Province (pop., 1996 est.: 24,380,000), N central China. For several centuries a passage between the Upper Huang River region and W China, it became part of Chinese territory in the 3rd cent. BC. It was renowned as the entranceway into China used by M. Polo. E Gansu is the main site of earthquakes in China; in 1920 an earthquake there destroyed many towns and caused 200,000 deaths. Gansu's capital in Lanzhou. Wheat is the province's chief crop, and wheat flour rather than rice is the basis of the local diet.