Aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic (AAP) bacteria are heterotrophic prokaryotes that are capable of utilizing light as an energy source but are not capable of producing molecular oxygen. Recently, multiple studies have found that AAP bacteria are widely distributed in oceans and estuaries and may play an important role in carbon cycling. However, AAP bacteria in inland lake ecosystems have not been investigated in depth. In this study, the abundance and diversity of the pufL-M genes, encoding photosynthetic reaction centers of AAP bacteria, were determined in the oxic water column and anoxic sediments of saline lakes (Qinghai, Erhai, and Gahai Lakes) on the Tibetan Plateau, China. Our results indicated that AAP bacteria were abundant in inland lakes, with the proportion of AAP bacteria (in total bacteria) comparable to those in the oceans, but with a lower diversity. Salinity and pH were found to be potential factors controlling the AAP bacterial diversity and community composition. Our data have implications for a better understanding of the potential role of AAP bacteria in carbon cycling in inland lake ecosystems.