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China's Most Beautiful Lakes Selected

The Chinese National Geography magazine selected the five most beautiful lakes in China in its October issue. They are: Qinghai Lake in West China's Qinghai Province, Kanas Lake in West China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Namtso Lake in the Tibet Autonomous Region, Heaven Pool in North China's Jilin Province and West Lake in East China's Zhejiang Province.

The panelists selecting the five winners were freelance cameraman Li Yuxiang, lake researchers Shen Daoqi and Jiang Jiahu with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, environmentalist Yuan Guoyin, Beijing University's professor Lu Bin in city planning, and the Chinese National Geography editor Liu Jing.

Winners were selected on the basis of naturalness, beauty, clearness, variety of species and uniqueness of culture.

Qinghai Lake

Area:4,300 square kilometers; 3,200 meters above sea level

Qinghai Lake, one of the country's highest inland salt-water lakes,  has abundant fish and other aquatic creatures, which in turn attracts large flocks of birds to perch in the islands of the lake.

Kanas Lake

Area: 44.78 square kilometers; 1,340 meters above sea level

The Chinese National Geography describes the lake as "God's palette" because of its rich variety of colors. When the water is clear, you can see a blue and green lake; underneath the thin clouds, Kanas Lake is pink; and when it is overcast, the lake is blue and grey.

China's deepest fresh water lake (184 meters at one spot), Kanas Lake was formed 200,000 years ago. The region is home to 798 species of plants and 117 varieties of birds. Living in the midst of this beauty are more than 1,400 people of the Tuva Minority, whose ancestors came from Siberia more than 1,000 years ago.

The Siberian Taiga Forest extends into the Kanas region, the only region with arctic Euro-Siberian wildlife.

Namtso Lake

Area: 1,961.5 square meters; 4,720 meters above sea leavel

Tibetan for "Heavenly Lake," Namtso is regarded as one of Tibetan Buddhism's three holiest lakes. The lake is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists, who consider it the seat of Paramasukha Chakrasamvara. Buddhists believe that buddhas, bodhisattvas and vajras will assemble at Namtso in the Tibetan year of the sheep.

Namtso Lake, China's highest saltwater lake, lies beside snow-capped Mt. Nyainqentanglha, the son of Namtso and leader of sacred mountains. The lake with the highest sea level in the world is far away from the pollution of modern civilization. Natural wildlife -- animals, birds and fish -- is a summer attraction. The lake freezes in October. In May, the ice melts, producing thunderous sounds.

Heaven Pool

Area: 9.82 square kilometers´╝Ť2,150 meters above sea level

A 2-million-year-old volcanic crater lake at the summit of Mt. Changbai, Heaven Pool is the largest volcanic crater lake in China.

Mt. Changbai is China's largest nature reserve and home to a vast array of animal and plant life. It is one of the few areas of dense forest left in China and provides the habitat for the exceptionally rare Manchurian tiger. Mt. Changbai can only be visited in the summer months as it is completely cut off in winter.

West Lake

Area: 6.5 square kilometers

Not a city like Hangzhou has the most graceful lake. West Lake is known for its elegant bridges and pavilions and its surrounding hills. It has inspired poets and artists for centuries. Su Shi, a poet from the Song Dynasty, compared the alluring lake to Xi Shi, a Chinese Cleopatra.

West Lake is at the center of Hangzhou City, which Marco Polo described as the most enchanting city in the world.

(Xinhua News Agency November 14, 2005)

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