AskDefine | Define Shantung

Dictionary Definition

shantung n : a heavy silk fabric with a rough surface (or a cotton imitation)

Extensive Definition

Shandong () is a coastal province of eastern People's Republic of China. Its abbreviation is Lǔ, after the state of Lu that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period.
Shandong's name literally means "mountains' east", which refers to the province's location east of the Taihang Mountains. The province is located in the lower reaches of the Huang He (Yellow River) and extends out to sea in the form of the Shandong Peninsula. Shandong borders the Bohai Bay to the north, Hebei to the northwest, Henan to the west, Jiangsu to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the southeast; it also shares a very short border with Anhui, between Henan and Jiangsu.
A common nickname for Shandong is Qílǔ (齐鲁/齊魯), after the state of Lu and state of Qi that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period.


Shandong is located on the eastern edge of the North China Plain, and felt the influence of Chinese civilization since its very beginnings. The earliest dynasties (the Shang dynasty and Zhou dynasty) exerted varying degrees of control over western Shandong, while eastern Shandong was inhabited by the Laiyi peoples who were considered to be "barbarians". Over subsequent centuries, the Laiyi were eventually sinicized.
During the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, regional states became increasingly powerful. Shandong was at this time home to two powerful states: the state of Qi at Linzi and the state of Lu at Qufu. Lu is noted for being the home of Confucius. The state was, however, comparatively small, and eventually succumbed to the powerful state of Chu from the south. The state of Qi was, on the other hand, a major power throughout this entire period. Cities it ruled included Linzi, Jimo (north of modern Qingdao) and Ju.
The Qin Dynasty destroyed Qi and founded the first centralized Chinese state in 221 BC. The Han Dynasty that followed created two zhou ("provinces") in what is now modern Shandong: Qingzhou Province in the north and Yanzhou Province in the south. During the division of the Three Kingdoms Shandong belonged to the Kingdom of Wei, which ruled over northern China.
After the Three Kingdoms period, a brief period of unity under the Western Jin Dynasty gave way to invasions by nomadic peoples from the north. Northern China, including Shandong, was overrun. Over the next century or so Shandong changed hands several times, falling to the Later Zhao, then Former Yan, then Former Qin, then Later Yan, then Southern Yan, then the Liu Song Dynasty, and finally the Northern Wei Dynasty, the first of the Northern Dynasties during the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period. Shandong stayed with the Northern Dynasties for the rest of this period.
In 412, the Chinese Buddhist monk Faxian landed at Laoshan, on the southern edge of the Shandong peninsula, and proceeded to Qingzhou to edit and translate the scriptures he had brought back from India.
The Sui Dynasty reestablished unity in 589, and the Tang Dynasty (618-907) presided over the next golden age of China. For the earlier part of this period Shandong was ruled as part of Henan Circuit, one of the circuits (a political division). Later on China splintered into warlord factions, resulting in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Shandong was part of the Five Dynasties, all based in the north.
The Song Dynasty reunified China in the late tenth century. In 1996, the discovery of over two hundred buried Buddhist statues at Qingzhou was hailed as a major archaeological find. The statues included early examples of painted figures, and are thought to have been buried due to Emperor Huizong's Song Dynasty repression of Buddhism (he favoured Taoism).
The Song Dynasty was forced to cede northern China to the Jurchen Jin Dynasty in 1142. Shandong was administered by the Jin Dynasty as Shandong East Circuit and Shandong West Circuit — the first use of its current name.
The modern province of Shandong was created by the Ming Dynasty. It also included much of modern-day Liaoning (in south Manchuria) at the time. However, the Manchus increasingly asserted independence, and managed to conquer all of China in 1644. Under the Qing Dynasty, which they founded, Shandong acquired (more or less) its current borders. During the nineteenth century, China became increasingly exposed to Western influence, and Shandong, a coastal province, was especially affected. Qingdao was leased to Germany in 1897 and Weihai to Britain in 1898. The rest of Shandong was generally considered to be part of the German sphere of influence. In addition, the Qing Dynasty opened Manchuria to Han Chinese immigration during the 19th century; Shandong was the main source of the ensuing tide of migrants.
After the Republic of China was founded in 1911, Qingdao reverted to Chinese control in 1922, Weihai followed in 1930.
In 1937 Japan began its invasion of China proper in the Second Sino-Japanese War, which would eventually become part of the Pacific theatre of the Second World War. Shandong was occupied in its entirety by Japan, with resistance in the countryside, and was one of the provinces where operation sankō was implemented by general Yasuji Okamura. This lasted until the surrender of Japan in 1945.
By 1945, communist forces already held some parts of Shandong. Over the next four years of the Chinese Civil War, they expanded their holdings, eventually driving the Kuomintang (government of the Republic of China) entirely out of Shandong by June 1949. The People's Republic of China was founded in October of the same year.
Under the new government, parts of western Shandong was initially given to the short-lived Pingyuan Province, but this did not last. Shandong also acquired the Xuzhou and Lianyungang areas from Jiangsu province, but this did not last either. For the most part Shandong has kept the same borders that it has today.
In recent years Shandong, especially eastern Shandong, has raced ahead in economic development, becoming one of the richest provinces of the People's Republic of China.


Shandong is mostly flat in terrain. The northwestern, western, and southwestern parts of the province are all part of the vast North China Plain. The center of the province is more mountainous, with the Taishan Mountains, Lushan Mountains, and Mengshan Mountains being the most prominent. The east of the province is the hilly Shandong Peninsula extending into the sea; it separates Bohai Sea in the northwest from the Yellow Sea to the east and south. The highest peak of Shandong is the highest peak in the Taishan area: Jade Emperor Peak, with a height of 1545 m.
The Yellow River passes through Shandong's western areas, entering the sea along Shandong's northern coast; in its traversal of Shandong it flows on a levee, higher than the surrounding land, and dividing western Shandong into the Hai He watershed in the north and the Huai He watershed in the south. The Grand Canal of China enters Shandong from the northwest and leaves on the southwest. Lake Weishan is the largest lake of the province. Shandong's coastline is 3000 km long. Shandong Peninsula has a rocky coastline with cliffs, bays, and islands; the large Laizhou Bay, the southernmost of the three bays of Bohai Sea, is found to the north, between Dongying and Penglai; Jiaozhou Bay, which is much smaller, is found to the south, next to Qingdao. The Miaodao Islands extend northwards from the northern coast of the peninsula.
Shandong has a temperate climate, with moist summers and dry, cold winters. Average temperatures are -5 to 1°C in January and 24 to 28°C in July. Annual precipitation is 550 to 950 mm.
With Jinan serving as the province's economic and cultural centre, the province's economic prowess has led to the development of modern coastal cities located at Qingdao, Weihai, and Yantai. In addition, Weifang and Zaozhuang are also upstart cities.


The politics of Shandong is structured in a dual party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China.
The Governor of Shandong is the highest ranking official in the People's Government of Shandong. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Shandong Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary, colloquially termed the "Shandong CPC Party Chief".


Shandong ranks first among the provinces in the production of a variety of products, including cotton and wheat as well as precious metals such as gold and diamonds. Other importants crop include sorghum and maize. Shandong has extensive petroleum deposits as well, especially in the Dongying area in the Yellow River delta, where the Shengli Oilfield (lit. Victory Oilfield) is one of the major oilfields of China. Shandong also produces salt from sea water.
Shandong is one of the richer provinces of China, and its economic development focuses on large enterprises with well-known brand names. Shandong has also benefited from South Korean and Japanese investment, due to its geographical proximity to those countries. The richest part of the province is the Shandong Peninsula, where the city of Qingdao is home to two of the most well-known brand names of China: Tsingtao Beer and Haier. In addition, Dongying's oil fields and petroleum industries form an important component of Shandong's economy. On the other hand, the extreme inland west of Shandong is much poorer than the rest of the province.
In 2006, the nominal GDP for Shandong was 2.18 trillion yuan (US$274 billion), ranking second in the country (behind Guangdong and ahead of Jiangsu).


Shandong is the second most populous province of China, after Henan, with a population of almost 92 million. Over 99% of Shandong's population is Han Chinese. Minority groups include the Hui and the Manchus.

Administrative divisions

Shandong is divided into seventeen prefecture-level divisions, all of them prefecture-level cities:
The sub-province-level cities:
  • Jinan (Simplified Chinese: 济南市; Traditional Chinese: 濟南市; Hanyu pinyin: Jǐnán Shì)
  • Qingdao (青島市 (青岛市) Qīngdǎo Shì)
The prefecture-level cities:
  • Binzhou (濱州市 (滨州市) Bīnzhōu Shì)
  • Dezhou (德州市 Dézhōu Shì)
  • Dongying (東營市 (东营市) Dōngyíng Shì)
  • Heze (菏澤市 (菏泽市) Hézé Shì)
  • Jining (濟寧市 (济宁市) Jìníng Shì)
  • Laiwu (萊蕪市 (莱芜市) Láiwú Shì)
  • Liaocheng (聊城市 Liáochéng Shì)
  • Linyi (臨沂市 (临沂市) Línyí Shì)
  • Rizhao (日照市 Rìzhào Shì)
  • Tai'an (泰安市 Tài'ān Shì)
  • Weifang (潍坊市 Wéifāng Shì)
  • Weihai (威海市 Wēihǎi Shì)
  • Yantai (煙臺市 (烟台市) Yāntái Shì)
  • Zaozhuang (棗莊市 (枣庄市) Zǎozhuāng Shì)
  • Zibo (淄博市 Zībó Shì)
The seventeen prefecture-level divisions of Shandong are subdivided into 140 county-level divisions (49 districts, 31 county-level cities, and 60 counties). Those are in turn divided into 1941 township-level divisions (1223 towns, 293 townships, two ethnic townships, and 423 subdistricts).


Mandarin dialects are spoken in Shandong. Linguists classify these dialects into three broad categories: Ji Lu Mandarin spoken in the northwest (as well as in neighbouring Hebei), such as the Jinan dialect; Zhongyuan Mandarin spoken in the southwest (as well as in neighbouring Henan); and Jiao Liao Mandarin spoken in the Shandong Peninsula (as well as the Liaodong Peninsula across the sea), such as the Qingdao dialect. When people speak of the "Shandong dialect" (山東話), it is generally the first or the second that is meant; the Jiao Liao dialects of Shandong are commonly called the "Jiaodong dialect" (膠東話).
Shandong cuisine (鲁菜) is one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine. It can be more finely divided into inland Shandong cuisine (e.g. Jinan cuisine); the seafood-centered Jiaodong cuisine in the peninsula; and Confucius's Mansion cuisine, an elaborate tradition originally intended for imperial and other important feasts.
Shandong Bangzi and Lüju are popular types of Chinese opera in Shandong; both originated from southwestern Shandong.


The Jingjiu Railway (Beijing-Kowloon) and Jinghu Railway (Beijing-Shanghai) are both major arterial railways that pass through the western part of Shandong. The Jingjiu passes through Liaocheng and Heze; the Jinghu passes through Dezhou, Jinan, Tai'an, Qufu. and Tengzhou. The Jiaoji Railway is an important railway of Shandong, linking its two largest cities of Jinan and Qingdao.
Shandong has one of the densest and highest quality expressway networks among all Chinese provinces. At over 3000 km, the total length of Shandong's expressways is the highest among the provinces. The Jiqing Expressway (Jinan-Qingdao) and Jingfu Expressway (Beijing-Fuzhou, passing through Shandong) are all important arterial expressways.
The Shandong Peninsula, with its bays and harbours, has many important ports, including Qingdao, Yantai, Weihai, Rizhao, and Longkou. Many of these ports have historical significance as well, as the sites of former foreign naval bases or historical battles. Ferries link the cities on the north coast of the peninsula with the Liaodong Peninsula, further north across the sea.


Tourist attractions in Shandong include:

Colleges and universities


External links

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Shantung in Min Nan: Soaⁿ-tang
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Shantung in Thai: มณฑลชานตง
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Shantung in Walloon: Chandong
Shantung in Chinese: 山东省
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