In a land area of approximately 21,473 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the city of Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, which covers the administrative area of 6 urban districts, 1 county-level city, 4 counties and 3 autonomous prefectures.
Kunming has a population of 6,432,212 including 3,055,000 in the urban area.
Mandarin Chinese, Kunming dialect and various dialects of ethnic minorities
Catholicism was introduced to Yunnan in the late Ming Dynasty. The Apostolic Vicariate of Guangdong-Guangxi-Yunnan was erected in 1687. It was renamed as Yunnan in 1696 and suppressed to the Apostolic Vicariate of Sichuan (Szechwan) from 1715 to 1840. French Bishop Joseph Ponsot was ordained as its first bishop in 1843.
As the local Church gradually developed, Yunnan lost territories to establish Mission "sui iuris" of Dali and Apostolic Prefecture of Zhaotong in 1929 and 1935 respectively. In 1946, when the Holy See established the Catholic Hierarchy in China, it was elevated to Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kunming.
In 1958, after foreign missionaries were expelled from the mainland, Father Kong Lingzhong was ordained as bishop without papal approval. Father Joseph Ma Yinglin repeated the path in 2006 to be ordained the third bishop of Kunming without papal mandate despite warning from the Holy See.
Since the year 2000, Father Lawrence Zhang Wenchang (born in 1920) was the Vatican-approved administrator of Kunming diocese, who was not recognized by the government. Living in the city under police surveillance for years, he had no affiliation with the government-recognized "open" Church structure. He was diagnosed terminal cancer in October 2011 and has died in February 2012, aged 92.
Today, Kunming diocese has 40,000 Catholics scattered in seven cities and autonomous prefectures, comprising of four ethnic minorities (Han, Yi, Miao and Zhuang).
Kunming is the transportation hub of Yunnan province. In 2007, Kunming Wujiaba International Airport ranked seventh in terms of both passenger throughput (18.9 million people) and freight throughput (0.26 million tons) in China. Chengdu-Kunming Railway, Kunming-Nanning Railway and Kunming-Guiyang Railway connect Kunming to neighboring provincial cities. In addition, highways provide passage to locations both inside and outside Yunnan Province, as well as to neighboring countries.
Located at an elevation of 1,890 meters on the Yungui Plateau with low latitude and high elevation, Kunming has one of the mildest climates in China, characterized by short, cool dry winters with mild days and crisp nights, and long, warm and humid summers, but much cooler than the lowlands. The weather never gets very hot in summer; the temperature has exceeded 30 degrees Celsius only on a handful of occasions. However, freak snowfalls occur in occasional winters. Controlled by a subtropical highland climate, average highs are around 15 degrees Celsius in winter and 24 degrees Celsius in summer.
Kunming is the province's largest economy. In 2010, the city realized GDP of RMB 212.03 billion yuan, up 14 percent year on year. It accounted for approximately 34 percent of the province's total. Additionally, the city's GDP per capita amounted to RMB 33,550 yuan in the same year. The major industries include tobacco, metallurgy, mechanical and electronic integration, and pharmaceuticals.
The service industry's GDP accounts for 49 percent of the city's total. Within this industry, tourism has been an important pillar business. In 2010, Kunming attracted 34.71 million domestic tourists, realizing a revenue of RMB 28.48 billion yuan, up 25.8 percent year on year.
Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, is the center of Yunnan's politics, economy and culture. It is located at the northern edge of the large Lake Dian, surrounded by temples and lake-and-limestone hill landscapes.
There are 38 universities and colleges for higher education located in Kunming. In 2009, these institutes have 269,900 enrolled students. Important key universities include Yunnan University, Kunming University of Science and Technology, Yunnan Normal University and Kunming Medical University.
Famous for its pleasant climate, Kunming is called "the City of Eternal Spring." It is also the focal point of Yunnan's minority culture. Some 26 ethnic minorities such as the Yi, Bai, Miao, Dai and Hani live in the city. Each group has its own annual festivals such as the Torch Festival of the Yi people and the Water Splashing Festival (Water Spray Festival), the grandest traditional festival of the Dai culture.