Writing in Der Spiegel (German print edition, 2 July 2012), Sandra Schulz asks 'are there lessons to be taken from the Communist Party's method of governance?' The writer has been to Lanzhou to find some answers. Read article here (translated into English, published on Spiegel Online, 31 August 2012).
The Economist has published a piece that highlights the problem of talking about the development of China in terms of national averages. It is probably more instructive to look at the regional picture (e.g. urban vs rural, or coast vs interior).
The article links to an interactive map that compares each province with its country equivalent, and ranks them in order of performance. I have embedded it on this site here.
This is what it tells us about Gansu's 'equivalent country' and its ranking in the list of Chinese provinces: