Australian Consulate-General
Chengdu, China

Blog: The Setting – Lush Basin, High Mountains and Mighty Rivers

The Setting – Lush Basin, High Mountains and Mighty Rivers

17 June 2017 


Southwest China usually refers to the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou, the municipality of Chongqing, and the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).  The Australian Consulate-General has consular jurisdiction over the first four provinces and municipality, while the Australian Embassy in Beijing covers the TAR.  We build relations with government officials, business people, other decision makers and those who shape opinion.  The objective is to achieve outcomes favourable to both sides in trade, investment, tourism and education, and to build cultural understanding.

Southwest China. Credit: Wikimedia Commons


The region is landlocked, with the nearest coast about 1,000 km away, near Guangzhou.  It is a vast region with three distinct terrains – the fertile Chengdu basin that gives Sichuan its reputation as the land of abundance, the mountainous landscapes of Yunnan and Guizhou which border Myanmar and Laos, including karst limestone peaks, and the high plateau which rises from western Sichuan towards the TAR.  The distinctive terrain also means the land sits on different tectonic plates, which has endowed the region with breathtaking scenery but also bring with them the possibility of geological movements, ie, earthquakes and landslides.  

Kunming’s Pudu River. Credit: user Christo


Proximity to the Himalayas, with its snow-capped mountains, gives the region abundant water resources for irrigation and hydropower.  The many streams that flow through stunning landscapes eventually form two major river systems that sustain hundreds of millions of lives in East and South East Asia – the Yangtze to the east and the Mekong to the south.

Chongqing, Chongqing.  Credit: Luo Xing


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