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Home » Qinghai » Qinghai Profile » Demographics


The population of Qinghai is approximately 5.2 million, among which the Han account for 54.5%. Other groups include the Tibetans 20.87%, Tu, Hui, Salar, and Mongols.

Tibetan People

Tibetan PeopleMost Tibetans generally observe Tibetan Buddhism and a collection of native traditions known as Bön (also absorbed into mainstream Tibetan Buddhism). The Tibetan Muslims are also known as the Kache.

Legend said that the 28th king of Tibet, Lhatotori Nyentsen, dreamed of a sacred treasure falling from heaven, which contained a Buddhist sutra, mantras, and religious objects. However, because the modern Tibetan script was not introduced to the people, no one knew what was written on the sutra upon the first look. Buddhism did not take root in Tibet until the reign of Songtsen Gampo, who married two Buddhist princesses, Brikhuti and Wencheng. It then gained popularity when Padmasambhava, widely known as Guru Rinpoche, visited Tibet at the invitation of the 38th Tibetan king, Trisong Deutson.

Today, one can see Tibetans placing Mani stones all over. Tibetan lamas, both Buddhist and Bön, play a major role in the lives of the Tibetan people, conducting religious ceremonies and taking care of the monasteries. Pilgrims plant their prayer flags onto the sacred grounds as a symbol of good luck.

Tibetan PeopleThe prayer wheel is a means of chanting the mantra by revolving the object several times in a clockwise direction. It is widely seen among Tibetan people. In order not to desecrate religious artifacts such as Stupas, mani stones, and Gompas, Tibetan Buddhists walk around them in a clockwise direction, although the reverse direction is true for Bön. Tibetan Buddhists chant the prayer "Om mani padme hum", while the practitioners of Bön chant "Om matri muye sale du".