Sichuan (Szechwan) Province in sw China, almost completely surrounded by mountains, and the most populous in the country; the capital is Chengdu. The e part of the region comprises the heavily populated Red Basin, the most prosperous area of China. Sichuan is China's leading producer of rice, maize and sweet potatoes, while soya beans, barley, and fruit are also grown. Livestock, including cattle, pigs, horses and oxen, are reared, particularly in the w. Salt, coal, and iron are mined; other products include rapeseed oil, and silk – for which Sichuan was once world famous. Area: 569,215sq km (219,774sq mi). Pop. (2000) 83,290,000.
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