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Brief Introduction - Qinghai

December 22, 2008

Editor: Jessica Dong
Alibaba News Channel - New York
19 Dec 2008
Qinghai was only relatively recently made a province of China. A large part of the area, historically called Kokonor in English until the early 20th century, lies outside of China proper and has been an ethnic melting pot for centuries, mixing Tibetan, Han Chinese, Mongol, and Turkic influences. It was a battleground during the Tang and subsequent Chinese dynasties when they fought against successive Tibetan dynasties.
Prior to 1724, most of the area that is now Qinghai was under Tibetan control, but in that year it was conquered by the armies of the Qing Dynasty.Following the defeat of the Dzungars by the Qing in the mid 18th century, the area became home to peoples from what is now northern Xinjiang known as the Kokonor Mongols (Kokonor derives from the Mongolian language name of Qinghai).
In 1928, Qinghai became a province of the Republic of China. Subsequently it became the primary base for warlord Ma Bufang, before it became a province under the People's Republic of China in 1949.
Qinghai is located on the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau. The Yellow River (Huang He) originates in the middle of the province, while the Yangtze and Mekong have their sources in the southwestern part.
The average elevation of Qinghai is over 3000 meters above sea level. Mountain ranges include the Tanggula Mountains and Kunlun Mountains. Its average temperature is approximately -5 to 8°C, with January temperatures ranging from -18.2 to -7°C and July temperatures ranging from 5 to 21°C. It is also prone to heavy winds as well as sandstorms from February to April.
By area, Qinghai is the largest province in China - excluding the autonomous regions of Xinjiang, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia, which are technically not provinces.
Qinghai Lake (Koko Nor) is the largest lake in the People's Republic of China.
Administrative divisions
Main article: List of administrative divisions of Qinghai
Qinghai is administratively divided into one prefecture-level city, one prefecture, and six autonomous prefectures:
Prefecture-level city
Xining (西宁 | Xiníng Shì)
Haidong (海东 | Hǎidōng Diqu)
Autonomous prefectures
Golog | Guǒluò Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu)
Haibei | Hǎiběi Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu)
Hainan | Hǎinán Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu)
Haixi | Hǎixī Měnggǔzú Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu)
Huangnan | Huángnán Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu)
Yushu | Yùshù Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu)
All of these are in turn divided into four districts, two county-level cities, thirty counties, and seven autonomous counties.
Qinghai's economy is amongst the smallest in all of China. Its nominal GDP for 2007 was just 76.1 billion RMB (US$10 billion) and contributes to a little over 0.3% of the entire country's economy. Per capita GDP was 13,836 RMB (US$1,820).
Its heavy industry includes iron and steel productions, located near its capital city of Xining. Oil and natural gas from the Chaidamu Basin have also been an important contributor to the economy.
Qinghai's culture is heavily influenced by China proper and Tibet, given the close proximities as well as a shared history.
See also: Transportation in China
The Lanqing Railway, running between Lanzhou, Gansu and Xining, the province's capital, was completed in 1959 and is the major transportation route in and out of the province. A continuation of the line, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway through Golmud, has become one of the most ambitious projects in PRC history. It was completed in October 2005 and now links Tibet with the rest of China through Qinghai.
Six National Highways run through the province. Xining Caojiabu Airport provides service to Beijing, Lanzhou, Golmud and Delingha.
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