Diocese of Leshan
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In a land area of approximately 163,905 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers Leshan, Emeishan and Ya'an cities, Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, and Garzi Autonomous Prefecture, accounting for nearly half of Sichuan province.

Population

There are about 6,789,000 people in the three cities and two autonomous prefectures that Leshan diocese covers. They comprise of Han, Qiang, Tibetan, Yi and other ethnic minorities.

Language

Mandarin Chinese and dialects of Leshan, Emei, Jiajiang, Jianan and Zigong are in use in the territory.

History

Catholicism was introduced to Leshan and its neighboring mountainous region several centuries ago by French missioners.

Leshan diocese was formerly Prefecture Apostolic of Yachow, which was erected in 1929. It was elevated to Vicariate Apostolic in 1933 and was renamed Kiating in 1938. It became a diocese in 1946 when the Church Hierarchy was established in China.

Today, it is one of the five dioceses in Sichucan province with 16 priests, 11 Religious sisters, about 60,000 Catholics and 44 churches. 

Transportation

There is a passenger rail line that serves the Mianyang-Chengdu-Leshan inter-city area. The Chengdu-Leshan Highway with a total length of 160 kilometers, was finished on Jan. 14, 2000. This highway has since become very important to the city's development.

Leshan city locates at 100 kilometers from the Shuangliu International Airport of Chengdu. Meanwhile, the sea route Leshan-Yibing-Luzhou-Chongqing is very convenient for traveling by water.

Climate

Leshan has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate and is largely mild and humid. Winter is short, mild and dry, with a January average of 7.1°C, and while frost may occur, snow is rare. Summers are long, hot and humid, with highs often exceeding 30°C, yet extended heat waves are rare. The daily average in July and August is around 26°C. Rainfall is light in winter and can be heavy in summer, and more than 70 percent of the annual total occurs from June to September.

Economy

Leshan is rich in forest and water energy resources. Mineral deposits include rock salt, bittern, limestone, and saltpeter. Machinery, power, salt chemicals, construction material, and food processing are the main industries of Leshan. Leshan is a major producer of salt and a lager hydropower base in the southwest of China.The Gongzui hydropower station on the Dadu River is a regional power grid. The chief farm products include rice, rape, oranges, tea, silkworm cocoons, and pigs.

Topography

Leshan is a prefecture-level city located at about 120 kilometers from the provincial Chengdu at the confluence of the Dadu and Min rivers in Sichuan province. It is close to the mountain region of the southwest and lies along the alluvial plains of a number of rivers which include the Min, Jinsha, Qingyi, and Yangzi.

Education

There are 1,169 kindergartens, primary and secondary schools with a total of 527,000 students in Leshan. Tertiary education institutions include the Leshan Normal University, the Emei campus of the Southwest Jiaotong University and the Engineering Technical College of Chengdu University of Technology.

Culture

Leshan is a historical city. In ancient times it was known as Jiazhou and was reputed as the place "Where there is the most beautiful landscape in all Sichuan, there is Jiazhou." It was famous for its abundance of the Chinese flowering crab-apple and long ago was given the title of "Haitang (crab-apple) Xiangguo (fragrant city)." Nowadays Leshan is particularly well known as a city of National Key Tourist Attractions due to its natural landscape and wealth of cultural relics.

Leshan is a renowned tourist resort as it boasts some famous sites of Buddhist pilgrimages and great natural beauty which are found nearby including: Leshan's Giant Buddha, Mount Emei, the Sansu Hall of Northern Song dynasty, etc. In 1996, the Mount Emei Scenic Area, including the Giant Buddha, the largest stone-carved buddha in the world, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Mount Emei is located within the county-level city of Emeishan, which is under the administrative jurisdiction of Leshan.

Leshan has five museums, 10 public libraries, a radio station and a TV station. The coverage of radio and TV broadcasts is about 98 percent of the local population.

The Giant Buddha is a famous tourist spot near Leshan city. It was carved out of a cliff face during the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD)

Mount Emei is one of the Four Sacred Buddhist mountains in China