Jilin (吉林; formerly romanized as Kirin or Chilin) is one of the three provinces of Northeast China. Its capital and largest city is Changchun. Jilin borders North Korea (Rasŏn, North Hamgyong, Ryanggang and Chagang) and Russia (Primorsky Krai) to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west. The name "Jilin" translates to "Auspicious Forest" in Chinese, and originates from girin ula, a Manchu phrase meaning "along the river".

Jilin Province

Name transcription(s)
  Chinese吉林省 (Jílín Shěng)
  AbbreviationJL / (pinyin: )
Views of Heaven Lake
Map showing the location of Jilin Province
Coordinates: 43°42′N 126°12′E
Named forfrom girin ula, a Manchu phrase meaning "along the river"
(and largest city)
Jilin (1949–1954)
Changchun (1954-present)
Divisions9 prefectures, 60 counties, 1006 townships
  GovernorJing Junhai
  Total191,126 km2 (73,794 sq mi)
Area rank14th
Highest elevation2,744 m (9,003 ft)
  Density140/km2 (370/sq mi)
  Density rank23rd
  Ethnic composition
  Languages and dialectsNortheastern Mandarin, Hamgyŏng Korean
ISO 3166 codeCN-JL
GDP (2017 [3])CNY 1.53 trillion (US$226.44 billion) (23nd)
 • per capitaCNY 56,101 (US$8,309) (13th)
HDI (2014)0.768[4] (high) (9th)
"Jilin" in Chinese characters
Chinese name
Literal meaningtranscription of "girin (ula)"
a Manchu phrase meaning "along the river"
Chinese Korean name
Manchu name
Manchu scriptᡤᡳᡵᡳᠨ
RomanizationGirin golo

The Manchu people once inhabited the area of Jilin, thus making Jilin part of the historical region of Manchuria. The area had been heavily contested, successively falling under the rule of the non-Han states of Xiongnu, Xianbei state, Khitan Liao Dynasty, the Jurchen Jin Dynasty, and the Mongol Yuan dynasty.[5] With the adoption of Han culture and the Chinese languages by the Manchu people, the Manchu language is considered a critically endangered language.[6] Koreans comprise about 4% of the population, owing to its proximity to the Korean Peninsula. The majority of the province speaks Mandarin.

Along with the rest of Northeast China, Jilin underwent an early period of industrialization. However, Jilin's economy, characterized by heavy industry, has been facing economic difficulties with privatization. This prompted the central government to undertake a campaign called "Revitalize the Northeast". The region contains large deposits of oil shale.


The name "Jilin" literally translates to "Auspicious Forest" and originates from girin ula ᡤᡳᡵᡳᠨ ᡠᠯᠠ, a Manchu phrase meaning "along the river". This would have been transcribed into jilin wula (t 吉林烏拉, s 吉林乌拉) in Chinese, then shortened to "Jilin".[7]


In ancient times, Jilin was inhabited by the Xianbei, Sushen, the Mohe, Jurchens, and the Wùjí (勿吉).[8] The Korean kingdoms of Buyeo, Goguryeo and Balhae ruled parts of this area.

The region then fell successively under the domination of the Xiongnu, Xianbei state, Khitan Liao Dynasty, the Jurchen Jin Dynasty, and the Mongol Yuan dynasty.[5] During the Qing Dynasty, much of the area was under the control of the General of Jilin (Girin i Jiyanggiyūn), whose area of control extended to the Sea of Japan to encompass much of what is Russia's Primorsky Krai today.

After the Primorsky Krai area was ceded to Russia in 1860, the Qing government began to open the area up to Han Chinese migrants, most of whom came from Shandong. By the beginning of the 20th century, Han Chinese had become the dominant ethnic group of the region. In 1932, the area was incorporated into Manchukuo, a puppet state set up by Japan. Changchun (then called Hsinking), capital of Jilin today, was made the capital of Manchukuo. After the defeat of Japan in 1945, the Soviet Army captured Jilin after Operation August Storm.[9] The region, with the rest of northeastern China, was ceded to the Communists by the Soviet Union. Manchuria was the staging ground from which the communists eventually conquered the rest of China in the Chinese Civil War.

In 1949, Jilin province was smaller, encompassing only the environs of Changchun and Jilin City, and the capital was at Jilin City, while Changchun was a municipality independent from the province. In the 1950s, Jilin was expanded to its present borders. During the Cultural Revolution, Jilin was expanded again to include a part of Inner Mongolia, giving it a border with the independent state of Mongolia, though this was later reversed.

In recent times Jilin has, with the rest of heavy industry-based Northeast China, been facing economic difficulties with privatization. This prompted the central government to undertake a campaign called "Revitalize the Northeast".


Jilin lies in the central part of northeastern China, bordering Russia and North Korea in the east and southeast respectively. Jilin has an area of 190,000 km2 (73,000 sq mi) and a population of 27.3 million. Its capital is Changchun, which lies 113 km (70 mi) west of Jilin City. Jilin is rich in natural mineral deposits with 136 types of minerals, of which 70 have been extracted. Jilin has an abundance of Traditional Chinese medicine resources, with approximately 27,000 kinds of wild plants and 9,000 kinds of medicinal herbs.[10]

The province is rich in large reserves of oil, gas, coal, iron mine, nickel, molybdenum, talc, graphite, gypsum, cement rock, gold and silver; its reserves of oil shale are the largest in the country.[11]

Jilin is highest in altitude in the southeast and drops gently towards the northwest. The Changbai Mountains run through its southeastern regions and contains the highest peak of the province, Paektu Mountain at 2744 m. Other ranges include the Jilinhada Mountains, Zhang Guangcai Mountains, and Longgang Mountains.

Jilin is drained by the Yalu and Tumen rivers in the extreme southeast (which together form parts of the border between the People's Republic of China and North Korea), by tributaries of the Liao River in the southwest, and by the Songhua and Nen rivers in the north, both eventually flowing into the Amur.

Jilin has a northerly continental monsoon climate, with long, cold winters and short, warm summers. Average January temperatures range from -20 to -14°C. Rainfall averages at 350 to 1000 mm.

Major cities in this province include Changchun, Jilin City, Baishan, Baicheng, Siping, Yanji, Songyuan, Tonghua and Liaoyuan.[12]

Administrative divisions

Jilin consists of nine prefecture-level divisions: eight prefecture-level cities (including a sub-provincial city) and one autonomous prefecture:

Administrative divisions of Jilin

     Prefecture-level city district areas      County-level cities

No. Division code[13] Division Area in km2[14] Population 2010[15] Seat Divisions[16]
Districts Counties Aut. counties CL cities
  220000Jilin Province 187400.0027,462,297Changchun city2116320
1220100Changchun city 20571.007,677,089Nanguan District712
4220200Jilin city 27659.794,414,681Chuanying District414
6220300Siping city 14382.343,386,325Tiexi District2112
5220400Liaoyuan city 5140.451,176,645Longshan District22
8220500Tonghua city 15607.802,325,242Dongchang District232
3220600Baishan city 17473.731,295,750Hunjiang District2211
7220700Songyuan city 21089.382,881,082Ningjiang District1211
2220800Baicheng city 25692.292,033,058Taobei District122
9222400Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture 43509.102,271,600Yanji city26

The nine prefecture-level divisions of Jilin are subdivided into 60 county-level divisions (21 districts, 20 county-level cities, 16 counties, and three autonomous counties). (See List of administrative divisions of Jilin.) These administrative divisions are explained in greater detail at Administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China. At the end of the year 2017, the total population is 27.17 million.

Urban areas

Population by urban areas of prefecture & county cities
#CityUrban area[17]District area[17]City proper[17]Census date
1Changchun[lower-alpha 1]3,411,2094,193,0737,674,4392010-11-01
(1)Changchun (new district)[lower-alpha 1]198,851611,670see Changchun2010-11-01
4Yanji505,516562,959part of Yanbian Prefecture2010-11-01
10Gongzhuling337,8511,092,936see Siping2010-11-01
11Dunhua293,396483,464part of Yanbian Prefecture2010-11-01
12Yushu280,9611,160,568see Changchun2010-11-01
13Meihekou268,259615,154see Tonghua2010-11-01
14Shulan254,850645,702see Jilin2010-11-01
15Panshi228,004505,779see Jilin2010-11-01
16Da'an202,322432,122see Baicheng2010-11-01
17Jiaohe201,712447,226see Jilin2010-11-01
18Huadian193,537444,843see Jilin2010-11-01
19Dehui187,956748,369see Changchun2010-11-01
20Shuangliao180,700420,720see Siping2010-11-01
21Hunchun174,355241,777part of Yanbian Prefecture2010-11-01
22Taonan164,976431,017see Baicheng2010-11-01
(23)Fuyu[lower-alpha 2]164,673718,987see Songyuan2010-11-01
24Linjiang133,435174,970see Baishan2010-11-01
25Longjing122,065177,234part of Yanbian Prefecture2010-11-01
26Helong112,337189,532part of Yanbian Prefecture2010-11-01
27Tumen109,342134,452part of Yanbian Prefecture2010-11-01
28Ji'an95,971232,278see Tonghua2010-11-01
  1. New district established after census: Jiutai (Jiutai CLC). The new district not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  2. Fuyu County is currently known as Fuyu CLC after census.


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

The Governor of Jilin is the highest-ranking official in the People's Government of Jilin. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Jilin Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary, colloquially termed the "Jilin CPC Party Chief".


In 2011, the nominal GDP of Jilin province totaled RMB 1053.1 billion (US$167.1 billion). Its GDP has been rising at a double-digit rate since 2003, growing 51 percent from 2003 to 2007. Per capita nominal GDP increased to RMB 26,289 (US$3,848) in 2009. Meanwhile, the incremental value and profit of large enterprises witnessed an increase of 19 percent and 30 percent respectively, compared with 2005 figures.[18]

Jilin's agricultural production is centered upon rice, wheat, maize, and sorghum. Rice is mostly cultivated in the eastern parts, such as Yanbian Prefecture. The Changbai Mountains are an important source of lumber. Sheep herding is an important activity in the western parts, such as Baicheng.

Among its natural resources, Jilin has the largest reserves of shale oil and one of the top five largest mineral reserves in China.[19] Compared to other provinces of China, Jilin has extensive deposits of Kieselguhr, wollastonite, floatstone, and molybdenum.

Industry in Jilin is concentrated on automobiles, train carriages, and iron alloy.

Jilin is one of the most important commodity grain bases in China. It is ranked 6th in timber production.[11]

Traditionally, Jilin has been known as a major pharmaceutical center, with yields of ginseng and deer antlers among the largest in China, being used extensively in Traditional Chinese medicine.[10][19]

Economic and technological development zones

Jilin New and Hi-tech Industry Development Zone

The zone was founded in 1992 and is in Jilin city, covering 818 km2 (316 sq mi) of planned area with 242 km2 (93 sq mi) established. The leading industries in the zone are new materials, refined chemical products, integration of photoelectron and mechanism, electronics, medicine and bioengineering. A mere 14 km (8.7 mi) from Songhua Lake, the nearest bus and train stations are within 3 km (1.9 mi).[20]

The Jilin Economic and Technological Development Zone was founded in May 1998 and is in the northeast of Jilin city. The zone has a total planned area of 28 km2 (11 sq mi). It is 90 km (56 mi) from Changchun, 5 km (3.1 mi) from Jilin Airport, and 8 km (5.0 mi)from Jilin Railway Station.

Major industries include refined chemicals, bioengineering, fine processing of chemical fiber, and farm products. It is divided into four parts: the Chemical Industrial Park, the Food Industrial Park, the Textile Industrial Park, and the Medical Industrial Park. The latter specializes in the development of traditional Chinese pharmaceuticals, mini molecule medicine, bio-pharmaceuticals and health products.

State-level ETDZs Changchun Economic and Technological Development Zone

In 1993, with the approval of the state, Changchun Economic & Technological Development Zone (CETDZ) became a state-level economic and technological development zone. The total area of CETDZ is 112.72 km2 (43.52 sq mi), of which 30 km2 (12 sq mi) has been set aside for development and use. By the end of 2006, the total fixed assets investment of the Changchun Economic and Technological Development Zone reached 38.4 billion yuan. There were 1656 registered enterprises in this zone including 179 foreign-funded enterprises. The regional gross product of the zone reached 101.8 billion yuan; industrial output value reached 233.0 billion Yuan; overall financial revenue reached 15.7 billion yuan.[21]

Changchun is also the location of one of the largest factories where CRRC manufactures bullet trains. In November 2016, CRCC Changchun unveiled the first bullet train carriages in the world that would have sleeper berths, and would be capable of running in ultra low temperature environments. Nicknamed Panda, they are capable of running at 250 kmph, operate at -40 degrees Celsius, have Wi-Fi hubs and contain sleeper berths that fold into seats during the day.[22]

State-level HIDZs Changchun High-Tech Industrial Development Area

Changchun High-Tech Industrial Development Area is connected by four roads and one light-rail line to the downtown area. The nearest train station, Changchun Station, is twenty minutes away by light rail. In 2002, Changchun HDA became the first area in Northeast China to qualify for the environmental certification of ISO14001. Its landscaping ratio reaches 38%.[23]

Hunchun Border Economic Cooperation Zone

Huichun Border Economic Cooperation Zone was approved to be national-level border economic cooperation zone in 1992, with a planning area of 24 km2 (9.3 sq mi). In 2002 and 2001, the Huichun Export Processing Zone and Huichun Sino-Russia Trade Zone were set up in it. It has a strategic location at the junction of the borders of China, Russia and Korea. It focuses on the development of sea food processing, electronic product manufacture, bio-pharmaceuticals, textile industry and other industries.[24]

Hunchun Export Processing Zone

The Hunchun Export Processing Zone is in 5 km2 (1.93 sq mi) area is in the Hunchun Border Economic Cooperation Zone. Its planned area is 2.44 km2 (0.94 sq mi). It relies on the same infrastructure and policies as its parent zone.[25]


There are 35,216 km (21,882 mi)of highways, including over 500 km (310 mi)of expressways.

The province has an excellent rail network, begun by the Japanese, with Changchun as its main hub. There are four major new railway projects which started construction in 2007. One of these, the Harbin–Dalian High-Speed Railway connecting Harbin with Dalian via Changchun was completed in 2012. The four railway projects were estimated to cost RMB13 billion, and the province urged foreign investors to invest in them. A line from Changchun to Jilin City, expected to be completed in 2015, was expected to cut the journey times between the cities from 96 minutes to 30. The railway network in Jilin can be divided into two directions in the Northwest - southeast and south-west - northeast. The main trunk line Beijing Harbin railway runs through the north and south of Jilin. From Jilin Province, it can go directly to Harbin, Shenyang, Dalian, Beijing, Tianjin, Xi'an, Shijiazhuang, Wuhan, Jinan, and so on. By the end of 2015, the railway business mileage of Jilin province reached 4,877.4 km (3,030.7 mi). The Harbin-Dalian highspeed railway can up to 350 km/h (220 mph).

The main commercial airport is Changchun International Airport; other commercial airports include Yanji Airport and Tonghua Liuhe Airport.[10]

Jilin is landlocked. River navigation is possible from April to November. The major river ports are at Da'an, Jilin city and Fuyu. In 2007, Jilin started construction on a two-phase RMB60 million comprehensive river port; the first phase is finished. The port is on the Songhua River, has an annual throughput of two million tons, and will connect to the waterways of Northeast China.[11] Aviation takes Changchun as the center, supplemented by Yanji and Baishan. It can go directly to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Haikou, Ningbo, Dalian, Kunming, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and so on. Changchun Longjia Airport, Yanji Airport, Tonghua Sanyuanpu Airport and Changbaishan Airport, etc..


Historical population
1912[26] 5,580,000    
1928[27] 7,635,000+36.8%
1936-37[28] 7,354,000−3.7%
1947[29] 6,465,000−12.1%
1954[30] 11,290,073+74.6%
1964[31] 15,668,663+38.8%
1982[32] 22,560,053+44.0%
1990[33] 24,658,721+9.3%
2000[34] 26,802,191+8.7%
2010[35] 27,462,297+2.5%

Jilin is inhabited by Han Chinese, Manchus, Hui, Mongols and Xibe. Most ethnic Koreans live in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.

Ethnic groups in Jilin (2000 census)
Ethnic GroupsPopulationPercentage
Han Chinese24,348,81590.85%

Excludes members of the People's Liberation Army in active service.[36]


Jilin is part of Northeast China and shares many similarities in culture to neighbouring regions, such as Errenzhuan and Yangge. Among its music, Jiju, or Jilin Opera, is a form of traditional entertainment that Jilin has innovated over its short migrant history.

The ethnic Koreans of Jilin have a distinct culture, closely tied to Korea.


The majority of the province speaks Mandarin, the official language of China. Closer to the east, many people speak Korean. Some people of Qian Gorlos autonomous county speak Mongolian.


The Goguryeo sites and tombs found in Ji'an, Jilin, including Hwando Mountain City, Gungnae City, and the pyramidal Tomb of the General, have been listed as part of the Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom, a World Heritage Site.

Paektu Mountain, especially Heaven Lake on the border with North Korea, are popular tourist destinations due to their natural scenery.

Ancient Tombs at Longtou Mountain, including the Mausoleum of Princess Jeonghyo, are royal tombs of Balhae found in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.


Universities and colleges


Professional teams

Notable individuals

See also


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  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. 吉林省2017年国民经济和社会发展统计公报 [Statistical Communiqué of Jilin Province on the 2017 National Economic and Social Development] (in Chinese). Jilin Bureau of Statistics. 2018-03-28. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  4. "China National Human Development Report 2016" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. p. 146. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  5. History of Mongolia, Volume II, 2003
  6. "抢救满语振兴满族文化_大公资讯_大公网". web.archive.org. 2017-11-08. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  7. (in Chinese) "Origin of the Names of China's Provinces", People's Daily Online.
  8. 前言
  9. LTC David M. Glantz, "August Storm: The Soviet 1945 Strategic Offensive in Manchuria". Leavenworth Papers No. 7, Combat Studies Institute, February 1983, Fort Leavenworth Kansas.
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  12. "China Briefing Business Reports". Asia Briefing. 2008. Archived from the original on December 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
  13. 中华人民共和国县以上行政区划代码 (in Chinese). Ministry of Civil Affairs.
  14. Shenzhen Bureau of Statistics. 《深圳统计年鉴2014》 (in Chinese). China Statistics Print. Retrieved 2015-05-29.
  15. Census Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China; Population and Employment Statistics Division of the National Bureau of Statistics of the People's Republic of China (2012). 中国2010人口普查分乡、镇、街道资料 (1 ed.). Beijing: China Statistics Print. ISBN 978-7-5037-6660-2.
  16. Ministry of Civil Affairs (August 2014). 《中国民政统计年鉴2014》 (in Chinese). China Statistics Print. ISBN 978-7-5037-7130-9.
  17. 中国2010年人口普查分县资料. Compiled by 国务院人口普查办公室 [Department of Population Census of the State Council], 国家统计局人口和社会科技统计司编 [Department of Population and Social Science and Statistics, National Bureau of Statistics]. Beijing: China Statistics Print. 2012. ISBN 978-7-5037-6659-6.CS1 maint: others (link)
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  19. http://thechinaperspective.com/topics/province/jilin-province/%5B%5D
  20. RightSite.asia | Jilin Hi-Tech Development Zone
  21. RightSite.asia | Changchun Economic and Technology Development Zone
  22. "China develops bullet train with fold-up beds". China Daily. Xinhua. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  23. RightSite.asia | Changchun High-Tech Industrial Development Area
  24. RightSite.asia | Huichun Border Economic Cooperation Zone Archived 2010-02-05 at the Wayback Machine
  25. RightSite.asia | Huichun Export Processing Zone Archived 2010-02-05 at the Wayback Machine
  26. 1912年中国人口. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  27. 1928年中国人口. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  28. 1936-37年中国人口. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  29. 1947年全国人口. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
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  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. "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.
  36. Department of Population, Social, Science and Technology Statistics of the National Bureau of Statistics of China (国家统计局人口和社会科技统计司) and Department of Economic Development of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission of China (国家民族事务委员会经济发展司), eds. Tabulation on Nationalities of 2000 Population Census of China (《2000年人口普查中国民族人口资料》). 2 vols. Beijing: Nationalities Publishing House (民族出版社), 2003. (ISBN 7-105-05425-5)
  37. Changchun Institute of Technology Homepage
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