Benxi (Chinese: 本溪; pinyin: Běnxī) is a prefecture-level city located in the east of Liaoning province, People's Republic of China, south-southeast of the provincial capital Shenyang. Its population was 1,709,538 at the 2010 census whom 1,011,377 lived in the built-up area made of 3 urban districts (Pingshan, Xihu and Mingshan). It was founded as a metallurgical center in 1915. Benxi Iron and Steel Company (Bengang) is the largest employer in the city, and used to be the fourth-largest steel company in China. The second-largest industry in Benxi is coal mining. Benxi has pollution problems due to steel production and coal mining.
Location of Benxi City jurisdiction in Liaoning
|Coordinates (Benxi Bureau of Civil Affairs / 本溪市民政局):|
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Municipal seat||Xihu District|
|Districts and Counties|
|• CPC Benxi||Committee Secretary|
|• Mayor||Tian Shuhuai (田树槐)|
|• Prefecture-level city||8,435 km2 (3,257 sq mi)|
| • Urban|
|1,518.00 km2 (586.10 sq mi)|
|• Districts||1,518.0 km2 (586.1 sq mi)|
|Elevation||131 m (430 ft)|
|• Prefecture-level city||1,709,538|
| • Urban|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (China Standard)|
|ISO 3166 code||CN-LN-05|
|Administrative division code||210500|
As early as 400,000 years ago, there were people living in Benxi prefecture, which was indicated by Miaohou Mountain ruins with human fossils and stone tools explored in this region.
The worst coal mining disaster in the world took place on April 26, 1942 in Benxihu Colliery. A coal-dust explosion killed 1,549 miners working that day, making it the worst disaster in the history of coal mining and the second worst recorded industrial accident. The explosion sent flames bursting out of the mine shaft entrance. Miners' relatives rushed to the site but were denied entry by a cordon of Japanese guards who erected electric fences to keep them out. In an attempt to curtail the fire underground, the Japanese shut off the ventilation and sealed the pit head. Witnesses say that the Japanese did not evacuate the pit fully before sealing it, trapping many Chinese workers underground to suffocate in the smoke.
Benxi contains 4 districts and 2 autonomous counties for the Manchu nation:
|#||Name||Chinese||Hanyu Pinyin||Population (2003 est.)||Area (km²)||Density (/km²)|
|1||Pingshan District||平山区||Píngshān Qū||350,000||177||1,977|
|2||Xihu District||溪湖区||Xīhú Qū||220,000||320||688|
|3||Mingshan District||明山区||Míngshān Qū||300,000||410||732|
|4||Nanfen District||南芬区||Nánfēn Qū||80,000||619||129|
|5||Benxi Manchu Autonomous County||本溪满族
|6||Huanren Manchu Autonomous County||桓仁满族
Within these there are 25 counties, 40 villages and towns, 229 communities and 289 village committees.
Benxi is located within latitude 40° 49'–41° 35' N and longitude 123° 34'–125° 46' E, and has a total area of 8,411.31 square kilometres (3,247.62 sq mi). It is bordered by Tonghua (Jilin) to the east, Dandong to the south, Liaoyang to the west, Shenyang to the northwest, and Fushun to the north. The area has many mountains as well as a high degree of forest coverage (74%).
Benxi has a monsoon-influenced humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa), characterised by hot, humid summers, due to the East Asian monsoon, and long, cold and windy, but dry winters, due to the Siberian anticyclone. The four seasons here are distinctive. Nearly half of the annual rainfall occurs in July and August alone. The monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from −11.5 °C (11.3 °F) in January to 24.0 °C (75.2 °F) in July, and the annual mean is 7.83 °C (46.1 °F). With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 38% in July to 63% in February, the city receives 2,325 hours of bright sunshine annually.
|Climate data for Benxi (1981–2010 normals)|
|Average high °C (°F)||−4.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−11.4
|Average low °C (°F)||−16.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||8.6
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||5.0||5.0||6.2||8.2||9.6||12.3||14.3||12.2||8.3||7.6||6.8||4.8||100.3|
|Average relative humidity (%)||64||58||53||50||56||66||77||78||73||64||63||65||64|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||164.4||186.5||220.5||230.2||240.8||213.0||173.5||183.0||203.7||200.8||161.1||147.5||2,325|
|Percent possible sunshine||56||63||60||58||54||48||38||43||55||59||55||52||52|
|Source: China Meteorological Administration (precipitation days and sunshine 1971–2000)|
Benxi's economy grew 10% in 2012 to a regional GDP of 111.24 billion CNY. Ranked eighth out of fourteen prefecture level cities in Liaoning, the city's GDP accounted for approximately 4% of provincial total. Urban per-capita disposable income was 22,466 CNY, and consumption per capita 16,064 CNY.
With 46 large and medium-sized enterprises in Benxi, main industrial products are raw iron (14 million tons), steel (13 million tons), finished steel (12 million tons), cement (3 million tons) and raw coal (1 million tons). In 2008, 92,615 people were employed in manufacturing, 20,368 in education, 19,228 in public administration and social organizations, 17,913 persons in the mining industry, and 12,997 in transportation and storage. According to the type of business ownership, 63,000 were employed in private companies.
Uranium is mined in the region.
As of 2009, Asia's biggest iron ore mine, which is reported to possess more than 3 billion tons of proven reserves, has been found in this region.
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The city contains the Benxi Campus of the Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (LNUTCM).
In the perspective of high school education, the Benxi Senior High School (Benxi Gaozhong) is located in the city, while the school faced severe controversy on the unreasonably-high number of Sporting Students. However, the currency of the school is improving with the former-principal Pang Mingrong (庞鸣嵘) dismissed from the school, Pang was infamous and controversial for the injustice in his attitude towards students of different 'classes,' which builds on test scores, however revered by his students.
Benxi is rich with tourist attractions. The eastern side of the prefecture is covered with mountains, caves and lakes with low population, making the various parks in that area popular.
The Benxi Lake, located at the urban area of Xihu district in Benxi, after which the city was named in Qing dynasty, is the tiniest lake in the world. With an area less than 15 sq. meters and a daily rate of flow at approximately 20,000 tons, the lake acts as a famous tourist attraction of the city.
The Benxi Water Cave National Park is a subterranean river, some 3,000 meters long, 2 meters deep and wide enough for 20-30 boats. It flows through this cave situated 35 km (22 mi) east of Benxi city. The cave is filled with countless stalactites and stone flowers, pillars and curtains.
Wunü Mountain National Park is an area of natural beauty. The park also contains the remains of an ancient Goguryeo capital city. As such the site has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Guanmenshan National Forest Park is an valley of outstanding natural beauty. Secluded trails run up and down the valley. The area is particularly popular in autumn when the leaves of the many maple trees that line the valley turn bright red.
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Benxi.|