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Title: Taishan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Taishanese people, Taishanese people in Hong Kong, Pearl River Delta, Jiangmen, Guangdong
Collection: 1499 Establishments in China, Populated Places Established in the 1490S, Taishan
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County-level city
Taicheng Subdistrict
Location of Taishan City (pink) within Jiangmen City (yellow) and Guangdong
Location of Taishan City (pink) within Jiangmen City (yellow) and Guangdong
Toishan is located in Guangdong
Location of the city centre in Guangdong
Country People's Republic of China
Province Guangdong
Prefecture-level city Jiangmen
 • Total 3,285.91 km2 (1,268.70 sq mi)
Population (2010 census)
 • Total 941,095
 • Density 290/km2 (740/sq mi)
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal code 529200 - 529267
Area code(s) 750
Chinese 台山
Taishanese Jyutping Hoisan
Hanyu Pinyin Táishān
Postal Toishan
Former name: Xinning
Simplified Chinese 新宁
Traditional Chinese 新寧
Taishanese Jyutping Xinnein
Hanyu Pinyin Xīnníng
Postal Sunning

Taishan also called Toishan (Chinese: 台山; pinyin: Táishān; Jyutping: toi4 saan1; Taishanese: Hoisan ) is a coastal county-level city in southern Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. At the 2010 census, its population was 941,095 inhabitants even though only 394,855 were considered as urban.

Taishan calls itself the "No. 1 Home of Overseas Chinese". An estimated half a million Chinese Americans are of Taishanese descent.[1]


  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Education 3
  • Administration 4
  • Transportation 5
  • Language 6
  • Demographics 7
  • Power stations 8
  • Climate 9
  • Claims to fame 10
  • Notable people 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Taishan is located in the Pearl River Delta, in the southwest of Jiangmen, to which it administratively belongs, and 140 kilometres west of Hong Kong. It contains 95 islands and islets, including the largest island in Guangdong, Shangchuan Island.

Taishan is one of the Five Counties in Guangdong, previously called Sze Yup which excluded Heshan, and is now part of the Greater Taishan Region.


On 12 February 1499 during the Ming dynasty, Taishan was founded as Xinning County (Chinese: 新宁县) from land in the southwest of Xinhui County. Xinning was romanized as "Sunning" during the late Qing dynasty, as well as "Sinning", "Hsinning", "Hsînnîng" and "Llin-nen".

While emigration had always been a feature of Xinning, a number of natural disasters and the disruption of the First Opium War (1839-42) significantly increased the numbers. [2] The discovery of gold in California drew even more to the California Gold Rush with many sponsored as contract labourers.

The civil war fought, from 1854 to 1867 between the Punti and Hakka people mainly in Xinning, was disastrous for both sides, and pushed even more to emigrate.

The construction of transcontinental railways drew them to the United States and Canada by providing employment, [3] so that by 1870 there were 63,000 Chinese in the United States, almost all in California. [4]

In 1914, Xinning was renamed Taishan to avoid confusion with the Xinnings of Hunan and Sichuan.[5] Unfortunately it is now confused in English with Mount Taishan in Shandong Province.

Chen Yixi constructed a limited network of railway lines linking various parts of Taishan with Jiangmen, and was one of only three built, owned and run by Chinese during the years prior to the Communist Revolution of 1949. However strategic necessities of the Japanese War forced its removal.[6]

That war closed in on Taicheng, the capital of Taishan, in March 1941 when Japanese soldiers entered the township and killed nearly 280 people.

On 17 April 1992, Taishan's status was upgraded from county (县) to county-level city (县级市). [5]


Education enjoys significant support from Overseas Chinese professionals and businessmen. Many secondary schools were built and financed by Chinese living in the Special Administrative Regions, as well as various foreign countries, such as the United States, Canada, and Brazil. To honour their benefactors, these schools often bear their names or the names of their parents.

Peng Quan School (鹏权中学) is a prime example, which was constructed during 1999–2001, and is now integrated into Taishan’s public school system. It is situated on the west side of Taicheng, and was built by a Hong Kong businessman. [7]

There are many middle schools and high schools in Taishan, but no academic universities. Students must study rigorously in order to be accepted at universities located in other cities.

Taishan schools include:


  • Taishan Panshi Television University (台山磐石电视大学)

High schools and middle schools:

  • Taishan No. 1 High School (台山第一中学)
  • Taishan Overseas Chinese Middle School (台山市华侨中学)
  • Taishan Peiying Vocational Technical School (台山市培英职业技术学校)
  • Taishan Taishi Senior High School (台山市台师高级中学)
  • Taishan City Peng Quan School (台山市鹏权中学)
  • Taishan Litan Gengkai Memorial Middle School (台山市李谭更开纪念中学)
  • Taishan Peizheng School (台山培正中学)
  • Taishan Renyuan Middle School (台山市任远中学)
  • Taishan Guang Hai School (台山广海中学)
  • Taishan Shuibu Middle School (台山市水步中学)
  • Taishan Lishufen Memorial Middle School (台山市李树芬纪念中学)
  • Taishan Chonglou Middle School (台山冲蒌中学)
  • Taishan Xueye Junior Middle School (台山市学业初级中学)
  • Taishan Xinning Middle School (台山市新宁中学)
  • Taishan Yizhong Dajiang Experimental Middle School (台山一中大江实验中学)
  • Taishan Najin Middle School (台山市那金中学)
  • Taishan Ningyang Middle School (台山宁阳中学)


Taishan is under the jurisdiction of Jiangmen and is responsible for a 3,286 km2 (1,269 sq mi) area comprising 16 townships (镇), which are subdivided into 313 village residential committees (村居委会) and 3,655 natural villages (自然村).[5]

These Towns are:

  • Taicheng (台城街道): sub-district and seat of the city but formerly a township.
  • Chaojìng (潮境): near Baisha in Taishan.
  • Baisha (白沙镇).
  • Beidou (北陡镇): separated from other townships by Zhenhai Bay (镇海湾).
  • Chixi (赤溪镇).
  • Dajiang (大江镇).
  • Doushan (斗山镇).
  • Duhu (都斛镇).
  • Guanghai (广海镇).
  • Haiyan (海宴镇): site of an Overseas Chinese farm (华侨农场).
  • Duanfen (端芬镇).
  • Sanhe (三合镇).
  • Chuandao (川岛镇): includes Shangchuan and Xiachuan islands, and has been declared an Integrated Open Tourism Experimental Zone (旅游开发综合试验区).
  • Shenjing (深井镇).
  • Shuibu (水步镇).
  • Sijiu (四九镇).
  • Wencun (汶村镇).
  • Chonglou (冲蒌镇).

These “Natural Villages” (自然村) include:


Taishan is accessible by bus with a long-distance bus station in Taicheng, and through a port at GongYi on the Tan River which flows into the Pearl River Delta. The ferry service between GongYi and Hong Kong has been discontinued.

Ferry services connect the island of Shangchuan with the mainland, sailing between Sanzhou Harbour (三洲港) on Shangchuan Island and Shanzui Harbor (山咀港) in Chuandao Township. There are also daily ferry services between Sanzhou Harbour and the nearby island of Xiachuan. [8][9]


The main language of Taishan is Taishanese. While most Taishanese today use Mandarin in school or formal occasions, Taishanese is the de facto language. Schools require their students to speak Mandarin in the classroom, and teachers are required to lecture in Mandarin.

Taishanese is a language of the Yue Chinese, a large group which includes, but is broader than, the Cantonese spoken in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Thus Cantonese and Taishanese are related but distinct. Cantonese is also widely known in Taishan, as it serves as the lingua franca of Guangdong Province.

Before the 1980s, Taishanese was the predominant Chinese language spoken throughout North America's Chinatowns. [1]


If considering the total Greater Taishan Region or Sze Yap Region, which includes Kaiping, Xinhui, Enping and Taishan, there are about 8 to 9 million Taishanese people worldwide. According to American historian Him Mark Lai, approximately 430,000 or 70% of Chinese Americans in the 1980s were Taishanese according to 1988 data.[10] Currently some 500,000 Chinese Americans claim Taishanese origins.[10]

While Taishan itself has a population of about 1 million, there are around 1.3 million Taishanese people overseas, distributed in 91 countries and regions.[11] It is estimated that, up to the mid- to late-20th century, over 75% of all overseas Chinese in North America claimed origin in Taishan, so Taishan has been named the "Home of Overseas Chinese."[1][12]

Power stations

Electricity for Taishan is generated by the:


Climate data for Taicheng
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 18
Average low °C (°F) 10
Average precipitation mm (inches) 43
Source: Weatherbase [13]

Claims to fame

Taishan is the birthplace of Chinese volleyball which was introduced by Overseas Chinese. Its teams have won many provincial and national championships.

Taishan and Guangzhou are the birthplaces of Guangdong music.

One quarter of the “Flying Tigers” came from Taishan. This “legendary” group of American airmen fought the Japanese prior to the United States entering the Second World War. [14]

Taishan hosts Jiangmen Star Park which has produced more international Chinese celebrities than any other region or city in China.

Parts of the movie Let the Bullets Fly were filmed in Taishan in 2010. [15][16]

Notable people


  1. ^ a b c Pierson, David (2007-05-11). "Taishan’s U.S. well runs dry".  
  2. ^ "Official Web of Taishan-Overseas Chinese Hometow". Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  3. ^ Mutze. "Remembering origins from Taishan, China" DailyQi. 2008-11-03
  4. ^ From Gold Rush to Golden State". California history Collection""". Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  5. ^ a b c
  6. ^ Chinese Emigration, the Sunning Railway and the Development of Toisan by Lucie Cheng and Liu Yuzun with Zheng Dehua, Amerasia 9(1): 59-74, 1982.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Shanzui-Shangchuan ferry schedule for 2007 (Chinese)
  9. ^ Transportation information for Shangchuan Island (Chinese)
  10. ^ a b Wu, Olivia (February 18, 2007). "Young Americans find roots in China: S.F. program offers history and genealogy, helps locate relatives".  
  11. ^
  12. ^ Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home by Madeline Y. Hsu, Stanford University Press, Stanford CA 2000, page 3.
  13. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Taicheng, China". Weatherbase. 2011.  Retrieved on November 24, 2011
  14. ^ "webmail". Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  15. ^ Kaiping Location of "Let the Bullets Fly", CRI, 3 December 2010
  16. ^ Travel Around Taishan, CNTV, March 2011

External links

  • China Taishan Web
  • Taishan City Government
  • Chinese Genealogy
  • Map of Taishan
  • Hoisanese to English Dictionary
  • Taishan Culture & Loisirs (Association of the Taishan expatriate community)
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