Sichuan is a western landlocked province. It is part of China since the Qin dynasty, 2300 years ago. The province is also known, outside China, as “Szechuan”. It has been for long one of the most populous provinces of China. Considering the Chongqing municipality as part of Sichuan like in the past, their combined population would be well over a hundred million.
The capital of Sichuan is Chengdu. Sichuan is also sadly famous for a magnitude 8 earthquake in 2008. Support from many countries for saving the citizens and boosting recovery of the region is still not forgotten by many Chinese. As a matter of fact, China sent a huge assistance to Italy during the COVID-19 outbreak due to the latter’s role in providing tempestive aid to Sichuan back in 2008.
Sichuan, land of panda
More than 80 million people live in Sichuan. Chengdu is a huge metropolis, with around 15 million people living in the area. There are two main areas: the more fertile east, and the mountainous west. It borders the Tibet region, and part of its western portion is actually located within the Tibetan plateau. As a consequence, the climate varies a lot around the province.
Most of the population in the east is Han. Still, in the western area there are many Tibetan and Yi people. Most of panda around the world live in the province, thanks to the favorable environment.
The Province of Abundance
Agriculture in Sichuan has always been big. Pepper, rice, wheat, lemons, peaches, sweet potatoes, grapes sugar cane and silk are among the best of China, and produced massively. Pork is also a very important export. There are many mineral reserves in Sichuan, including most of China’s vanadium, titanium and cobalt, alongside lithium. Natural gas is also present. Its nickname as Province of Abundance is truly fitting.
But Sichuan doesn’t forget to focus on second industry. Heavy industry, wood, silk and food processing, electronics and wine production are prominent examples. Other important industries include military defense, automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace.
The tertiary is not as developed, but tourism is a big exception. Many tourists approach Sichuan for its historical sites, for the local cuisine (one of the most famous in China) and to see panda bears.
Chengdu, as Sichuan’s most important city, has different special economic and technological development zones, mainly to promote industrial progress and tourism.
The infrastructure of Sichuan is relatively recent, and construction began years after World War II. The presence of 4 main rivers, which for some influenced the name itself, made infrastructure construction harder and isolated the province. This was also one of the reasons it managed to stay independent for long during the Three Kingdoms period. As a matter of fact, the rivers offered a natural and difficult border for rival states.
A varied culture: food, nature and history
Sichuan’s food culture is extremely famous in China. You can find Sichuan dishes all over China, for example Huoguo (Hot Pot), Mapo Dofu and Dandanmian. At times even Chinese restaurants overseas propose them. Besides spicy food, Sichuan is famous for its historical and natural sites. Huanglong, Jiuzhaigou, Qinchengshan and the Panda Sanctuaries are all UNESCO world heritage sites. Not only panda, but also other endangered species live in Sichuan: its particular natural environment makes it possible for these species to be preserved without human interference.
Sichuan is one of the most rich provinces in West China. Sichuan does not over-rely on its natural resources, since most of its production in the primary sector comes from agriculture and industry and tourism balance it.
Since through Sichuan is also possible to visit the Tibetan plateau (the tallest peak is above 7800mt high), it is a hot tourist spot.