Covering an area of 45,000 square km, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, located in the southwestern corner of Gansu Province, administers seven counties and one city. The altitude in Gannan ranges from 1,100 meters to 4,900 meters, but most areas are above 3,000 meters.
Gannan has a population of 680,000, of which the largest ethnic group, 378,500 Tibetan people, accounts for 55.6 percent of the population. Occupationally, about 80 percent of the population are farmers or herdsmen. Gannan has pastures totaling 2.72 million hectares, accounting for 70.28 percent of the total land area. In 2009, Gannan's GDP was 5.08 billion yuan ($747.2 million), up by 13.2 percent from the previous year.
Zhouqu County covers 3,010 square km and has a population of 134,700, about 33 percent of which are Tibetans. It is located in the southeast part of the prefecture.