In a land area of approximately 29,459 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the prefecture-level city of Dali in the northwestern part of Yunnan province and its administrative area that comprises of 8 counties and 3 autonomous counties.
The population of Dali is 3.51 million. The Bai minority is the major ethnic group in Dali. There are about 1.4 million Bai people living in Yunnan Province, and approximately 80 percent of them live in Dali.
Mandarin Chinese, Yunnan dialect and languages of ethnic minorities are in use in the diocesan territory.
The Mission "Sui iuris" of Dali was erected in 1929 from Apostolic Vicariate of Yunnanfu. French Father Pierre Erdozainey-Etchart was the person-in-charge. He died in 1931 and at the same year Dali was elevated to an apostolic prefecture. It became a diocese in 1948 with Bishop Lucien Bernard Lacoste as its first bishop. He was expelled from mainland China in 1952. During the Culture Revolution (1966-76), all churches were confiscated and religious activities were forbidden. The diocese gradually revived its activities since 1980s. Today, most of the 35 churches and mission points are in poor mountainous area and places where ethnic people live.
Transportation in Dali is very convenient. State Highway 214 and State Highway 320 intersect in Dali. There are also an expressway and a railway connecting Dali with Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. In addition, Dali Airport, 12 kilometers from the prefecture's downtown, operates scheduled flights to Kunming, Lijiang and other surrounding cities.
The climate of Dali varies with the altitude. Spring in Dali is very long and warm. Temperature differences within a year are very small. The average annual precipitation totals approximately 1,050 mm.
Dali realized GDP of RMB 47.49 billion yuan in 2010, representing a rise of 13 percent year on year. The prefecture's GDP accounted for approximately 7.6 percent of Yunnan's total. Tobacco, building materials, metallurgy, mechanical equipment, biological resources processing and deep processing of agricultural products are the pillar industries of the prefecture. In 2010, these industries generated gross industrial output of 34 billion yuan, accounting for 71.34 percent of the city's total. The service sector generated value-added output of 17.76 billion yuan, accounting for 37.4 percent of the prefecture's total GDP in 2010. Tourism is the most important pillar of the service sector.
Dali is a county-level city in and the seat of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, northwestern Yunnan province in southwest China.
Dali boasts a profound historical culture and is known as one of the three headstreams of Yunnan Culture (Dali, Zhaotong and Kunming). It was the economic, political and cultural center of Yunnan for hundreds of years.
Dali culture is a blend of Chinese Han Culture, Tibetan Culture and local ethnic culture. The Bai minority is the major ethnic group in Dali. Traditional Bai festivals, fairs and customs such as Raosanling, a festival of singing and dancing, Seeding Fairs, and Sanyuejie, a grand trading festival, are representative of the folk culture of the historical prefecture.