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Gansu China

Elevation: 1,000-3,000 meters.

Natural resources


Gansu features a land area of 455,000 square kilometers, including 3.53 million hectares of cultivated land or 0.14 hectare per capita, 16.64 million hectares of grassland, and 4.26 million hectares of forests with a standing timber reserve of 200 million cubic meters. In addition, there are 1 million hectares of wasteland suitable for agriculture, 6.66 million hectares of wasteland suitable for forestation, and 4.67 million hectares of mountain slopes suitable for livestock breeding.


Nearly 3,000 deposits of 145 kinds of minerals have been found and the reserves of 94 kinds of minerals have been ascertained, including nickel, cobalt, platinum family elements, selenium, casting clay, finishing serpentine, and five other minerals whose reserves are the largest in the country. Gansu has special advantages in tapping 15 kinds of minerals such as nickel, zinc, cobalt, platinum, iridium, copper, stibium, barite, and baudisserite.


The water resources in Gansu are mainly distributed in nine river systems in the Yellow, Yangtze, and inland river drainage basins with an annual discharge of 61.4 billion cubic meters and a combined hydropower potential of 17.24 million kw. Gansu places ninth among China's provinces and autonomous regions in terms of hydropower potential. To date, 29 hydropower stations have been constructed in the province with an installed generating capacity of 30 million kw and an annual output of 23.565 billion kwh. The Liujiaxia, Yanguoxia, and Bapanxia hydropower stations on the upper reaches of the Yellow River and the Bikou Hydropower Station on the Bailong River have a total installed capacity of 2.125 million kw. The proved reserves of coal are 8.92 billion tons, and those of petroleum, between 600 and 700 million tons. There is also a considerable potential for the development of wind and solar energies.

Animals and plants

There are 659 species of wild animals, including the giant panda, snub-nosed monkey, antelope, snow leopard, deer, fawn, musk deer, bactrian (two-humped) camel, and 24 other first-class rare animals under state protection, and 441 species of birds in Gansu Province. There are over 4,000 species of wild plants including 951 species of medical value. Among the plants of medical value, 450 species, such as angelica root, rhubarb, hairy asiabell root, licorice root, fritillary bulb, mariajuana, the bark of eucommia, glossy ganoderma, and Chinese caterpillar fungus, have been developed. Gansu holds second place among China's provinces and autonomous regions in the variety of medicinal herbs.

Environment and current issues

By the end of 2003, two of the province?ˉs cities met the state second-grade air quality standard, compared with none in the previous year. Meanwhile a further five cities reached third-grade standard, two more than the year before.

Just 7 percent of the province?ˉs cities suffered from severe noise-pollutions, 14 percentage points lower than the previous year.

A total of 43 smog-control zones had been established, four more than at the previous year end. Together they cover an area of some 398 square km (up 17.8 percent in the year).

Forty-six zones meeting the noise-control criteria had been set up, one more than the year before and accounting for an area of some 242 square km (up 1.2 percent).

There were 47 nature reserves across the province with the eight now designated at national level representing an increase of two in the year. At 8,358,400 hectares, nature reserves account for 19.63 percent of the total area of Gansu Province.

Monitoring of surface water quality showed minimum criteria being met as follows: 50.00 percent reached Class III standards (up 19.97 percent), 71.81 percent reached Class IV (up 13.19 percent) and 73.43 percent reached Class V (up 4.46 percent). Viewed another way just 26.57 percent failed to satisfy the minimum standards of Class V.


At the end of 2003, Gansu had a total Population of some 26,033,400. The Population grew by 6.12 percent in 2003.

The year saw 327,200 births, with a crude birth rate of 12.58 per thousand (down 0.058 percent on the previous year) and a crude death rate of 6.46 per thousand (up just 0.001 percent).

Natural Population growth was 159,200 in the year representing a growth rate of 6.12 per thousand (down 0.059 percent). About 51.75 percent of the Population or 13,472,300 were male while there were 12,561,100 female.

There were 6,224,600 persons in the age group 0-14, accounting for 23.91 percent of the total Population (down 1.04 percent). There were 18,239,000 in the age group 15-64, accounting for 70.06 percent (up 0.75 percent). There were 1,569,800 in the age group 65 and over, accounting for 6.03 percent (up 0.29 percent).

There were 7,127,900 urban residents, accounting for 27.38 percent of the total Population (up 1.42 percent) and 18,905,500 rural residents, accounting for 72.62 percent.


Gansu is home to some 20.52 million Han people (91.7 percent of the Population) together with 1.86 million people of ethnic minority groups (8.3 percent). Those minority groups with a Population of more than 1,000 are the Hui, Tibetan, Dongxiang, Tu, Manchu, Yugur, Bonan, Mongolian, Salar, and Kazak.


In 2003, general universities in the province enrolled some 173,400 undergraduates (up 21.26 percent on the previous year) including 60,100 new entrants (up 13.18 percent). Meanwhile the universities and research institutes enrolled 8,600 graduate students (up 43.33 percent) including 3,600 new entrants (up 20 percent).

General senior secondary schools enrolled 427,000 students (up 23.41 percent) including 168,200 new entrants (up 16.81 percent). The various secondary vocational and technical schools enrolled 49,500 students (down 12.39 percent) including 19,200 new entrants (down 16.52 percent).

Junior secondary schools enrolled 1,306,000 students (up 3.63 percent) including 453,100 new entrants (up 1.36 percent).

Primary schools enrolled 3,227,600 students (down 0.06 percent) including 572,300 new entrants (down 6.16 percent). Special education schools enrolled 7,673 students including 975 new entrants. 372,200 kids went to kindergarten.

Rail, Road and Water Transportation

Freight traffic reached 63.3 billion ton-km in 2003 (up 7 percent). Of this total, railways contributed 50.9 billion ton-km (up 7.7 percent), roads 12.4 billion ton-km (up 4.5 percent) and waterways 7.0 million ton-km (up 19.3 percent).

Total passenger traffic was 23.1 billion person-km (down 0.8 percent). Of this total, railways contributed 13.3 billion person-km (down 4.3 percent), roads 8.7 billion person-km (up 3.7 percent) and waterways 19.0 million person-km (down 3.7 percent).

Rail routes

Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province, is right at the geographical center of China. Here the Lanzhou-Urumqi, Baotou-Lanzhou, Longhai (Lianyungang-Lanzhou) and Lanzhou-Xining trunk railways, all converge.

The Baoji-Lanzhou and Lanzhou-Wuchang sections of the Longhai trunk railway have been electrified. The new Baoji-Zhongwei line has been linked-up to the rest of the network. The dual-track section of the Lanzhou-Urumqi railway was completed back in May 1995.

Major highways

There are 72 national and provincial highways with a total length of 35,000 kilometers. The Tianshui-Beidao and Lanzhou-Zhongchuan Airport expressways are now open for traffic. The volume of goods transported on the major highways reached 8.5 million tons with passenger traffic reaching 500 million person-km.


Gansu has opened up over 20 air routes. Lanzhou at the hub has links to major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Urumqi together with provincial cities such as Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Tianshui and Qingyang. Air traffic routes have been extended to 35,700 kilometers. In 2003, the volume of air cargo reached some 21 million ton-km (up 22.4 percent) and air passenger traffic reached 1.1 billion person-km (up 9.9 percent).

With the formal opening of Lanzhou Airport a direct air service between Lanzhou and Hong Kong is now operational.

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