Qinghai /ɪŋˈh/[5] (青海; alternately romanized as Tsinghai, Ch'inghai),[6] also called Kokonur, is a landlocked province in the northwest of the People's Republic of China. As one of the largest province-level administrative divisions of China by area, the province is ranked fourth largest in area and has the third smallest population. Its capital and largest city is Xining.

Qinghai Province
Name transcription(s)
  Chinese青海省 (Qīnghǎi Shěng)
  AbbreviationQH / (pinyin: Qīng)
The region of Hoh Xil, a World Heritage Site
Map showing the location of Qinghai Province
Coordinates: 35°N 96°E
Named forDerived from the name of Qinghai Lake ("blue/green lake").
(and largest city)
Divisions8 prefectures, 43 counties, 429 townships
  BodyQinghai Provincial People's Congress
  CCP SecretaryWang Jianjun
  Congress chairmanWang Jianjun
  GovernorXin Changxing
  CPPCC chairmanDorje Rabten
  Total720,000 km2 (280,000 sq mi)
Area rank4th
Highest elevation6,860 m (22,510 ft)
  Density8.2/km2 (21/sq mi)
  Density rank30th
  Ethnic compositionHan – 54%
Tibetan – 21%
Hui – 16%
Tu – 4%
Mongol – 1.8%
Salar – 1.8%
  Languages and dialectsZhongyuan Mandarin Chinese, Amdo Tibetan, Monguor, Oirat Mongolian, Salar and Western Yugur
ISO 3166 codeCN-QH
GDP (2020)CNY 300 billion
USD 43.58 billion (30th)[3]
 - per capitaCNY 50,741
USD 7,354 (24th)
 • growth 1.5%
HDI (2018) 0.686[4]
medium · 28th
(Simplified Chinese)
"Qinghai" in Chinese characters
Chinese name
Literal meaning"Qinghai (Lake)"
Tibetan name
Mongolian name
Mongolian CyrillicХөхнуур
Mongolian scriptᠬᠥᠬᠡ
Manchu name
Manchu scriptᡥᡠᡥᡠ
RomanizationHuhu Noor
Oirat name

Qinghai borders Gansu on the northeast, Xinjiang on the northwest, Sichuan on the southeast and the Tibet Autonomous Region on the southwest. Qinghai province was established in 1928 under the Republic of China period during which it was ruled by Chinese Muslim warlords known as the Ma clique. The Chinese name "Qinghai" is after Qinghai Lake, the largest lake in China. The province was known formerly as Kokonur in English, derived from the Oirat name for Qinghai Lake.

Located mostly on the Tibetan Plateau, the province has long been a melting pot for a number of ethnic groups including the Han, Tibetans, Hui, Tu, Mongols and Salars. Tibetans constitute a fifth of the population of Qinghai and the Hui compose roughly a sixth of the population. There are over 37 recognized ethnic groups among Qinghai's population of 5.6 million, with national minorities making up a total of 45.5% of the population.

The area of Qinghai was brought under Qing rule in 1724. After the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1912, the region came under Chinese Muslim warlord Ma Qi's control until the Northern Expedition by the Republic of China consolidated central control in 1928, creating the province.