General Overview of Qinghai Province


Located in western China and "The Third Pole of the Earth", Qinghai Province sits in the northeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Roof of the World. With a vast area of 720,000 km2, it's the birthplace of the world-famous Yangtze River, Yellow River and Lancang River, known as the "China Water Tower" and the "Source of the River". In addition, there are the Kunlun Mountains, "the ancestor of ten thousand mountains", the Qilian Mountains that wind thousands of miles away, the natural barrier Altun Mountains, the snow-filled Tanggula Mountains, the high and steep Bayan Har Mountains, the towering Riyue Mountain, and the Amne Machin surrounded by clouds and mists, etc. together they have built up the majesty and magnificence of the Qinghai Plateau. Surrounded by mountains, it has nurtured more than 400 lakes in various shapes and more than 200 rivers running far and wide, forming an intertwined system. Qinghai Lake, with an area of 4,256 km2, is fascinating with thousands of birds hovering over its clear waters. Qinghai Province is named after Qinghai Lake, the largest inland saltwater lake in China, and is called "Qing" for short.

Qinghai has a total of 2 prefecture-level cities, 6 autonomous prefectures, 6 municipal districts, 3 county-level cities, 27 counties, 7 autonomous counties, and 3 county-level administrative committees, with Xining City as the provincial capital. There are 43 ethnic minorities such as Tibetan, Hui, Mongolian and Salar, with a permanent population of 5,934,600 at the end of 2016.

The Qinghai Plateau covers an area of 2,400,000 km2. The terrain of Qinghai is high in the west and low in the east, high in the north and south and low in the middle. The west is high in elevation, slopes to the east, and descends in a ladder shape. The east is a transition zone from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to the Loess Plateau, with a complex topography and variety of landforms. The mountains form the basic framework of Qinghai's landforms, most of which are above 3500 meters above sea level, including all of Tibet and Qinghai, western Sichuan, southern Xinjiang and part of Gansu and Yunnan. The Qinghai Plateau is surrounded by mountains, with the Himalayas in the south, the Altun Mountains, the Kunlun Mountains and the Qilian Mountains in the north, the Har goolun Range in the west, and the Hengduan Mountains in the east. There are Tanggula Mountains, Gangdise  Range and Nyanchen Tanglha in the plateau. Most of these mountains exceed 5,500 meters, with 16 peaks in the Himalayas exceeding 8,000 meters. The plateau is divided into many basins and wide valleys by mountains. There are also many lakes, such as the inland saltwater lakes Qinghai Lake and Nam Co, which are rich in salt, borax, and mirabilite, etc.
The plateau is the birthplace of many major rivers in Asia, such as the Yangtze River, the Yellow River, the Lancang River, the Nujiang River, and the Yarlung Zangbo River, and is rich in water resources. Due to the high terrain, most areas lack heat, and the average temperature in the hottest month above 4500 meters is less than 10℃. There is no absolute frost-free period, so it's difficult for cereals to mature and only suitable for grazing. The main livestock are yak, Tibetan sheep, and Tibetan goats that are resistant to cold. River valleys below 4200 meters can be used to grow crops, mainly cold-resistant species such as highland barley, wheat, peas, potatoes, and rape. The Yarlung Zangbo River valley has a low latitude and no severe cold in winter, so wheat can survive the winter.

There are many hydropower stations, coal mines, steelworks, chemical plants, woolen mills, and paper mills built on the plateau. At present, there are four highways runs across the plateau, including Sichuan-Tibet Highway, Qinghai-Tibet Highway, Yunnan-Tibet Highway and Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, and a new plateau railway has been built. There are also civil flights to Xining, Golmud, and Lhasa.
Qinghai province, home to the second largest wetland resource in China, has been continuously strengthening ecological protection and construction, thus all kinds of natural wetland resources within its territory have been effectively protected.
 Qinghai province, located in the northeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, is the birthplace of China's three most famous rivers, the Yellow River, the Yangtze River and the Lancang River. With so many mountains, rivers, lakes and swamps, it's one of the regions with the highest altitude, the largest area and the most concentrated distribution of wetlands in China, and the second largest distribution area of wetland resources in China after Tibet. Due to the large area of wetland, there are also various wild animals and plants here. It is known that there are 123 species of vertebrates living in wetlands of the Qinghai Plateau, among which quite a few are rare species under national key protection.

Located in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Qinghai province is deep inland and far away from the sea, so it has a plateau continental climate. Its climatic characteristics are as follows: long sunshine duration, strong radiation; long winters and cool summers; large daily temperature range and small annual temperature range; low precipitation and large regional differences, more rain in the east, dry and windy west, lack of oxygen, cold.

Qinghai is an area inhabited by many ethnic groups, including Tibetan, Hui, Tu, Salar and Mongolian. Tibetan Buddhism and Islam have extensive influence in Qinghai. The Kumbum Monastery and the Dongguan Mosque have become sacred places of ethnic religions. Over the years, all ethnic groups have lived in harmony, united and enjoyed common development and progress. And through mutual integration and absorption, they have learned from each other, influenced each other, forming distinctive local, ethnic and diversified characteristics. Thay have also created excellent cultural traditions in architecture, sculpture, painting and embroidery. They are all bold and enthusiastic, good at singing and dancing. And tourists will linger on the place for the high-pitched song "Huaer", the enjoyable "Shehuo", Tu's charming dance "An Zhao", Salar's sincere song "New Song", Tibetan's beautiful song "Layi", Hui's bright song "Banquet Song", and the melodious Matouqin sound.

The natural scenery of Qinghai is primitive and mysterious, vigorous and magnificent, and novel and charming; its ancient culture enjoys a long history and the ethnic customs are colorful. It has a unique natural landscape, such as the wild Kunlun Mountains, the snow-covered Qilian Mountains, the source of rivers, the vast grassland, the wonder of salt lakes, the Wanzhang Salt Bridge, Qinghai Lake, the Riyue Mountain, Mengda Nature Reserve, and Kanbula National Forest Park. It also has many places of interest, such as the Kumbum Monastery, Qutan Monastery, Liuwan Graveyard, Regong arts, and Wencheng Princess Temple. It's one of the cradles of ancient Chinese culture. The Longyangxia Hydropower Station and Lijiaxia Hydropower Station, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway are all brilliant achievements in China's modernization drive.

As the Chinese Government intensifies the development of the western region, Qinghai has become a hot spot for foreign investment. The development of resources, urban construction, sports, cultural activities exchanges, and material economic and trade negotiations have set off one wave after another. The continuous success of the China Qinghai Structural Adjustment and Investment and Trade Fair, the Tour of Qinghai Lake, the Tulip Festival and the Qinghai Culture and Tourism Festival has demonstrated Qinghai's new image, new development, new attitude and new achievements.

Qinghai is the integration of Xinjiang and Tibet and is known as the "Eaves of the World". The eastern part of Qinghai is very important, known as "Tianhe Suoyao", "Haizang Throat", "Golden City Barrier", "Western Chong" and "Yuse Throat".

There is great beauty in the world without saying it. Qinghai has vast land and resources, magnificent mountains and rivers, a long history, numerous ethnic groups, and diverse cultures. It enjoys an important strategic position in terms of ecology, resources, and stability. The beauty of Qinghai is unique in its original ecology, diversity, and irreplaceable charm. Just as the poet Li Bai described it: "Climbing up to the peak of Mount Lu, the mighty Yangtze River water is rushing into the sea and never returns, the yellow clouds are floating in the air with the sky changing rapidly, and the waves hit by the nine tributaries of the Yangtze River are like snow-capped mountains."