Baoshan City, A Key Point On The Southwest Silk Route
Lying in the western part of Yunnan Province, at the southern end of the Hengduan Mountains and 593 kilometres away from the provincial seat Kunming, Baoshan occupies an area of 4,826 square kilometres. It has a population of 680,000 people, consisting of the Han, Yi, Bai, Dai, Lisu, Miao, Hui, De'ang, Wa and Man nationalities. The Dai and Lisu people live in the low-latitudinal, humid valley of the Nujiang (Salween) River. The Han and Hui people mostly live on temperate, level lands. The Miaos and other minority nationalities are distributed in the mountains on both sides of the Nujiang (Salween) and Lancangjiang (Mekong) Rivers.
Baoshan City has 3,745 overseas Chinese, living in 18 countries, such as Burma, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, USA, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Bolivia, Paraguay, etc. There are 159 returned overseas Chinese and 5,053 family members of overseas Chinese.
The topography of Baoshan is diversified and complex. Generally, the northwest is higher than the southeast. The city straddles over Gaoligongshan Mountain, the Nujiang River and the Lancangjiang River. There are basins and level lands surrounded by mountains, hilly slopes, low-latitudinal and torrid valleys, and low-latitudinal and high-altitudinal mountains. The lowest point is the confluence of the Nujiang and the Sheshehe Rivers, 640 metres above sea level. The highest point is the peak of Mount Daoren, 3,655.9 metres above sea level. The Baoshan Plain is the largest of its kind, occupying the central part of the area with an elevation of 1,670 metres.
The major mountain ranges in the area, the Gaoligongshan and the Nushan Mountains, belong to the Hengduan Mountain Ranges (mountains in the northwest of Yunnan in a north-south direction, utterly different from the general west-east trend, and therefore appearing broken in the context of other mountain ranges of the country. "Heng" means "looked transversely" and "duan" means "broken or faulted".) The major peaks include Mount Daoren in the north, Mount Yanwang in the east, Mount Baifeng in the west, Mount Liba in the southeast and Mount Laishiton in the northwest. Their elevations all exceed 2,300 metres. All the 243 rivers and streams in the area converge into 21 rivers and finally flow into either the Nujiang or Lancangjiang Rivers.
The climate of Baoshan generally belongs to a southwestern monsoonal, subtropical, high plateau type. As a farmer's proverb says, "A mountain has different climates of all the four seasons at different heights; within a distance of 10 li, one can experience fine or foul weather." In other words, the characteristics of "vertical climate" are quite obvious. Summer is rainy and winter and spring are dry. The annual average temperature on the Baoshan plain is 15.5 Centigrade with a limited range of difference the year round, but the difference is sharp between day and night, or between a sunny day and a raining one. The annual rainfall averages 996.5 mm. At Nujiangba (a small plain in the Nujiang valley), the temperature average 21.3 Centigrade annually and the rainfall 747.6 mm.
Baoshan City is one of the earliest developed areas in Yunnan. In the second year of the Yuanfeng era (109 B.C.) in the Western Han Dynasty, the county of Buwei was instituted at the present Baohan, under the jurisdiction of Yizhoujun Prefecture. In A.D. 69 or the 12th year of the Yongping era in the eastern Han Dynasty, the prefecture of Yongchang was instituted. During the period of Nanzhao Kingdom (729-937) in the Tang Dynasty, the office of the Yongchang Governor was set up here. During the period of Dali Kingdom (937-1253) in the Song Dynasty, Yongchangfu Prefecture was instituted and later in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) it was replaced with Yongchangzhou Prefecture. In the 22nd year of the Hongwu era in the Ming Dynasty, a city wall of bricks was built. In the inaugural year of the Yongle era (1403) of the Ming Dynasty, a new administrative and military officer was stationed whose title was the Yongchang Emissary in charge of defense and the affairs of 1,000 households. In the 3rd year of the Jiajing era, the Emissary's Office was deleted and Baoshan County was set up instead, with the name derived from Taibaoshan Mountain in the west. In the inaugural year of the Republic (1911), Baoshan Prefecture was instituted. In the following year, it was replaced by Baoshan County. In January 1950, Baoshan was liberated and remained a county. In September 1983, it was renamed a city.
The soil of Baoshan City, showing a certain amount of acidity, is highly mature and of a very good structure. It is suitable for growing grains, sugarcane, cotton, oil crops, tea, mulberries, walnuts, oil tea, tobacco, coffee, pepper, fructus amoni, apples, water chestnuts, litchi, longan, medicinal herbs vegetables, ornamental flowers, etc.
Mineral resources include tin, iron, copper, lead, mercury, wolfram, titanium, mica, beryl, agate, coal, etc. In Gaoligongshan Mountain, 1,452 species of higher plants, over 70 species of birds, 22 species of wild animals, 22 species of fish, 2,747 species of insects and over 1,000 species of medicinal plants have been discovered. Among the plants, there are the tree for parasite sheelac., the lacquer tree, ceiba, quince, hawthorn, wild oil crops, etc. More worthy of mentioning are the following precious plants - the China fir, Tempskya, hemlock, silver fir, Bhutan cypress, nanmu, ciliata, safflower, symingtonia populnea, etc. Baoshan is one of the provenance of such ornamental plants as azaleas, camellias, orchids, etc. The rare and precious animals that multiply in the area include the antelope, leaf monkey, gibbon, wild ox, South China tiger, golden monkey, scrow, chamois, macqeue, silver pheasant, red-bellied tragopan, blood pheasant, lesser panda, peacock, sunbird, Chinese nightingale, etc. The part of the Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve that lies within Baohan City amounts to over 600,000 mu. (98,640 acres).
Baoshan City is an area with the characteristics of "vertical agriculture". The staples among its products are paddy rice, corn, wheat, beans potatoes, oil crops, peanuts, sugarcane, tea leaves, mulberry, tobacco, coffee, pepper, vegetables, etc. The output of sugarcane ranks the first among all the counties and cities in the province. The strain of paddy rice bearing the serial number of Jingguo #92 is of excellent quality, having a ready adaptability, a high yield (over 1,000 jin per mu), a clear colour and very good taste. The sugar content of the canesugar from the Nujiangba plain ranks the first over the country.
The industrial department of Baoshan City include power generating, coal mining, chemical industry, machinery, building material production, afforestal industry, food processing, textile industry, tailoring, fur and leather processing, etc. The city has been included among the experimental regions for electrification in the country. About 72.9% of the urban and suburban households are consumers of electricity and the consumption per head averages 71 kwh in a year.
The communications and traffic are convenient. The Yunnan-Burma Highway (the Chinese section of the former Burma Road during World War II) stretches across the area over a distance of 167 kilometres. Highway traffic is available to the provincial sea Kunming and any other prefecture, county or city. There are scheduled flights of CAAC planes between Baoshan and Kunming.