C. Cindy FAN

Young men driving mule carts from Nanjing. Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, 1979. PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN.

Jiangsu—a populous, developed province on the eastern seaboard about the size of Iceland—has enjoyed recent double-digit rates of economic growth. The success of rural industrialization driven by local governments and foreign investment, however, has further widened the gap between a prosperous Sunan (southern Jiangsu) and an impoverished Subei (northern Jiangsu).

Accounting for only 1.1 percent of China’s territory, Jiangsu ?? is the fifth-most populous and the fifth-most densely populated province. Located on the eastern seaboard of China, it is the most low-lying province in the nation. It borders Shandong Province to the north, Anhui Province to the west, Zhejiang Province to the south, and the municipalitiy of Shanghai to the southeast. Jiangsu straddles the lower course of the Yangzi (Chang) River and has relatively mild temperatures and abundant precipitation. In terms of both regional cultures and environments, Jiangsu is often considered a transitional zone between north and south China. Nanjing is Jiangsu’s capital and largest city, with an estimated 2007 population of 7.41 million.

Rapid economic growth and persistent uneven development distinguish Jiangsu from other provinces. Since the Tang dynasty (618–907 CE), it has been one of the most prosperous provinces in China. Its early economic development was due in large part to an efficient water-transportation system consisting of numerous rivers and the Grand Canal, as well as to sophisticated technologies in agriculture, industry, and trade. The post–Mao Zedong (1893–1976) economic reforms in China have further accelerated the growth of Jiangsu, whose gross domestic product (GDP) per capita grew at an average rate of 13 percent from 1990 to 1999 and 12 percent from 2000 to 2006, both exceeding the national rates. In 2007 Jiangsu’s GDP per capita was 33,689 yuan ($4,430 USD), 80 percent higher than the national level and fifth among all Chinese provinces.

Venerable Nanjing

Nanjing, the capital and hub of Jiangsu Province, is a city with a rich cultural history, a famous university, and a recent tragic past. Today, the city is very popular with tourists, as this blog about the city’s sites and attractions attests.

So you’ve made your way to venerable Nanjing, and you’re standing by the paifang at Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum. Mount Zijin, rising up behind it, seems more brown than purple. You try to muster the appropriate sentiment for this tribute to one of modern China’s greatest heroes, but it’s not easy…

Now imagine if you’d been there on June 1st, 1929, the day Dr. Sun was interred at the mausoleum. Stern Kuomintang generals stand gravely by, trembling with tears. The sense of loss to China, and her children’s depthless respect for the dead hero, are palpable. Quite a bit more emotionally engaging than scenario A, to say the least.

So when you make it to Nanjing, by all means stop at the mausoleum. Do attempt a grasp at the history emanating from Confucius Temple… But to become one with Nanjing, however temporarily, commit to a meal at one of its famed restaurants.

Nanjing cuisine is known as Jin Su, or Jin Ling. It has lingered, understandably, in the shadow of Shanghai cuisine’s endless munificence… Salted duck, Eight-Delicacies Soup, Longchi carp, these classics and others await at the following restaurants, outstanding for their histories as well as their fare.

Source: Eating Your Way Around Nanjing. Retrieved March 14, 2009 from http://www.chinaexpat.com/blog/ernie/2008/10/24/eating-your-way-around-nanjing.html

Jiangsu’s recent economic growth is in no small part due to foreign investment and rural industrialization. “Open” cities and zones, such as Suzhou, Wuxi, and Kunshan, were designated to attract foreign investment. Equally important, rural industrial enterprises—often referred to as township-village enterprises. (TVEs)—that have benefited from the leadership or management by local governments, have fueled economic growth. The prominence of TVEs in Sunan ?? (southern Jiangsu), which borders Shanghai and Zhejiang and is part of the agriculturally and industrially prosperous Yangzi Delta, has popularized a “Sunan model” of development emulated in other parts of China. In Kunshan, for example, where tens of thousands of investors, mostly from Taiwan, live and work, numerous development zones and industrial parks have been developed, industrial enterprises are scattered among rice paddies and wheat fields, and a major center of information technology is emerging.

But as well known as Jiangsu’s rapid growth is its persistent disparity. The gap between the prosperous and resource-rich Sunan and the impoverished Subei ?? (northern Jiangsu) is as large as that between China’s richest and poorest provinces, and it has widened further since the economic reforms. Though a transitional Suzhong (middle Jiangsu) falls between the two extremes, Jiangsu remains a classic example of the simultaneous processes of rapid growth and spatial polarization that accompany China’s miraculous economic success.

Further Reading

Fan, C. Cindy, & Mingjie Sun. (2008). Regional inequality in China, 1978–2006. Eurasian Geography and Economics 48(1) 1–20.

Kirk, M. (Ed.). (2009). China by numbers 2009. Hong Kong: China Economic Review Publishing.

McGee, T. G., Lin, G. C. S., Marton, A. M., Wang, M. Y. L., & Jiaping Wu. (2007). China’s urban space: Development under market socialism. London and New York: Routledge.

Veeck, G. (Ed.). (1995). Jiangsu in transition: Issues and challenges. [Special issue of Chinese environment and development]. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.

National Bureau of Statistics. (2008). Jiangsu (2007). Retrieved August 13, 2008, from http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjgb/ndtjgb/dfndtjgb/mt20080306_402468543.htm

Source: Fan, C. Cindy (2009). Jiangsu Province. In Linsun Cheng, et al. (Eds.), Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, pp. 1209–1211. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.

Jiangsu Province (Ji?ngs? ?? ?)|Ji?ngs? ?? ? (Jiangsu Province)

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