Hailin (Chinese: 海林; pinyin: Hǎilín) is a county-level city, part of Mudanjiang prefecture-level city, Heilongjiang province, northeast China. It has an area of 8,816 km², and a population of 440,000 (as reported in 2006). Ethnic groups include the majority Han Chinese as well as significant numbers of Manchu and ethnic Koreans.
Literally, the name Hailin in English means "sea forest", but a better interpretation seems to be "boundless forest". In this sense, Hailin shares a name with the "boundless" Linhai Snowfield (林海雪原 Linhai Xueyuan).
Hailin is today known by several descriptive names - "forest sea and snow plain", "hometown of Manchurian tigers", and "hometown of Chinese north medicine". However, in the past many knew Hailin from the story of people's revolutionary hero Yang Zi Rong (Chinese: 杨子荣), the real life hero Zhang Zonggui. His story was made into a modern, revolutionary Beijing opera Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, based the 1957 novel 林海雪原 (pinyin: Lín Hǎi Xuě Yuan] by Qü Bo. Various movies have been made of the same story.
Hailin must have been inhabited even in the ancient times of the Shāng Dynasty or Yīn Dynasty (殷代), if not the Neolithic era. Historic sites include ancient Qunli rock paintings, Jiangdong ancient cemeteries of Jin Dynasty, the early site of the Qing Dynasty Ninguta city (from which a structure called Ninggu Ta - "Ninngu Tower" - remains), a wooden Russian Orthodox cathedral, a depot of the Chinese Eastern Railway constructed in 1903, and the Yang Zirong martyrs' cemetery.
During China's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937–45) the Japanese established a military airport at Hailin. Even recently (2005) aircraft bombs continue to be discovered during construction and other projects.
The present day administrative division traces its recent history to Xinhai county established in 1946. The division was changed to city-grade in 1992. Nowadays, there are 8 towns and 123 administrative villages in the Hailin City division. The towns include Hailin town, Changting town, Chaihe town, Sandao town, Erdao town, Hengdao town, Xinan town, Shanshi town, and Hainan town.
Tourist activities include skiing. Other attractions include two national forest parks (Roaring Tiger Mountain and China Snowland), the largest artificial lake in northeast China (the Lotus Lake), and the largest animal raising center in China, if not the world (the Hengdaohezi Tiger Center). Hengdaohezi Tiger Park is claimed to be the largest breeding center for Siberian tigers in the country. It was established in 1986 with 8 tigers, and has a population of some 256 tigers (as of 2006).