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Qinghai Province

Location: situated on the northeastern part of the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau. The Yellow River originates in the middle of the province, while the Yangtze and Mekong have their headwaters in the southern part.

Area: 720,000 sq km

Climate: Qinghai, which is located more than 1, 500 km from the East China coast, has little rainfall and plenty of sunshine. The annual precipitation averages 700 mm in the river valleys in the eastern part, while that in the Qaidam Basin in western Qinghai is below 50 mm. In some places it is only a little more than 10 mm. The province has a mean annual temperature of 0to -8C in the Southern Qinghai Plateau and the Qilian Mountain Area and 0㣭6C in other parts.

provincial capital: Xining

Population: 5.18 millions (March 2001)

Ethnic groups: Tibetan, Hui, Tu, Salar, Mongol and other ethnic groups.

Agriculture: Qinghai is an important livestock breeding center. Its livestock includes sheep, yaks, pian niu (crossbreed of bulls and yaks) and horses. Qinghai produces large quantities of sheep wool, meat, leather and sausage casings for other parts of the country. It is an important producer of medicinal materials such as caterpillar fungus, antlers, musk and rhubarb. Qinghai Lake is famous for its scaleless naked carp. The province grows spring wheat, highland barley, broad beans, potatoes and rapeseed.

Industry: Qinghai is rich in petroleum, lead, zinc, copper, chromium, cobalt, nickel, iron, asbestos, mirabilite, gypsum, lake salt, potassium, boron and coal. The Qilian is called the "treasure mountains" and the Qaidam the "treasure basin".

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