Hainan is an island province of China, situated in the South China Sea south of the Leizhou Peninsula in Guangdong province. The smallest Chinese province (by area and population), it covers 33,920 square kilometres and has a population of around 8 million. 84% of the population is Han Chinese; the remainder are minority nationals. The capital city is Haikoou. According to the Chinese government, Hainan province includes the islands of the South China Sea to which China lays claim; however, these claims are disputed by other nations which have South China Sea coastlines.
|Literal meaning||south [of the] sea|
During the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945 around one-third of the adult male population perished in the course of resistance by Communist guerilla forces to the Japanese occupiers. In 1945 Guomindang forces reoccupied Hainan, and it did not fall to the Communists until May 1950.
Hainan was split from Guangdong, of which it had traditionally been part, in 1988. It had already (1983) been declared a Special Economic Zone, and its economy has grown rapidly, based to a large part on tourism.