Gansu is an important province in northwest China. Being abbreviated as “Gan” or “Long”, it is situated as geographical center, on the middle and upper reaches of the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, and at the juncture of the Loess Plateau, Inner Mongolia Plateau and the Qinghai Tibet Plateau.
It faces Shaanxi Province in the east, boards Sichuan and Qinghai provinces on the south and southwest, and adjoins Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the northwest. It is bounded on the north by Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the People's Republic of Mongolia and joined by Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in the northeast.
The name of Gansu came from the first two characters of ancient Ganzhou (present Zhangye) and Suzhou (present Jiuquan). In western Xia Dynasty, Gansu already had the organizational system of military command and that of province was started in Yuan Dynasty. As an administrative area, it was simply named “Gan” Because most part of the province was lying in the west of Mountain Long (Mountain Liujpan), it was also simply named “Long”.
Under the provincial administration, there are 12 prefecture level cities of Lanzhou, Tianshui, Baiying, Jinchang, Jiayuguan, Qingyang, Pingliang, Zhangye, Jiuquan, Dingxi and Longnan, two autonomous prefectures of Linxia and gannan, 4 county level cities, 59 counties, 7 ethnic minority autonomous counties and 17 districts under city jurisdiction.
Gansu has been a multi-ethnic province since ancient times. 54 nationalities have inhabited here. Among its total population of 26.0334 million, the minority population takes up 2.199 million. Hui nationality is the largest in all the minority nationalities with a population of 1.185 million. Ten ethnic groups of Hui, Tibet, Dongxiang, Tu, Yugu, Baoan, Mongolia, Sala, Hazak and Manchu have inhabited in Gansu for generations. Yugu, Dongxiang and Baoan are unique nationalities. The expected average life span is about 70.39 years in the whole province.