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Hainan, China’s Hawaii

Hainan (海南), the smallest and southernmost province in China, is an island just across the Gulf of Tonkin from Vietnam. “Hainan” literally means “South of the Ocean.”

The capital of the region is Haikou, located on the northern tip of the island. The province was part of Guangdong Province until 1988 when the island became part of the newly created Hainan Province. The Island first entered written history in 110 BC, when the Han dynasty established a military garrison there following the arrival of General Lu Bode.

During the 1920s and 30s, Hainan was a hotbed of Communist activity, especially after a bloody crackdown in Shanghai, the Republic of China in 1927 drove many Communists into hiding.

The Communists and the Li natives fought a vigorous guerrilla campaign against the Japanese occupation of Hainan (1939–45), but in retaliation over one-third of the male population were killed by the Japanese.

After the Japanese surrender in 1945, the Nationalist Party (KMT) re-established control. Tourism plays an important part in Hainan’s economy, thanks largely to its tropical beaches and lush forests. Hainan’s climate is tropical, characterized by hot and humid summers, with mild, pleasant winters.

Tourism in Sanya

Today, it is undergoing heavy tourist-oriented development with various international hotel chains establishing resorts, especially in the Sanya area. These days, many wealthy Chinese from the northern provinces own second homes in Hainan, where they move to in the winter to escape the bitter cold that characterizes much of northern China.

It has been popular with Russian tourists for decades.

Images of Sanya, Hainan Island

Photo by jonathan.leung

Photo by jonathan.leung

Photo by llee_wu

Photo by DvYang

Photo by Thomas Fischler

Photo by Pipapok

Photo by dear.God

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