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Tibet Xinjiang Yunnan Zhejiang

Regional Chairman: Qiangba Puncog

Capital: Lhasa

Government office address: Central Gyinzhu Road, Lhasa


Geographic location

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% of China's total land area.
Tibet 2004 - The Year in Review

General Economy

Gross domestic product (GDP)

GDP for 2004 was 21.15 billion yuan, up 12.2% from the previous year.

GDP ratio (primary, secondary and tertiary industries)

The primary industry yielded an value added of 4.33 billion yuan, 4.9% more than that of the previous year; the secondary industry, 5.76 billion yuan, a growth of 17.4%; the tertiary industry, 11.06 billion yuan, a growth of 12.8%. The proportion of the three sectors is 20.5: 27.2: 52.3.

Revenue and expenditure

Regional revenue was 1.20 billion yuan, an increase of 19.5% over the previous year. Regional expenditure was 13.61 billion yuan, an increase of 16.8%

Consumer price index (CPI)

CPI was up 2.7% from the previous year.

Investment in fixed assets

Fixed asset investment was valued at 16.84 billion yuan, up by 21.5% from the previous year.

Major Industries


In 2004, the region's total agricultural output value was 2.66 billion yuan, an increase of 2.0% from the previous year.


The industrial added value was 1.54 billion yuan, an increase of 15.6%.


Its added value was 4.22 billion yuan, up by 18.1%.


The annual volume of goods handled was 2.88 million tons, up by 2.9% from the previous year. The annual passenger flow reached 3.39 million, an increase of 4.2%.

Postal services

The annual turnover of postal operations totaled 100 million yuan, up by 7.5% from the previous year.


The annual turnover of the telecommunications sector totaled 1.25 billion yuan, up by 40.6% from the previous year.


The annual turnover from retail sales reached 6.37 billion yuan, an increase of 9.3% from the previous year.


Revenue from tourism totaled 1.53 billion yuan, up by 47.7% from the previous year.

Continued Effects of Market Reform

Imports & exports

The annual value of imports and exports totaled US$223.55 million, an increase of 38.7% from the previous year.

Social Undertakings

Science and technology

The region undertook a total of 46 sci-tech projects at the national level. During the year, the regional patent office handled 62 patent applications and awarded 23 patents.


A total of 6,009 students were enrolled in colleges and universities during the year, while 2,108 students graduated. The number of students enrolled in various vocational schools during the year stood at 4,223.


The region had a total of 10 professional performing organizations, 133 cultural centers, 3 public libraries and 2 museums at the year-end.

Public health

There were a total of 1,326 medical and healthcare institutes equipped with 6,413 beds and staffed with 8,569 medical professionals and technicians at the year-end. The number of beds and the number of medical professionals and technicians per thousand people reached 2.34 and 3.13 respectively.


A total of 27 outdoor exercise stations were constructed for local residents in 2004, at a total investment of 2.4 million yuan. The sports lottery reaped sales of 9.5 million yuan, raising a total of 1.61 million yuan for the public welfare fund.

Welfare and aid

About 43,400 urban residents have been covered by a government system of guaranteeing their minimum standard of living, with a total financial input of 43.71 million yuan. Various welfare units in the region were equipped with 3,322 beds to put up 1,944 of the region's homeless and vagrant people by the end of 2004. The welfare lottery reaped sales of 36.51 million yuan, raising 12.78 million yuan for the public welfare fund. Direct donations received from the public were 2.68 million yuan.

Population, Employment, Social Security and Living Standards


At the end of 2004, the total population of the region was 2.74 million, an increase of 35,100 from the previous year. The birth rate was 17.4‰, the mortality rate 6.2‰. The natural growth rate of the population stood at 11.2‰.


The employed population of the region at the end of 2004 stood at 1.37 million, an increase of 45,500 from the previous year-end.

Registered unemployment rate

The registered unemployment rate at the end of 2004 was 4.3%.

Social security

In 2004, insurance plans for endowments, unemployment and medical treatment covered a population of 45,200, 68,300 and 69,900 respectively. About 28,900 people got their old-age pension during the year.

Residents' income

The disposable income of urban residents was 8,200 yuan per capita, up by 1.8% from 2003. Rural residents' per capita net income was 1,861 yuan, up 10.1%.

Geography and Natural Conditions

Elevation extremes

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 km 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.

Natural resources

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 kw of natural hydro-energy annually, about 30% of the nation's total. It has 354.8 billion cubic meters of surface water resources, 13.5% of the nation's total; and 330 billion cubic meters of glacial water resources. Tibet has about 56. 59 million kw exploitable hydro-energy resources, 15% 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%. 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.

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.

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