Jilin was invaded by Japan during World War II. It became the seat of the Manchukuo state. It was liberated by the Nationalist forces, but they surrendered it to the Communist Party because of pressure from the Soviet Union. The Nationalists tried to capture Jilin again in 1950, but they failed and had to retreat to Taiwan.
Jilin has several large minorities. In the east, there are large groups of Koreans. Many villages on the border are majority Korean; people in these villages consider themselves citizens of the Republic of Korea rather than Chinese.
The province is also home to many Hui and Mongolians, most of them Muslims. The number of people who consider themselves Hui in Jilin rose greatly since the last census. It is estimated that as many as 3% of people in Jilin follow Muslim traditions.