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Boats on Honge Lake  Sunset of lake
Boats on Honge Lake   Sunset of lake

General Information
Hongze is a county under the jurisdiction of Huai’an City. The county's name is adopted from the Lake Hongze, the fourth largest freshwater lake in China, occupying more than half of the county’s territory. The name is comprised of two Chinese characters, Hong and Ze, in which Hong means “flooding” and Ze indicates "marshland". No wonder, the lake is the soul and the body of the county. It is the county's most valuble treasure and hope.

But never forget its dark site. In the history, the lake was once the horrific nightmare for the land and for its residents, causing many times of devastating flooding and killed hundreds and thousands.

Geography, Resources and Climate
On the eastern lake shore of Lake Hongze, the county is under the jurisdiction of Huai’an City which is one of 13 prefecture cities of Jiangsu. The county borders three other Huai’an’s subdivisions: Xuyi, Jinhu and Huai’an, and Baoying County of Yangzhou jurisdiction.

The most prominent part of the county is the Lake Hongze, which fills up 60% of the county’s land mass. On its east, the county borders Baima Lake or called Whiter Horse Lake, 108 square kilometers, which is located at the conjunction of four county-level cities: Baoying, Huai’an, Jinhu and Hongze.

In the history, both the county and the lake itself were flooded by nearby two rivers, the Yellow River and the Huaihe River. The lake was actually much smaller in the 11th century and then was enlarged four times bigger than its original size due to the Yellow River’s course change, finally forcing its water into Lake Hongze. The lake and its surrounding area including Hongze County were vulnerable to flooding until the great efforts have been made in the past 50 years in construction of many artificial canals including the North Jiangsu Irrigation Main Channel.

The natural resources are abundant in its southeastern territory of the county, including crude oil, gas and salt mines.

The city is situated in a transit belt from the subtropical region to a warm temperate zone with humid changeable wind and the average temperature is close 15°C. Its climate is under the influence of the East Asia monsoon. The county has more than 200 days free of frost and seasons are distinct. The annual average rainfall is less than 1,000 mm.

Administration and Jurisdiction
Hongze County is under the jurisdiction of Huai’an. The city is comprised of 12 towns, one provincial economic development zone, one port, and special cotton farmland.

Area and Population
Hongze has a land mass of 1,394 square kilometers, but 60% of the size, 757 square kilometers, is the water surface area of the Lake Hongze. The county’s population is close a half million.

Economy, Industry and Environment
Traditionally, Hongze County relied on its agriculture and fishery earnings. The major agricultural products include livestock, poultry, vegetable and cocoon. Aquatic products are abundant including fish, crab, shrimp and aquatic vegetables. Its forests, covering 16% of the total land of the county, provide Hongze an ecological green environment and earn partial income for the county. The mulberry tree is one of principal economic plants in Hongze, which is unique food for silkworms, and guarantees its cocoon industry in booming.

As a county where water surface area occupies more than half of its land, Hongze produces abundant aquatic products including fish, shrimp, crab, shellfish, oyster, etc, plus “aquatic vegetable”, including lotus rhizome and seed, caltrop, etc. Lotus is a water plant growing in the mud of shallow ponds, marshes and flooded fields. In Asian culture, the plant can be either used as vegetables such as its seed, leaf, stalk and rhizome, or enjoyed as a green plant and flower.

The industrial sectors of the county are not significantly important and they mainly include liquor, machinery, mineral and food industries.

Hongze’s environment and ecosystem are protected quite well, specifically for its water resources. The county is making its effort to maintain its ecological environment and forest.

Transportation and Tourism
The Nanjing-Huai’an Expressway and Nanjing-Lianyungang national G205 highway run through the county from northeast to southwest. The lakes, Hongze and Baima, and Huaihe River offer convenient waterway transportations.

The General Planning of the South-to-North Water Transfer Project: the project is designed to divert water from Huaihe River or the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, through the eastern Huang-Huai-Hai Plain. The project began in 2002, and the first stage of construction is expected to last until 2007.

In the inner city, the public transportation including bus, taxi and cargo transport, buses to near cities or towns, provides convenience to commuters and visitors even if the system still needs a major improvement.

Most of the county’s tourist attractions are associated with the Lake Hongze, including Laozhi Hill, Hongze Beach, Hongze Museum, Turtle Hill, etc.

Hongze has well instituted compulsory primary education system, nearly 99 percent of school-age children are enrolled in schools. The secondary schools including high schools achieves significant graduate rate.

The Hongze Vocational School Education Center is one of provincial prestigious vocational schools and its graduates can further be accepted by higher learning institutions.

Culture and Folklore
Many local customs and folklores are related to its lake culture.

Notable Personage
From 1938 to 1945, Hongze was a frontline for the resistance force against Japanese invasion. Several army generals of the New Four Army, including Generals Deng Zihui, Luo Binghui and Peng Xuefeng, stationed here with their resistance army force.

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