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( ) is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of Chinamarker. It lies between Qinghaimarker, Inner Mongolia, and the Huangtumarker plateaus, and borders Mongoliamarker to the north and Xinjiang to the west. The Yellow Rivermarker passes the southern part of the province. It has a population of nearly 31 million (2009) and has a large concentration of Hui Chinese. The capital of the province is Lanzhoumarker, located in the southeast part of Gansu. Gansu is abbreviated Gan or Long (陇/隴), and is also known as Long West or Long Right, in reference to the Long Mountain east of Gansu.


Gansu is a compound name first used in Song Dynasty Chinamarker, of two Sui and Tang Dynasty prefectures (州): Gan (around Zhangyemarker) and Su (around Jiuquanmarker).
In prehistoric times, Gansu was host to a number of Neolithic cultures. The Dadiwan culture, from where numerous archaeologically significant artifact have been excavated, flourished in the eastern end of Gansu from about 6000 BC to about 3000 BC . The Majiayao culture (馬家窯文化) and part of the Qijia culture (齊家文化) also took root in Gansu from 3100 BC to 2700 BC and 2400 BC to 1900 BC respectively.

The Qin state (秦), later to become the founding state of the Chinese empire, grew out from the southeastern part of Gansu, specifically the Tianshuimarker (天水) 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 (河西走廊) runs along the "neck" of the province. The Han dynasty extended the Great Wall across this corridor, also building the strategic Yumenguanmarker (Jade Gate Pass, near Dunhuangmarker) and Yangguan (阳关) fort towns along it. Remains of the wall and the towns can be found there to this date. The Ming dynastymarker also built the Jiayuguan outpost in Gansu. To the west of Yumenguan and the Qilian Mountainsmarker, at the northwestern end of the province, the Yuezhi, Wusun, and other nomadic tribes dwelt (Shiji 123), occasionally figuring in regional imperial Chinese geopolitics.

After the fall of the Uyghur Empire, a Uyghur state was established in 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, and a cultural transmission path as well. Temples and Buddhist grottoes  such as those at Mogao Cavesmarker ('Caves of the Thousand Buddhas') and Maijishan Cavesmarker 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 Muslim Rebellion 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 Yunnanmarker province, where over one million Muslims were killed by Qingmarker forces.

Its frequent earthquakes, droughts and famines have tended to slow its economic progress, until recently when based on its 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 70,000 in 1932.


Gansu province has an area of 454,000 km², and the majority of its land is more than 1 km above sea level. It lies between the Tibetan Plateaumarker, Inner Mongolia, and the Loess Plateau, and borders Mongoliamarker to the north-west. The Yellow Rivermarker passes through the southern part of the province. The province contains the geographical center of China, marked by the Center of the County Monument at [23557].

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

The Yellow Rivermarker gets most of its water from Gansu province. 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 mountain rangemarker. At 5,547 meters high, Qilian Shan Mountain is Gansu’s highest elevation. It is located at latitude 39°N and longitude 99°E.

A natural land passage known as Hexi Corridor, stretching some from Lanzhou to the Jade Gate, is situated within Gansu province. It is bound from north by the Gobi Desert and Qilian Mountainsmarker from the south.
Semi-arid, suitable for light grazing
Gansu has a generally semi-arid to arid, continental climate, with warm summers and very cold winters. Most of the precipitation is concentrated in the summer months.

Neighboring provinces: Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Qinghaimarker, Sichuanmarker, Shaanximarker, and Ningxia.

Administrative divisions

There are fourteen administrative areas in Gansu immediately below the province level: twelve prefecture-level cities and two autonomous prefectures:

Map # Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Type
1 Jiuquanmarker 酒泉市 Jiǔquán Shì Prefecture-level city
2 Jiayuguanmarker 嘉峪关市 Jiāyùguān Shì Prefecture-level city
3 Zhangyemarker 张掖市 Zhāngyè Shì Prefecture-level city
4 Jinchangmarker 金昌市 Jiǔquán Shì Prefecture-level city
5 Wuweimarker 武威市 Wǔwēi Shì Prefecture-level city
6 Baiyinmarker 白银市 Báiyín Shì Prefecture-level city
7 Lanzhoumarker 兰州市 Lánzhōu Shì Prefecture-level city
8 Linxia marker 临夏回族自治州 Línxià Huízú Zìzhìzhōu Autonomous prefecture
9 Gannan marker 甘南藏族自治州 Gānnán Zāngzú Zìzhìzhōu Autonomous prefecture
10 Dingximarker 定西市 Dìngxī Shì Prefecture-level city
11 Longnanmarker 陇南市 Lǒngnán Shì Prefecture-level city
12 Tianshuimarker 天水市 Tiānshuǐ Shì Prefecture-level city
13 Pingliangmarker 平凉市 Píngliàng Shì Prefecture-level city
14 Qingyangmarker 庆阳市 Qìngyáng Shì Prefecture-level city

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.


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 - 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 - incumbent


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, 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.

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 2008 was about 317.6 billion yuan (45 billion USD) and per capita of 12,110 RMB (1,744 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.

Economic and Technological Development Zones

  • Lanzhou National Economic and Technological Development Zone
  • Lanzhou New & Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone

Major Business Enterprises

Many new business enterprises have been started in Gansu. Among the largest is Yasheng Group, with over 15,000 employees.


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 completely decimated by Qingmarker authorities.


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.


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 restaurants"), and feature typical Chinese dishes, but without any pork products, and instead an emphasis on lamb and mutton.


Silk Route Museum

The Silk Route Museum is located in Gansu Province, and has over of exhibition space.

The Jiayuguan Pass of the Great Wall

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 Grottoesmarker near Dunhuangmarker represent an astonishing collection of Buddhist art and religion. 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 came near Echoing Sand Mountain, when he had a vision of golden rays of light shining down on him like a thousand Buddhas. Le Zun started to carve the first grotto to memorize the incident. During the Five Dynasties period they ran out of room on the cliff and could not build anymore grottoes. Now they have started to find old paintings that were painted over in the Five Dynasties.

Silk Road and Dunhuang City

The historic Silk Road starts in Chang'anmarker and goes to Constantinoplemarker. 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 Desertmarker. 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 marker, 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 southwest of the city, the Crescent Lakemarker or Yueyaquan is a oasis and popular spot for tourists seeking respite from the heat of the desert. Activities includes camel and 4x4 rides.

Bingling Temple

Bingling Templemarker, or Bingling Grottoes, is a Buddhist cave complex in a canyon along the Yellow Rivermarker. 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 Bamiyanmarker, Afghanistan. Access to the site is by boat from Yongjing in the summer or fall. There is no other access point.

Labrang Monastery

Labrangmarker Tashikyil Monastery is located in Xiahe Countymarker, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecturemarker, 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 Centermarker 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

Natural resources


  • 166,400 km² grassland
  • 46,700 km² mountain slopes suitable for livestock breeding
  • 46,200 km² forests (standing timber reserves of 0.2 km³)
  • 35,300 km² cultivated land (1,400 m² per capita)
  • 66,600 km² wasteland suitable for forestation
  • 10,000 km² wasteland suitable for farming
  • 454,000 km² total area


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. 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 mole, 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.

See also


External links

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