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Prefecture-level city
The skyline of Xuzhou and Yunlong Lake (云龙湖)
The skyline of Xuzhou and Yunlong Lake (云龙湖)
Location of Xuzhou City jurisdiction in Jiangsu
Location of Xuzhou City jurisdiction in Jiangsu
Xuzhou is located in China
Location in China
Coordinates: 34°16′N 117°13′E / 34.26°N 117.21°E / 34.26; 117.21Coordinates: 34°16′N 117°13′E / 34.26°N 117.21°E / 34.26; 117.21
Country China
Province Jiangsu
County-level divisions 10
Township-level divisions 161
 • Mayor Zhou Tiegen (周铁根)
 • CPC Committee Secretary Zhang Guohua (张国华)
 • Prefecture-level city 11,259 km2 (4,347 sq mi)
 • Urban 3,037 km2 (1,173 sq mi)
 • Metro 2,347 km2 (906 sq mi)
Population (2010 census)
 • Prefecture-level city 8,577,225
 • Density 760/km2 (2,000/sq mi)
 • Urban 3,053,778
 • Urban density 1,000/km2 (2,600/sq mi)
 • Metro 2,623,066
 • Metro density 1,100/km2 (2,900/sq mi)
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal code 221000(Urban center), 221000, 221000, 221000(Other areas)
Area code(s) 0516
GDP ¥ 532 billion (2015)
GDP per capita ¥ 62,000 (2015)
Major Nationalities Han
Licence plate prefixes C
Website xz.gov.cn
XZ name.svg
"Xuzhou", as written in Chinese
Chinese 徐州
Postal Suchow
Chinese 彭城

Xuzhou, known as Pengcheng in ancient times, is a major city in and the fourth largest prefecture-level city of Jiangsu Province, China. Its population was 8,577,225 at the 2010 census whom 2,623,066 lived in the built-up (or metro) area made of Quanshan, Gulou, Yunlong and Tongshan districts.[1] It is known for its role as a transportation hub in northwestern Jiangsu, as it has expressways and railway links connecting directly to the provinces of Henan and Shandong, the neighboring port city of Lianyungang, as well as the economic hub Shanghai.


Before the adoption of Hanyu Pinyin, the city's name was typically romanized as Suchow[2] or Süchow,[3][4] though it also appeared as Siu Tcheou [Fou],[5] Hsu-chou,[6] Hsuchow,[7] and Hsü-chow.[4][8]


Early history[edit]

The early prehistoric relics around Xuzhou are classified as Dawenkou culture system. Liulin (劉林) site together with Dadunzi (大墩子) site, Huating (花廳) site, and Liangwangcheng (梁王城) site correspond to the initial, middle and late stages of this culture, respectively.[9] While the remains of sacrificial rituals performed to Tudi deity found at Qiuwan (丘灣) site and Gaohuangmiao (高皇廟) site, both of them are in the outskirts of the city, indicate that Shang dynasty affected the area.[10] History relates that Peng or Great Peng, the transitions from a tribe to a chiefdom contained within the boundary of the city. Peng Zu is believed to be the first chief, while the state was eventually conquered by King Wu Ding of Shang in around 1208 BC.[11][12].

During the Western Zhou, a chiefdom called Xuyi or Xu rose and controlled the Lower Yellow River Valley. Allied with Huaiyi, Xuyi fought against Zhou and its vassals at irregular intervals. Since its declining, Xuyi once moved the capital to the area of Xuzhou and populated it with people who were migrated southwards.

After Song annexed the area, the first actual city in Xuzhou according to chronicles, was built. The name Pengcheng was given to it. In 573 BC, Chu and Zheng invaded Song and captured Pengcheng.[13] Soon afterwards, the city was recaptured. Shared its territory among them, Song eventually exterminated by Qi, Chu and Wei in 286 BC. Chu got the part which in the north of the Huai River. Before that, Chu saw the area as their natural sphere of influence due to the growing influence. Xuzhou and its west neighbouring region were referred to as West Chu. Since its realm shrunk, Chu moved its capital to this area in 278 BC after the Qin army captured its old one, Ying, in modern Jingzhou, Hubei. Moreover, there were two minor states called Pi and Zhongwu in then east of Xuzhou during the Spring and Autumn period.

Imperial China[edit]

The domino effect caused by the Dazexiang Uprising is enormous. Xiang Liang, one of the main rebel leaders, made a bid for recognized authority by reconstituting the old kingdom of Chu, choosing as king a grandson of a former ruler. The capital city of the new kingdom was established at Pengcheng.[14] After Liang's death, his nephew, Xiang Yu won the overlordship from power struggle, he proclaimed himself the Hegemon-King of Western Chu and kept Pengcheng as a capital until defeated by Liu Bang in 202 BC.

Lacquered Wood Coffin Inlaid with Jade, unearthed from the Han Dynasty king's tomb at Shizishan hill in 1995.

Liu Bang, first emperor of the Han Dynasty (206 BC−AD 220), was born in Pei County, Xuzhou. At the beginning of the Han Dynasty, Xuzhou became part of the Kingdom of Chu, a principality ruled by relatives of the royal Liu family. Initially, Liu Bang allowed his relatives to rule parts of the country since they were assumed to be the most trustworthy. However, the Kingdom of Chu under third generation ruler Liu Wu rebelled against the central authority during the Rebellion of the Seven Princes and was defeated. His tomb was recently excavated near Xuzhou. Perhaps the earliest reliable evidence of the presence of Buddhism in China could be found in Pengcheng, which was the seat of Liu Ying, the Prince of Chu when the Emperor Ming of Han reigned. Ying had both Taoist and Buddhist faith, he also supported some monks and even kept them around him, according to a letter to him from the Emperor.[15]

The letter was wrote in 65 AD, before Buddhism was introduced formally in 68. By the end of the 2nd century, a prosperous community had been settled at Pengcheng.[16]

In 193, Cao Cao attacked Pengcheng and the others cities of Xu Province. Then Cao and his enemies controlled Xuzhou alternately until he defeated Liu Bei in 200.

The invasions of the Five Barbarians posed a great threat to the local residents. With considerable households migrated to the south of the Yangtze River since the 3rd century, Xu Province was lost and became a migrated province. Its capital moved to Jingkou, namely Zhenjiang nowadays, from Pengcheng also. The old province where then Pengcheng was located was prefixed "North" to distinguish. Until Liu Yu recaptured there in 421, reversion ensued.

The raging wars inflicted upon Xuzhou until the Emperor Taizong of Tang's enthronement in 626. Keeping the northern rebellions and warfare a distance gave Xuzhou scope for developing during the most period of the Tang Dynasty. According to the Old Book of Tang and the New book of Tang, in 639, the total population of Pengcheng County, Fei County and Pei County was only 21,768, versus 205,286 in 742.[17]

Animal Defending the Tomb, Tang Dynasty

In 781, General Li Na rebelled, but his cousin Li Wei (李洧) as the prefect of Xuzhou, refused to cooperate with him. Na was angry at that and commanded his army to lay siege to the city of Xuzhou. Several days afterwards, the imperial authority's force arrived and defeated Na. Na's rebel made it was necessary to reinforce defence in Xuzhou for the court.[18] In 788, Zhang Jianfeng, the prefect of Xuzhou at the time, was appointed as the first military governor (or Jiedushi,節度使) of Xuzhou-Sizhou-Haozhou (徐泗濠節度使) whose headquarters was still at Xuzhou. The title was invalid since 800, but was restored and rename Wuning (武寧) in 805. In consideration of Wang Zhxing's sterling war record, the court granted him formal appointment to Wuning in the spring of 822. He recruited about 2000 brutal soldiers to garrison the city, Wang's successors mostly were came from the civil officer system, made they incapable of controlling these soldiers increasingly.[19] The Wuning army also became notorious, the garrison even expelled its governor, Wen Zhang (溫璋), in 862.[20] Meantime, they revolted twice in 849 and 859.[21]

Then Wang Shi (王式) replaced Wen. Wang suppressed the garrison and disintegrated the Wuning army. Far from settling matters, this simply produced a new and more difficult problem, for the soldiers who had fled or were banished from the city began to terrorize the surrounding area as bandits. The next year, 864, the court declared an amnesty in the area, and promised that all former soldiers who willingly re-enrolled would be sent for a tour of duty in the southern.[22] Coincidentally, it was these people beset the court several years later.[23] In 868, about 800 soldiers stationed at Guizhou (Guilin nowadays) and, led by their provisions officer Pang Xun, began to march back north, the extended service and abuse from their chief contributed to their furious desertion. The court decided to pardon the revolt, and to allow the soldiers to return home under escort, provided they surrendered their arms halfway. Having done so, the soldiers, suspecting that the court's pardon was probably only a trick to get them off their guard and that they would be attacked on the way back to their hometowns or else killed when they returned, took steps to re-arm themselves.[24] Pang's troop captured Xuzhou and also the extensive area around the prefecture by 869, but eventually defeat by the court's army in the end of this year. Consequently, thousands people were executed.[25] Whereas the court had to restore the Wuning army again in the next year, they also hope the army don't stir up trouble any more, thus, it was renamed "Ganhua (感化)", whose rough meaning in Chinese is "reformatory" or "moral exhortation".[26]

After the Yellow River began to change course during the Song Dynasty (AD 960−1279), heavy silting at the Yellow River estuary forced the river to channel its flow into the lower Huai River tributary. The area became barren thereafter due to persistent flooding, nutrient depletion and salination of the once fertile soil.

After the Jingkang incident, Wanyan Zonghan's army marched to the Yangtze River in 1129, meanwhile he ordered his subordinate Nijuhun to storm Xuzhou. On February 17, Nijuhun occupied Xuzhou after a 27-days siege, and the guarding governor Wang Fu was executed for refusing to surrender. Wang's successor Zhao Li (趙立) regrouped his forces and raided the enemy. He achieved an enormous victory, however, as a strategic decision, he evacuated from Xuzhou with soldiers and citizens, went south to rescue the siege of Chuzhou in the end of this year.[27] Henceforth, Xuzhou was ruled by Jurchen over a century.

In 1232, the general Wang You (王佑), Feng Xian (封仙) revolted, they expelled the Jurchen's governor Tuktan. Then the Mongolian army led by Anyong (安用), a Han Chinese general captured Xuzhou soon. Both the general of Suzhou (宿州) Liu Anguo (刘安国) and the general of Pizhou Du Zheng (杜政) yielded their owned city to Anyong. Regarding Anyong's behave as grabbing reputation, the Mongolian general Asuru (阿术鲁/额苏伦 in Chinese) irritated and persisted to kill him. Felt panic, Anyong sought refuge from Jurchen.[28] The Jin Dynasty resumed its ruling in Xuzhou, and it was quite transient. The serious disunity made betraying recur. On November 1233, the garrison of Xuzhou welcomed the Mongolian.[29] Meantime, Anyong pledged loyalty to the Song Dynasty. He captured the city again after the Mongolian army left. In the spring of the next year, the Mongolian commander Zhang Rong (张荣) attacked Xuzhou,[30] Anyong drowned himself after the final defeat.[28] The Mongolian governor of Xuzhou and Pizhou called Li Gaoge (李杲哥) surrendered to the Song in 1262. Then he failed and was killed after several days.[31]

An uneasy calm settled over Xuzhou during the most time of the Yuan Dynasty (1271−1368), but it was broken completely by the waves of insurrection since 1350s. A rebellion headed by Li Er (李二), or was known as his nickname: Sesame Li (芝麻李) rose in Xuzhou subsequent to the Red Turban Rebellion.[32] The imperial court issued an ultimatum to them with a 20-days deadline, it proved to be ineffectual. Then Toqto'a led a successful expedition in 1352 to recapture the city. It was the symbolically most important campaigns he chose to command in person.[33] And his troops not only put Li's followers down with appalling barbarity but also massacred the citizens brutally.[34] Zhang Shicheng occupied Xuzhou in 1360 as the most northerly city of his domain.[35] The Hongwu Emperor's general Xu Da , captured Xuzhou in the summer of 1366. Then his subordinates Fu Youde (傅友德) and Lu Ju (陸聚) beat Köke Temür in the vicinity of the city.[32]

The rubbing images of a copper identification token (which usually fastened on a belt) for a patrol officer in Xuzhou Guard. Its front was engraved with "Xuzhou Guard" in seal script, while the back was engraved with "Patrol".

Xuzhou had been a hub for both the national courier system and the grain tribute system for several centuries.[36] It played a more prominent role after the Yongle Emperor ambitiously planned to move imperial capital to Beijing. Aimed at holding this vital hub, three garrison areas, namely Guards, or also Wei () in Chinese, were established in modern Xuzhou's area: Xuzhou Guard (徐州衛), Xuzhou Left Guard (徐州左衛), Pizhou Guard (邳州衛), while more than 10,000 soldiers were stationed there. Granaries collecting the tribute grain destined for the capital were also established in Xuzhou when the Yongle Emperor reigned.[37] The flourishing economy largely attributed to the carriage, especially by the Grand Canal,[38] one of seven customs barriers (or customs houses, 鈔關) under the Ministry of Revenue was located in Xuzhou.[39] It was retained until the late Qing.[40]

Choe Bu, a Korean official, who passed Xuzhou along the Grand Canal in 1488, his book, the Geumnam pyohaerok writes:

The cities in the north of the Yangtze River, such as Yangzhou, Huai'an, and the ones in the north of the Huai River, such as Xuzhou, Jining, Linqing, are prosperous and bustling just like the Jiangnan region...

However, two Rapids: the Xuzhou Rapids (徐州洪), a kilometer southeast of Xuzhou, and the Lüliang Rapids (呂梁洪), another 24 kilometers further south were threats for vessels and sailors.[41] In 1604, the Jia River was repaired to link Weishan Lake and the Yellow River rounding two Rapids as the new stretch of the Grand Canal, which gave a shock for local development.

One of areas constantly susceptible to famine was Xuzhou. Here famine struck in 1441. There was serious flooding in 1452, 1453, 1456, and 1457, and in 1458 there was again widespread famine. What's worse, the harshness of the climate led to more severe flood and drought alternately in almost every year, was a torture for the prefecture since 15th century.[42]

After the Hongguang Emperor enthroned in Nanjing, the court designated four defense areas along the southern bank of the Yellow River (江北四鎮) to repulse the Qing armies. While the former bandit general, Gao Jie (高傑) was designated to take the crucial forward position at Xuzhou by Shi Kefa.[43] But the assassination of Gao seriously reduced the court's capacity to deal with challenges from Qing.[44] Gao's successor was Li Chengdong (李成棟). Being aware of forthcoming attack, Li deserted Xuzhou in the early summer of 1645. Then Dodo's army captured the city.

Map of Xuzhou Prefecture Walled City in Qing dynasty

The Tancheng earthquake in 1688 involved Xuzhou, its disastrous consequence was recorded by the local chorography:[45]

City walls,government offices and also residents' houses, mostly were ruined, and the collapsing buildings around the area led to enormous deaths...

Then many people were living outside or in shacks, and the circumstances were restored after several months.

The tragic process whereby the Yellow River shifted its course from the southern to the northern side began in 1851 with a series of damaging floods that inundated broad reaches of Xuzhou and its environs. Though it was not until August 1855 that there occurred the massive break in the dikes that released the river north-eastward, the years from 1851 brought ruin and famine. These years of economic desperation exacerbated the endemic malaise of inter-community feuding, a circumstance of some significance for intensifying Nian movement. Felt obliged, Zeng Guofan rushed to Xuzhou and commanded the troops. The army of Nian attempted to attack the city in the following decade for several times, but all in vain.

Modern China[edit]

Zhang's troops in Xuzhou

Zhang Xun fled into Xuzhou with the remnants of his force, after the Nanking Uprising. They entered the city on 5 December 1911. A rifle platoon of garrison revolted on 7 February 1912. Since most of force had been flattened by the assaults, Zhang escaped to Yanzhou. On 11 February, the Revolutionary Army captured the area and disestablished the prefecture.

Yuan Shikai rearmed Zhang's army, then the latter returned and recaptured Xuzhou in the summer of the next year. They cracked down the republicans remained and continue their push towards Nanjing. Thereafter Zhang's headquarters was established in Xuzhou, he summoned the rest leaders of Beiyang clique to the conference for four times. Zhang involved the stalemate among Li Yuanhong and Duan Qirui in 1917. He marched towards Beijing at the head of a large force on 7 June. His failure spread and caused a terrible wave of theft and arson committed by his garrisons later in Xuzhou in July.

Chiang Kai-shek with Feng Yuxiang in Xuzhou, 1927

In the early Warlord Era, Xuzhou was Anhui clique's domain. But the area changed hands several times in the 1920s. Fengtian clique, Zhili clique and National Revolutionary Army controlled the area, successively.[46] As the leader of the Northern Expedition, Chiang Kai-shek arrived in Xuzhou on 17 June 1927. He conferred with Feng Yuxiang and other Kuomintang officers on 20 June, Feng was courted by Nanjing.[47] Then Sun Chuanfang and Zhang Zongchang began to fight in unison against the Nationalist government. They captured the city on 24 June. The fall of Xuzhou arouse public outrage, Chiang 's first resignation ensued. On 16 December, Nanjing force took the area again.[48]

Chinese killed by Japanese Army in a ditch, Xuzhou

The area was the site both of the Battle of Xuzhou in 1938 against the Japanese Army in the Second Sino-Japanese War and of the critical battle in the Chinese Civil War, the Huaihai Campaign in 1948-49. The capitulation of Chiang Kai-shek to Chinese communist forces at Xuzhou led to the fall of the Nationalist Chinese capital Nanking.[49]

On May 19, 1938, Chiang gave order to abandoned Xuzhou, then Japanese military controlled the city.

In 1942, the Reorganized National Government took over Xuzhou from Japanese military superficially and divided several counties of the northern Jiangsu and Bozhou into Suhuai Special Regions. Then it converted as Huaihai Province, and its capital was Xuzhou. Hao Pengju was appointed as the governor.[50]

On September 7, the 19th Army Group of the National Revolutionary Army of Chen Ta-ching arrived in Xuzhou and garrisoned. Then more National Revolutionary Army gathered to control Jinpu Railway against CPC. In the same year, the urban area of Tongshan county at that time was spun off into Xuzhou City. On November 16, Xuzhou Prefectural Government was founded. On December 21, Xuzhou Pacification Commission (徐州綏靖公署) was founded.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Japanese Army committed sorts of crime in and around Xuzhou. The Nationalist Government founded Xuzhou court-martial for Japanese war criminals affiliated to Xuzhou Pacification Commission on February 15, 1946. There were 25 war criminals at the trials, and 8 were executed finally, including two Koreans.[51][52]

George Marshall, Zhang Zhizhong and Zhou Enlai met in Xuzhou to avoid the potential civil war

Since February 10, 1946, Guo Yingqiu as the representaive of the CPC arrived for the discussion on the peace of the city and its environs. Three months of negotiation ended fruitlesssly. On March 2, the "Committee of Three", comprising George Marshall, Zhang Zhizhong and Zhou Enlai arrived for the ceasefire in the Central China. Still, the KMT and the CPC came into conflict soon. Xu Yue was the director of Xuzhou Pacification Commission. Gu Zhutong replace him to gassioned Xuzhou as the Commanding General of Army in the next year, while Xuzhou Pacification Commission was converted into Xuzhou Command Headquarters affiliated to the General Headquarters. Chiang even ordered Yasuji Okamura to Xuzhou as military adviser.

Xuzhou Command Headquarters was reorganised as General Suppression Headquarters of Xuzhou Garrison on June 14, 1948, while Liu Chih was the Commanding General and Du Yuming was the Deputy. The PLA attacked the area around Xuzhou to besiege the city in November. They captured it on December 1.

The Huaihai Campaign ended on January 10, 1949, KMT still controlled remaining region of Jiangsu, hence, Shandong Province administrated Xuzhou and Lianyungang of the time temporarily. Although the period was short (1949–52), the followed impacts was lasting. For instance, Xuzhou Railway Branch Administration affiliated to Jinan Railway Administration from then on until transferring to Shanghai in 2008.

During the Cultural Revolution, the railway system of most China was collapsed, especially in Xuzhou, which was noticed by Beijing. In 1975, Deng Xiaoping sent Wan Li as the minister of railways to Xuzhou on mission to restore order.[53]

On April 22, 1993, Xuzhou was ratified as "Larger Municipality" with legislative power by the State Council.[54]


The evolutionary history[edit]

The present administrative division[edit]

The prefecture-level city of Xuzhou administers ten county-level divisions, including five districts, two county-level cities and three counties. These are further divided into 161 township-level divisions, including 63 subdistricts and 98 towns.[55]

Map Hanzi Pinyin Population (2010) Area (km2) Density
City Proper
Yunlong District 云龙区 Yúnlóng Qū 1,536,502 438 3,508
Gulou District 鼓楼区 Gúlóu Qū
Quanshan District 泉山区 Quánshān Qū
Tongshan District 铜山区 Tóngshān Qū 1,086,564 1,909 569
Jiawang District 贾汪区 Jiǎwāng Qū 430,712 690 624.22
Suining County 睢宁县 Suíníng Xiàn 1,039,315 1,767 588.01
Pei County 沛县 Pèi Xiàn 1,141,935 1,349 847
Feng County 丰县 Fēng Xiàn 963,531 1,446 666
Satellite cities (County-level cities)
Pizhou 邳州市 Pīzhōu Shì 1,458,038 2,088 698
Xinyi 新沂市 Xīnyí Shì 920,628 1,571 586
Total 8,577,225 11,259 762


Geology, Landform and Hydrology[edit]

The geologic structure of Xuzhou consisting of four parts from east to west, more precisely, they belong to the Shandong-Jiangsu Traps (鲁苏地盾), the Tancheng-Lujiang Fault Zone (郯庐断裂带), the Xu-Huai Downwarp-fold Belt (徐淮坳褶带) and the Fault-block of West Shandong (鲁西断块) respectively. It was formed during the Archean Eon and maintains relatively stable since then.[56]

Most area of Xuzhou is located in the Xu-Huai Alluvial Plain (徐淮黄泛平原), the southeast part of the North China Plain.

There is a zone along the old course of Yellow River covered with sediment through the area.

The city proper is bisected by the ancient channel of Yellow River, while Yunlong Lake (云龙湖) is located in the its southwest.

Luoma Lake, located on the Xinyi-Suqian boundaries, is the main resource of tap water for Xuzhou since 2016.


Xuzhou has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa), with cool, dry winters, warm springs, long, hot and humid summers, and crisp autumns. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 0.4 °C (32.7 °F) in January to 27.1 °C (80.8 °F) in July; the annual mean is 14.48 °C (58.1 °F). Snow may occur during winter, though rarely heavily. Precipitation is light in winter, and a majority of the annual total of 832 millimetres (32.8 in) occurs from June thru August. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 44% in July to 54% in three months, the city receives 2,221 hours of bright sunshine annually.

The lowest temperature recorded in Xuzhou was -23.3 °C, on 6 February 1969, while the highest was 43.4 °C, on 15 July 1955.[57]

Climate data for Xuzhou (1971−2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 19.8
Average high °C (°F) 5.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.4
Average low °C (°F) −3.3
Record low °C (°F) −17.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 17.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 4.0 5.4 6.4 7.1 7.4 8.0 13.5 9.9 7.2 6.8 5.1 3.7 84.5
Average relative humidity (%) 66 64 62 62 64 67 80 81 74 70 69 66 68.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 144.8 147.5 177.0 210.5 232.7 218.6 191.9 202.8 188.3 190.8 164.2 151.8 2,220.9
Percent possible sunshine 46 48 48 54 54 51 44 49 51 54 53 50 50.2
Source: China Meteorological Administration[58]

Natural disasters[edit]

The earthquakes seldom affected Xuzhou historically, except for the 462 Yanzhou earthquake and 1668 Tancheng earthquake, which caused enormous losses and casualties, while the epicenters rarely located in this area.


According to the 1% National Population Sample Survey in 2015, the total resident population of Xuzhou reached 8.66 millions, and the sex ratio was 101.40 males to 100 females.[59]

Historical resident population[17]
Year Urban areas Tongshan Feng Pei Suining Pizhou Xinyi Total
1913 826,083 291,562 280,345 501,867 636,040 2,535,897
1918 854,213 281,696 294,604 506,975 639,064 2,576,552
1928 954,939 308,968 329,933 508,226 568,193 2,670,259
1932 986,536 304,480 346,593 547,848 584,904 2,770,361
1935 1,099,296 364,007 391,121 645,890 642,641 3,142,955
1953 333,190 1,072,430 473,815 395,094 653,854 683,113 452,203 4,063,699
1964 505,417 1,001,377 587,822 575,237 729,619 861,117 518,086 4,778,675
1982 779,289 1,414,460 834,568 869,778 981,917 1,187,526 741,600 6,809,138
1990 949,267 1,741,522 952,760 1,042,280 1,160,772 1,431,728 883,650 8,161,979
2002 1679626 1,262,489 1,068,404 1,183,048 1,217,820 1,539,922 962,656 8,913,965
2010 1,911,585 1,142,193 963,597 1,141,935 1,042,544 1,458,036 920,610 8,580,500


Earlier development[edit]

Xuzhou is a vital hub for freight, especially during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The city once benefited from waterborne freight without reckoning on the war eras, however, its traditional economic economy was nearly ruined after the Yellow River flooded and changed its course in 1855 and the abandon of the Caoyun system.

Unearthed bronze mirror decorated with design of figures, from a Western Han tomb in Xuzhou

The Yellow River not only affect trading but also farming. The main cereal crop cultivated in Xuzhou used to be Japonica rice, however, as the impact of the river made the area dry-farming, they became really rare at least during the mid-Qing. On the eve of Revolution of 1911, wheat, soya bean and peanut were widely planted.

The mining and metallurgy in Xuzhou began quite early. According to the archaeological site at Liguo, a town in northern Xuzhou, there were furnaces for iron constructed during the Han dynasty. A triangle-edge copper mirror with carved divine beasts was found in the Kurozuka Kofun (黒塚古墳) which located at Tenri, Japan, and it was engraved with inscriptions: "Copper from Xuzhou; craftman from Luoyang" in Chinese (“銅出徐州;師出洛陽”). Hence its material is believed to fabricated probably in Xuzhou during the Three Kingdoms period.[60] There is another similar mirror found in Liaoyang's ancient tombs. The Song's Government set up Liguo Bureau (or Liguo Jian, 利國監) to smelt iron in 979, while Baofeng Bureau (or Baofeng Jian, 寶豐監) was order to mint coins since 1083.[61][62][63] The coals of Xuzhou were discovered when Su Shi as the local governor, then they were utilized to smelt Liguo's iron ore, replaced the charcoal. Su even wrote a poem entitled The coals (石炭) to record this event, which shows that the coal industry of Xuzhou initiated no later than 1079.

Modern times[edit]

From 1910s to 1940s, the staple merchandise for sale were peanut, soya bean, soya bean meal, wheat, sesame, sunflower seed, daylily, alive swine and pelt. Meanwhile, the ones for purchase were fabric, cotton yarn, sugar, salt, cigarettes, kerosene, etc. And the main domestic trades were associating with Nanjing and Shanghai.

As the railways extended to Xuzhou, the city appeared to be prospering again, and it opened to foreign traders formally in 1922,[64] still, only quite a few small and medium-sized shops were operating, on account of the continual warfare. Meanwhile, the industrial structure had to adapt itself to a war economy. Distilled beverage industry in Xuzhou was single flourishing sector since the Japanese military purchased the liquor from practitioners as an alternative to alcohol during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Likewise the lodging industry from 1945 to 1949, it grew rapidly as massing of KMT's troops. Besides, the finance was also in disorder. On November, 1933, recession and over-issue of the local notes triggered a run on local banks, which gummed up whole regional commercial activities.

The early modern mining in Xuzhou could be considered as a minor product of the Self-Strengthening Movement since 1881. It struggled on into the 20 century. CPC's industrial policy once made it blossomed and brought a main satellite city, Jiawang. The whole area possesses about 93% of the Jiangsu coals reserves.[56] In 1970, Datun mining area was put under Shanghai administration for providing adequate coals.

When Zhang Xun occupied Xuzhou, he ordered to build a power station in the north of the city. Its 40-kilowatt generator started in 1914, which made Xuzhou became one of the few cities with electricity. On August 1, 1941, a power plant whose installed capacity was 1250 kilowatts completed in Jiawang. The power industry gained great progress after 1949. Installed capacity of the Xuzhou Plant up to 13,000,000 kilowatts in 1985.[65]

During the planned economy period, the coal and electric power industries reinforced their importance while the main manufacture were metallic materials, chemicals and mining machines. The city was defined as one of the old industrial bases after the Chinese economic reform.

Nowadays, the most important industries of Xuzhou are machinery, energy and food production. Wheat-maize rotation is quite widespread since the 20th century while the main contemporary fruit yield are apple and pear, besides, peach, grape, pomegranate and apricot are also common. Ginkgo tree is another economic plant.

The construction machinery manufacturer XCMG is the largest company based in Xuzhou. It is the world's tenth-largest construction equipment maker measured by 2011 revenues, and the third-largest based in China (after Sany and Zoomlion).[66]


By the imperial era, Xuzhou was nearly barren of education resources, in comparison with Jiangnan. In 1903, a traditional academy being turned into public primary school, was the beginning of modernising the local education. Even in Republican China, only a limited number of underfunded schools was available. There were only two colleges: Provincial College of Kiangsu (省立江蘇學院) and North China Theological Seminary, besides 19 urban middles school in 1948.[67]

This impoverishment is reversed since the 1950s. In 1958, Jiangsu Normal Academy relocated to Xuzhou. And then Nanjing Medical College, Xuzhou Branch was founded in July. Both of the institutions have been preserved after the Great Leap Forward. In 1978, then China Institute of Mining and Technology relocated to Xuzhou from the West of China.

North gate of Wenchang Campus, Xuzhou Branch, China University of Mining and Technology


Universities and colleges[edit]

Scenic spots[edit]

Tourist attractions in Xuzhou include Yunlong Mountain (Cloud Dragon Mountain) and the nearby Yunlong Lake, which are near the downtown area. There are also Xuzhou Museum and Han Dynasty Stone Carvings museum next to the Yunlong Mountain.

The most important places of interest in Xuzhou are the relics of Han Dynasty, including Terracotta Army of Han, Mausoleum of the kings of Han and the art of stone graving.


According to the local administrator's survey in 2014, around 4.76% of the population of Xuzhou, namely 0.46 million people belongs to organised religions.The largest groups being Protestants with 350,000 people, followed by Buddhists with 70,000 people.


A main church in urban area of Xuzhou

Despite being guaranteed the religious liberty, the initial missionary work was held up by stout resistance in the 1880s. The involvement of a secret society escalated regional disputes, known as "Xuzhou Missionary Cases", in the next decade. Especially in 1896, thousands of rioters destroyed almost all the local churches. While the riots were deemed as retaliation for missionaries' villainy.

The missionary work before 1918, on the whole, dominated by Jesuits in France. Then more French-Canadians arrived in Xuzhou to assist their French brethren. They even started the magazine titled 'Le Brigand'', the early articles of that revolve around their work. Apostolic Prefecture of Süchow established in 1931, it was promoted as a Diocese in 1946.

The local missionary work at its zenith in 1938. There were about 68,000 Catholics, 365 mission schools with about 10,050 students. The Japanese changed such a success.[68] Bishop Philip Côté who refused to cooperate with the government was exiled in 1953. While the rest of missions left in the next year.[69]


Later in the 1880s, Alfred G. Jones reached Xuzhou and worked as a Baptist minister. Made slow progress, he turned to American Southern Presbyterian Mission before he left. Hugh W.White was sent to Xuzhou. He returned with Mark Grier in 1896, after an enforced absence. Then Frank A.Brown, E. H. Hamilton, L. S. Morgan and others joined them. Brown as the last foreign Protestant missionary departed from Xuzhou in the spring of 1949.[70]


Horse and warrior figures from the Han Dynasty Guishan Tomb near Xuzhou


According to Xu Wei's Nanci Xulu (南詞敘錄; [Treatises and Catalogue of Nanqu]), Yuyao Tone (余姚腔), one of then major Southern Operas, was prevalent in Xuzhou during the Mid-Ming period. Shanxi merchants popularized Bangzi in Xuzhou afterwards, since it was introduced in the late Ming along the Great Cannel. Fused the local ballads in dialect, this localized version evolved into a new opera over the following centuries. The opera was designated as Jiangsu Bangzi (江蘇梆子) in 1962.

The new municipal concert hall was opened in 2011, shaped like a myrtle flower. However, the various regular performances are unattainable. While the first local philharmonic orchestra is established in 2015.


The first local newspaper entitled Hsing-hsü Daily (醒徐日報) was started in 1913. Nowadays, Xuzhou's major newspaper is Xuzhou Daily (徐州日報), which was founded in the end of 1948. It is owned and operated by the Xuzhou Committee of the Communist Party of China.[71]

Local radio stations
Station Chinese name Frequency
News Radio 新闻广播 93 FM
Private Motor Radio 私家车广播 91.6 FM
Traffic Radio 交通广播 103.3 FM
Joy Radio 文艺广播 89.6 FM
Local television channels
Channel Chinese name Description
XZ·1 徐州·1 News & General
XZ·2 徐州·2 Economy & Life
XZ·3 徐州·3 Arts & Entertainment
XZ·4 徐州·4 Public

The earliest local radio was broadcasting in 1934 for public education. Then Japanese military founded Hsuchow Broadcasting Station (徐州放送局; Joshi Hōsōkyoku) in 1938, after the city was captured. The National Army took over it after the World War II. Broadcasting was resumed in 1949, operated by the CPC. In 1980, Xuzhou TV Station was established. A decade later, Xuzhou TV Tower was completed.



As a subdialect of Central Plains Mandarin, Xuzhou dialect is spoken in the whole area, especially in the suburb and countryside.


Xuzhou cuisine is closely related to Shandong cuisine's Jinan-style. Xuzhou's most well known foods include bǎzi ròu (pork belly, and other items stewed in a thick broth), sha tang (饣它.svg汤), and various dog meat dishes.

Another one of Xuzhou's famous dishes is di guo (地锅) style cooking which places ingredients with a spicy sauce in a deep black skillet and cooks little pieces of flatbread on the side or top. Common staples of di guo style cooking include: chicken, fish, lamb, pork rib and eggplant.

Fu Yang Festival (伏羊节) is a traditional festival celebrated in the city. It starts on Chufu (初伏) which is around mid-July and lasts for about one month. During the festival, people eat lamb meat and drink lamb soup. This festival is very popular among all the citizens.




National Highway[edit]


Xuzhou is one of the most important railway hubs in China. Xuzhou has two main railway stations: Xuzhou Railway Station and Xuzhou East Railway Station. Xuzhou Railway Station is one of the largest Chinese railway stations, it is the interchange station of Jinghu Railway, Longhai Railway. Xuzhou East Railway Station lies in the eastern suburb of Xuzhou, which is the hub of Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway and Xuzhou–Lanzhou High-Speed Railway.

Its satellite city Xinyi has a smaller hub, Xinyi Railway Station is the terminus of Jiaozhou–Xinyi Railway and Xinyi–Changxing Railway.


Xuzhou Guanyin Airport serves the area with scheduled passenger flights to major airports in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hong Kong and many other cities.

A general airport will be finished in Xinyi by 2017.[72]

Public transportation[edit]

Xuzhou is the first city in North Jiangsu to build a subway system. The project was approved by State Council in 2013. 3 subway lines are being built and expected to be completed by 2019-2020 one after another, with total length of 67 km.

Xuzhou has a public bicycle system for citizens since 2012.

The others[edit]

The Grand Canal flows through Xuzhou, and the navigation route extends from Jining to Hangzhou.

Luning oil pipeline, which originates from Shandong Linyi (临邑) County to Nanjing, passes through Xuzhou.


Xuzhou is headquarters of the 12th Group Army of the People's Liberation Army, one of the three group armies that compose the Nanjing Military Region responsible for the defense of China's eastern coast and possible military engagement with Taiwan. The People's Liberation Army Navy also has a Type 054A frigate that shares the name of the region.

See also[edit]


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  5. ^ Louis Hermand, Les étapes de la Mission du Kiang-nan 1842-1922 et de la Mission de Nanking 1922-1932, Shanghai, 1933.
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  • Twitchett, Denis (2007). The Cambridge History of China, Volume 3: Sui and T'ang China, 589–906, Part 1. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-21446-9. 
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  • Zhao, Liangyu (2015). 环境·经济·社会——近代徐州城市社会变迁的研究(1882–1948). China Social Sciences Press. ISBN 978-7-516-16418-1. 

External links[edit]