of traditional Chinese opera, is popular in Wuxi, while Huaiju is popular further north, around Yancheng. Jiangsu cuisine is one of the eight great traditions of the cuisine of China.

Suzhou is also famous for its embroidery, its jasmine tea, its silk, and its classical gardens. Nearby Yixing is famous for its teaware, and Yangzhou is famous for its lacquerware and jadeware. Nanjing's yunjin is a famous form of woven silk, while Wuxi is famous for its peaches.

Since ancient times, south Jiangsu has been famed for its prosperity and opulence, and simply inserting south Jiangsu place names (Suzhou, Yangzhou, etc.) into poetry gave an effect of dreaminess, as was indeed done by many famous poets. In particular, the fame of Suzhou (as well as Hangzhou in neighbouring Zhejiang province) has led to the popular saying: 上有天堂,下有蘇杭 (above there is heaven; below there is Suzhou and Hangzhou), a saying that continues to be a source of pride for the people of these two still prosperous cities. Similarly, the prosperity of Yangzhou has led poets to dream of: 腰纏十萬貫,騎鶴下揚州 (with a hundred thousand strings of coins wrapped around the waist, riding a crane down to Yangzhou).

Famous people

This is a list of famous people from Jiangsu in chronological order. Note that modern-day Jiangsu province dates from the 17th century, so most of the people in this list would not know what "Jiangsu" is.


Nanjing was the capital of several Chinese dynasties and contain a variety of historic sites, such as Purple Mountain, Purple Mountain Observatory, Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Ming Dynasty city wall and gates, Ming Xiao Ling, Lake Xuanwu, Jiming Temple, the Nanjing Massacre Memorial, Nanjing Confucius Temple, Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, and Nanjing Zoo with circus. Suzhou is renowned for its classical gardens (a World Heritage Site), Hanshan Temple, and Huqiu Hill. Yangzhou is known for Thin West Lake.

  • Chaotian Palace
  • Jiangxin Island
  • Swallow Rock (Yanziji)
  • Qixia Temple in Qixia Mountains
  • Tombs of Southern Tang emperor
  • Night Markets
  • Gulin Park

Miscellaneous topics

Professional sports teams in Jiangsu include:

Colleges and universities

External links

Province-level divisions administered by the People's Republic of China Missing image
Flag of the People's Republic of China

Provinces¹: Anhui | Fujian | Gansu | Guangdong | Guizhou | Hainan | Hebei | Heilongjiang | Henan | Hubei | Hunan | Jiangsu | Jiangxi | Jilin | Liaoning | Qinghai | Shaanxi | Shandong | Shanxi | Sichuan | Yunnan | Zhejiang
Autonomous Regions: Guangxi | Inner Mongolia | Ningxia | Tibet | Xinjiang
Municipalities: Beijing | Chongqing | Shanghai | Tianjin
Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong | Macau
¹ See also: Political status of Taiwan

es:Jiangsu fr:Jiangsu id:Jiangsu ja:江蘇省 pt:Jiangsu fi:Jiangsu zh:江苏


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