Gansu Province

General Introduction: This Northwest China Province on the upper reaches of the Yellow River has an area of 455, 000 sq km inhabited by 23,450,000 people of Han, Hui, Tibetan, Mongol and eight other ethnic groups. The provincial capital is Lanzhou, Northwest China's largest industrial center situated on the western terminus of the Longhai Railway -- the country's major east-west trunk line.

Climate: Gansu has a temperate monsoon climate with the marked transitional characteristics of a continental climate. It has an annual temperature of 0°-15°C, with great difference between north and south, and an annual precipitation of 50-800 mm, decreasing from southeast to northwest.

Topography: Gansu adjoins the Loess Highland, and inner Mongolia, and Qinghai-Tibet plateaus, averaging 1,000-3,000 meters in elevation. The eastern part, composed of undulating Loess Highland, is drained by the Yellow River and its tributaries, the Weihe and Taohe rivers. The Qilian Mountainous area on the Gansu-Qinghai border generally exceeds 4,000 meters above sea level. There are the Heihe, Shule and other inland rivers in the Gansu Corridor Between the Qilian range and the Longshou and Heli mountains. Although the greater part of the corridor are deserts and semi-deserts with an arid climate, there are contiguous oases which have the benefit of the melt-water from the Qilian Mountains for the development of farming and animal husbandry. A natural passage from the heartland of China to Xinjiang and Central Asia in ancient times, the Gansu Corridor is crossed by the Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway.

Population: 24.67 millions (March 2001)

Ethnic groups: Han, Hui, Tibetan, Mongol and eight other ethnic groups.

Agriculture: The grassland in Gansu Province is the fifth biggest in China. Growing in the Loess Highland are mostly wheat, maize, millet, cotton and linseed. The area around Lanzhou is a melon and fruit producer famous for its Bailan melons. Its main livestock includes pigs, sheep, cattle and horses.

Industry: Gansu has more than 60 types of minerals, the best-known being nickel, copper, lead and zinc. Jinchang is the country's leading nickel producer. Iron, Chromium, tungsten, mercury, and antimony are found in a number of areas. Yumen and Changqing are sizable oilfields. The province is also rich in coal, troilite, cement, limestone, gypsum, mirabilite and fluorite.

Editor:Liu Kan