Heze (simplified Chinese: 菏泽; traditional Chinese: 菏澤; pinyin: Hézé) is a prefecture-level city in southwestern Shandong, China. It is home to 8,287,693 inhabitants, of whom 1,346,717 live in the built-up (or metro) area comprising Mudan District. The westernmost prefecture-level city in Shandong, it borders Jining to the east and the provinces of Henan and Anhui to the west and south respectively. The old name of Heze was Caozhou (曹州; Cáozhōu) and now a part of the city bears this name. The first character in the city's name is sometimes incorrectly written as "荷" instead.
The city's name in postal romanization is Tsaochow.
In August 1949 Heze was detached from Shandong and given to the experimental province of Pingyuan. It returned to Shandong just over three years later.
In April 1953 Heze and Jining shared the counties of Huxi, which is no more.
Heze has a monsoon-influenced climate that lies between the humid subtropical and humid continental zones (Köppen Cwa/Dwa), with four well-defined seasons. The city is warm and nearly rainless in spring, hot and humid in summer, crisp in autumn and cold and dry in winter. The mean annual temperature is 13.74 °C (56.7 °F), with the monthly 24-hour average temperature ranging from −0.9 °C (30.4 °F) in January to 26.8 °C (80.2 °F) in July. Nearly 70% of the annual precipitation occurs from June to September. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 48% in July to 60% in May, the city receives 2,411 hours of bright sunshine annually.
The prefecture-level city of Heze administers nine county-level divisions. The municipal executive, legislature and judiciary are in Mudan District (牡丹区), together with CPC and Public Security bureaux.
There are two districts and seven counties:Mudan District (牡丹区)
Dingtao District (定陶区)
Cao County (曹县)
Chengwu County (成武县) - originally in Huxi
Shan County (单县) - originally in Huxi
Juye County (巨野县) - originally in Huxi
Yuncheng County (郓城县)
Juancheng County (鄄城县)
Dongming County (东明县)
These are further divided into 158 township-level divisions.China National Highway 220
Heze is the largest center in China for the cultivation of the "national flower" peony, after which the Mudan District was named. Over 30% of its national income comes from the sale of peony.
According to the government numbers released in 1995, there are about 800,000 people living in this area.