In the north-east of China, in a region known as Manchuria, lies one of the country's largest provinces, Hei Long Jiang.
In the north-east of China, in a region known as Manchuria, lies one of the country's largest provinces, Hei Long Jiang. For the past three decades millions of Chinese from other provinces have been colonising Hei Long Jiang part of a massive drive to build up the population of what is one of the country's emptiest territories. The population of the province's capital, ???arbin has more than doubled since 1949.
SYNOPSIS: This is the Song Hua river, which lies close to Harbin. For seven months of the year the river is frozen with ice up to three metres thick -- evidence of the province's cold, harsh climate. It is one few people lived here.
This is Harbin. Its population two and a half million. Since 1949, it has become the chief industrial base of northeast China. It was once a Russian town and many of the buildings reflect this influence. A few Russian descendants still line here, but most of the people in Harbin are of the Han race from central China, with minority groups of Manchus, Mongolians and Koreans.
For new arrivals, there are some surprise. The deep freezers are provided by nature. Families dig a hole in the ground and the sub-zero temperatures ensure the stored food is kept chilled. The growing season is short, making proper storage essential. In the densely populated areas the roadsides are lined with these makeshift underground freezers, large enough to hold a few hundred cabbages.
Ducks, seen around high rise apartments, usually belong to tenants who cultivate land around their blocks to supplement their diet. Housing for industrial workers is usually provided by their factories. Two main rooms, a kitchen and shared bathroom facilities is the standard for most families. This one, of four, has three adults working in factories -- of which there are two-thousand odd in Harbin.
Harbin, once a market and a railway town, now supplies the rest of China with a wide variety of products, from military aircraft to film projectors.
This cinema equipment factory is the biggest of its kind in China and the workers produce about two-thousand 35-millimetre projects a year.
Much of the city's industry is associated with electrical products. This factory is China's biggest producer of electricity meters, catering for the expansion that is part on the nation's development programme.
Harbin also produces cameras, but by world standards they fairly basic. Each week 150 are produced.
Harbin used to be an important centre in the Imperial Russian railway network. Railways are still important for Harbin, now that it is an important industrial centre -- something that has been made possible by the massive resettlement drive launched by China's government. For those who have moved here from the south, the climate has proved a major difference but life in general is said not to be all that different from other Chinese industrial cities.