City (pop., 2003 est.: 654,574), capital of Qinghai province, western China. Located in a valley of the Huang River, on what was traditionally the main trade route from northern China into Tibet, the region was a frontier county under the Han dynasty and again under the Sui and Tang. In 763 it was taken by Tibetans and called Qingtangcheng. It was recovered by the Song dynasty in 1104 and renamed Xining (meaning Peace in the West). It became an important religious centre under the Tibetans, and Qinghai's largest lamasery was nearby. It was named provincial capital when Qinghai became an independent province in 1928. Its industries include leather processing plants and steelworks.