Tibet adjoins Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the province of Qinghai in the north, Sichuan in the east, Yunnan in the southeast, and such countries and regions as Myanmar, India, Bhutan and Nepal in the south and west along an international border of nearly 4,000 km. The 1.22-million-square-km autonomous region accounts for 12.8 percent of China's total land area
Tibet, averaging more than 4,000 meters above sea level, forms the main part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and is well known as the "roof of the world." The Himalayas, ranging from east to west on the southern edge of the Tibet Plateau, run for 2,400 kilometers with an elevation of more than 6,000 meters. Mount Qomolangma is the world's highest peak with an elevation of 8848.13 meters. The Yarlungzangbo Gorge, at a depth of 5,382 meters, is the world's deepest gorge.
There are more than 90 known mineral types in Tibet, reserves of 26 of which have been proved while 11 of them rank among the top five in the quantity of reserves in China. The minerals include chromite, lithium, copper, gypsum, boron, magnesite, barite, arsenic, mica, peat, kaolin, salt, natural soda, mirabilite, sulphur, phosphorus, potassium, diatomaceous earth, iceland spar, corundum, rock quartz and agate.
:Tibet is rich in water, geothermal, solar and wind energy. It produces approximately 200 million kilowatts of natural hydro-energy annually, about 30 percent of the nation's total. It has 354.8 billion cubic meters of surface water resources, 13.5 percent of the nation's total; and 330 billion cubic meters of glacial water resources. Tibet has about 56. 59 million kilowatts exploitable hydro-energy resources, 15 percent of the nation's total. Tibet also leads China in geothermal energy. The Yangbajain geothermal field in Damxung County, Lhasa, is China's largest high temperature steam geothermal field, and also one of the largest geothermal fields in the world.
:Tibet is like a giant plant kingdom, with more than 5,000 species of high-grade plants. It is also one of China's largest forest areas, preserving intact primeval forests. Almost all the main plant species from the tropical to the frigid zones of the northern hemisphere are found here. Forestry reserves exceed 2.08 billion cubic meters and the forest coverage rate is 9.84 percent. Common species include Himalayan pine, alpine larch, Pinus yunnanensis, Pinus armandis, Himalayan spruce, Himalayan fir, hard-stemmed long bract fir, hemlock, Monterey Larix potaniniis, Tibetan larch, Tibetan cypress and Chinese juniper. There are about 926,000 hectares of pine forest in Tibet. Two species, Tibetan longleaf pine and Tibetan lacebark pine, are included in the listing of tree species under state protection. There are more than 1,000 wild plants used for medicine, 400 of which are medicinal herbs most often used. Particularly well known medicine plants include Chinese caterpillar fungus, Fritillaria Thunbergii, Rhizoma Picrorhizae, rhubarb, Rhizoma Gastrodiae, pseudo-ginseng, Codonopsis Pilosula, Radix Gentiane Macrophyllae, Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae, glossy ganoderma, and Caulis Spatholobi. In addition, there are over 200 known species of fungi, including famous edible fungi songrong, hedgehog hydnum, zhangzi fungus, mush rooms, black fungi, tremellas and yellow fungi. Fungi for medical use include tuckahoes, songganlan, stone-like omphalias.
Animals:There are 142 species of mammals in Tibet, 473 species of birds, 49 species of reptiles, 44 species of amphibians, 64 species of fish and more than 2,300 species of insects. Wild animals include Cercopithecus, Assamese macaque, rhesus monkey, muntjak, head-haired deer, wild cattle, red-spotted antelopes, serows, leopards, clouded leopards, black bears, wild cats, weasels, little pandas, red deer, river deer, whitelipped deer, wild yaks, Tibetan antelopes, wild donkeys, argalis, Mongolian gazelles, foxes, wolves, Iynxes, brown bears, jackals, blue sheep, and snow leopards. The Tibetan antelope, wild yak, wild donkey and argali are all rare species particular to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and are under state protection. The white-lipped deer, found only in China, is of particular rarity. The black-necked crane and the Tibetan pheasant are under first-grade state protection.
Tourism resources:Tibet has continually developed and exploited its unique tourism resources, both human and natural. The region currently has four tourist areas of Lhasa, the west, southwest and south.
The Lhasa tourist area includes Lhasa, Yangbajain, Damxung, Gyangze, Zetang, Xigaze and Yamzhoyum Co Lake. Lhasa itself is not only Tibet's political, economic, cultural and transportation center, but also the center of Tibetan Buddhism. Major tourist sites include the Jokhang Temple, Ramoche Temple, Potala Palace, Barkhor Bazaar, Norbulingka Palace and three great monasteries of Ganden, Drepung and Sera. The Jokhang Temple, the Potala and Norbulingka palaces and Ganden, Drepung and Sera monasteries are key cultural relics under state-level protection.
Western Tibet is Ngari Prefecture, the so-called "rooftop atop the world's rooftop". The area draws visitors because of its great religious significance. Many tourists and pilgrims from Nepal and India come into Tibet through the Burang port of entry to visit the area's sacred mountains and lakes.
The southwest Tibet tourist district is a place for mountaineers, many of whom are Nepalese who come to Tibet through the Zhamu entry/exit port to enjoy the mountain scenery or do some climbing.
In southern Tibet, centered around Nyingchi, one can pass through the four seasons of the year in a single day. There are snow-capped mountains, dense primeval forests, surging rivers and azalea-covered mountainsides. This beautiful scenery is easy to enjoy given the pleasantly humid and mild climate.
New tourist routes and specialty tours have been added in recent years. New routes are Lhasa-Nyingschi-Shannan-Lhasa (eastern circle line) and Lhasa-Xigaze-Ngari-Xigaze (western circle line). Specialty tours include exploration by automobile, trekking and scientific investigation tours. Other special events include the Shoton Theatrical Festival in Lhasa, the Qangtam Horseracing Festival in the North Tibet Plateau and the Yarlung Culture and Arts Festival in Shannan.
Environment and current issues:Tibet has thinner air, more sunlight, lower temperatures and less precipitation than other areas in China. The air contains only 150-170 grams oxygen per cubic meter, 62-65.4 percent that of plain areas.
The degree of industrial and other pollution in Tibet is comparatively light. No major instance of environmental pollution has ever occurred and there is no acid rain. Whenever a construction project with potential environmental effects is begun, there is an evaluation of environmental impact. This system also requires that pollution control facilities be designed, constructed and completed at the same time as the main project in question. Some former sources of pollution have been brought under control. The smoke prevention and dust removal rate for fuel combustion waste gases is 80 percent in the region. Urban construction is reasonably planned and afforestation is stressed. The "green rate" in Lhasa is 17.6 percent, supplying an average 12 square meters of green space per person.
In recent years, technical and research departments have completed a number of investigations into the sources of industrial pollution in Tibet and regional wild plant and animal resources. Environmental supervision and monitoring stations have been established in Lhasa, Xigaze and Qamdo. Investigations indicate that Tibet's environment is currently in good shape. The air and water are essentially unpolluted. Environmental radiation is within normal limits and no manmade radioactive pollution is present.
Enforcement of environmental protection laws:The government of Tibet Autonomous Region has consistently stressed the implementation of the nation's fundamental policy that natural resources be rationally utilized so as to protect the environment, conscientiously realizing coordinated planning and carrying out economic, urban and rural, and environmental construction.
In recent years, the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Regional People's Congress and the regional government have issued a series of regional laws and administrative regulations geared to environmental protection, including the "Tibet Autonomous Region Environmental Protection Ordinance," "Tibet Autonomous Region Forest Protection Ordinance," "Interim Provisions for Grassland Management in the Tibet Autonomous Region," "Tibet Autonomous Region People's Government Proclamation on the Protection of Aquatic Resources" and "Tibet Autonomous Region Administrative Procedures for Environmental Protection in Construction Projects." There are 20 regulations governing the protection of wild animals.
The government of the Tibet Autonomous Region established an environment protection agency in 1975 and an environment protection committee in 1990. Environmental protection laws and regulations concern forests, wild plants and animals, species preservation, ecological agriculture and animal husbandry, headwaters, natural and man-made sites deserving of protection for scenic or cultural and historic reasons, valuable geological landforms, and mountains. For many years hard work has gone to preventing forest fires and planting more trees.
Total population: 2.67 million (2002)
Population growth rate: 12.7% (2002)
Life expectancy (average): 65
The population of Tibetans in the region accounts for 45 percent of that in the country. In addition to Tibetans, other ethnic groups include the Lhoba, Moinha, Han, and Hui. Among the total population, 2.41 million are Tibetan (92.2 percent), 155,300 Hans (5.9 percent) and 49,900 (1.9 percent) of other ethnic groups.
Among the total population in the region, 33,000 people are graduates with an educational level of college or above, accounting for 1.3 percent; 88,800, senior middle school, 3.4 percent; 160,500, junior middle school, 6.1 percent; and 801,000, primary school, 30.6 percent.
There are 850,700 illiterate people.
GDP: 15.9 billion yuan (2002)
GDP annual growth rate: 12.5%
GDP ratio (1st, 2nd and tertiary industries):
The ratio of the three industries in GDP is about 24.6 : 24.9 : 50.5. The added values of the three industries are 3.91 billion yuan, an increase of 3.5 percent; 3.95 billion yuan, an increase of 17.3 percent; and 8.04 billion yuan, an increase of 15.2 percent, respectively.
Revenues: 731 million yuan (2002)
Industrial output value: 2.16 billion yuan (2002)
Agricultural output value: 4.78 billion yuan (2000)
Unemployment rate: 5% (2002)
Local people's living standard has continued to improve with per capita disposable income of urban residents reaching 7,762 yuan in 2002, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year. The per capita net income of rural residents was 1,521 yuan, an increase of 8.3 percent over the previous year. Besides, local people's housing conditions have also been greatly improved with the per capita housing area of urban residents being 18.88 square meters while that of rural residents being 20.56 square meters.
By 2002, the region's total imports and exports stood at US$130.32 million. It has taken advantage of state preferential policies to actively expand exports of animal by-products, local traditional handicrafts and some other industrial products. State-run foreign trade enterprises have expanded their operations and border trade markets have developed. Presently, Tibet has become China's doorway to South Asian continues.
At the end of 1998, the number of registered foreign-funded enterprises totaled 74. Foreign investors came from the United States, Japan, Germany, Malaysia, Nepal, Macao, and Hong Kong.
International aid programs
Since 1981, UNDP has provided US$ 4 million for the construction of the Yangbajain geothermal power plant. In 1989, UN's WFP provided financial aid for comprehensive agricultural development projects geared to drought resistance and prevention and improving irrigation conditions in the four counties of the Lhasa River valley, all of which has already been used. UNICEF provided US$ 3.22 million in aid for ten projects including health centers for women and children. In 1995 UNDP decided to provide US$822,000 in aid to four counties of Nyalam, Tingri, Dinggye and Gyirong in the Qomolangma Nature Reserve in western Tibet for projects involving agriculture, housing, school, wind power and household handicraft production.
Tibet's pillar industries involve tourism, Tibetan medicine, biological products and health food (beverage), farm and animal product processing and traditional handicrafts, mining, and building materials
The first phase of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was completed in the early 1980s and is now carrying both cargo and passengers. Running 846.9 kilometers from Xining, the capital city of Qinghai, in the east to Golmud in western Qinghai, the line is built at more than 3,000 meters above sea level on average, rising to 3,700 meters at its height.
The Qinghai-Tibet Highway runs 2,122 kilometers from Xining to Lhasa. The Sichuan-Tibet Highway covers 2,413 kilometers from Chengdu to Lhasa. The Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, from Yecheng to Gartok, runs for 1,179 kilometers. The Yunnan-Tibet Highway, from Xiaguan to Markam, is 315 kilometers long, while the Chinese section of the Sino-Nepalese Highway stretches 736 kilometers from Lhasa to Zhamu entry/exit port.
The Lhasa Airport has scheduled fights to Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, and Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. The distance by air from Lhasa to Chengdu is more than 1,100 kilometers. Each year more than 100,000 passengers and 1,600 tons of goods fly this route. The Gonggar Airport outside Lhasa now allows access to large passenger aircraft like Boeing 767. The 250-million-yuan Banda Airport, the world's highest, was completed in September 1994.
Lhasa, the capital of China's Tibet Autonomous Region, has a history of more than 1,300 years. It is the political, economic, cultural and transport center of the region. Lhasa covers an area of close to 30,000 square km. It has a downtown of 544 square km and a population of 400,000; 140,000 of its people live in the downtown area. Lhasa is home to the Tibetan, Han, and Hui peoples, as well as many other ethnic groups, but the Tibetan ethnic group makes up 87 percent of the total population
Lhasa has beautiful scenery. The Lhasa River, known as the "merry blue waves," runs through the snow-covered peaks and gullies of the Nyainqentanglha Mountains, extending 315 km. The river empties into the Yarlung Zangbo River at Quxu, forming a scenic wonder that features blue and white water waves
The ancient city of Lhasa stands by the Lhasa River. Inside the city towers the Potala Palace. The city features a combination of traditional and modern things, including prayer wheels and computers.
Located at the bottom of a small basin surrounded by mountains, Lhasa has an elevation of 3,650 meters and sits at 91'06E and 29'36N, the center of the Tibet Plateau. Blessed with flat land and mild weather, Lhasa is free of frigid winters and unbearably hot summers, having an annual average daily temperature of 8 degrees C (43 degrees F). It enjoys 3,000 hours of sunlight annually, much more than all other cities in this regard, giving the city its title of "sunlit city."
Lhasa enjoys an annual precipitation of 500 mm. It rains mainly in July, August and September. The rainy seasons in the summer and fall are the best seasons of the year, when it rains mostly at night, and is sunny in the daytime
Nakchu is in the north of Tibet. It is 4,500 meters above sea level, and is sandwiched by the Kunlun-Tanggula-Gangdise-Nyainqentanglha mountain ranges, and enjoys convenient transportation with the Qinghai-Tibet Highway passing by. It neighbors on Chamdo on the east, Lhasa on the south, Ngari on the west and Xinjiang on the north. Nakchu Prefecture had a population of 330,286, including 326,920 Tibetans (98.98 percent), 3,258 people of the Han ethnic group and 108 of other ethnic groups. It exercises jurisdiction over 10 counties and the Shuanghu Special Administrative Zone, which consist of 145 townships, two towns and two neighborhood committees. The 10 counties inclued Nakchu, Amdo, Nyainrong, Biru, Jiali, Baqen, Sog, Pangkog, Xainza and Nyima.
Nakchu falls within the sub-frigid zone and experiences extreme cold, a scarcity of oxygen, dry air and storms. There are no absolutely frost-free periods. Nakchu has an annual average temperature of -0.9oC to -3.3oC, an annual relative humidity of 48-51 percent, an annual precipitation of 380mm, and the sun shines for 2,852.6-2,881.7 hours each year. From November to March the air is dry, the temperature low and the area is exposed to violent sandstorm. From May to September, Nakchu is warm and enjoys good weather. The annual growing season lasts for 100 days, and during this period the area receives 80 percent of its annual precipitation. At this time the grasslands are emerald and grazed by flocks of sheep.
Covering an area of some 400,000 square kilometers, Nakchu is generally referred to as Changtang. The vast region of the central west is basically flat but dotted with hills and numerous lakes, and is crisscrossed by rivers. There are high mountains surrounding the river valleys in the east, which is the farming region of northern Tibet. This area lies at an elevation of from 3,500 to 4,500 meters and also has forest resources and bush pasture, and a climate that is more equitable than that in the central west. It is one of the regions that have good ecological environment. And the Life of King Gesar, the world`s longest epic created by the Tibetans, is also widely sung there. The Tibetan Railway crosses the prairie. So, tourists can appreciate the good view in the trains. Herdsmen graze cattle there seasonally. They created colorful nomadic culture. On the prairie, not only can the rock paintings of the distant past and the site of ancient Xiangxiong Kingdom be found, but also Mani rocks carved with Buddhist sutras, the Buddhist sutra streamers, pagodas, flocks and herds, and herdsmen`s tents can be seen. The nylon tents, stripped with red, blue, yellow, green and white, are extraordinarily eye-catching.
In the uninhabited area live the wild animals under first-class national protection, including wild yak, Tibetan antelope and wild ass. The continuous snow mountains accompanied with the blue sky seems very solemn. The famous Samdain Kangsang Snow Mountain is just one of them. Being one of the twenty-five highest mountains of Tibet, it`s given the religious character. Also the Daguo Snow Mountain located in Nima County is considered as a holy mountain by Tibetan people.
Big and small lakes are inlaid between mountains and canyons. Among those, the Heavenly Lake Namtso is the most notable one. Situated between Damxung County of Lhasa and Baingoin County of Nakchu, Namtso Lake is the second largest saltwater lake in China, after Qinghai Lake. It`s considered to be one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. Many pilgrims go there and walk around the lake praying for good fortunes annually. Additionally, selected as one of the five most beautiful lakes in China, it attracts a lot of tourists as well.
Siling Co is the second largest lake of Tibet, after the Namtso Lake. In Tibetan, Siling Co means devil lake. It lies on the border of Baingoin and Xainza counties. There are seven main rivers flowing into it, which compose a land-locked lake group. The lakeside prairie is vast. The picturesque grassland scenery leaves unforgettable impressions.
Additionally, in the east of Nakchu, there are many unique Karst caves. The most marvelous one is the Maimo Cave in Baqen County. People nickname it Fairy`s Private Apartment. On the both sides of the cave mouth stand two stelae like the guardians of the cave. Entering the cave, you can find natural stone ladders and small caves. The two biggest ones are Red and Green caves. They both are very very long, which are well worth exploring
Located in the western Tibet Autonomous Region, Ngari Prefecture borders India, Nepal and Indian Kashmir and is contiguous with Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in?the north and Xigaze, Tibet?in the south. Ngari has a total area of 310,000 sq. kilometers, accounting for one forth of Tibet.
Ngari is known as the roof of the world and the most Tibetan part of Tibet. Ngari averages 4,500 meters. Its the place where the Himalayas, the Gangdise, the Kunlun Mountains and Karakorum Mountains meet. There are great mountains, beautiful lakes, vast grasslands and spectacular snow mountains in Ngari. Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarova in Ngari are symbolized as the "Sacred Mountain and Holy Lake" of the Buddhism and are the spiritual center of Buddhists.
Ngari Prefecture has the largest area, but the lowest population in China, with a density of only 0.23 people/sq. km. Of the 69,000 people, 66,000 are Tibetan, and 85% of the population is peasants and herders.
Ngari Prefecture administers 7 counties, namely Burang, Shiquanhe (Ger), Ge'gyai, Gerze, Coqen, Zhada and Rutog, 106 townships and 359 villages. Burang, Zhada, and Rutog, in the southwestern and middle parts of the prefecture, engage mainly in agriculture, supplemented by animal husbandry, while Coqen, Gerze and Ge'gyai, in the east, engage purely in animal husbandry. Shiquanhe Town, which is 4,200 in elevation and 1,655 kilometers from Lhasa, is the capital town and the center of politics, economics and culture in Ngari.
Tsetang is a small city located 183 km southeast of Lhasa in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Tsetang was the capital of Yarlung and, as such, a place of great importance. In the 19th century it is said to have contained some 1,000 houses, a bazaar, a gompa and a fort.? It is now the capital of Shannan (Chinese for 'South of the Mountains') prefecture and the second-largest town in the จน, region. It is at an elevation of 3,100 metres and has a population of about 52,000. It is only about 4 km to the northeast of the town of Ndong but they have now basically merged into one city.
It is situated near the flank of Mount Gongbori (3,400m) and is home to the ruins of the ancient Gajiu Monastery. It's reputed as "the cradle of Tibetan Civilization", mainly for two reasons: First, the mild weather and fertile land in Shannan gestated the great Tibet dynasty. Second, it's the birthplace of the first Tibetans who were said to be the offspring of a monkey and a demoness. So Tsedang literally means "monkey's playground". The nearby Yarlung River scenic area is a national scenic park with Samye Monastery, Yumbu Lhakang Palace, burial site for Tsampos and Traduk Monastery spotting the region
Built in the mid-8th century, Samye is the first formal Buddhist Monastery with the Buddha Dharma and Sangha in Tibet. The whole construction of the monastery, for the stupas forest-like, the building high and expansive, the scale grand and broad, is designed in accordance with the shape of "mandala" layout, and furthermore, the monastery is well-known to the whole world for the highlighted and mixed perfection of Han, Tibetan and Indian architecture style in the main hall and the numerous relics such as wood and stone carvings, frescos and statues kept in the monastery. As described in a historical book, this monastery is considered "an unimaginable construction and incomparable monastery".
Towering at the summit of Mt. Tashitseri east bank of Yarlung River, Yumbu Lhakang is the first palace as well as one of the earliest constructions in Tibet. The legend says, it was established by "Bon" religious believers for the first Tibetan King Nyetri Tsampo during the 2nd century B.C., and later it turned to be the summer palace of King Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng in Shannan. Till the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama, it was converted to a monastery of the Yellow Sect.
Covering a total of 3.85 million square meters, the Tombs of Tibetan Kings in Chongkye County are the only tomb group of Tibet. Here buried the kings, ministers and some royal concubines from the 29th generation to the last (40th) of "Tupo" Dynasty. Of all the tombs, the most remarkable one is King Songtsan Gampo's.
Traduk Monastery is one of the earliest Buddhist temples in Tibetan history. Built in 641 A.D., it is said that King Songtsan Gampo established the temple to suppress the ogress in order to prosper his kingdom. And later it became the winter palace of King Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng in Shannan. Of all the treasures and relics kept in this monastery, the pearled Tangka -- "Avalokitesvara at his rest" is the most remarkable one.