The topography of Ningxia slants toward the north with an elevation from 1,100 to 2,000 meters. The highest point is 3,556 meters above sea level.
Ningxia boasts 0.71 million hectares of wasteland suitable for farming, one of China's eight provinces and autonomous regions each with more than 0.63 million hectares of wasteland suitable for agriculture. There are 3 million hectares of exploitable meadows, making Ningxia one of the ten major pastures in China. The Weining Plain that features 0.37 million hectares of land irrigated with water diverted from the Huanghe River is one of the four principal areas with gravity irrigation in northwest China. For years, the annual runoff of the Huanghe River through Ningxia has remained at 32.5 billion cubic meters, and the water resources allocated to Ningxia by the state for irrigation are 4 billion cubic meters.
The rich land resources, convenient conditions to divert water from the Huanghe River for irrigation, and abundant sunshine have laid a solid foundation for Ningxia to bring into play its advantages in the development of agriculture. Crops, melons, and other fruit are doing well in the irrigated area. Watermelon, apple, and grape from the irrigated area have a 15-20 percent higher sugar content than those produced in central China. The per-hectare yield of single-cropping paddy reaches 10,500 kilograms, placing Ningxia in front among the provinces and autonomous regions in western China and turning it into one of the nation's 12 grain production bases. Effort is being taken to build Ningxia into a national agricultural demonstration area with high yield, high efficiency, and fine quality.
Livestock breading makes up of 29 percent of the local agriculture. Of the 82,000-hectare water surfaces, 10,000 hectares can be used for aquaculture. Ningxia produces various species of carp, river shrimp, and river crabs. There is a great potential for the development of aquaculture. In recent years, Ningxia has seen a rapid development of the aquatic production. It leads other provinces and autonomous regions in the northwest in the per-capita output of aquatic products.
Ningxia is rich in mineral resources, with verified deposits of 50 kinds of minerals including coal, gypsum, oil, natural gas, pottery clay, quartz sandstone, and barite. The potential value of these natural resources per capita is 163.5 percent of the nation's average, putting Ningxia fifth in the country. There are abundant reserves of various kinds of coal. Ningxia has formed a considerable scale of coal production. It leads the country in the deposits of gypsum, with verified deposits of more than 4.5 billion tons. Top-grade gypsum makes up half of the total deposits. The Huojiakouzi deposit in Tongxin County features a reserve of 20 tons of gypsum in 20 layers with a total thickness of 100 meters. It is a rarely-seen large gypsum in China. The reserve of oil and natural gas is ideal for a large-scale development of oil, natural gas, and chemical industries. There is a considerable deposit of quartz sandstone, of which 17 million tons have been ascertained. In addition, there are phosphorus, firestone, copper, iron, other minerals as well as Helan stone (a special clay stone).
Environment and current issues?
In 2003, additional efforts to protect and construct ecological environment in the region as a whole were intensified, and the achievements in satisfying the emission standard for industrial pollution source were consolidated. In the light of the scenario of the Greater Yinchuan Area and corresponding urbanization drive, new achievements were registered in the aspect of curbing environmental pollution and bringing the pollution under control in urban areas.
There are 670 people working in the environmental protection system in the region, and 257 people in the 14 environment monitoring stations at various levels. About 59 projects for the treatment and control of environmental pollution were fulfilled within the designated time, completing an investment worth 94.795 million yuan. One of the planned greening projects was accomplished, completing an investment of 107.91 million yuan.
In the entire region there are 30 smoke-control zones, covering an area of 150.3 square km; and 30 zones meeting the standard for noise-control, covering an area of 108.1 square km. The region is home to 12 nature reserves at the regional level, five nature reserves at the national level and two eco-demonstration regions
Population growth rate: 10.95 per thousand
Life expectancy (average): 69 years
There are 3.68 million Han people, accounting for 65.47 percent of Ningxia¡¯s total population. Ningxia is home to 33 ethnic minority groups which have a total population of 1.94 million. Of this figure, the Hui people amount to 1.90 million, accounting for 33.88 percent of the region¡¯s total population. Most of the Huis live in Tongxin, Guyuan, Xiji, Haiyuan, and Jingyuan counties as well as Wuzhong City and Lingwu County in the area irrigated with water diverted from the Huanghe River.
In 2003, there were 35,134 undergraduates in 12 general universities, and 591 graduate students in 2 universities and/or research institutes. Altogether 1.27 million students were studying in 3,486 schools of various types at all levels. The number of pupils in 2,816 primary schools was 669,503. Students in 446 middle schools numbered 377,078; in 38 secondary vocational schools were 45,017 students. There were altogether 64,356 full-time teachers in the region.
The nine-year compulsory education was made possible in 16 counties, covering 68.3 percent of the population involved. The goal of eliminating illiteracy among young and middle-aged people in the region had basically been attained.
GDP: 38.5 billion yuan in 2003, up by 12.2 percent over the preceding year.
Revenue: 5.07 billion yuan in 2003, up by 14.1 percent over the previous year.
Though agriculture was adversely affected by a 10.5 percent decrease of the grain yield in 2003, driven by such positive factors as the optimization of crop mix, good momentum of animal husbandry development, etc., by and large, steady development was still scored. The total output value of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery reached 10.05 billion yuan, by 5.9 percent as compared with the figure of the preceding year. The statistics show that the annual yield of grain reached 2.7 million tons, down by 10.5 percent from the previous year; that of oil-bearing crops was 132,000 tons, up by 21.2 percent; and that of fruits was 231,000 tons, up by 37 percent.??
Industrial output value and growth rate
The value added of the industrial sectors was 14.33 billion yuan in 2003, up 16.3 percent over the previous year. Among the state-owned and non-state-owned industrial enterprises that exceeded 5 million yuan in their annual sales income, the value added of light industry was 2.2 billion yuan, an increase of 27.4 percent and that of heavy industry was 10.08 billion yuan, an increase of 17.2 percent.
The year 2003 saw an all-time high record in the export value scored. According to customs statistics, the total value of import and export in the region amounted to US$650 million, up by 47.4 percent.
Of the total export value, the volume of exports achieved by the state-owned enterprises was US$370 million, accounting for 72.5 percent of the total.
Analyzed by major trading partners, the top five countries and region in the export volume realized were Japan ( US$98.04 million, up 71.7 percent over the previous year ), Korea ( US$75.76 million, up 149.5 percent ), the U.S.A. (US$60.2 million, up by 30.5 percent ), Hong Kong ( US$48.85 million, up by 170.7 percent ) and Netherlands ( US$23.7 million, up by 73.2 percent ).
The major products for export are aluminium, ferro-silicon, tantalum, magnesium metal, white de-haired goatswool, tires, and bi-cyanamide.
In 2003, the foreign capital actually utilized in the region amounted to US$71.86 million. A total of 37 projects with US$330 million of contractual foreign investment were concluded during the year. By the end of 2003, there were 481 registered Chinese-foreign joint ventures, co-operative enterprises and exclusively foreign-owned enterprises, 27 more than the figure of the preceding year.
Unemployment rate: 4.4 percent with the registered number of the unemployed people standing at 38,000 in urban and township areas at the end of 2003.
Life of the people
In 2003, the annual per capita disposable income of urban households was 6,530 yuan, up 7.6 percent. The annual per capita consumptive expenditure of urban households was 5,330 yuan, up 4.4 percent. The annual expenses of food made up 36 percent of the total expenditure, up by 1.2 percentage points as compared with that of the previous year; that of clothing, 11.0 percent, down 0.3 percentage point; that of transportation and communication, 11.0 percent, up by 0.1 percentage point; that of education, 6.0 percent, down by 1.6 percentage points, and that of housing, 10.5 percent, up by 1.0 percentage point.
The annual per capita net income of rural households topped 2,000 yuan to 2,043.3 yuan in 2003, a real increase of 125.9 yuan, up 6.6 percent. Farmers¡¯ annual income gained from non-agricultural businesses amounted to 888.9 yuan, up by 10.7 percent. The annual per capita daily life expenditure of rural households was 1,637.1 yuan, up by 15.4 percent, of which the per capita expenses for food was 680.2 yuan, up 7.4 percent over the previous year. The Engel coefficients (which refers to the proportion of expenditures on food to the total consumption expenditures of households) were down from the preceding year¡¯s 44.6 percent to 41.5 percent, down by 3.1 percentage points.
By the end of 2003, the savings deposits of urban and rural households amounted to 37.77 billion yuan, up by 23.1 percent over that figure at the beginning of the year.
The Baotou-Lanzhou Railway passes through northern and central Ningxia, and the Zhongwei-Baoji Electrified Railway, the second passage from the coastal areas to the northwest, turns Ningxia into a vital point on the ¡°second Eurasian bridge.¡± The completion of the electrification of the Baotou-Lanzhou Railway will further improve transport facilities in the autonomous region.
At the end of 2003, the length of highways open to traffic reached 11,916 kilometers, a real increase of 671 kilometers from the previous year. Of the figure, express highways amounted to 526 kilometers, and Grade One &Two highways 2,140 kilometers.
Six highway bridges have been built over the 397-kilometer section of the Huanghe River flowing through Ningxia, averaging one bridge on every 66 kilometers of the river course. Construction of the seventh bridge is now under way.
In September 1999, the Hedong Airport in Yinchuan, a fourth-degree modern airport which allows various large- and medium-size aircrafts to take off and land, went into operation. Yinchuan has air routes to Beijing, Shanghai, Xi¡¯an, Guangzhou, Foshan, Chengdu, Urumqi, Wuhan, and Chongqing and formed an aviation network leading to north, southeast, and southwest China
Yinchuan, capital of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, was one of China's dynamic outposts of civilization. It is located in the middle of the Yinchuan or Ningxia Plain. It is sheltered from the deserts of Mongolia by the high ranges of the Helan Mountain to its west. The Yellow River runs through Yinchuan from southwest to northeast. The average elevation of Yinchuan is 1,100 meters (about 3,608 feet). It has an area of 4,467 km2 and an estimated population of 1.2 million.
Ethnic minorities in Yinchuan include Hui, Han, Manchu and Mongolian peoples. Hui are the largest population & make up over a quarter of the residents. Many of the traditional folk customs in Yinchuan comes from the Hui, who have maintained their culture in a variety of ways. Halal food is popular across the city, and comes prepared in a style unique to the Hui. Visitors should seek out local dishes such as Qingzhen Yanggaorou (steamed lamb), Shouzhua Yangrou (boiled mutton), Yangrou Paomo (a mutton and beef soup), and Xiangsuji (spicy crisp chicken). Gaiwancha tea has provided refreshment to locals & travelers alike for over a thousand years.
The landscape around Yinchuan is not to be missed. The arid semi-desert landscape offers many attractions, from bird watching at Sand Lake to the singing sand-dunes at Shapotou, from camel rides over golden sands to sightseeing at the West Xia Tombs. For visitors looking for greener scenery, Helan Mountain and Zhongshan Park are rewarding places to visit.
The famous 'Five Treasures' of Ningxia provide wonderful gifts and keepsakes. Licorice roots and black moss have been used in medicine for hundreds of years and are highly prized. Stones from the Helan Mountain known as ''Helan inkstones'' are pieces of deep purple or azure rock which make exceptionally high quality ink-stones for calligraphy. Tibetan lambskins are also a treasure of the area, as is the goji berry (often referred to as a wolfberry) which has recently found favor in the West as a ''superfood'': something the population of Yinchuan has known for years.
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