China upgrades Tibet’s Gyalthang County as a City

Gyalthang (Shangri-La) County in Dechen (Diqin) Prefecture, Yunnan Province
Gyalthang (Shangri-La) County in Dechen (Diqin) Prefecture, Yunnan Province. (Photo courtesy:

(, May09, 2015) – After Chamdo (Chinese: Changdu or Qamdo), Shigatse (Xigaze) and Nyingtri ((Nyingchi) Prefectures in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), China has upgraded the Gyalthang (Shangri-La) County in Dechen (Diqin) Prefecture, Yunnan Province, as a city. China had changed the county’s name from its Chinese name of Zhongdian to Shangri-La in Dec 2001 in order to boost tourism, declaring it to be the real place the English writer James Hilton had named as Shangri-La in his 1933 fiction Lost Horizon.

China’s State council, or cabinet, had approved the change into a city on Dec 16, 2014, reported China’s online Tibet news service May 7. A ceremony to formally launch the new city was accordingly held on Apr 30 this year.

The report said that in order to promote the name brand of “Shangri-La”, the city took its changing of its status from county to city as an opportunity to improve the environment, construct a number of quality goods, and organize quality tourism, and launch a promotional event for specialty products in order to strengthen its tourism image.

Shangri-La city’s main attractions include the Dukezong Old Town which was destroyed in a fire on Jan 11, 2014, the Songtsen Ling Monastery, Mt Minling and the Pudacuo National Forest Park, the report added.

In early Apr 2015, China’s State Council approved the change of Nyingtri Prefecture of TAR into a city, making it the fourth prefecture-level city in the region after Lhasa, Shigatse and Chamdo.


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