Hainan Province is China's newest administrative division on the provincial level. It was formally established by the Seventh National People's Congress in April 1988. Consisting of Hainan Island and the South China Sea Islands, it is the smallest province, with an area of34, 000 square kilometers and a total coastline of 1, 580 kilometers long. Besides the Han people, people of their and Miao nationalities live there.
The total population is 8. 05 million, and the urban population 3. 04 million(in 2004). The province administers 2middle cities, 6 county-level cities, 4counties, and 6 autonomous counties .The provincial capital is Haikou.
Hainan Island, also known as Qiong'ai, is the second largest island in China. The parallel Wuzhi and Limu Mountains dominate the central area, taking up one third of the whole island. Their main peaks are 1, 867 and 1, 412meters above sea level, respectively. Lowlands surround the mountains except on the southern coast, where precipices meet the South China Sea. The Qiongzhou Strait separates the Hainan Island from the mainland. Over 20 kilometers wide, the Qiongzhou Strait connects Beibu Bay to the South China Sea. The South China Sea Islands refer to all the islands, shoals, rocks, reefs, and shallows in the South China Sea. They are divided into four groups: Dongsha archipelago in the north; Xisha archipelago in the west Zhongsha archipelago in the center, including Huangyan Island; and Nansha archipelago in the south, ending at Zengmu Reef. The territory stretches1, 800 kilometers from north to south and over 900 kilometers from east to west.
The capital of Hainan is Haikou City. Located in the northern part of the island, it is the political, economic, cultural and transportation center of the whole province. In Hainan, the cities of Haikou and Sanya are where most tourists congregate. Sanya is famous for its tropical beach landscapes. Tianya Haijiao (the End of the Earth)and Dadonghai are two well-known beaches. Just imagine that you are lying on the sandy beach under beautiful sunshine or that you are walking through a coconut plantation under the blue sky.