Skip to content

Liaoning, the smallest and richest province of Dongbei

Map of China’s provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions and special administrative regions. Source: chokkicx / Getty Images

Liaoning is a province of the Dongbei area (North-East). The name is related to its major river, the Liao. It is called the Golden Triangle due to its shape and the convenient access to the Korea Bay and Bohai Sea. It also borders North Korea. More than 2300 years ago, the area was inhabited by different tribes, especially of Korean descent. Once conquered during the Three Kingdoms period, though, it became one of the frontiers of China.

Between mountains and hills lies the old land of Jurchens

Liaoning’s territory, as part of Dongbei, is continental, with the presence of monsoons. The central area of the province is flat, while mountains and hills corner it on the East and West.
Prior to Qing dynasty’s establishment, the Jurchens tribes (who would become the Manchu) dominated Liaoning. Later on they would prevent the province from Han migration for a long time. This means that, although now the region is mostly inhabited by Han, Manchu cultural roots are very strong. 13% of Liaoning’s population is Manchu, 2% are Mongol and there are other minorities, too. Important cities in Liaoning include Dalian, Anshan, Fushun, Jinzhou and the capital, Shenyang.

Dalian city, in LiaoningThe total population is more than 40 million, more than 8 million of which live in the area of Shenyang.
The rest of China can easily move to Dongbei thanks to the railways (which also connect to some of the Eastern Russia’s cities), ports and airports.

Liaoning is the most thriving economy of Dongbei

Liaoning has the best economy of the Dongbei provinces and is average compared with the rest of China. It is producing sorghum, soybeans and maize, as well as most of China’s apples and peaches. Liaoning’s seafood and fish are also very popular throughout China.
The area is also an important source of gas, oil, salt, diamond, iron and magnesite.
Dongbei has been the location of the early industrialization of China thanks to the wide availability of natural resources. Today Liaoning’s second sector focuses on machinery, electronics, metalworks, chemicals and construction materials.
Shenyang city, capital of Liaoning

Tourism is also present, benefiting the tertiary sector.
Shenyang, Dalian and other cities in Liaoning have their own special economic and technological development zones. These areas promote scientific development, industrial production, export processing and trade with North Korea.

Mukden, the old capital of the Qing dynasty

The capital of Shenyang, once called Mukden, hosts the famous Mukden Imperial Palace. The earlier leaders of Qing dynasty used to rule China from there until they conquered Beijing and moved to the Forbidden City. In Anshan city is the Jade Buddha Palace, which hosts the largest Buddha statue made in pure jade of the world. Other historical and natural sites are also present, some of which are extensions of those in Beijing and Jilin.
The culture of Liaoning matches very well that of its sibling provinces in Dongbei: Heilongjiang and Jilin. Often people coming from any of these three provinces will present themselves as “from Dongbei” first of all.

Today Dongbei, which was one of the industrial centers of China, is slowly recovering, also thanks to the central government’s push. Liaoning’s situation is much better than the other provinces, thanks to a healthy private industrial sector.

Leave a Reply