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This page was last updated on: September 23, 2017
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The Path of the Yellow River through Tibet & China :
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Schematic Map of the Flow Path of the Yellow River through China.
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Kaifeng (Henan Province)
Zhengzhou (Henan Province)
Luoyang (Henan Province)
Taiyuan (Shanxi Province)
Lanzhou (Capital of Gansu Province)
Xining / Silung (Capital of Qinghai Province)
Xi'An (Capital of Shaanxi Province)
Yinchuan (Capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region)
Beijing & City Province - Capital of China (PRC)
Go to Next Page ! The Yellow River as a Transportation Highway.
In 1950 A.D. Shang Dynasty (1766 B.C. - 1121 B.C.) remains were uncovered at Zhengzhou, the current Capital of Henan Province along the Yellow River. The archeological digs since have uncovered an impressive walled city, which to date has been the earliest known remnants of a city at Zhengzhou found. Along with the digging for Shang Dynasty Era remains, important relics from the Zhou Dynasty Era (1121 B.C. - 255 B.C.) city, built atop the washed away Shang City, were found.
In addition, in 1951, the primary site of what has become known as the Erligang Culture (that existed from approximately 1510 to 1460 BC) which predated the Shang but nevertheless has become known as the Zhengzhou Shang City site, was discovered at Erligang, within the modern city of Zhengzhou. Although, existing only briefly, in the expansion of their culture, the Erligang People established colonies as far south of the Yangzte River in Hubei Province.

1953: By accident, workers hired to clear a site in southern Xi'An City discover an ancient Neolithic Site belonging to a previously unknown early Chinese Culture. In due time, an entire (new) stone age village, including storage houses, pottery kilns and homes is laid bare. The abundance of artifacts and other remnants found prove this to be the Ban Po Village, which was occupied by early mankind in the years 4500 BC to 3750 BC. The larger culture to which this village belongs is later dubbed the Yangshao Culture, a matrilineal society engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry and pottery making.
Although, in previous years other spectacular finds have already been made, the archeological dig at Banpo Village becomes the first large scale archeological dig and research operation in the history of the Peoples Republic.

The year 1956 A.D. saw the establishment of the Shapotou Desert Research Facility at Shapotou in Zhongwei Prefecture along the Yellow River in south-western Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The center was to establish methods of combatting desertification and the advancing of sand dunes, all in combination with the vital agricultural and economic role of the Ningxia Region (as well as other parts of the West). The center also helped establish methods of protecting the rails of the Baolan Railway (under construction) from being overwhelmed or undermined by the sands and prevailing winds.
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Map Tibet Historical Borders
A Schematic Map of Historical Tibet, today Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai Province and a part of Sichuan province.
Included for reference are current International Borders, provincial borders, locations and names of main cities and towns, main rivers and lakes, mountains, important Tibetan-Buddhist Monasteries and other places of significance.
Further Reports link to More Photos and History & Backgrounds of each City, Town or Ethnic Community of Yugur, Dongxiang Tibetan, Lhoba, Kazakh, Mongol or others where available.
Today Tibet only exists as Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Tourist visits require an aditional visa !
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To History o/t Yellow River (8) The Warlord Era, Civil War and World War 2
To History o/t Yellow River (8) The Warlord Era, Civil War and World War 2
Shanghai City & Province
Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province
- Main: Path o/t Yellow River - Introduction to the Huanghe in General
- History of the Yellow River (1) Earliest History o/t River
                                 (2) Qin and Han Dynasty
                                 (3) Three Dynasties, 16 Kingdoms and Beyond
                                 (4) Sui and Tang Dynasty Era Yellow River
                                 (5) Tangut Xixia and the Mongol Empire
                                 (6) The Ming Dynasty and the Yellow River
                                 (7) The Qing Dynasty and the Yellow River
                                 (8) The Warlord Era, Civil Wars, Anti-Japanese War / WO II
                                 (9) Yellow River and The Peoples Republic of China
- Yellow River as Transportation Highway
- Today's Yellow River - 2010 and beyond
- Cultures of the Yellow River and Basin in China
- Products and Specialities of the Yellow River
      READ MORE IN : The Yellow River as a Transportation Highway >>>>
Go to Next Page ! Yellow River as a Transportation Highway
To History o/t Yellow River (8) The Warlord Era, Civil War and World War 2
On April 13th of 1957 A.D. construction began on the Sanmenxia hydro-electric dam of the Yellow River. The dam, situated due north-west of Luoyang on the borders of Shaanxi-Shanxi and Henan Provinces would become the first such dam to be constructed along the Yellow River. The am was built mostly by use of manual labor. According to various sources, the dam reservour was filled by june of the year 1960 A.D. but due to the International Political situation and China's isolation it would take until 1973 and 1975 respectively until the dam's hydro-power generators were installed and functional.
Soon after the closing of the gap of the Dam the project already proved potentially disastrous. ot only did the dam suffer from rapid silting, a predictable process on the most silt laden river in the world entire, the silting problem further threatened overflow of the reservoir with destruction of farmland upstream along the river and also started to hinder shipping trafic.
By the year 1964 A.D. already, the Dam provided
for a political crisis on a nation level with Premier Zhou Enlai calling a meeting in which it was decided to rebuild the dam with a better adaptation to the silting problem. In the succeeding years, in fact lasting up to the year 1999 continued alterations were made to Sanmenxia Dam solving some of the immmediate silting problems.
Today the Sanmenxia Dam remains a controversial building project of which many feel that it was all a gaint mistake. Government repression of the subject however is active. During the initial construction several engineers, among whom a hydrologist named Huang Wanli, are said to have been sent to labor camps (which ironically were often in the business of constructing dams by means of manual labor) for opposing the project. According to wikipedia, as late August 2010, Chinese journalist Xie Chaoping was detained for writing "The Great Migration", a book that criticized the dam and the government's handling of it. The next month, the book's printer, Zhao Shun, was also arrested. Xie was later released on bail.
The Sammenxia Dam reservoir stretches for about 246 kilometers (153 miles) upstream from the Dam to the village  of Longmen, known for its unique Longmen Grottoes Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site.

In 1958 A.D. the so-called "BaoLan" (Baotou to Lanzhou) Railway was completed, for the first time unlocking large parts of Inner-Mongolia as well as the Ningxia Plain of the Yellow River for railway transport and traffic. Previously all transport in the regions had been conducted by Camel Caravan, or when the season allowed by barge up- and down- the Yellow River.
With the construction of the hydro-electric dams and arrival of the Baolan Railway, the regions were ready for large scale industrial development. It was the start of the political era that would become known as "The Great Leap Forward".

1958: Opening of the Ban Po Museum at the Ban Po Neolithic Culture archeological find in the southern parts of Xi'An.
In October of 1991 the Central Government had approved and started the construction of the Daxia Hydroelectric dam. Daxia Dam is situated at Xixiakou on the Yellow River, which is some 65 kilometers northeast of Lanzhou, the Capital city of Gansu Province. The central government approved the project On December 8, 1996, the first generating unit with a generating capacity of 75,000 KW began supplying the local grid. The last generating unit joined the grid on June 16, 1998, six months ahead of schedule.

The year 1994 saw the rise of the Xuelongtan Dam in East Tibets Qinghai Province. Located in Menyuan County of Qinghai Province, it is described as the first of 13 step hydropower stations planned. This collection of 13 dams will be built to develop water resources of Datong River drainage area, which is a major feeding tributary of the great Yellow River.
Recently completed the Xuelongtan Dam has already made a huge environmental impact .
Local nomadic peoples have been displaced, mountainsides eroded and their vegetation damaged and water levels throughout the fragile regions have been altered.
Construction of the other 12 Dams is partially complete at this time. The Nina Dam, which is the third of the total 13 steps of dams and their power stations on the yellow river section between Longyang Gorge to Qingtong Gorge in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region was completed in the year 2000.
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Map of Lanzhou City Prefecture of Gansu Province
A rough Geographic overview Map of Lanzhou City and City Prefecture of South Gansu Province. Map depicts Lanzhou's five city districts stretched along the Yellow River Banks, four outlying counties.
Sites and locations included are main highways and roads, Lanzhou Zhongcuan Airport, main railway lines, main mountains and heights, rivers and Lakes as well as main monuments & landmarks of the City & Area and main ethnic minority population centers such as Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous Township, Minhe Hui Autonomous Township.
Locations of the Great Wall of China in the Vicinity are included with Links to Reports with more Photos and background information on each site.
In 1958 construction began on the Yanguoxia Dam, situated on the Yellow River within Linxia Hui Autonomous County (a Tibetan area) in south-western Gansu Province. The hard labor needed for the construction was done by teams of political prisoners, among them many Tibetans.
The purpose of this Dam was not flood control by hydro-electric power generation. The first generating unit on the dam started operating in 1961, shortly before the station was fully completed.
The Yanguoxia dam is 57.2 meters high, 15.9 meters wide on the top and 321 meters long. Its storage capacity is 220 million cubic meters. A powerhouse in front of the dam is equipped with eight axial flow water turbines with a total installed generating capacity of 352,000 KW.

In the year 1959 A.D. new and additional Shang Dynasty Era (1766 B.C. - 1121 B.C.) archeological finds are uncovered in Yanshi, a village situated some ways south of the Yellow River near the famous "Ancient Capital" of Luoyang  in Henan Province.
In due time these would be shown to be another sub-culture of Shang known as the Erlitou culture. Radiocarbon dating performed on finds from this location suggests that the Erlitou culture flourished ca. 2100 B.C. to 1800 B.C. corresponding to an early period of the Shang Dynasty. Apart from identified tombs and spectacular bronze castings, archeologists found large palaces, the level of sophistication suggesting the
existence of a dynastic kingdom preceding the Shang, which is usually identified with the Xia Dynasty of traditional histories.

In July 1959, the Yellow River flooded in East China. According to the Disaster Center, the flooding event directly killed, either through starvation from crop failure or drowning, an estimated 2 million people.

1963 saw completion of the railway from Lanzhou to Urumqi in Xinjiang-Uyghur AR, linking the Yellow River by rail to far western Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region.

In 1964 A.D. construction started on the Liujiaxia hydro-electric dam inside the famous and scenic Luijia Gorge of the Yellow River in Yongqing County of Gansu Province. The Dam was built using the manual labor of condemned political prisoners from China and Tibet who toiled in often bitter circumstances to complete it. According to Gansu Provincial sources its first generating unit started operation in the year 1969 A.D. All of its five generation units went into operation in 1974 A.D., with the dam having a total installed generating capacity of 1.22 million KW.

Between August 5th and August 28 of 1964 China's last feudal Emperor Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi (A.k.a Emperor Xuantong) toured the middle reaches of the Yellow River, visiting the cities of Xi'An and Yan'An in Shaanxi Province, as well as the cities of Luoyang and Zhengzhou in Henan Province.

In 1966 A.D., the year of the start of the "Cultural Revolution Era", the Sanshenggong hydroelectric power station was completed on the Yellow River. The Sanshengong Dam is a gravity driven multi-purpose dam project.
The year 1987 saw the first succesful source-to-sea descent of the yellow river, although several team members drowned in the steep upper reaches of the river. A descent was even made of the Hukou Falls, the only falls on the yellow river, with the brave Chinese rafter dying in the attempt.
Naturally, some of the dams had to be circumvented.

In July of 1987 the construction of the Lijiaxia Hydrolectric power station was started in East Tibet (Qinghai Province) on the borders of Janca County and Hualong Autonomous County of Qinghai Province.
The dual-arch concrete dam is 165 meters high and 45 meters wide at the base. In 1997 it was the largest and the most advanced hydropower station on Yellow River and in the year 1999 all of its five electric power generators were fully functional providing the energy to develop the regions and industry.
During the construction of the Dam in the mid-1990's there was some scandal surrounding the construction of the dam. Negligent work by contractors caused the partial rebuilding of the dam in order to stave off possible structural failures. According to the authorities, those involved have been brought to justice and have been punished according to the law.
YouTube Video: 1987 First full descent source to ocean along the Yellow River.  Short but informative.
On may the 12Th of 1989 Islamic Students and Citizens demonstrated in Beijing, Hohhot on the Yellow River and in Lanzhou, the Capital City of Gansu Province. Only very loosely associated with the wider Student Protests in Beijing and other cities in the first half of the year,  these protests were an outcry of the Islamic Peoples against the publication of a book named "Sexual Practices", which describing "ancient" sexual practices among China's many minority groups, was felt to be deeply insulting to China's Islamic Peoples.
The protests were the largest in Lanzhou, where it was the largest public demonstration since the birth of the Peoples Republic itself, which at the time was widely celebrated in that city.
Protestors in Lanzhou soon turned to riots, with the burning of copies of the hated book, burning of cars and then an attempt to take over the Gansu Provincial Government Headquarters in the center of the City. Protestors demanded to see the Provincial Governor and only after their grievances were heard (and readily agreed with) did they retreat from the Provincial Government HQ.
The large unprecendeted public march unified many of the Islamic Religious groups in the city, carrying forth a rippling effect to this very day.
That same day over 10.000 citizens marched through the street of Xining another City with a large Muslim population situated not far from Lanzhou.
On April 29 of 1989 students took to the streets or protested on Campus in Lanzhou along the upper reaches of the Yellow River, as they did in at least 22 other cities in China among which Beijing, Shenyang, Changchun, Tianjin, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Changsha, Chongqing, Chengdu and Xi'An.
The protest were part of the larger ongoing student protest movement that would culimate in the 4th of June Tiananmen Square Massacre later that year.
On April 27 of 1989 student protest again swept key coastal and University cities of the Nation. Proving the infectious nature of the student movement and the popularity of their demands, protests finally reached the city of Yinchuan, the Capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region on the Yellow River and other cities considered remote and provincial. Other cities that took over the protests were Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province, Jinan in Shandong Province, and Guilin, Nanning, Shenzhen and Kunming in the far South. Faced with a spreading  an organizing autonomous student movement, on this same day Deng Xiaoping, the retired but still powerful supreme leader, authorized an order for the 38Th armored corps of the Peoples Liberation Army to be mobilized and sent to the Capital of Beijing.
In 1968 A.D. during the Cultural Revolution Era (1966 A.D. - Sept. 1976 A.D.) the Qingtongxia Dam of the Yellow River in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region was completed. It was a Dam built mostly large scale teams assembled to construct the dam by use of their manual labor.
Today the Qingtongxia Station in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region is one of the step hydropower stations built on the upper reaches of Yellow River. Its heavy pressure concrete dam is 42.7 meters high and 697 meters long. It has an installed electricity generating capacity of 272,000 KW.

6:46 AM, 12 November, 1969: Death of Liu Shaoqi (Chinese: 刘少奇)(Life:1898 - 1969). The former Chairman of the People's Republic of China, member of the Chinese Communist Party since its founding year of 1921, Liu Shaoqi died in prison in a room of the Kaifeng Municipal Revolutionary Committee building in Kaifeng, Henan Province along the Yellow River. Held in secret prisons and regularly moved, he had been transported there only days or weeks earlier. Liu Shaoqi died after two years of abuse, humiliation, torture, solitary confinement and denied a much needed medical treatment and was in effect murdered on orders of Mao Zedong and his wife Jiang Qing. His body was cremated without ceremony in secret the next day.

March, 1974: In a farming field south of Lintong, up to then a dusty district town not far from Xi'An, Capital of Shaanxi Province, farmers make a find of strange and unusual pottery shards. Recognizing the possible value of the find they alert local authorities. By July of that year, an archeological team has started excavating what will  become known as the "Army of Terracotta Warriors", an 8000 mean strong army of life sized clay warriors which is but part of the extensive Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, China's first ever Emperor interned in the year 210 BC. The find of the Army will become the greatest archeological find of the decade. But 5 years later, in 1979, an official, now world renowned Museum is opened in order to showcase the ongoing preservation activities as well as the pits filled with clay figures to the world public. In 1989, the entire "Army of Terracotta Warriors" and the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang receive world cultural heritage status. To date: archeological excavations continue and several more pits, including chariots, horses and an Imperial Cart, as well as art objects have been unearthed while the main tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang remains unopened to this day.
1983, a walled city dating from 1600 BC was found 6 km (3.7 mi) north-east of the Erlitou Culture site found in 1959 in Shixianggou Township of Yanshi County of Luoyang City Prefecture in the Yellow River Valley of north-western Henan Province. This city, since named as Yanshi Shang City (偃师商城, Yǎnshī Shāngchéng), had an area of nearly 200 ha (490 acres) and featured pottery characteristic of the Erligang culture. Some scholars—including the Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project—identify it with as to have been the first Capital of the (emerging) Shang Dynasty (1766 BC - 1121 BC or alternatively 1600 BC - 1046 BC), which is known to have been named Western Bo (西亳, Xībó) and which was traditionally credited to King Tang after his defeat of the Xia Dynasty.