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Gansu Province Wikipedia

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Gansu Province

Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese甘肃省 (Gānsù Shěng)
 • Abbreviation甘 or 陇/隴 (pinyin: Gān or Lǒng)
Map showing the location of Gansu Province

Map showing the location of Gansu Province
Coordinates: 38°N 102°E / 38°N 102°E / 38; 102Coordinates: 38°N 102°E / 38°N 102°E / 38; 102
Named for甘 gān - Ganzhou District, Zhangye

肃/肅 sù - Suzhou District, Jiuquan

(and largest city)
Divisions14 prefectures, 86 counties, 1344 townships
 • SecretaryWang Sanyun
 • GovernorLiu Weiping
 • Total425,800 km2 (164,400 sq mi)
Area rank7th
Population (2010)
 • Total25,575,254
 • Rank22nd
 • Density60/km2 (160/sq mi)
 • Density rank27th
 • Ethnic compositionHan - 91%

Hui - 5%

Dongxiang - 2%

Tibetan - 2%
 • Languages and dialectsZhongyuan Mandarin, Lanyin Mandarin, Amdo Tibetan
ISO 3166 codeCN-62
GDP (2011)CNY 502.0 billion

US$ 79.6 billion (27th)
 - per capitaCNY 16,113

US$ 2,380 (29th)
HDI (2010)0.630 (medium) (28th)

(Simplified Chinese)
Simplified Chinese甘肃
Traditional Chinese甘肅
Postal MapKansu
Hanyu PinyinGānsù
This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.
Gansu (simplified Chinese: 甘肃; traditional Chinese: 甘肅; pinyin: About this sound Gānsù) is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the northwest of the country.

It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east. The Yellow River passes through the southern part of the province.

Gansu has a population of 26 million (2009), covers an area similar sized to California. The capital is Lanzhou, located in the southeast part of the province.



            Gansu is abbreviated as "甘" (Gān) or "陇" (Lǒng), and is also known as Long West or Long Right, in reference to the Long Mountain east of Gansu.[citation needed]


            Jiayuguan Fort
            Gansu is a compound name first used during the Song dynasty of two Sui and Tang dynasty[clarification needed] prefectures (州): Gan (around Zhangye) and Su (around Jiuquan).

            The ruins of a Han dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD) Chinese watchtower made of rammed earth at Dunhuang, Gansu province, the eastern edge of the Silk Road
            In prehistoric times, Gansu was host to a number of Neolithic cultures. The Dadiwan culture, from where numerous archaeologically significant artifacts have been excavated, flourished in the eastern end of Gansu from about 6000 BC to about 3000 BC. The Majiayao culture and part of the Qijia culture also took root in Gansu from 3100 BC to 2700 BC and 2400 BC to 1900 BC respectively.

            The Yuezhi originally lived in the very western part of Gansu until they were forced to emigrate by the Xiongnu around 177 BCE. The State of Qin, later to become the founding state of the Chinese empire, grew out from the southeastern part of Gansu, specifically the Tianshui area. The Qin name itself is believed to have originated, in part, from the area. Qin tombs and artifacts have been excavated from Fangmatan near Tianshui, including one 2200-year-old map of Guixian County.

            In imperial times, Gansu was an important strategic outpost and communications link for the Chinese empire, as the Hexi corridor runs along the "neck" of the province. The Han dynasty extended the Great Wall across this corridor, also building the strategic Yumenguan (Jade Gate Pass, near Dunhuang) and Yangguan fort towns along it. Remains of the wall and the towns can be found there to this date. The Ming dynasty also built the Jiayuguan outpost in Gansu. To the west of Yumenguan and the Qilian Mountains, at the northwestern end of the province, the Yuezhi, Wusun, and other nomadic tribes dwelt (Shiji 123), occasionally figuring in regional imperial Chinese geopolitics.

            By the Qingshui treaty, concluded in 823 between the Tibetan Empire and the Tang dynasty, China lost a part of Gansu province for a significant period of time.

            After the fall of the Uyghur Empire, an Uyghur state was established in parts of Gansu that lasted from 848 to 1036 AD. During that time, many of Gansu's residents converted to Islam.

            Situated along the Silk Road, Gansu was an economically important province, as well as a cultural transmission path. Temples and Buddhist grottoes such as those at Mogao Caves ('Caves of the Thousand Buddhas') and Maijishan Caves contain artistically and historically revealing murals. An early form of paper inscribed with Chinese characters and dating to about 8 BC was discovered at the site of a Western Han garrison near the Yumen pass in August 2006 

            The province was also the origin of the Dungan Revolt of 1862-77, which later spread to much of China and resulted in the deaths of upwards of twelve million Chinese Muslims in addition to the decimation of Chinese Muslim culture in Yunnan province, where over one million Muslims were killed by Qing dynasty imperial forces. Among the Qing forces were Muslim Generals like Ma Zhan'ao and Ma Anliang who helped Qing crush the rebel Muslims. The Dungan revolt (1895–1896) spread into this province from Qinghai.

            Frequent earthquakes, droughts and famines have tended to slow economic progress of the province until recently. Based on the area's abundant mineral resources it has begun developing into a vital industrial center. An earthquake in Gansu at 8.6 on the Richter scale killed around 180,000 people in 1920, and another with a magnitude of 7.6 killed 275 in 1932.

            Muslim General Ma Hongbin was acting Chairman of the province, and Muslim General Ma Buqing was in virtual control of Gansu in 1940. Liangzhou District in Wuwei was previously his headquarters in Gansu, where he controlled 15 million Muslims.


            Semi-arid land, suitable for light grazing
            Gansu has an area of 454,000 square kilometres (175,000 sq mi), and the vast majority of its land is more than 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above sea level. It lies between the Tibetan Plateau and the Loess Plateau, bordering Mongolia (Govi-Altai Province) to the northwest, Inner Mongolia and Ningxia to the north, Shaanxi to the east, Sichuan to the south, and Xinjiang to the west. The Yellow River passes through the southern part of the province. The province contains the geographical centre of China, marked by the Center of the Country Monument at 35°50′40.9″N 103°27′7.5″E / 35.844694°N 103.452083°E / 35.844694; 103.452083 (Geographical centre of China).

            Part of the Gobi Desert is located in Gansu, as well as small parts of the Badain Jaran Desert and Tengger Desert.

            The Yellow River gets most of its water from Gansu. The Yellow River also flows straight through Lanzhou. Area around Wuwei is part of Shiyang River Basin.

            The landscape in Gansu is very mountainous in the south and flat in the north. The mountains in the south are part of the Qilian Mountains, while the far western Altyn-Tagh contains the province's highest point, at 5,830 metres (19,130 ft).

            A natural land passage known as Hexi Corridor, stretching some 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) from Lanzhou to the Jade Gate, is situated within the province. It is bound from north by the Gobi Desert and Qilian Mountains from the south.

            Gansu generally has a semi-arid to arid, continental climate, with warm to hot summers and cold to very cold winters. Most of the precipitation is delivered in the summer months. However,due to its extreme altitude and remoteness, some areas of Gansu exhibit the Subarctic Climate - with winter temperatures dropping to -40.

            Panorama of the lower Daxia River valley in the northeast of the Linxia County, and the loess plateau flanking in, cut by a canyon

            Administrative divisions

            Main article: List of administrative divisions of Gansu
            There are fourteen administrative areas in Gansu immediately below the province level:
            Map#NameAdministrative SeatHanzi

            Hanyu Pinyin
            Population (2010)
            Gansu prfc map.png
            — Prefecture-level city —
            1JiuquanSuzhou District酒泉市

            Jiǔquán Shì

            (Xiongguan District)

            Jiāyùguān Shì
            3ZhangyeGanzhou District张掖市

            Zhāngyè Shì
            4JinchangJinchuan District金昌市

            Jīnchāng Shì
            5WuweiLiangzhou District武威市

            Wǔwēi Shì
            6BaiyinBaiyin District白银市

            Báiyín Shì
            7LanzhouChengguan District兰州市

            Lánzhōu Shì
            10DingxiAnding District定西市

            Dìngxī Shì
            11LongnanWudu District陇南市

            Lǒngnán Shì
            12TianshuiQinzhou District天水市

            Tiānshuǐ Shì
            13PingliangKongtong District平凉市

            Píngliàng Shì
            14QingyangXifeng District庆阳市

            Qìngyáng Shì
            — Autonomous prefecture —

            (for Hui)

            Línxià Huízú Zìzhìzhōu

            (for Tibetan)

            Gānnán Zāngzú Zìzhìzhōu

            Anti-desertification project

            The Asian Development Bank is working with the State Forestry Administration of China on the Silk Road Ecosystem Restoration project, designed to prevent degradation and desertification in Gansu. It is estimated to cost up to US$150 million.


            Further information: List of provincial leaders of the People's Republic of China

            Gates of a provincial government complex in Lanzhou
            Secretaries of the CPC Gansu Committee: The Secretary of the CPC Gansu Committee is the highest-ranking office within Gansu Province.
            1. Zhang Desheng (张德生): 1949−1954
            2. Zhang Zhongliang (张仲良): 1954−1961
            3. Wang Feng (汪锋): 1961−1966
            4. Hu Jizong (胡继宗): 1966−1967
            5. Xian Henghan (冼恒汉): 1970−1977
            6. Song Ping (宋平): 1977−1981
            7. Feng Jixin (冯纪新): 1981−1983
            8. Li Ziqi (李子奇): 1983−1990
            9. Gu Jinchi (顾金池): 1990−1993
            10. Yan Haiwang (阎海旺): 1993−1998
            11. Sun Ying (孙英): 1998−2001
            12. Song Zhaosu (宋照肃): 2001−2003
            13. Su Rong (苏荣): 2003−2007
            14. Lu Hao (陆浩): April 2007 − December 2011
            15. Wang Sanyun (王三运): December 2011 − incumbent

            Governors of Gansu: The Governorship of Gansu is the second highest-ranking official within Gansu, behind the Secretary of the CPC Gansu Committee. The governor is responsible for all issues related to economics, personnel, political initiatives, the environment and the foreign affairs of the province. The Governor is appointed by the Gansu Provincial People's Congress, which is the province's legislative body.
            1. Wang Shitai (王世泰): 1949−1950
            2. Deng Baoshan (邓宝姗): 1950−1967
            3. Xian Henghan (冼恒汉): 1967−1977
            4. Song Ping (宋平): 1977−1979
            5. Feng Jixin (冯纪新): 1979−1981
            6. Li Dengying (李登瀛): 1981−1983
            7. Chen Guangyi (陈光毅): 1983−1986
            8. Jia Zhijie (贾志杰): 1986−1993
            9. Yan Haiwang (阎海旺): 1993
            10. Zhang Wule (张吾乐): 1993−1996
            11. Sun Ying (孙英): 1996−1998
            12. Song Zhaosu (宋照肃): 1998−2001
            13. Lu Hao (陆浩): 2001−2006
            14. Xu Shousheng (徐守盛): January 2007 − July 2010
            15. Liu Weiping (刘伟平): July 2010 − incumbent


            The Yellow River in Lanzhou seen from the park of the White Pagoda.
            Agricultural production includes cotton, linseed oil, maize, melons (such as the honeydew melon, known locally as the Bailan melon or "Wallace" due to its introduction by US vice president Henry A. Wallace), millet, and wheat. Gansu is known as a source for wild medicinal herbs which are used in Chinese medicine. However, pollution by heavy metals, such as cadmium in irrigation water, has resulted in poisoning of many acres of agricultural land. The extent and nature of the heavy metal pollution is considered a state secret.

            However, most of Gansu's economy is based on mining and the extraction of minerals, especially rare earth elements. The province has significant deposits of antimony, chromium, coal, cobalt, copper, fluorite, gypsum, iridium, iron, lead, limestone, mercury, mirabilite, nickel, crude oil, platinum, troilite, tungsten, and zinc among others. The oil fields at Yumen and Changqing are considered significant.

            Gansu has China's largest nickel deposits accounting for over 90% of China's total nickel reserves.

            Industries other than mining include electricity generation, petrochemicals, oil exploration machinery, and building materials.

            According to some sources, the province is also a center of China's nuclear industry.

            Despite recent growth in Gansu and the booming economy in the rest of China, Gansu is still considered to be one of the poorest provinces in China. Its nominal GDP for 2011 was about 502.0 billion yuan (79.69 billion USD) and per capita of 12,836 RMB (1,879 USD). Tourism has been a bright spot in contributing to Gansu's overall economy. As mentioned below, Gansu offers a wide variety of choices for national and international tourists.

            As stipulated in the country's 12th Five Year Plan, the local government of Gansu hopes to grow the provinces GDP by 10% annually by focusing investments on five pillar industries: renewable energy, coal, chemicals, nonferrous metals, pharmaceuticals and services.

            Economic and technological development zones

            • Lanzhou National Economic and Technological Development Zone

            Lanzhou Economic & Technology Development Zone was established in 1993, located in the center of Lanzhou Anning District. The zone has a planned area of 9.53 km2 (3.68 sq mi). 17 colleges, 11 scientific research institutions, 21 large and medium-size companines and other 1735 enterprises have been set up in the zone. Main industries include textile mills, rubber, fertilizer plants, oil refinery, petrochemical, machinery, and metallurgical industry.
            • Lanzhou New & Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, Lanzhou Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, one of the first 27 national hi-tech industrial development zones, was established in 1998 covering more than 10 km2 (3.9 sq mi). It is expected to expand another 19 km2 (7.3 sq mi). The zone mainly focuses on Biotechnology, chemical industry, building decoration materials and information technology.


            On the streets of Linxia
            Gansu province is home to 30,711,287 people. Most of the population, 73%, is still rural. Gansu is 92% Han and also has Hui, Tibetan, Dongxiang, Tu, Manchu, Uyghur, Yugur, Bonan, Mongolian, Salar, and Kazakh minorities. Prior to the Panthay Rebellion (also Muslim Rebellion), Gansu province had a large community of Chinese Hui Muslims, which was almost decimated by Qing authorities. Gansu is also a historical home, along with Shaanxi, of the dialect of the Dungans, who migrated to Central Asia. The southwestern corner of Gansu is home to a large ethnic Tibetan population.


            Most of the inhabitants of Gansu speak dialects of Northern Mandarin Chinese. On the border areas of Gansu one might encounter Tu, Amdo Tibetan, Mongolian, and the Kazakh language. Most of the minorities also speak Chinese.


            Sheep grazing beside a main road near Jiuquan
            The cuisine of Gansu is based on the staple crops grown there: wheat, barley, millet, beans, and sweet potatoes. Within China, Gansu is known for its lamian (pulled noodles), and Muslim restaurants which feature authentic Gansu cuisine.


            Muslim restaurants are known as "qingzhen restaurants" ("pure truths (Islamic) restaurants"), and feature typical Chinese dishes, but without any pork products, and instead an emphasis on lamb and mutton. There was a Dungan revolt from 1895 to 1896. The Muslim Conflict in Gansu (1927–1930) was a conflict against the Guominjun. Kuomintang Islamic insurgency in China (1950–1958) was a prolongation of the Chinese Civil War. Gansu has many works of Buddhist art, including the Maijishan Grottoes. Dunhuang was a major centre of Buddhism in the Middle Ages.


            Jiayuguan Pass of the Great Wall

            Main article: Jiayuguan Pass
            Jiayuguan Pass, in Jiayuguan city, is the largest and most intact pass, or entrance, of the Great Wall. Jiayuguan Pass was built in the early Ming dynasty, somewhere around the year 1372. It was built near an oasis that was then on the extreme western edge of China. Jiayuguan Pass was the first pass on the west end of the great wall so it earned the name “The First And Greatest Pass Under Heaven.”

            An extra brick is said to rest on a ledge over one of the gates. One legend holds that the official in charge asked the designer to calculate how many bricks would be used. The designer gave him the number and when the project was finished, only one brick was left. It was put on the top of the pass as a symbol of commemoration. Another account holds that the building project was assigned to a military manager and an architect. The architect presented the manager with a requisition for the total number of bricks that he would need. When the manager found out that the architect had not asked for any extra bricks, he demanded that the architect make some provision for unforeseen circumstances. The architect, taking this as an insult to his planning ability, added a single extra brick to the request. When the gate was finished, the single extra brick was, in fact, extra and was left on the ledge over the gate.

            Mogao Grottoes

            The Mogao Grottoes near Dunhuang have a collection of Buddhist art. Originally there were a thousand grottoes, but now only 492 cave temples remain. Each temple has a large statue of a buddha or bodhisattva and paintings of religious scenes. In 336 AD, a monk named Le Zun (Lo-tsun) came near Echoing Sand Mountain, when he had a vision. He started to carve the first grotto. During the Five Dynasties period they ran out of room on the cliff and could not build any more grottoes.

            Silk Road and Dunhuang City

            A terracotta warrior from Gansu, with traces of polychrome and gold, from the Tang Dynasty (618−907)
            The historic Silk Road starts in Chang'an and goes to Constantinople. On the way merchants would go to Dunhuang in Gansu. In Dunhuang they would get fresh camels, food and guards for the journey around the dangerous Taklamakan Desert. Before departing Dunhuang they would pray to the Mogao Grottoes for a safe journey, if they came back alive they would thank the gods at the grottoes. Across the desert they would form a train of camels to protect themselves from thieving bandits. The next stop, Kashi (Kashgar), was a welcome sight to the merchants. At Kashi most would trade and go back and the ones who stayed would eat fruit and trade their Bactrian camels for single humped ones. After Kashi they would keep going until they reached their next destination.

            Located about 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of the city, the Crescent Lake or Yueyaquan is an oasis and popular spot for tourists seeking respite from the heat of the desert. Activities includes camel and 4x4 rides.

            Silk Route Museum

            The Silk Route Museum is located in Jiuquan along the Silk Road, a trading route connecting Rome to China, used by Marco Polo. It is also built over the tomb of the Xiliang King.

            Bingling Temple

            Bingling Temple, or Bingling Grottoes, is a Buddhist cave complex in a canyon along the Yellow River. Begun in 420 AD during the Western Jin Dynasty, the site contains dozens of caves and caverns filled with outstanding examples of carvings, sculpture, and frescoes. The great Maitreya Buddha is more than 27 meters tall and is similar in style to the great Buddhas that once lined the cliffs of Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Access to the site is by boat from Yongjing in the summer or fall. There is no other access point.

            Labrang Monastery

            Labrang Tashikyil Monastery is located in Xiahe County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, located in the southern part of Gansu, and part of the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo. It is one of the six major monasteries of the Gelukpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet, and the most important one in Amdo. Built in 1710, it is headed by the Jamyang-zhaypa. It has 6 dratsang (colleges), and houses over sixty thousand religious texts and other works of literature as well as other cultural artifacts.

            Space launch center

            The Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is located in the Gobi desert in Gansu Province.

            Postage stamps

            In August 1949, the provincial government overprinted the nondenominated stamps "locomotive" and "airmail arrow" stamps issued by the central government. These overprints were made by handstamping in purple, and are quite rare, valued at over US$500 each. Counterfeits are known, and apparent examples should be expertized.


            Colleges and universities

            See also: List of universities and colleges in Gansu
            • Gansu Agricultural University
            • Gansu University of Technology
            • Lanzhou Commercial College
            • Lanzhou Jiaotong University
            • Lanzhou Polytechnic College
            • Lanzhou University (Lanzhou)
            • Lanzhou University of Technology
            • Northwest Minority University
            • Northwest Normal University
            • Northwest University of Nationalities
            • Tianshui Normal College (Tianshui)

            Natural resources


            • 166,400 square kilometres (64,200 sq mi) grassland
            • 46,700 square kilometres (18,000 sq mi) mountain slopes suitable for livestock breeding
            • 46,200 square kilometres (17,800 sq mi) forests (standing timber reserves of 0.2 cubic kilometres (0.048 cu mi))
            • 35,300 square kilometres (13,600 sq mi) cultivated land (1,400 square metres (15,000 sq ft) per capita)
            • 66,600 square kilometres (25,700 sq mi) wasteland suitable for forestation
            • 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) wasteland suitable for farming


            Three thousand deposits of 145 different minerals. Ninety-four minerals have been found and ascertained, including nickel, cobalt, platinum, selenium, casting clay, finishing serpentine, and five other minerals whose reserves are the largest in China.[citation needed] Gansu has advantages in getting nickel, zinc, cobalt, platinum, iridium, copper, barite, and baudisserite.


            Among Gansu’s most important sources of energy are its water resources: the Yellow River and other inland river drainage basins. Gansu is placed ninth among China’s provinces in annual hydropower potential and water discharge. Gansu produces 17.24 gigawatts of hydropower a year. Twenty-nine hydropower stations have been constructed in Gansu, each capable of generating 30 gigawatts. Gansu has an estimated coal reserve of 8.92 billion tons and petroleum reserve of 700 million tons. There is also good potential for wind and solar power development.

            Flora and fauna

            Gansu has 659 species of wild animals. It has twenty-four rare animals which are under a state protection.

            Gansu's mammals include some of the world's most charismatic: the Giant panda, Golden Monkeys, lynx, Snow leopards, Sika deer, musk deer, and the Bactrian camel.

            Among zoologists who study moles, the Gansu Mole is of great interest. For a reason that can only be speculated, it is taxologically a New World Mole living among Old Word Moles; that is to say an American mole living in a sea of Euro-Asians.

            Gansu is home to 441 species of birds; it is a center of endemism and home to many species and subspecies which occur nowhere else in the world.

            Gansu is China's second-largest producer of medicinal plants and herbs, including some produced nowhere else, such as the hairy asiabell root, fritillary bulb, and Chinese caterpillar fungus.

            Source: Wikipedia ( )
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