Not to be confused with the neighboring province of Shanxi whose capital is Taiyuan.
Shaanxi Province
Name transcription(s)
  Chinese 陕西省 (Shǎnxī Shěng)
  Abbreviation (Shǎn)
Map showing the location of Shaanxi Province
Map showing the location of Shaanxi Province
Coordinates: 35°36′N 108°24′E / 35.6°N 108.4°E / 35.6; 108.4Coordinates: 35°36′N 108°24′E / 35.6°N 108.4°E / 35.6; 108.4
(and largest city)
Divisions 10 prefectures, 107 counties, 1745 townships
  Secretary Lou Qinjian
  Governor Hu Heping
  Total 205,800 km2 (79,500 sq mi)
Area rank 11th
Population (2010)[2]
  Total 37,327,378
  Rank 16th
  Density 180/km2 (470/sq mi)
  Density rank 21st
  Ethnic composition Han - 99.5%
Hui - 0.4%
  Languages and dialects Zhongyuan Mandarin, Southwestern Mandarin, Jin
ISO 3166 code CN-61
GDP (2014) CNY 1.769 trillion
US$ 288 billion (17th)
 • per capita CNY 47,048
US$ 7,658 (15th)
HDI (2010) 0.695[3] (medium) (14th)
Website (Simplified Chinese)

"Shaanxi" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese 陕西
Traditional Chinese 陝西
Literal meaning "West of the Shan Pass"

Shaanxi, formerly romanized as Shensi, is a province of the People's Republic of China. Officially part of the Northwest China region, it lies in central China, bordering the provinces of Shanxi (NE, E), Henan (E), Hubei (SE), Chongqing (S), Sichuan (SW), Gansu (W), Ningxia (NW), and Inner Mongolia (N). It covers an area of over 205,000 km2 (79,151 sq mi) with about 37 million people. Xi'an—which includes the sites of the former Chinese capitals Fenghao and Chang'an—is the provincial capital. Xianyang, which served as the Qin capital, is located nearby. The other prefecture-level cities into which the province is divided are Ankang, Baoji, Hanzhong, Shangluo, Tongchuan, Weinan, Yan'an and Yulin.

Shaanxi comprises the Wei Valley and much of the surrounding fertile Loess Plateau, stretching from the Qin Mountains and Shannan in the south to the Ordos Desert in the north. Along with areas of adjacent Shanxi and Henan, it formed the cradle of Chinese civilization, with its Guanzhong region sheltering the capitals of the Zhou, Qin, Han, Jin, Sui, and Tang dynasties. It does not include the full territory of the Yellow River's Ordos Loop, with the Great Wall of China separating it from the grasslands and deserts of Inner Mongolia.


The name "Shaanxi" is an irregular romanization of the Mandarin pronunciation of the Chinese name 陕西, meaning "[Land] West of the Shan Pass". This pass in Henan, now part of Sanmenxia's Shanzhou District, was considered to be the place where the Yellow River left the Loess Plateau and entered the North China Plain, although its exposed nature meant that the Hangu and Tong Passes to its west were more strategically important.

Because the Mandarin pronunciation of Shaanxi and its eastern neighbor Shanxi differ only in tone, their spelling in pinyin romanization differ only by tone marks (Shǎnxī and Shānxī, respectively). The People's Republic of China therefore adopted the special official spelling "Shaanxi" for occasions when such marks are omitted. The first syllable is derived from Gwoyeu Romatzyh romanization, which reflects the tones of the words' vowels in their spelling.[4] The second syllable—which would be shi in Gwoyeu Romatzyh[5]—is instead given its usual pinyin spelling xi. When tone marks are noted, it is spelled Shǎnxī rather than Shǎanxī or Shaǎnxī. Similarly, although syllables starting with a vowel are often noted with an apostrophe in pinyin, the form "Sha'anxi" is a hypercorrection which misinterprets the name as three syllables ("Sha·an·xi") rather than its actual two syllables ("Shaan·xi").


Shaanxi is considered one of the cradles of Chinese civilization. Thirteen feudal dynasties established their capitals in the province during a span of more than 1,100 years, from the Zhou Dynasty to the Tang Dynasty.

The province's principal city and current capital, Xi'an, is one of the four great ancient capitals of China and is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, which leads to Europe, the Arabian Peninsula and Africa.

Under the Han Dynasty, the Northern Silk Road was expanded to advance exploration and military purposes to the west. This Northern Silk Road is the northernmost of the Silk Roads and is about 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) in length. It connected the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an to the west over the Wushao Ling Pass to Wuwei and emerging in Kashgar before linking to ancient Parthia.[6]

Under the Ming dynasty, Shaanxi was incorporated into Gansu but was again separated in the Qing dynasty.

One of the most devastating earthquakes in history occurred near Hua Shan, in south-eastern part of Shaanxi Province on January 23, 1556, killing an estimated 830,000 people (see 1556 Shaanxi earthquake).

The end of the short-lived Jiangxi Soviet signalled the beginning of the Long March by Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communists to the Shaanxi Soviet at Yan'an.

Pre-historic site

The Lantian Man site, with hominin fossils of one million years ago, was found in Lantian County in northwestern Shaanxi province, near the city of Xi'an. Scientists classify Lantian Man as a subspecies of Homo erectus. The fossils are displayed at the Shaanxi History Museum, Xi'an, China.


The geography of the area is described as being part of the Ordos Desert in the north along the border with Inner Mongolia, the Loess Plateau in the central part of the province, the Qin Mountains (Qinling) running east to west in the south central part, and subtropical climate south of the Qinling. In between the Loess Plateau and the Qinling lies the Wei River Valley, or Guanzhong, a cradle of early Chinese civilization.

Going clockwise, Shaanxi borders Shanxi (E, NE), Henan (E), Hubei (SE), Chongqing (S), Sichuan (SW), Gansu (W), Ningxia (NW), and Inner Mongolia (N). In terms of number of bordering provincial-level divisions, Shaanxi ties Inner Mongolia.

Due to its large span in latitude, Shaanxi has a variety of climates. Under the Köppen climate classification, the northern parts, including the Loess Plateau, have either a cold arid (Köppen BWk) or cold semi-arid (Köppen BSk), with cold and very dry winters, dry springs and autumns, and hot summers. The area known as Guanzhong is mostly semi-arid, though there are a few areas with a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa), with cool to cold winters, and hot, humid summers that often see early-season heatwaves. The southern portion is much more humid and lies in the humid subtropical zone, with more temperate winters and long, hot, humid summers. Annual mean temperature is roughly between 8 to 16 °C (46 to 61 °F), with January temperatures ranging from −11 to 3.5 °C (12.2 to 38.3 °F) and July temperatures ranging from 21 to 28 °C (70 to 82 °F).

Besides the provincial capital of Xi'an, other cities include: Baoji, Hanzhong, Lintong, Tongchuan, Xianyang, Yan'an and Ankang.

Administrative divisions

Main articles: List of administrative divisions of Shaanxi and List of township-level divisions of Shaanxi

Shaanxi consists of ten prefecture-level divisions: all prefecture-level cities (including a sub-provincial city):

Administrative divisions of Shaanxi
Division code[7] English name Chinese Pinyin Area in km2[8] Population 2010[9] Seat Divisions[10]
Districts Counties CL cities
  610000 Shaanxi 陕西省 Shǎnxī Shěng 205800.00 37,327,378 Xi'an 28 76 3
1 610100 Xi'an 西安市 Xī'ān Shì 10096.81 8,467,837 Weiyang District 10 3
6 610200 Tongchuan 铜川市 Tóngchuān Shì 3884.81 834,437 Yaozhou District 3 1
3 610300 Baoji 宝鸡市 Bǎojī Shì 18116.93 3,716,731 Jintai District 3 9
8 610400 Xianyang 咸阳市 Xiányáng Shì 10323.99 4,894,834 Qindu District 3 10 1
7 610500 Weinan 渭南市 Wèinán Shì 13030.56 5,286,077 Linwei District 2 7 2
9 610600 Yan'an 延安市 Yán'ān Shì 37030.54 2,187,009 Baota District 2 11
4 610700 Hanzhong 汉中市 Hànzhōng Shì 27096.43 3,416,196 Hantai District 1 10
10 610800 Yulin 榆林市 Yúlín Shì 42920.18 3,351,437 Yuyang District 2 10
2 610900 Ankang 安康市 Ānkāng Shì 23536.31 2,629,906 Hanbin District 1 9
5 611000 Shangluo 商洛市 Shāngluò Shì 19587.31 2,341,742 Shangzhou District 1 6

The ten prefecture-level divisions of Shaanxi are subdivided into 107 county-level divisions (28 districts, 3 county-level cities, and 76 counties).


The politics of Shaanxi is structured in a triple party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China.

The Governor of Shaanxi is the highest-ranking official in the People's Government of Shaanxi. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor is considered to have less power than the Shaanxi Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary (中共陕西省委书记), colloquially termed the "Shaanxi CPC Party Chief"; since the Governor is always ranked as the First-Deputy Secretary in the Shaanxi Communist Party of China Provincial Committee.

Shaanxi was established as a provincial government since Qing Dynasty. On 10 January 1950, the People's Government of Shaanxi was established in Xi'an. Ma Minfang was then appointed as the first Governor of Shaanxi.


As of the mid-19th century, Shaanxi exported animal skins, wine, liquor, and musk. Money loans were also common, with Shaanxi business people involved in the Guangzhou loan business. Shaanxi commonly imported European animal skins, watches, Chinese language books, and cloth.[11]

The fossil fuel and high technology sectors compose the two largest industries in Shaanxi province. During 2009, the province ranked third in China for production of coal, natural gas and crude oil.[12] As the home of several of the leading universities and research institutes in Western China, Shaanxi province also plays a major role in China's burgeoning aircraft and aerospace industries, producing more than 50% of the R&D and manufacturing equipment for the country's domestic commercial air industry.[12] Nominal GDP for 2011 was 1,239 billion RMB (US$196.7 billion) and GDP per capita was 21,729 RMB (US$3,179), ranking 17th in the PRC.

Economic and technological development zones

Established in 1992, Baoji Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone was approved as a national hi-tech zone by State Council. It has a long-term planned area of 40 km2 (15 sq mi). The transportation system around the zone includes Xi'an-Xianyang International Airport and National Highway 310. Its encouraged industries are auto parts, electronics, IT, pharmaceuticals and bioengineering industries and new materials.[13]

Shaanxi Xi'an Export Processing Zone (XEPZ) was approved on 21June 2002 by the State Council for its establishment and has been put into operation since 5 April 2004. As the first state-level export processing zone in northwest China, XEPZ has become one of the 7 pioneer EPZs with the function of bonded logistics in China. XEPZ is under the leadership of the Administrative Committee of Xi'an Economic and Technological Development Zone (XETDZ), which is designated by Xi'an municipal government to exercise economic and administrative power within the zone. XEPZ is a special economic zone. By now, there are more than 40 enterprises home and abroad settled in XEPZ, and the pillar industries featuring aviation, machinery, electronics and new energy have taken shape.[14]

The Western Triangle is a new economic zone composing the three major city-level economies of Western China: Xi'an, Chongqing and Chengdu. It is believed that the addition of Xi'an to the Triangle will spur economic growth in the region and also allow the city an opportunity to capitalize on the commercial potential of its high-technology industries.[12]

Established in 1993, Xi'an Economic and Technology Development Zone was approved as a national zone in 2000. The zone is only 20 minutes away from Xi'an Xianyang International Airport, and several National Highways pass through here. It has formed four pillar industries, including automotive, electronics, food, and new materials industries. So far, the zone has attracted more than 1,700 enterprises.[15]

Xi'an HTDZ opened its gates in 1991. It was established as a "pivotal location" for investment by high-tech industry companies in central and northwest China. Established in 1991, Xi‘an Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone is a national high-tech zone. The zone is surrounded by several National Highways and it is within 30 minutes of Xi'an International Airport. Furthermore, it is ranked in the top three high-tech zones in China.[16]

Xi'an Software Park, established in December 1998, is the professional park for Xi'an to develop scale software and service outsourcing industries. The park has been appraised as a software industry base under the National Torch Program, national software industry base, national software export base, city demonstrational area of national service outsourcing base and it is one of the four parks with "double bases" of software in China currently. Xi'an Software Park assembles 90% of enterprises engaging in software and service outsourcing in Xi'an. There are nearly 780 companies, of which foreign-funded enterprises account for 170, and over 71,000 jobholders in the park by the end of 2008.[17]

Yangling Agriculture Hi-Tech Industrial Zone was approved as a national-level hi-tech development zone by State Council in 1997. It is only 82 km (51 mi) from Xi'an to the east and 70 km (43 mi) from Xi'an Xianyang International Airport.[18]


Historical population
1912[19] 9,364,000    
1928[20] 11,802,000+26.0%
1936-37[21] 9,780,000−17.1%
1947[22] 10,011,000+2.4%
1954[23] 15,881,281+58.6%
1964[24] 20,766,915+30.8%
1982[25] 28,904,423+39.2%
1990[26] 32,882,403+13.8%
2000[27] 35,365,072+7.6%
2010[28] 37,327,378+5.5%
Xi'an part of Shaanxi Province until 1947; dissolved in 1954 and incorporated into Shaanxi Province.

Nearly all the people in Shaanxi are ethnic Han Chinese, with pockets of Hui population in the northwestern region (adjacent to Ningxia). Shaanxi province is one of the centers of ancient Chinese civilization. The southern part of Shaanxi, known as Guanzhong, where the provincial capital Xi'an is located, is more populated compared to the northern part.


Religion in Shaanxi[29][note 1]

  Christianity (1.57%)
  Other religions or not religious people[note 2] (90.85%)

The predominant religions in Shaanxi are Chinese folk religions, Taoist traditions and Chinese Buddhism. According to surveys conducted in 2007 and 2009, 7.58% of the population believes and is involved in ancestor veneration, while 1.57% of the population identifies as Christian.[29] The reports didn't give figures for other types of religion; 90.85% of the population may be either irreligious or involved in worship of nature deities, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, folk religious sects, and small minorities of Muslims.

Temple of the Chenghuangshen (City God) of Weinan.
Guangren Temple of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition in Xi'an.
Road to the stupa of the Famen Temple (Chinese Buddhist).
Temple of Xuanyuan in Huangling, Yan'an.


Shaanxi cuisine


Terracotta Army

Banpo Neolithic village, near Xi'an



Universities and colleges


Professional sports teams based in Shaanxi include:

See also


  1. The data was collected by the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) of 2009 and by the Chinese Spiritual Life Survey (CSLS) of 2007, reported and assembled by Xiuhua Wang (2015)[29] in order to confront the proportion of people identifying with two similar social structures: ① Christian churches, and ② the traditional Chinese religion of the lineage (i. e. people believing and worshipping ancestral deities often organised into lineage "churches" and ancestral shrines). Data for other religions with a significant presence in China (deity cults, Buddhism, Taoism, folk religious sects, Islam, et. al.) was not reported by Wang.
  2. This may include:


  1. "Doing Business in China - Survey". Ministry Of Commerce - People's Republic Of China. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  2. "Communiqué of the National Bureau of Statistics of People's Republic of China on Major Figures of the 2010 Population Census [1] (No. 2)". National Bureau of Statistics of China. 29 April 2011. Archived from the original on 27 July 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  3. 《2013中国人类发展报告》 (PDF) (in Chinese). United Nations Development Programme China. 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  4. The State Council of the People's Republic of China
  5. Romanization comparison chart
  6. Silk Road, North China, C.Michael Hogan, the Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnham
  7. "中华人民共和国县以上行政区划代码". 中华人民共和国民政部.
  8. 深圳市统计局. 《深圳统计年鉴2014》. 深圳统计网. 中国统计出版社. Retrieved 2015-05-29.
  9. shi, Guo wu yuan ren kou pu cha ban gong; council, Guo jia tong ji ju ren kou he jiu ye tong ji si bian = Tabulation on the 2010 population census of the people's republic of China by township / compiled by Population census office under the state; population, Department of; statistics, employment statistics national bureau of (2012). Zhongguo 2010 nian ren kou pu cha fen xiang, zhen, jie dao zi liao (Di 1 ban. ed.). Beijing Shi: Zhongguo tong ji chu ban she. ISBN 978-7-5037-6660-2.
  10. 中华人民共和国民政部 (2014.08). 《中国民政统计年鉴2014》. 中国统计出版社. ISBN 978-7-5037-7130-9. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 123.
  12. 1 2 3 China Economy @ China Perspective
  13. | Baoji Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone
  14. | Shaanxi Xi'an Export Processing Zone
  15. | Xi'an Economic & Technological Development Zone
  16. | Xi'an High-tech Industrial Development Zone
  17. | Xi’an Software Park
  18. | Yangling Agriculture Hi-Tech Industrial Zone
  19. "1912年中国人口". Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  20. "1928年中国人口". Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  21. "1936-37年中国人口". Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  22. "1947年全国人口". Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  23. "中华人民共和国国家统计局关于第一次全国人口调查登记结果的公报". National Bureau of Statistics of China. Archived from the original on 2009-08-05.
  24. "第二次全国人口普查结果的几项主要统计数字". National Bureau of Statistics of China. Archived from the original on 2012-09-14.
  25. "中华人民共和国国家统计局关于一九八二年人口普查主要数字的公报". National Bureau of Statistics of China. Archived from the original on 2012-05-10.
  26. "中华人民共和国国家统计局关于一九九〇年人口普查主要数据的公报". National Bureau of Statistics of China. Archived from the original on 2012-06-19.
  27. "现将2000年第五次全国人口普查快速汇总的人口地区分布数据公布如下". National Bureau of Statistics of China. Archived from the original on 2012-08-29.
  28. "Communiqué of the National Bureau of Statistics of People's Republic of China on Major Figures of the 2010 Population Census". National Bureau of Statistics of China. Archived from the original on 2013-07-27.
  29. 1 2 3 China General Social Survey 2009, Chinese Spiritual Life Survey (CSLS) 2007. Report by: Xiuhua Wang (2015, p. 15)
  30. Qian, Cai. General Yue Fei. Trans. Honorable Sir T.L. Yang. Joint Publishing (H.K.) Co., Ltd., 1995 (ISBN 978-962-04-1279-0)
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