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Hainan (海南) is an island and a province of China, located at the southernmost end of the country.

Province Abbreviation(s): 琼 qong'
Capital Haikou[?]
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 28th
34,000 km²
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 28th
Administration Type Province

Table of contents


Hainan was called the Pearl Cliffs (珠崖), the Jade Cliffs (瓊崖 qiong2 yai2), and the Qiong Prefecture (瓊州 Qiongzhou), the latter two gave rise to the province's abbreviation, Qiong (琼 in Simplified Chinese).

In the Wu Kingdom[?] of the Three Kingdoms Period, Hainan was the Zhuyai Prefecture (珠崖郡).

In March to May 1950, the Landing Operation on Hainan Island (海南島登陸戰役).

During the early 1990s there was a major corruption scandal in Hainan.


Hainan Province consists of:

  • 2 regional cities (地级市):Haikou and Sanya[?] (三亚市)
  • County-level:
    • 4 counties (县)
    • 7 county-level cities (县级市)
    • 1 office: the Office of West, South, and Central Sha Archipelagos (西、南、中沙群岛办事处) (the South China Sea Islands)
    • 6 nationality autonomous counties (民族自治县): all are for the Li, sometimes cohabited with the Miao
    • 5 municipal districts (市辖区)
  • Subcounty-level:
    • 2000 townships (镇)
    • 97 regions (乡)
    • 2533 villages (村)

Hainan was historically part of Guangdong Province, being as such, it was the Qionyai Circuit (瓊崖道) in 1912 (the establishment of the Republic of China). In 1921, it was planned to became a Special Administrative Region (瓊崖特別行政區), and in 1944 and became Hainan Special Administrative Region with 16 counties that contains the South China Sea Islands.

On May 1, 1950 (under the PRC), the Special Administrative Region became an Administrative Region Office (海南行政区公署), a branch of the Guangdong provincial government. On October 1, 1984, it became the Hainan Administrative Region (海南行政区), with a People's Government, and finally as province separated from Guangdong four years later.


Hainan is the second largest island of China (after Taiwan). Qiongzhou Strait[?] (瓊州海峽) locates north of Hainan and separates it from the Leizhou Peninsula[?] (雷州半島) of Guangxi. To the west is the Gulf of Tonkin.

Not just one island, Hainan also contains all 250 South China Sea Islands as a part of the official PRC territory. The containment of the South China Sea Islands makes Hainan Province have a very large water body, but disproportionally small land area. James Shoal (曾母暗沙 Zengmu Anshan), which is presently occupied by the PRC, signifies the country's southernmost border. But the Malaysians also claim it is on their continental shelf.


Since the 1980s, the Hainan province has been a special economic zone of China. The province has a reputation for being a "wild-west" area.


There are 10000 Buddhist Hainanese, and 6500 Muslims. Because Hainan had been a point in the travel route of missionaries, there is an unusually high relative number of Protestants: 35000. On the contrary, there are only 4100 Christian Hainanese.

Like in most eastern provinces, there is around 80% Han Chinese. Most, if not all, of the 6500 Muslim Hainanese mentioned above are Hui Chinese.

See also: Li Chinese



  • Yalong Bay (牙龙湾), Sanya City, southern Hainan: 7-km beach.

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