Changzhi has a land area of approximately 23,348 sq. kilometers and the diocesan territory covers the prefecture-level cities of Changzhi and Jincheng in the southwestern part of Shanxi province. Their administrative area includes 3 urban districts, 2 county-level cities (Lucheng and Gaoping) and fourteen counties.
Changzhi has a population of 3.3 million, while Jincheng has 2.2 million.
Changzhi was formerly called Luanfu when it was erected as an apostolic vicariate in the year 1924. Earlier, it belonged to the Apostolic Vicariate of Shansi (Shanxi) from 1838, and then to the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Shansi from the year 1890. It was entrusted to the Franciscan missionaries.
Bishop Alberto Odorico Timmer, the third bishop of Luanfu, ordained the first batch of Chinese priests in 1903. During his office of 25 years (1901-1926), the development of the Apostolic Vicariate was almost complete. More than 300 churches were built, resulting in an exponential rise in the number of Catholics.
From 1932 to 1936, Hongtung (Hongtong) and Jiangzhou (Xinjiang) were erected as new apostolic vicariates from Luanfu, after which it covered 19 counties with some 30,000 Catholics. In 1943, Japanese invaders forced foreign missioners to go home, leaving the Church to Chinese priests.
Lu'an became a diocese when the Chinese Church Hierarchy was established in 1946. However, since then most of the churches in the diocese have been occupied by Communists. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), all priests were imprisoned or sentenced to ‘laogai’ (reform through labor), and the religious activities were suspended.
Since 1980, the Church has gradually revived. Father Anthony Li Weidao became the first Chinese bishop of Changzhi (Lu'an) in 1992. He fell sick from overwork and died in the year 1998. Father Andrew Jin Daoyuan received episcopal ordination without an apostolic mandate in 2000. The diocese became divided, as there was already a Vatican-approved Bishop Paul Li Yi, who was secretly ordained in 1997. The Holy See recognized Bishop Jin as "a legitimate bishop without jurisdiction" in mid-2008.
Changzhi city has a very convenient transportation system. The State Highway 207, State Highway 208, State Highway 309 and the Changzhi-Handan Highway traverse the city, while Taiyuan-Jiaozuo Railway and the Handan-Changzhi Railway go through the city. Taiyuan Wusu International Airport and Datong Yungang Airport are situated within a three-hour drive, and the Changzhi Wangcun Airport provides daily flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an.
Changzhi has a continental monsoon climate, with dry winters and abundant rainfall in summers. The average temperature ranges between 4.9 - 10.4 degrees Celsius.
In 2010, the GDP of Changzhi rose 13.7% from 2009 to RMB 92.02 billion, ranking second in Shanxi, after the capital city, Taiyuan. The secondary sector, the strongest sector, realized RMB 60.17 billion in value-added output, contributing 65.4% to the city's economy.
Coal mining and dressing, metallurgy, coking, electricity production and supply, raw chemicals and chemical products are the major industries in the city.
Changzhi is located towards the southeast of the Shanxi Province. It has Hebei and Henan provinces towards the east, Jincheng towards the south and Jinzhong towards the north. The Taihang Mountains and the Taiye Mountains lie to the east and the west of the city, respectively.
There are four colleges and universities in Changzhi city, with a total of 24,600 enrolled students and 7,116 graduates.
Changzhi is one of the birthplaces of Chinese culture. It was where Yandi, the ancestor of the Chinese people, tried diverse medical herbs and taught the people how to farm. During the reign of the emperors Yao and Shun, the region was part of Jizhou. During the Shang Dynasty (1600-1050BC), it belonged to the Li State, and during the Warring States Period (476-221BC), it was called Shangdang. In the Northern Zhou Dynasty, it came to be called Luzhou. It was not until Ming Dynasty that the territory was named "Changzhi", which means "long-term peace and stability". Changzhi city was officially founded in the year 1946.
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