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Gansu, China

Updated on January 14, 2012
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Gansu is a province in northwestern China. It is bounded on the north by Inner Mongolia and Mongolia, on the west by Sinkiang and Chinghai, on the south by Szechwan, and on the east by Shensi and Ningsia. The provincial capital is Lanchow (1958 population, 732,000).

Gansu has an area of about 175,000 square miles. It can be divided into four major physical regions: the Ala Shan desert, the eastern loess lands, the mountain-ringed Lanchow basin, and the Gansu corridor- the historic silk route to central Asia.

Besides coal, salt, soda, iron, and gold, Gansu contains the important Yiimen oilfield in the Gansu corridor at the north foot of the Ki Lien Mountains, a section of the great Nan Shan system. Production began in 1939 under the Nationalists, and in World War II provided most of China's wartime needs of gasoline, kerosine, and diesel oil. The field has been further developed by the Communists. Agricultural products are generally those of northern China and oasis areas.

A high-priced water-pipe tobacco is shipped to all parts of China and even Singapore. Chinese speaking the northern Mandarin constitute 88 per cent of the population.

Among the 11 minorities are Chinese Muslims, Tibetans, Mongols, Tunghsiang, Yuku, Kazaks, and Uigur. The minorities are organized into governmental administrative subdivisions which are called autonomous chou and autonomous hsien under the Communist government.

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