The prefecture-level city of Meizhou, located in the eastern part of Guangdong Province near the juncture of Guangdong, Jiangxi and Fujian Provinces, spans an area of some 16,000 square kilometers (1,600,000 hectares, or 3,953,686 acres). The city lies about 100 kilometers inland, being situated roughly midway between the cities of Guangzhou and Fuzhou. The city's - and the local river's - name is derived from the plum trees (mei means "plum blossom") that abound here. The Mei River runs eastward through the city, linking up with the Han River at Sanhezhen, about 50 kilometers, as the crow flies, east-northeast of the city of Meizhou.
Located mostly in a valley surrounded by an arc of mountains from the northwest to the southeast - and yet more mountains farther west - but with the valley spreading out in a southwesterly direction, Meizhou's terrain slopes from north to south, with many hills on the northern side, where the surrounding mountains are closest to the city. The three principal mountain ranges that partially surround Meizhou are the Phoenix, Xiang shan and Yinna mountains, of which the latter, located south and east of Meizhou, has been dubbed "the backbone of Eastern Guangdong", since it forms a distinct ridge. Mount Yinna's highest peak - and Eastern Guangdong's highest as well - is Tongguzhang, which reaches to 1560 meters above sea level.
Roughly speaking, the city of Meizhou lies in a large basin, but seen in greater detail, there are a number of basins here divided by other topographical features such as hills and plateaus. The largest single basin in the confines of Meizhou is Xingning Basin, which spans some 300 square kilometers (30,000 hectares, or 74,132 acres). Not surprisingly, since Meizhou lies in a basin almost completely ringed by mountains, there are numerous rivers that deliver their water to the basin - in fact, 53 of them in all. The principal rivers, the Han, Mei and Ting are all connected, since the northern reaches of the Han is the Ting, which becomes the Han at the confluence of the Mei and Han near the city of Sanhezhen.
Except for a small, She ethnic minority enclave of some 2000 souls, the city of Meizhou is inhabited entirely by the Hakka people, one of China's official 55 ethnic minorities, even though they are a sub-culture belonging to the Han Chinese ethnic majority.
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