Diocese of Handan
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Handan is located at the southernmost of the Hebei province and is 400 kilometers southwest from the national capital of Beijing. It neighbors with Shanxi, Shandong and Henan provinces. Handan has 19 district, cities and counties and has an area of 12,000 square kilometers with the city takes up 419 square kilometers. There are 5,403 villages in Handan.

Population

There is a total population of 9.43 million in the diocesan territory.

Language

Mandarin / Putonghua and dialects are in use in the diocesan territory.

History

The Catholic Church in Handan was established as an apostolic prefecture on May 24, 1929, by Pope Pio XI. The diocesan territory covered the counties of Yongnian, Jize, Zhuzhou, Weixian, Chengan, Cixian, Handan, Qinghe, Guangping, Feixiang with the cathedral located at Zhaozhuang of Weixian. It became an apostolic vicariate on March 6, 1933 and was made a diocese on April 11, 1946.

In 1958, the government rearranged the local administration craving out two of the 10 counties and adding 2 counties from Daming Diocese, three counties from Weihui Diocese of neighboring Henan province, and two counties from Linqing Diocese of neighboring Shandong Province.

In October 1980, the Church authorities passed the resolution to redraw the diocesan territory following the local government administration borders and changed the name into Handan Diocese. The diocesan territory now covers four districts, one city and 14 counties.

Transportation

Handan has a well-developed transport system and is an important hub in central China. There are the Beijing-Guangdong Railway and Beijing-Shenzhen Expressway connecting north and south.

Climate

Handan is located in the temperate region and continental monsoon prevails. The four seasons are distinctive with an average of 13.8 degrees and an annual precipitation of 550mm. The frost-free period counts 180 to 200 days.

Economy

Handan has a rich natural resources and a sound economic foundation. It is a major city coordinating economical and technical activities in central China. The western part has beautiful scenery and is rich in mineral resources while the eastern part is active in farming producing various cash crops, like cotton. 

Education

The education profession develops steadily.

Culture

Handan has a long history and a rich, brilliant culture. It was one of the important origins for the Chinese civilization. Inhabitants settled in Handan some 8,000 years ago and nurtured the Cishan culture during the early stone-age period. Later during the Warring States, Handan became the capital of Kingdom of Zhao for 158 years. It is now a center for politics, economy and culture in the northern China.

Bishop Peter Chen Bolu (deceased)

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