Qīnghǎi Shěng
Abbreviation: 青 (pinyin: Qīng)
Missing image
Qinghai is highlighted on this map

Origin of Name 青 qīng - green/blue
海 hǎi - sea
"green sea"
(Lake Qinghai)
Administration Type Province
Capital and
Largest City
CPC Qinghai Committee Secretary Zhao Leji
Governor Song Xiuyan
Area 721,000 km² (4th)
Population (2002)
 - Density
5,290,000 (30th)
7.3/km² (30th)
GDP (2003)
 - per capita
39.02 billion (29th)
7310 (18th)
Major Nationalities (2000) Han - 54%
Tibetan - 23%
Hui - 16%
Tu - 4%
Salar - 1.8%
Mongol - 1.8%
Prefecture-level divisions 8
County-level divisions 43
Township-level divisions 429
ISO 3166-2 CN-63

Qinghai (Template:Zh-cpw; Postal System Pinyin: Tsinghai) is a province of the People's Republic of China, named after the enormous Qinghai Lake (Koko Nor). It borders Gansu on the northeast, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on the northwest, Sichuan on the southeast, and Tibet on the southwest.



Qinghai was historically part of the Amdo province of Tibet. In 1928 it became a province of the then Republic of China.


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 southern part.

Along with Tibet, Qinghai have also been dubbed the Roof of the world. The average elevation of Qinghai is about 3000 metres above sea level. Mountain ranges includes the Tangula Mountains and the Kunlun Mountains to name two.

Its average temperature is approximately -5'c to 8'c, with January temperature ranging from -18.2'c to -7'c and July temperature ranging from 5'c to 21'c. It is also prone to heavy winds as well as sandstorms from February to April.


Qinghai's economy is amongst the smallest in all of China. Its nominal GDP for 2003 was just 4.8 billion USD and contributes to a little over 0.3% of the entire country's economy. Per capita GDP was 7310 RMB (882 USD).

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.


The province of Qinghai boasts a population of 5.2 million, among which the Han is the largest group. Other groups include the Tibetans, Tu, Hui, Salar and Mongols.



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, has become one of the most ambitious projects in PRC history, and will, by completion, connect Tibet with the rest of China through Qinghai. Six National Highways run through the province. Xining Airport provides service to Beijing, Lanzhou, Golmud and Delingha.

See Transportation in China.


Many tourist attractions center on Xining, the provincial seat of Qinghai. Xining, a vibrant city of 5.6 million, is squeezed between a long valley, offering an amazing blend of culture from Tibetan, Hui, and other minorities along with the Han majority.

The city itself has many worthwhile stops, including the Great Mosque of Xining (qīngzhēn d s) and North Mountain Temple (bĕishān s).

Outside of Xining lie two notable attractions:

The Kumbum Monastery (tă'ĕr s) lies 30km outside of Xining, and likely any taxi from the city will get you there, but be sure to haggle for a decent price. The Monastery is one of the most important Yellow Hat Sect monasteries in the world, and also includes a Hall of Yak Butter Sculptures, which is not to be missed. Admission is 35RMB, and extra for guides who speak a variety of languages.

Qinghai Lake (qīnghăi h) is another great trip, albeit further from Xining than Kumbum. The lake is the largest saltwater lake in China, and is also located on the "Roof of the World," the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. The lake itself lies at 3,600m elevation. The surrounding area is made up of beautiful rolling grasslands and filled with Ethnic Tibetans, making for an authentic experience. Most pre-arranged tours will stop at Bird Island (niăo dăo), but check to make sure if admission is included in any tour package. A Tour from Xining, around the entire lake, and back with stops for lunch, shopping, and sightseeing can easily run 12 hours (more for Bird Island), so it may be wise to allot an entire day for this side trip.

Qinghai offers many outstanding travel opportunities. In this area of [[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Tibet)],Historical Tibet, the local culture is a large draw. Many argue that due to Chinese governmental actions in the 'Tibetan Autonomous Region', Tibetan culture is actually much more intact in Yunnan, Sichuan, and Qinghai than in the current T.A.R.

External links

Province-level divisions administered by the People's Republic of China Missing image
Flag of the People's Republic of China

Provinces¹: Anhui | Fujian | Gansu | Guangdong | Guizhou | Hainan | Hebei | Heilongjiang | Henan | Hubei | Hunan | Jiangsu | Jiangxi | Jilin | Liaoning | Qinghai | Shaanxi | Shandong | Shanxi | Sichuan | Yunnan | Zhejiang
Autonomous Regions: Guangxi | Inner Mongolia | Ningxia | Tibet | Xinjiang
Municipalities: Beijing | Chongqing | Shanghai | Tianjin
Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong | Macau
¹ See also: Political status of Taiwan

fr:Qinghai es:Qinghai ja:青海省 fi:Qinghai sv:Qinghai zh:青海


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