Rutog County

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Rutog County
Ritu Xian
Rutog Town
Location of Rutog County (red) within Ngari Prefecture (yellow) and the Tibet Autonomous Region
Location of Rutog County (red) within Ngari Prefecture (yellow) and the Tibet Autonomous Region
Rutog is located in Tibet
Location of the seat in the Tibet Autonomous Region
Coordinates: 33°54′48″N 80°45′01″E / 33.91333°N 80.75028°E / 33.91333; 80.75028
CountryPeople's Republic of China
RegionTibet Autonomous Region
PrefectureNgari Prefecture
County seatRutog
Township-level divisions1 town, 4 townships
 • Total81,046 km2 (31,292 sq mi)
Elevation4,500 m (14,800 ft)
 • Total10,635
 • Density0.13/km2 (0.34/sq mi)
Ethnic groups
 • Major ethnic groupsTibetan[2]
Time zoneUTC+8 (China Standard)
Postal code
859700 (in Chinese)

Rutog County (Tibetan: རུ་ཐོག་རྫོང་།, Wylie: ru thog rdzong, ZYPY: Rutog Zong),[4][5][3][6][7][8] (in Chinese: 日土县; pinyin: Rìtǔ xiàn) is a county in Ngari Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. The county seat is the new Rutog Town, located some 1,140 km (710 mi) or 700 miles west-northwest of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. Rutog County shares a border with India.[9]

The county has a rich history of folk tales, myths, legends, proverbs and folk songs and has many caves, rock paintings and other relics. The Xinjiang-Tibet Highway runs through the Rutog County for 340 km (210 mi). The modern county established in March 1961 covers 74,500 km2 (28,800 sq mi). It has a very low population density with a population of just over 10,000.


'Rutog' is Tibetan for "mountain shaped like a spear and fork".[10]

Geography and climate[edit]

Map showing Rutog County (green, upper left) in Ngari Prefecture

Rutog County is located in northwestern Tibet, Ngari northwest with a number of territorial borders. It is divided into 12 townships and 30 village committees. The Karakoram Mountains go through the county. The average altitude of 4,500 m (14,800 ft) with a maximum altitude of 6,800 m (22,300 ft).

Lakes in Rutog County include Bangda Lake, Guozha Lake, Longmu Lake, Lumajangdong Co, Wo Erba Lake and Pangong Tso.[11]

Overall Rutog County has a rough subarctic climate with long, very cold, sometimes snowy winters and short, cool, humid summers (Dfc) owing its extreme altitude.

To the north, Rutog County shares borders with Hotan County (Hetian), Qira County (Cele) and Keriya County (Yutian) in Hotan Prefecture (Hetian), Xinjiang. To the east, the county borders Gêrzê County.[12]


Rutog was part of the Maryul kingdom (modern Ladakh), when it was established in the 10th century. It was again consolidated as part of Ladakh during the reign of Sengge Namgyal, but was later conquered by Lhasa through the Tibet-Ladakh-Mughal War. Rutog and Ladakh continued to have extensive trading relations at all times, with occasional disputes over borders.

The headquarters of the region was at Old Rudok (Rutog Dzong; 33°25′03″N 79°38′34″E / 33.4175°N 79.6427°E / 33.4175; 79.6427 (Rutog Dzong)), a hill top location, which boasted a fort as well as several monasteries. During the period of the British Raj in India, European visitors were expressly prohibited from visiting the Rudok, but the British official E. B. Wakefield managed to visit it in 1939.

With the 1950 Chinese annexation of Tibet, Rutog became part of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. In October 1983, the county seat was moved from Old Rudok to the village of Derub (Chinese: 德汝昆孜; pinyin: Dé rǔ kūn zī; 33°22′18″N 79°41′46″E / 33.3718°N 79.6961°E / 33.3718; 79.6961 (Derub)).[2] The present Rutog Town was built sometime around 1999 a short distance away from Derub.[13] The site of the new town appears to have been originally a suburb of the Derub village called Gyelgosang (Tibetan: རྒྱལ་སྒོ་བསངས, Wylie: rgyal sgo bsangs, THL: gyel go sang; 33°23′01″N 79°43′54″E / 33.3837°N 79.7318°E / 33.3837; 79.7318 (Rutog Town)).[14]

Administrative divisions[edit]

The only town is Rutog Town (Rituzhen, Tibetan: རུ་ཐོག་; Chinese: 日土; pinyin: Rìtǔ zhèn) [2][15][10]


Demographics and economy[edit]

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

As of 1996, the residents of the county were Tibetan.[2]

Rutog County's economy is based around farming and animal husbandry. Aside from wool, butter, hides, cattle cashmere, etc. are produced. In Rutog County, the main growing crop is barley and yaks, sheep, goats, horses and other livestock are important to the economy. Rutog County has many wild animals and plants, including the black-necked crane, goose, wild yak, Tibetan antelope, Mongolian gazelle, black sheep, kiang, and bear. A number of rare animals are protected by the government and are of high value. Known mineral resources are gold, lead, chromite, borax, and salt.

In the five years from 2006–2011, Rutog County produced 72 tons of cashmere wool worth 16 million yuan ($2.5 million USD in 2011).[16] China produces 75% of the world's cashmere wool.[17]

In 1984, the average per capita income of Rutog County residents was 478 yuan.[18]

The China National Highway 219 passes through Rutog County.


At around 11 AM on July 17, 2016, nine people, 350 sheep and 110 yaks were buried in an avalanche near the Aru Lake (at 34°02′45.4″N 82°17′24.6″E / 34.045944°N 82.290167°E / 34.045944; 82.290167 (Avalanche location)), about 250 kilometres (160 mi) from Rutog Town . The avalanche fell on a grazing area and the snow was as much as 8 m (26 ft) deep. The local government dispatched rescuers and equipment to the site of the avalanche.[3][19][20] The avalanche was described by NASA as one of the largest avalanches in history.[21][22] On September 21, 2016, another similarly large avalanche occurred just to the south.[23][12]

Historical maps[edit]

Historical maps including Rutog:

See also[edit]




  1. ^ a b 地区经济司 (30 November 2017). 西藏自治区阿里地区日土县. National Development and Reform Commission (in Simplified Chinese). Archived from the original on 24 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020 – via Internet Archive. 日土县隶属阿里地区,全县总面积81046平方公里,辖1镇4乡。2015年总人口10635人。
  2. ^ a b c d e f 日土县历史沿革 [Rutog County Historical Development] (in Simplified Chinese). 5 April 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2019. 1961年3月设立日土县,由新疆维吾尔自治区管辖,1978年划归西藏自治区,隶属阿里地区管辖至今。{...}1996年,日土县面积8.1万平方千米,人口约0.61万人,均为藏族。{...}2000年第五次人口普查,日土县常住总人口7175人,{...}2008年,全县面积7.70万多平方千米,人口0.87万人。2010年第六次人口普查,日土县常住总人口9738人,其中,日土镇3057人,热帮乡2242人,日松乡1921人,东汝乡1278人,多玛乡1240人。
  3. ^ a b c "Avalanche buries 9 in Tibet". China Internet Center. 18 July 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  4. ^ Berman, Lex (2017-03-17). "Tibetan Administrative Placenames Cross Index (2001)". Harvard Dataverse. doi:10.7910/dvn/prcltu. Retrieved 2018-04-28. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (2010). Jiànzhú kàngzhèn shèjì guīfàn 建筑抗震设计规范 [GB50011-2010: Code for Seismic Design of Buildings] (in English and Simplified Chinese). Beijing: China Architecture & Building Press. p. 198. Rutog County
  6. ^ Webster's 21st Century World Atlas. Barnes & Noble Books. 1999. p. 94 – via Rutog
  7. ^ Complete Atlas Of The World (3 ed.). Penguin Random House. 2016. p. 238 – via Rutog
  8. ^ Li Xia, ed. (6 August 2019). "Scenery of glacier in Rutog County, SW China's Tibet". Xinhua News Agency. Archived from the original on August 6, 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2020. Rutog County of Ngari Prefecture, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
  9. ^ "China". Foreign Broadcast Information Service. 2 September 1988. p. 68 – via
  10. ^ a b 阿里地区日土县概况. 阿里地区日土县人民政府 (in Simplified Chinese). 19 March 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2020. 日土县辖4乡1镇,包括日土镇、日松乡、热帮乡、多玛乡,东汝乡。
  11. ^ Dreams of Snow Land. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. 2005. pp. 273-275. ISBN 7-119-03883-4 – via Internet Archive.
  12. ^ a b Shixin Wang, Baolin Yang, Yi Zhou, Futao Wang, Rui Zhang, Qing Zhao (2018). "Snow Cover Mapping and Ice Avalanche Monitoring from the Satellite Data of the Sentinels". International Archives of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences. 42 (3): 1766. Bibcode:2018ISPAr42.3.1765W. doi:10.5194/ISPRS-ARCHIVES-XLII-3-1765-2018. S2CID 59056188.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ Mayhew, Bradley; Bellezza, John Vincent; Wheeler, Tony; Taylor, Chris (1999), Tibet, Lonely Planet, pp. 264, 279 – via
  14. ^ "Geographical names of Tibet AR (China): Ngari prefecture". KNAB Place Name Database. Institute of the Estonian Language. 2018-06-03.
  15. ^ 2019年统计用区划代码和城乡划分代码:日土县 [2019 Statistical Area Numbers and Rural-Urban Area Numbers: Rutog County] (in Simplified Chinese). National Bureau of Statistics of the People's Republic of China. 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2019. 统计用区划代码 名称 542524100000 日土镇 542524200000 热帮乡 542524201000 日松乡 542524202000 东汝乡 542524203000 多玛乡
  16. ^ "Cashmere industry needs technology help".
  17. ^ "Trade fair to promote cashmere industry | Business Focus". Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  18. ^ "China Report POLITICAL, SOCIOLOGICAL AND MILITARY AFFAIRS". Foreign Broadcast Information Service. 29 October 1984. p. 24. Retrieved 22 May 2020 – via Internet Archive.
  19. ^ "Tibet: Nine killed in an avalanche". The Indian Express. 18 July 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Nine Killed in Avalanche in Tibet". China Central Television. 18 July 2016. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 23 May 2020 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ Ben Guarino (12 December 2016). "A Tibetan glacier mysteriously collapsed and killed 9. Now researchers offer answers". Washington Post. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  22. ^ "Massive and Mysterious Ice Avalanche in Tibet". NASA Earth Observatory. 7 September 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  23. ^ "A Second Massive Ice Avalanche in Tibet". NASA Earth Observatory. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2020.

External links[edit]