Haikou is the capital
Hainan Province, a tropical island just
Guangdong Province. Separated from the mainland by the
30-kilometer-wide Qiongzhou Channel, Haikou is the main port and
business center for the island, a tropical city with streets lined
with palm trees.
Hakou has a typical
tropical climate, with annual average temperature is between 22.5 ºC and
25.6 ºC (72.5ºF and 78.08ºF). Annual sunshine hours are 1780-2600 hours.
Average annual rainfall ranges from 1500-2500 mm. Haikou's hottest
months are July and August with average temperature between 25ºC and
29ºC (77ºF and 84.2ºF) and its coldest months are January and February
with average temperature between 16ºC and 24ºC (60.8ºF and 75.2ºF).
Hainan Island has a long and complex history. The indigenous
Miao ethnic peoples each have distinct cultures and customs. Hainan
was administered as part of Guangdong Province until 1988. Since
then it has been designated a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and has
become a magnet for investment and has developed a large tourist
Known as “China’s Hawaii,” Hainan attracts visitors
from China and beyond, especially to its southern beaches around
Sanya. The tropical climate of Hainan results in very hot summers
and frequent heavy rains, including typhoons. In the south of the
island, the annual rainfall can be as much as 80 inches.
Historically, Hainan was considered a remote and exotic place of
exile. For Chinese officials banished there, Hainan was “the gate of
hell,” a place of discomfort, backward in culture, and full of
perils and diseases.
The island came under Chinese control as early
as the 2nd century BC, usually administered by Guangdong or Guangxi
Provinces to the north. It was a place of independent Li ethnic
peoples and a center for coastal piracy. Many officials were
banished here during the Tang and Song periods, when Haikou was
developed as a port.
The most famous exile was the Song poet Su Shi
(Su Dongpo). In the 15th century during the Ming period, the
indigenous Li people were driven into the mountains and forests of
the south by Han Chinese immigrants from the mainland. The Japanese
occupied the island in 1939, and killed a large percentage of the
island’s male population in retaliation for ongoing resistance
fighting. The island was closed to access during the Vietnam War