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    The economy of the city has undergone substantial progress in recent years following the reform policy and opening of the area by the Tibet Autonomies Region to development support from China and other countries. The economy of the city in 2007 consisted of GDP of RMB 3.3 billion (US$441 million), which ranked sixth in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The composition of this GDP consisted of the Agriculture sector (smallest contributor)-10.1%, Secondary Industry of Industry & Construction sector -37.4% and the service sector is the Tertiary Industry as the largest contributor accounted for the balance 52.5%. The PDP per capita was RMB 7,407 (US$1,005). Consumer goods alone accounted for substantial GDP. In terms of value-added industrial output, it ranked third, next to Lhasa and Qamdo / Chamdo / Pinyin: Changdu.Tourism is also an important sector contributing to the economy of the region. A Report of 2007 records a tourist footfall of 703,000. However, this sector is not fully open and is subject to the permit system controlled by many governmental agencies, and many areas are out of bounds for visitors as they are military zones or sensitive areas.AgricultureThe city had 450,000 hectares (1,100,000 acres) of land (350,000 hectares (860,000 acres) were irrigated, which was 77% of the cultivated area) under cultivation in 1999, producing 4,725 kilograms (10,417 lb) of grain per hectare, which marked Shannan as an important commercial grain production centre in Tibet. Animal husbandry, another agrarian sector covered 2.2 million ha of posture land with all farmhouse holds involved in animal husbandry; there were 2.14 million heads of domestic animals (comprising 12 percent yaks, 10 percent cows, 50 percent sheep and goats 20 percent goats). Its agricultural tradition is traced to the ancient Yarlong tribes when the city was known as "the grain store of Tibet". The irrigated agricultural base of the city is supported by a network of 1,312 canals, 141 wells with pumping stations with installed capacity of 2,398 kilowatts; 27 irrigation pumps with an installed capacity of 1,552 kilowatts, nine reservoirs with storage of 3.31 million cubic meters and 816 water ponds. Mechanised farming is widely practiced in Lhoka region. This large extent of agriculture has resulted in increasing the per capita income of farmers and herders to 1000 yuan, a 7-fold increase over the average of 137 yuan in 1959. This has also resulted in rural prosperity and even creation of a rich farming community who have established the first "farmers hotel" in the region, and investing in real estate.Mineral resourcesThe city has more than 20 types of metal and non-metal mineral resources such as chromium, gold, copper, iron, antimony, lead, zinc, manganese, mica, crystal, jade and marble. Its proven reserve of chromium is about 5 million tons, the highest in the country, which is about 35–45% of the China's total resources (in a total area of 2,500 square kilometres (970 sq mi)). It is being extracted in the Norbusa Chromite Mine. Other natural resources relate to construction industry such as marble, granite, limestone and clay, which are also abundant in the city.IndustriesTsetangThe industrial sector in the city, apart from service sector trading, are industries in the fields of electricity, mining, farm-implement and vehicle repairing, cement, metallurgy, printing, pharmaceuticals, food processing. Light industries for processing of agricultural and livestock products and pharmaceuticals are widely adopted by replacing manual operation with mechanization and semi-mechanization. However, most textiles and leather processing are yet to be mechanized.HandicraftsThe ethnic handicrafts of the city have a hoary history. This has generated many opportunities to develop the handicraft industry. The most significant handicrafts of the city, which have world-wide market, are the commercial products of utility, religious use and artistic crafts of the royal families of Tibet of the past. These are: The pulu blanket, Minzholin Tibetan incense and knitted products (of Zhanang County), bagdion apron (of Gonggar County), bracelets, necklaces, incense burner of Qonggyai, carpets and butter bottles of Qusum, popular stone utensils of Zaga and Sangri, Cona handcrafted wooden bowls, butter tea Cup of Jiyayu, knife of Lhunzi (gilded with silver), Nagarze silver tea cup, jade ware of Quingje County and Tibetan quilt. Other famous consumer products are the butter of Lagong and dried meat of Yamzhog.


    Lhoka region forms one-fifteenth of the total area of the Tibet Autonomous Region. It comprises 12 counties, out of which the eight northern counties are the Nedong, Qusum, Qonggyai, Sangri, Comai, Zhanang, Gyacha and Cona in the middle valley of the Yarlung Zangbo, and the remaining four namely, the Gonggar, Lhunzi, Lohozhag and Nagarze are in the Himalayan belt. The Cona, Lhongzi, Nanggarze and Lhozha counties form the International Border. The city's district and counties have 144 townships of which 71 townships are in agricultural sector, 18 are in animal husbandry sector and the balance 55 are a mix of the two sectors. There are also five neighbourhood committees and 719 village committees. The wide Yarlung River flowing from west to east (between Quxu and Gyacha) also known as Tsongpo and the Brahmaputra River in India and Jamuna in Bangladesh, and its tributaries flows through the middle and lower stretches of the city and is bounded by Lhasa on the north, Nyingchi on the east, Shigatse to the west and international border that extends to 630 kilometres (390 mi) with India and Bhutan. The river system has provided large perennial source of water in the region of fertile land. The valley created by the river system has very green pasture land and thick forests.[3][5][6]The region is studded with hills, valleys, rivers, streams, lakes, hot springs, limestone (karst) caves and many natural scenic regions. The region is also credited with the first “cultivated lands, measured fields, water irrigation, storing the forage grass, moulding metal, and many other techniques”.[4][5][9]The natural scenic regions of the city have been categorized under four types.[4] The Yarlung State Scenic Region is one type which has the snow-covered mountains, glaciers, pastures, river valley, alpine vegetation and historical monuments and folk customs and art forms. It is the only one of its kind in Tibet. Lhoka region has natural beauty and a charming cultural heritage.[4][5][9]Hydrology[edit]This river area is spread over parts of eight counties of Shannan.[4][6] Yamzog Yumcog Scenic Region which has lakes, snow-covered mountains, islands, pasture land, hot springs, monasteries and many scenic places, Samyai Scenic Region which has many historical monuments in the counties of Samyi, Songa and Azar towns in the Zanang County and Sacred Lake Scenic Region which is covered by the Sangri, Qusum and Gyacha Counties, are part of this valley. The region has mountains, valleys, rivers, springs, historical architectural monuments and monasteries.[4]The city has rich water resources of the Yarlung Zangbo or Tsongpo as it is known in the short form. It is the mother river of Tibet. In addition, 41 other rivers also flow through Lhoka.[9] The river flowing from west to east has a river area of 38,300 square kilometres (14,800 sq mi) and flows for 424 kilometres (263 mi) through seven counties namely, Nanggarze, Gonggar, Chahang, Nedong, Sangri, Qusum and Gyacha. In addition, there are 88 lakes of which the important ones are the Yamdrok Lake, the Chigu Lake and the Purmo Yumco lake.[9] The hydroelectric power potential of the river system of Shannan has been assessed at 35.1 million kW. However, the power generated at present is only 18,300 kW.[4][6][9][10]Divine lakes[edit]Yamdrok Yumtso Lake[edit]Yamdrok Yumtso Lake, appears like jasper in a dark blue colour and it is one of the four holy lakes in Tibet. Viewed from the top of the Gampala Pass (4,794 metres (15,728 ft)), the lake appears in the shape of a scorpion. It is located in Nhagartse County on the way to Gyantse and is 50 kilometres (31 mi) from Tsedang Yumtso. It is situated at an altitude of 4,480 metres (14,700 ft) and has a very large area of 638 square kilometres (246 sq mi), with a shoreline of 250 kilometres (160 mi). The average depth of water in the lake is about 30–40 metres (98–131 ft) with deepest depth reported to be 60 metres (200 ft). There are many Tibetan fish species in the lake. Aqua fauna noted in the lake have been listed as wild duck, goose and many other species.[11][12]Lake Yamzho Yumco (at the top) and Lake Puma Yumco from space, November 1997Yamdrok Lake, also known as Yamḍok Yumtso, is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet and is over 72 kilometres (45 mi) long with an area of 638 square kilometres (246 sq mi). The lake is fan-shaped, spreading to the south but narrowing up to the north. The mountainous lakeshore is highly crenellated, with numerous bays and inlets. Lake Yamdrok freezes in winter. Like mountains, lakes are considered sacred by Tibetan people, the principle being that they are the dwelling places of protective deities and therefore invested with special spiritual powers. It is the largest lake in southern Tibet and home to the famous Samding Monastery which is on a peninsula jutting into the lake. Samding Monastery is where Dorje Phagmo, one of the few important female lamas in Tibet, stayed and presided, and stands to the south of Lake Yamdrok Yumtso.[13]The Yamdrok Hydropower Station was completed and dedicated in 1996 near the small village of Pai-Ti at the lake’s western end. This power station is the largest in Tibet.[14]The Holy Lake[edit]Further information: Lhamo La-tsoPalden Lhamo the goddess residing in the Holy Lake or Lhamo LatsoThe Holy Lake, also known as the Lhamo Latso, in Gyaca County, is an alpine lake seen in the shape of horse’s hoof in the midst of mountains located at an elevation of 5,100 metres (16,700 ft). It is glacier fed and has water surface area of about2 square kilometres (0.77 sq mi). The lake is credited with miraculous potential for oracles or prognostication of events, particularly related to the succession process of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas that is stated to get reflected in this Holy Lake. This vision is sought through elaborate Buddhist rites performed by high-ranking lamas. It is said that Palden Lhamo, as the female guardian spirit of the sacred lake, Lhamo La-tso, promised Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama in one of his visions "that she would protect the reincarnation lineage of the Dalai Lamas." Ever since the time of Gendun Gyatso, the Second Dalai Lama, who formalised the system, the Regents and other monks have gone to the lake to seek guidance on choosing the next reincarnation through visions while meditating there.[15] It is also believed by pilgrims that they can see visionary images of their future by looking at the lake intently in silence with deep devotion and reverence and by performing Buddhist rites. The lake thus attracts a lot of pilgrims seeking signs of their future. The lake is said to be "The Life-Spirit-Lake of the Goddess", the goddess being Palden Lhamo, the principal "Protectress" of Tibet.[11][16][17] It was here that in 1935, the Regent, Reting Rinpoche, received a clear vision of three Tibetan letters and of a monastery with a jade-green and gold roof, and a house with turquoise roof tiles, which led to the discovery of Tenzin Gyatso, the present 14th Dalai Lama.[15][18][19]Tsangpo River[edit]The Tsangpo River, till recently untapped with no storage dams across it, has been planned to be developed with a cascade of five dams on the main stem of the river in its middle reaches; the five dams proposed are the Zangmu, the Gyatsa, the Zhongda, the Jiexu and the Langzhen. The first project in the cascade is the Zangmu Dam of the Zangmu Hydro Power Station, which will have an installed capacity of 510 MW. It is 140 kilometres (87 mi) from Lhasa and construction work is expected to start soon with financing provided by Huaneng, China's top power company and Gezhouba, a leading dam building company to build the project. The dam is being built at an altitude of 3,260 metres (10,700 ft), and its height is 116 metres (381 ft) with a length of 390 metres (1,280 ft). This project will have serious implications for the downstream riparian countries of India and Bangladesh.[20][21]Climate and vegetation[edit]The Himalayas in the north and the Grandise mountains in the south dictate the climatic conditions in the prefecture. The warm and moisture laden winds from the Indian Ocean cause the precipitation in the region and results in a temperate climate.[4] It has short cool summers with winters being long, dry and windy. There is a wide variation in temperature between day and night. The average temperature lies between 7.4–8.9 °C (45.3–48.0 °F). The average annual precipitation reported varies from 300–400 millimetres (12–16 in) and 90% of this rainfall occurs during the monsoon months from June to September.[6] The annual wind speed is 17 metres (56 ft)/sec and December to March are the windy months.[22]The forest area in Shannan is reported to be 1.55 million ha, which is 5% of the total forest cover in Tibet. The forest resource in terms of volume has been assessed as 38.8 billion cum. The forest has rich variety of plant species; 1000 species of trees, precious wood and herbal plants have been identified. Afforestation programmes have been pursued vigorously with the result that a forest belt of 25 kilometres (16 mi) stretch has been created in the Zetang City, on the bank of the Yarlung River which helps in erosion control due to wind and river action, and also enhances the beauty of the city. Thirty apple orchards set up in the prefecture produce 1,000 tonnes of fruit each year.[23]


    The population of the city was 330,100 in 2007. Tibetans accounted for 96% of Shannan's total population.There are 14 ethnic groups, including Tibetans, the Han, the Menba, and the Luoba, living in the area.


    The first King, Nyatri TsenpoA legend that attests to the position of Lhoka region in the annals of Tibetan history states that human beings are the creation of a union between a sacred monkey and women. According to archaeological findings and legends and ancient documents, people lived in this area up to four million years ago. A primitive civilization grew up in the Yarlung Valley and a field in the village of Sare near Tsetang Town, is said to be the first farming field in Tibet. The first king in Tibetan history, Nyatri Tsenpo, really a mere chief of the Yarlong tribe, began ruling over the Yarlung valley in the beginning of second century BC. He founded the Fan Kingdom and established a hereditary monarchy. During the reign of the ninth king, Budegong, agriculture flourished and he was able to mobilize the people to excavate canal, channelling water to irrigate the flatland. A formal forming system came into existence during the reign of Yixiulie, the eleventh king, when he devised standard measurement units for allocating farmland and counting livestock. Six palaces were built in the region between the rule of the ninth and fifteenth kings.The ancient Yarlung Valley, Nêdong District, LhokaAround the 6th century AD, the Yarlung Valley became a slavery society, smelting iron, copper and silver to produce weapons and other objects. The 31st king of Yarlung, Langrilunzan, was an expansionist and invaded neighbouring tribes, expanding the territory of Yarlung. The 32nd king, Songtsän Gampo conquered Subi tribe, Yangtong tribe and many others and established the Tubo Regime, or the Tibetan Empire. Although transferred his capital city from Qiongjie to Lhasa, many of his descendant of the royal lineage still lived in the Lhoka region. He made Yungbulakang Palace his summer palace, which by this time was an important centre for Buddhism and the storage of Buddhist scriptures. In 641 AD, Gampo married Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty.Songsten GampoDuring the Tubo Regime, a great number of irrigation projects developed along the Yarlong River and the Yarlung Tsangpo River, and with the increase of yaks and horses here there was dramatic development in agriculture. However, continued conflict led to endless famine and eventually the collapse of the Tubo regime. In 1253, Möngke Khan, the emperor of Yuan Dynasty, invaded Tibet and united the squabbling tribes into an administrative region, controlled by the central government of Yuan Dynasty in Beijing. However, the dominant tribe in the Yarlung valley during this period was the Pazhu Dynasty and in 1322, Qiangqujianqun became the leader of the Pazhu and replenished agricultural activity in the region, funding irrigation works, cultivating lands, reconstructing roads, restoring houses and developing husbandry. Qiangqujiangqun founded the Naidong Dynasty which would last for 262 years, introduced the system of feudal serfdom and implemented a new government system with divisions known as Zong, established 13 of them in Nêdong (the capital), Gonggar and so forth.On May 23 of 1951, a Tibetan delegation signed an agreement with the central government of the People’s Republic of China for the "peaceful liberation of Tibet". However, in 1959, the Lhoka was annexed to China by brute force and the feudal serfdom system was abolished. Many monasteries were destroyed during the invasion and the Yungbulakang Palace was severely damaged.

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