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Geographical location

Qinghai Province, abbreviated as "Qing" in Chinese, got its name from its Qinghai Lake, the largest inland saltwater lake in the country. The province lies on the northeastern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in west China, bordering Gansu and Sichuan provinces, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Tibet Autonomous Region. As the origin of the Yangtze, Yellow, and Lancang rivers, Qinghai has an area of 720,000 square kilometers, the fourth largest in China. Its territory includes 31.6 million hectares of grassland, 589,900 hectares of cultivated land and 250,000 hectares of forests. The remaining are mountains, lakes, deserts, gobi and glaciers.

Total population: 5.165 million (by the end of 2000)

Population growth rate: 13.1‰


Qinghai is inhabited by 55 ethnic groups, and the population of minority ethnic groups has reached 2.35 million, or 45.5 percent of the province’s total. Besides the Han, China’s majority, there are the Tibetans, accounting for 21.89 percent of the province’s total population; the Huis, accounting for 15.89 percent; the Tus accounting for 3.85 percent of the province’s total; the Salars accounting for 1.85 percent; and the Mongolians, accounting for 1.71 percent. The Salar and Tu ethnic groups are unique to Qinghai.  

Foreign trade:

In 2000 the province achieved US$159.74 million in foreign trade, up 48.1 percent than the previous year. Its exports hit US$112 million, 28.9 percent up over that of 1999, and imports reached US$47.74 million, 1.3 times that of 1999. It had a trade surplus of US$64.26 million. It has further adjusted its export structure and added the exports of characteristic local products. The province has expanded its export market in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.

Foreign investment:

In 2001, the province had utilized foreign investment of US$128 million, up 16 percent over 2000, in addition to 5 billion yuan (US$603.9 million) from other Chinese provinces. Its key projects include the Haidong Agricultural Comprehensive Development Project, aided by the World Grain Program; the Qinghai Livestock Breeding and Potato Development Project, aided by the European Union; and the Qinghai Community Development Project, aided by Australia. These projects cover agriculture, livestock, fishery, science, technology, education, culture, public health, and women’s development. They have promoted the development of social causes in the province.

Pillar industries:

Agriculture, hydropower, salt-chemical, non-ferrous metal, and oil and natural gas.


Four railway trunks like the Lanzhou-Qinghai and Qinghai-Tibet railway trunks along with 59 special railway lines, totaling 1,100 kilometers, run east and west through the province. By the end of 2000, the passenger-transport volume reached 3.52 million person times, and the cargo volume reached 8.33 million tons.


The operational highways total 19,679 kilometers, and the highway transport network with Xining at the center radiates to all parts of the province.


The civil aviation air routes total 10,000 kilometers, and the province has flights from Xining to Beijing, Urumqi, Lanzhou, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Lhasa

  scenes of Qinghai

Don't you see that the Yellow River spilling out of the 'Heavens', Tangling strands and rolling all the way thrust into the sea." The 'Heavens' described in this poem by the Tang poet Li Bai just specifies-the beautiful Qinghai.
Qinghai Province is a sparking jewel set on the northwest plateau of China, wherein the Changjiang (Yangtze, and Huanghe (Yellow) River as well as the Lancang (Mekong) River take their source. It is China's fourth largest province in territory (720,000 square kilometers) with third smallest population (408 million).
The scenic quality of Qinghai's widely varying landscape is superb and enticing, offering from the ranges of gleaming mountains with glacier-capped peaks over 6000 meters high to the gobi desert dunes of Qaidam, from lush ranchland to the sapphire-like lakes of vast area, all this has created a land of marvel, mystery and diversity.
Qinghai Lake, nation's largest, also known as Koko Nor, is a photographer and artist's paradise of mirrored pastel sunrises, azure beauty in midday and the indigo blues of sunset. The Bird Island on the western tip hosts hundreds of thousand migrate birds, hovering over the sky or diving into the water. Great Lamasery of Kumbum (Taer Lamasery), still one of the living and the most important for believers, was built in 1560. With Tsongkhapa, who found the Yellow sect of lamas and was born in here, all solemn religious celebrations observed here to his honor. The excellent collection in Kumbum are an eyeful of classic Chinese-Tibetan architecture which has been preserved in best condition for centuries and its three typical Tibetan Supreme Arts developed by Kumbum's lama artists, that is evident in Yak Butter Sculpture, Frescoes and Embossed Embroidery.
The Qaidam, once been prosperous as the ancient Silk Road stretching across much of its length, is an idea place for expedition. You can explore the 'end of the World', mystic 'Lost City' of which had been described by Peter Fleming in his news from Tartary and discover the beauty of dazzling salt lakes.
The Mengda Botanical Reserve in Qinghai present a unique combination of plants and natural stone sculpture. A wide variety of trees, shrubs and flowers from native to sub-tropical blazes a rich exuberance of color. With its famed pond-Heavenly Lake, waterfalls and visible wildlife, it is an idea for rambling and camping.

Along the Yellow River down to the southeast of Qinghai, Tongren has been familiarized as the Home of Tibetan Culture and Art. "Regong Art", originated in this place, mainly reflect Tibetan Buddhist culture. This unique Tibetan culture legacy include painting, frescoes, thangkas, sculpture and architecture. Handing down from generation to generation, almost every man here inherits the occupation as an artisan. These are just a few of the diamond attractions of Qinghai Province, the Qutan monastery, Bichan Daoist Temple, Great Donguan Mosque, and other scenic spots and historical sites still await you to explore.

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