The city of Hengshui is located in the southeast of Hebei province, at 37¡ã03¡¯ - 38¡ã23¡¯ N, and 115¡ã10¡¯ - 116¡ã34¡¯ E. Its total area is 8,815 km2. The east of the city borders Dongguang county and Wuqiao county of Cangzhou, and Dezhou city of Shandong province; the west adjoins Shenze county and Xinji city of Shijiazhuang; the south is adjacent to Nangong city and Xinhe county of Xingtai, and Wucheng county of Shandong province; while the north is contiguous to Anguo city, Boye county and Lixian county of Baoding, and Suning county, Xian county and Botou of Cangzhou. Its Taocheng district, where the municipal government is located, is 250 km north of Beijing, and 119 km west of the provincial capital Shijiazhuang.
Since the end of 2013, Hengshui has been governing one district, two county-level cities and 8 counties, totaling 11 county-level independent administrative units. The city has 45 villages, 69 towns and 4 subdistrict offices, governing 4,984 villagers¡¯ committees and 108 neighborhood committees.
Stratum and Geology
The strata within the Hengshui area, from top to bottom, include a Quaternary system, a Tertiary system, a Paleozoic system and a Proterozoic system.
Physical and Topographic Features
Hengshui is located in the alluvial plain of Hebei province; its terrain slowly tilts from southwest to northeast. Its altitude ranges from 12 meters to 30 meters. To the east of Fuyang River, the ground slope ranges from 1/8000 to 1/10000; to the west, it is 1/40000. There are many rivers in the region; due to river overflow and course change, the deposits crisscross, forming many sloping hills, plains and low-lying areas. Hengshui Lake within the region is a natural marsh land second only to Baiyangdian Lake in the North China Plain; its reservoir area is 75 square kilometers, its catchment area is 120 square kilometers, its designed water level is 21 meters and its largest water demand is 0.2 billion cubic meters, which is why it is described as a bright star in the North China Plain.
In 2013 (from January to December), the average temperature in the city was 13.3¡æ, 0.2¡æ higher than in a normal year. The extreme minimum temperature was -18.0¡æ, which appeared in Wuqiang on January 3. The extreme maximum temperature was 38.9¡æ, reached in Shenzhou and Zaoqiang on July 3. The average annual precipitation of the city was 590.1 mm, 19.2% more than the average of recent years with high precipitation; the average yearly sunshine duration was 2330.7 hours, less than recent average low sunshine years by 142.7 hours.
Hengshui is located at the middle area of Hehai Plainand, the southwest of Hebei Province. It borders on Xingtai, Shijiazhuang, Baoding and Cangzhou within the province. The land area totals about 881,500 hectares. The farmland area is 704,440.49 hectares, or 79.91% of the total; the architectural area is 138,354.56 hectares, 15.7% of the total; and the non-utilized area is 38704.95 hectares, which is 4.39% of the total.
The identified mineral resources in Hengshui are of four types: petroleum, geothermal energy, mineral water and brick clay. The oil and gas resources are mainly distributed in Shenzhou city, Raoyang county and Wuqiang county. The identified petroleum reserves are over 30 million tons.
There are 9 geothermal fields with a total area of 4504.2 square kilometers. The total yield of the fields is 17 billion m£³, equal to 80 million tons of standard coal. 13 counties and cities have initiated large scale development and utilization of the resources. Brick clay resources are widely spread in the city. Effective protection of land resources and the ecological environment requires strict control of the utilization of brick clay; most of the tile kilns are closed.
Geological testing indicates that there are abundant coal and coal rake gas resources in the southeast of Hengshui, from Fucheng to Jing County, and in the south of Jizhou, which is under a prospecting phase. Through carrying out coal resource prospecting in Fucheng and the Jing County area, the verified drilling depth has been proved to be 1665.1 meters; 6 workable coal rakes have been found at depths of 1446 and 1583 meters; the total thickness of the workable coal rakes is 10.21 meters.
According to the ¡°investigation report of drinkable natural mineral water along the Beijing-Jiulong Railway in Hengshui¡±, there are five possible areas of mineral water in Hengshui, as follows: Shenzhou city and its northwest regions, with an area of 88.4 square kilometers; Yuke village in Shenzhou, with an area of 27.5 square kilometers; north region and northwest region in Hengshui, with an area of 214.2 square kilometers; the region from Zaoqiang county to Xing village to the north, with an area of 90 square kilometers; and south to Daying town of Zaoqiang county, with an area of 38.4 square kilometers. The total area of the five possible sources of mineral water is 458.6 square kilometers, including four possible areas of strontium drinkable natural mineral water and one iodine drinkable natural mineral water. The areas of Shixiang village of Shenzhou¡¯s Mucun town and Liujiazhuang of Taocheng¡¯s Zhaoquan town have been exploited before.
Hengshui¡¯s main grain crops include wheat, maize, millet, sorghum and sweet potato; economic crops include cotton, peanuts, sesame, sunflowers, and edible fungus.
In addition there are abundant vegetables, melons and fruits, and fowls and livestock. In recent years, the wild livestock prevalent in our area have included pheasant, turkey, guinea fowl, frabcolin, quail and ornamental birds. The aquatic products have included Oreochromis mossambicus, river crab, soft-shelled turtle, premium crucian, orbfish, snakehead, Carcharodon carcharias, catfish, Leiocassis longirostris, freshwater shrimp, eel, loach and freshwater mussel.
Hengshui has a long history and has an abundance of tourism resources, many with their own characteristics and distinct features, as follows:
Natural and eco-logical
Hengshui Lake is a national AAAA scenic spot, national water conservation scenic spot and national protection zone for aquatic product resources and is the only national inland natural protection zone with a wetland ecological system. The zone covers just over 187 square kilometers and has a lake surface of 75 sq km, with 200-million cubic meters of water and is very important for the dry, rainless North China Plain. The lake is also a popular place for wildlife of the northern temperate zone and is the habitat of many migratory birds, especially because of the marshy grassland and mud flats. Its bio-diversity and ecology are typical of northern China. It has 383 types of plants and over 310 types of birds, including seven with top national protection and 46 others with national protection, including swans. The Fucheng Wanmu Forest Park, in the south of Fucheng County is an artificial forest that covers 10,000 mu [666.67 hectares] and is an excellent place for recreation.
Hengshui has a large number of historical resources, with nine national historical reservations such as the Hengshui Anji Bridge, Jizhou Old City Ruins, Shenzhou Yingyi Barn, Jingxian Kaifu Temple and Buddhist Tower, Anping Luzhuang Fresco Graveyard, Gucheng Qinglin Temple Tower, Jing County Fengshi Graveyard, Gaoshi Graveyard, and provincial cultural relics, including the Jing Country Graveyard of Zhou Yafu, Wuyi Doushi Graveyard and Anping Shenggu Temple.
Special cultural tourism
Hengshui is known for ¡¯three treasures¡¯ ?its interior paintings, the writing brush, and its goldfish ? and is the birthplace of Ji-style interior painting, which started with snuffboxes, then went on to include crystal balls, vases, drinking vessels, pen containers, screens, pendants, and, eventually, newer products with exterior painting such as the ¡®Guyue Xuan¡¯. As the ¡®home of the writing brush¡¯ it is known for the ¡®North Wolf¡¯, in contrast to the ¡®South Sheep¡¯ of Shanlian of Zhejiang province and was popular with Chinese and foreign calligraphers because of its hardness and softness, large ink capacity, smooth writing and its modeling. The goldfish is world-famous for its color, elegance and grace, and Hengshui¡¯s Xu Licai is a fourth generation master of the Xushi Court Goldfish and has raised more than 60 goldfish types. Wuqiang County is known for its New Year¡¯s Paintings, one of five types of Chinese board pictures, and is the largest producer. They are known for their range of subjects, themes, background, technique, fine lines and bright colors and mainly depict common life in rural parts of North China. Wuqiang Lude Music Town is an innovative cultural tourism base with a musical instrument business and three important functions -- the sale of Chinese and foreign musical instruments, producing musicians, and music education for primary and middle school students.
Hengshui is an old revolutionary area with a large number of red tourism sites, such as Taicheng village, where the first rural Party branch of the CPC was born. And its Anping county Party committee was the first county Party committee in the province. During the agricultural collectivization of the 1950s, Geng Changshuo, a model laborer in Anping county, established the Raoyang Wugong Agricultural Cooperative, which Chairman Mao called a ¡®socialistic flower¡¯ and Wang Yukun and two other peasants established the Nanwangzhuang Cooperative, which Mao called the ¡®pathway for 500-million farmers¡¯.
Industrial and agricultural tourism
The Hengshui Laobaigan Liquor Co, in Anping, was one of China¡¯s first industrial tourism demonstration sites and is a large producer of wine, while the county¡¯s silk screens, with their long history, are world-famous. In 1999, the State Council designated Anping a ¡®Chinese silk screen town¡±. And, Zaoqiang County is considered a birthplaces of fur processing in China, so it got the ¡°Capital of fur¡± title, and nearby Daying has become a national fur processing and distribution center. At the same time, the Wuqiang Jinyin Musical Instrument Manufacture (Group) Co is China¡¯s largest manufacturer of Western musical instruments.
The Dengzhuang Agricultural Technological Demonstration Park, on the eastern outskirts of Hengshui is a national, agricultural-tourism demonstration site that produces vegetables, top-grade flowers, nursery plants, and top cows. The Shenzhen Peach Sightseeing Park, to the west of the Shenzhou downtown area, has white soil that is suitable for fruit trees, the main ones being peaches and pears. Shenzhou¡®s peaches date back hundreds of years and were used for imperial tributes. Hengshui also has large industrial and agricultural tourism resources yet to be developed, such as the Six Walnuts in the Taocheng district, its radiator production, the Aquila peppers of Jizhou, glass steel of Zaoqiang, Manhe melons of Fucheng, pears of Jinhua, and fruit picking and vegetables of Raoyang.
Hengshui¡¯s long history has given it a unique folk culture, and the ¡®Crazy Yangge¡¯ folk dance of Jing county shows the joyful atmosphere during harvest or festival time, and has developed over the years into a unique folk dance that combines northern Anhui and North China characteristics.
Tourism festival activities
On Sept 21, Hengshui holds the Hengshui Lake International Marathon, which has attracted more than 10,000 Chinese and foreign athletes, with China¡¯s CCTV providing a live telecast of the event, which has greatly increased the lake¡¯s and the city¡¯s reputation at home and abroad, along with the tourism environment and infrastructure and the tourism industry as well as other industries.
Hengshui has many special snacks that enrich its food culture, including the ¡®Longxu tribute noodles¡¯ of Gucheng, gold mixed noodles of Raoyang, Julu sausage of the Taocheng district, roast chickenofn Fucheng, simmered cake of Jizhou, Caoji donkey meat of Jizhou, Chenguang meat of Shenzhou and crunchy candy of Shenzhou.
Hengshui¡®s tourism goods are world-famous, such as its ¡®three treasures¡¯ -- the interior painting, writing brush and Court Goldfish -- and the Wuqiang New Year¡¯s pictures. Other items are the Laobaigan Liquor, dough models of the Taocheng district, Western musical instruments of Wuqiang, glass sculpture and black pottery of Shenzhou, wooden sculpture and applique of Wuyi, musical instruments, bone sculpture and copper sculpture of Raoyang, fur products of Zaoqiang, filigree of Jizhou, plant stickers of Jing county, paper cuts of Fucheng, and reed stickers of Hengshui Lake, for a superb collection of beautiful things.
By the end of 2013, the total population of the city was 4.48 million, with 1.06 million not involved in agriculture.
Hengshui¡¯s main inhabitants are the Han, but there are ethnic groups distributed all over. By the end of 2013, there were in total 7,028 members of 43 ethnic groups, or about 0.15 percent of the population, living in compact communities in the Taocheng district, Shenzhou, or Gucheng and Jing counties or elsewhere.
The largest ethnic groups are Hui, Man, Mongol and Tujia, with 2,056 Hui, or 29 percent of the ethnic population, mainly in Jing and Gucheng counties or the Taocheng district. The Tujia, Korean, Miao, Naxi, Russian, Tibetan, Dai, Uyghur, Gaoshan and others make up the remaining 2,042 people.
Hengshui is a key city for handling overseas Chinese affairs and has 23,375 overseas Chinese, Chinese of foreign nationality, or Chinese from Hongkong and Macau.
There are 13,720 Hengshui people living in Hongkong and Macau or in 31 countries. A relatively large number live in Mongolia, the US and Russia, with the next largest groups in Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Canada and the Philippines.