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This article is about the administrative division of the People's Republic of China. For the geographical region, see East Turkestan. For other uses, see Xinjiang (disambiguation).

Xinjiang (UK: ;US: ), officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR), is a landlocked autonomous region of the People's Republic of China (PRC), located in the northwest of the country at the crossroads of Central Asia and East Asia. Being the largest province-level division of China by area and the 8th-largest country subdivision in the world, Xinjiang spans over 1.6 million square kilometres (620,000 sq mi) and has about 25 million inhabitants. Xinjiang borders the countries of Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The rugged Karakoram, Kunlun and Tian Shan mountain ranges occupy much of Xinjiang's borders, as well as its western and southern regions. The Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract regions, both administered by China, are claimed by India. Xinjiang also borders the Tibet Autonomous Region and the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai. The most well-known route of the historic Silk Road ran through the territory from the east to its northwestern border.

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Name transcription(s)
• Chinese新疆维吾尔自治区
(Xīnjiāng Wéiwú'ěr Zìzhìqū)
• AbbreviationXJ / (Xīn)
Uyghurشىنجاڭ ئۇيغۇر ئاپتونوم رايونى
(Shinjang Uyghur Aptonom Rayoni)
Clockwise from top:
Location of Xinjiang within China
Coordinates:41°N85°E /41°N 85°E /41; 85Coordinates: 41°N85°E /41°N 85°E /41; 85
CountryChina
Capital
and largest city
Ürümqi
Divisions14 prefectures, 99 counties, 1005 townships
Government
• TypeAutonomous region
• BodyXinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional People's Congress
CPC SecretaryMa Xingrui
• Congress ChairmanShewket Imin
• Government ChairmanErkin Tuniyaz
CPPCC ChairmanNurlan Abilmazhinuly
Area
• Total1,664,897 km2 (642,820 sq mi)
• Rank1st
Highest elevation8,611 m (28,251 ft)
Lowest elevation−154 m (−505 ft)
Population
• Total25,890,000
• Rank21st
• Density16/km2 (40/sq mi)
• Rank29th
Demographics
• Ethnic
composition (2020 Census)
Languages
and dialects
ISO 3166 codeCN-XJ
GDP(2021)CN¥1.6 trillion
US$251 billion (25th)
GDP per capitaCN¥61,952
US$9,600 (21st)
GDP growth 7%
HDI(2019)0.732 (high) (22nd)
WebsiteXinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
This article contains Uyghur text. Without proper , you may see unjoined letters or other symbols instead of Uyghur script.

It is home to a number of ethnic groups, including the Turkic Uyghur, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, the Han, Tibetans, Hui, Chinese Tajiks (Pamiris), Mongols, Russians and Sibe. There are more than a dozen autonomous prefectures and counties for minorities in Xinjiang. Older English-language reference works often refer to the area as Chinese Turkestan, East Turkestan and East Turkistan.

Xinjiang is divided into the Dzungarian Basin in the north and the Tarim Basin in the south by a mountain range, and only about 9.7% of Xinjiang's land area is fit for human habitation.

With a documented history of at least 2,500 years, a succession of people and empires have vied for control over all or parts of this territory. The territory came under the rule of the Qing dynasty in the 18th century, later replaced by the Republic of China government. Since 1949 and the Chinese Civil War, it has been part of the People's Republic of China. In 1954, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) was established to strengthen border defense against the Soviet Union and promote the local economy by settling soldiers into the region. In 1955, Xinjiang was administratively changed from a province into an autonomous region. In recent decades, abundant oil and mineral reserves have been found in Xinjiang and it is currently China's largest natural gas-producing region.

From the 1990s to the 2010s, the East Turkestan independence movement, separatist conflict and the influence of radical Islam have resulted in unrest in the region with occasional terrorist attacks and clashes between separatist and government forces. These conflicts prompted the Chinese government to commit a series of ongoing human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in the province that is often characterized as genocide.

Contents

Xinjiang
"Xīnjiāng" in Chinese characters
Chinese name
Chinese新疆
Hanyu PinyinXīnjiāng
PostalSinkiang
Literal meaning"New Frontier"
Transcriptions
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinXīnjiāng
Bopomofoㄒㄧㄣ ㄐㄧㄤ
Gwoyeu RomatzyhShinjiang
Wade–GilesHsin1-chiang1
Tongyong PinyinSinjiang
Yale RomanizationSyīnjyāng
MPS2Shinjihang
other Mandarin
Xiao'erjingسٍكِيْا
DunganЩинҗён
Hakka
RomanizationSîn-kiông
Yue: Cantonese
Yale RomanizationSān'gēung
JyutpingSan1goeng1
Southern Min
Hokkien POJSin-kiong
Teochew Peng'imSing-kiang
Eastern Min
Fuzhou BUCSĭng-giŏng
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Simplified Chinese新疆维吾尔自治区
Traditional Chinese新疆維吾爾自治區
Hanyu PinyinXīnjiāng Wéiwú'ěr Zìzhìqū
PostalSinkiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
Transcriptions
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinXīnjiāng Wéiwú'ěr Zìzhìqū
Bopomofoㄒㄧㄣ ㄐㄧㄤ
ㄨㄟˊ ㄨˊ ㄦˇ
ㄗˋ ㄓˋ ㄑㄩ
Gwoyeu RomatzyhShinjiang Weiwueel Tzyhjyhchiu
Wade–GilesHsin1-chiang1 Wei2-wu2-êrh3 Tzŭ4-chih4-chʻü1
Tongyong PinyinSinjiang Wéiwú'ěr Zìhjhìhcyu
Yale RomanizationSyīnjyāng Wéiwúěr Dz̀jr̀chyū
MPS2Shinjiang Wheihuel Tzyhgukhickhu
other Mandarin
Xiao'erjingسٍكِيْا وِءُعَر ذِجِٿُوُ
DunganЩинҗён Уйгур Зыҗычү
Wu
Romanizationsin cian vi ng el zy zy chiu
Hakka
RomanizationSîn-kiông Vì-ngâ-ngì Tshṳ-tshṳ-khî
Southern Min
Hokkien POJSin-kiong Ûi-ngô͘-ní Chū-tī-khu
Teochew Peng'imSing-kiang Jûi-û-jéu Tsĕu-tī-khu
Eastern Min
Fuzhou BUCSĭng-giŏng Mì-ngù-ī Cê̤ṳ-dê-kṳ̆
Tibetan name
Tibetanཞིན་ཅང་ཡུ་གུར་རང་སྐྱོང་ལྗོངས།
Transcriptions
Wyliezhin cang yu gur rang skyong ljongs
Mongolian name
Mongolian CyrillicШиньжян Уйгурын өөртөө засах орон
Mongolian scriptᠰᠢᠨᠵᠢᠶᠠᠩ
ᠤᠶᠢᠭᠤᠷ
ᠤᠨ
ᠥᠪᠡᠷᠲᠡᠭᠡᠨ
ᠵᠠᠰᠠᠬᠤ
ᠣᠷᠤᠨ
Transcriptions
SASM/GNCSinjiyaŋ Uyiɣur-un öbertegen jasaqu orun
(Classical)
Shin'jyan Uiguryn öörtöö zasakh oron
(Khalkha)
Uyghur name
Uyghurشىنجاڭ ئۇيغۇر ئاپتونوم رايونى
Transcriptions
Latin YëziqiShinjang Uyghur Aptonom Rayoni
Yengi YeziⱪXinjang Uyƣur Aptonom Rayoni
SASM/GNCXinjang Uyĝur Aptonom Rayoni
Siril YëziqiШинҗаң Уйғур Аптоном Райони
Manchu name
Manchu scriptᡳᠴᡝ
ᠵᡝᠴᡝᠨ
ᡠᡳᡤᡠᡵ
ᠪᡝᠶᡝ
ᡩᠠᠰᠠᠩᡤᠠ
ᡤᠣᠯᠣ
MöllendorffIce Jecen Uigur beye dasangga golo
Russian name
RussianСиньцзян
RomanizationSin'tsjan
Kazakh name
Kazakhشينجياڭ ۇيعۇر اۆتونوميالى رايونى
Shyńjań Uıǵyr aýtonomııalyq aýdany
Kyrgyz name
Kyrgyzشئنجاڭ ۇيعۇر اپتونوم رايونۇ
Шинжаң-Уйгур автоном району
Şincañ-Uyğur avtonom rayonu
Oirat name
Oiratᠱᡅᠨᡓᡅᡕᠠᡊ
ᡇᡕᡅᡎᡇᠷ
ᡅᠨ
ᡄᡋᡄᠷᡄᡃᠨ
ᠴᠠᠰᠠᡍᡇ
ᡆᠷᡇᠨ

Šinǰiyang Uyiγur-in ebereen zasaqu orun
Xibe name
Xibeᠰᡞᠨᡪᠶᠠᡢ
ᡠᡞᡤᡠᠷ
ᠪᡝᠶᡝ
ᡩᠠᠰᠠᡢᡤᠠ
ᡤᠣᠯᠣ

Sinjyang Uigur beye dasangga golo

The general region of Xinjiang has been known by many different names in earlier times, in indigenous languages as well as other languages. These names include Altishahr, the historical Uyghur name for the southern half of the region referring to "the six cities" of the Tarim Basin, as well as Khotan, Khotay, Chinese Tartary, High Tartary, East Chagatay (it was the eastern part of the Chagatai Khanate), Moghulistan ("land of the Mongols"), Kashgaria, Little Bokhara, Serindia (due to Indian cultural influence) and, in Chinese, "Western Regions".

In Chinese, under the Han dynasty, Xinjiang was known as Xiyu (西域), meaning "Western Regions". Between the 2nd century BCE and 2nd century CE the Han Empire established the Protectorate of the Western Regions or Xiyu Protectorate (西域都護府) in an effort to secure the profitable routes of the Silk Road. The Western Regions during the Tang era were known as Qixi (磧西). Qi refers to the Gobi Desert while Xi refers to the west. The Tang Empire had established the Protectorate General to Pacify the West or Anxi Protectorate (安西都護府) in 640 to control the region.

During the Qing dynasty, the northern part of Xinjiang, Dzungaria was known as Zhunbu (準部, "Dzungar region") and the southern Tarim Basin was known as Huijiang (回疆, "Muslim Frontier"). Both regions merged after Qing dynasty suppressed the Revolt of the Altishahr Khojas in 1759 and became the region of "Xiyu Xinjiang"(Chinese:西域新疆; lit. 'Western Regions' New Frontier'), later simplified as "Xinjiang" / "Sinkiang" (Chinese:新疆, Manchu: ᡳᠴᡝ ᠵᡝᠴᡝᠨ, Romanization: ice jecen). The official name was given during the reign of the Guangxu Emperor in 1878. According to Chinese statesman Zuo Zongtang's report to the Guangxu Emperor, Xinjiang means an "old land newly returned" (故土新歸) or the "new old land". It can also be translated as “new frontier”or “new territory.” In fact, the term "Xinjiang" was used in many other places conquered, but never were ruled by Chinese empires directly until the gradual Gaitu Guiliu administrative reform, including regions in Southern China. For instance, present-day Jinchuan County in Sichuan was then known as "Jinchuan Xinjiang", Zhaotong in Yunnan was named directly as "Xinjiang", Qiandongnan region, Anshun and Zhenning were named as "Liangyou Xinjiang" etc.

In 1955, Xinjiang Province was renamed "Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region". The name that was originally proposed was simply "Xinjiang Autonomous Region" because that was the name for the imperial territory. This proposal was not well-received by Uyghurs in the Communist Party, who found the name colonialist in nature since it meant “new territory." Saifuddin Azizi, the first chairman of Xinjiang, registered his strong objections to the proposed name with Mao Zedong, arguing that "autonomy is not given to mountains and rivers. It is given to particular nationalities." Some Uyghur Communists proposed the name "Tian Shan Uyghur Autonomous Region" instead. The Han Communists in the central government denied the name Xinjiang was colonialist and that the central government could be colonialists both because they were communists and because China was a victim of colonialism. But due to the Uyghur complaints, the administrative region would be named "Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region".

Uyghur nationalists refer to Xinjiang as "Uyghurstan".

Dzungaria (Red) and the Tarim Basin or Altishahr (Blue)
Northern Xinjiang (Junggar Basin) (Yellow), Eastern Xinjiang- Turpan Depression (Turpan Prefecture and Hami Prefecture) (Red) and Altishahr/the Tarim Basin (Blue)
Physical map showing the separation of Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin (Altishahr) by the Tien Shan Mountains

Xinjiang consists of two main geographically, historically and ethnically distinct regions with different historical names, Dzungaria north of the Tianshan Mountains and the Tarim Basin south of the Tianshan Mountains, before Qing China unified them into one political entity called Xinjiang Province in 1884. At the time of the Qing conquest in 1759, Dzungaria was inhabited by steppe dwelling, nomadic Tibetan Buddhist Dzungar people, while the Tarim Basin was inhabited by sedentary, oasis dwelling, Turkic-speaking Muslim farmers, now known as the Uyghur people. They were governed separately until 1884. The native Uyghur name for the Tarim Basin is Altishahr.

The Qing dynasty was well aware of the differences between the former Buddhist Mongol area to the north of the Tian Shan and the Turkic Muslim area south of the Tian Shan and ruled them in separate administrative units at first. However, Qing people began to think of both areas as part of one distinct region called Xinjiang. The very concept of Xinjiang as one distinct geographic identity was created by the Qing. It was originally not the native inhabitants who viewed it that way, but rather the Chinese who held that point of view. During the Qing rule, no sense of "regional identity" was held by ordinary Xinjiang people; rather, Xinjiang's distinct identity was given to the region by the Qing, since it had distinct geography, history and culture, while at the same time it was created by the Chinese, multicultural, settled by Han and Hui and separated from Central Asia for over a century and a half.

In the late 19th century, it was still being proposed by some people that two separate regions be created out of Xinjiang, the area north of the Tianshan and the area south of the Tianshan, while it was being argued over whether to turn Xinjiang into a province.

Xinjiang is a large, sparsely populated area, spanning over 1.6 million km2 (comparable in size to Iran), which takes up about one sixth of the country's territory. Xinjiang borders the Tibet Autonomous Region and India's Leh district in Ladakh to the south, Qinghai and Gansu provinces to the east, Mongolia (Bayan-Ölgii, Govi-Altai and Khovd Provinces) to the east, Russia's Altai Republic to the north and Kazakhstan (Almaty and East Kazakhstan Regions), Kyrgyzstan (Issyk-Kul, Naryn and Osh Regions), Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province and Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan to the west.

The east-west chain of the Tian Shan separate Dzungaria in the north from the Tarim Basin in the south. Dzungaria is a dry steppe and the Tarim Basin contains the massive Taklamakan Desert, surrounded by oases. In the east is the Turpan Depression. In the west, the Tian Shan split, forming the Ili River valley.

Early history

Main article: History of Xinjiang
Map of Han Dynasty in 2 CE. Light blue is the Tarim Basin protectorate.

The earliest inhabitants of the region encompassing modern day Xinjiang, were genetically of Northeast Asian and Paleo-Siberian origin, with later geneflow during the Bronze Age linked to the expansion of early Indo-Europeans. These population dynamics gave rise to a heterogeneous demographic makeup. Ancient samples from Xinjiang during the Bronze Age, showed higher affinity with Paleo-Siberians than Europeans, suggesting that the spread of Indo-European (Tocharian) languages was more linguistically, than ethnically. Linguistic evidence revealed that Indo-European languages spoken in the region (specifically Tocharian), showed high amounts of influence from Paleosiberian languages, such as Uralic and Yeniseian languages. Iron Age samples from Xinjiang, while being of mixed ancestry, were generally closer to Northeast Asians. In the late Iron Age, geneflow from "Yellow river farmers" increased throughout Xinjiang, associated with Han Chinese.

Between 2009 and 2015, the remains of 92 individuals in the Xiaohe Cemetery were analyzed for Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA markers. Genetic analyses of the mummies showed that the paternal lineages of the Xiaohe people were of west Eurasian origin, while the maternal lineages of the early population were diverse, featuring both east Eurasian and west Eurasian lineages. Over time, the west Eurasian maternal lineages were gradually replaced by east Eurasian maternal lineages. This implies a pattern of outmarriage to women from Siberian communities, which, over many hundreds of years, led to the loss of the original diversity of mtDNA lineages observed in the earlier Xiaohe population.

The Tarim population was therefore always notably diverse, reflecting a complex history of admixture between people of Ancient North Eurasian, South Asian and Northeast Asian descent. The Tarim mummies have been found in various locations in the western Tarim Basin such as Loulan, the Xiaohe Tomb complex, and Qäwrighul. These mummies have been previously suggested to have been Tocharian or Indo-European-speakers, but recent evidence suggest that the mummies belonged to a distinct population unrelated to Indo-European pastoralists, such as Afanasievo, and spoke a unknown language, probably a language isolate.

Nomadic tribes such as the Yuezhi, Saka, and Wusun were probably part of the migration of Indo-European speakers who had settled in western Central Asia long before the Xiongnu and Han Chinese. By the time the Han dynasty under Emperor Wu (r. 141–87 BC) wrested the western Tarim Basin away from its previous overlords (the Xiongnu), it was inhabited by various peoples who included the Indo-European speaking Tocharians in Turfan and Kucha, the Saka peoples centered in the Shule Kingdom and the Kingdom of Khotan, the various Tibeto-Burmese groups (especially people related to the Qiang) as well as the Han Chinese people.

Yuezhi culture is documented in the region. The first known reference to the Yuezhi was in 645 BC by the Chinese chancellor Guan Zhong in his work, Guanzi (管子, Guanzi Essays: 73: 78: 80: 81). He described the Yúshì,禺氏 (or Niúshì,牛氏), as a people from the north-west who supplied jade to the Chinese from the nearby mountains (also known as Yushi) in Gansu. The longtime jade supply from the Tarim Basin is well-documented archaeologically: "It is well known that ancient Chinese rulers had a strong attachment to jade. All of the jade items excavated from the tomb of Fuhao of the Shang dynasty, more than 750 pieces, were from Khotan in modern Xinjiang. As early as the mid-first millennium BC, the Yuezhi engaged in the jade trade, of which the major consumers were the rulers of agricultural China."

Crossed by the Northern Silk Road, the Tarim and Dzungaria regions were known as the Western Regions. At the beginning of the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) the region was ruled by the Xiongnu, a powerful nomadic people based in present-day Mongolia. During the 2nd century BC, the Han dynasty prepared for war against Xiongnu when Emperor Wu of Han dispatched Zhang Qian to explore the mysterious kingdoms to the west and form an alliance with the Yuezhi against the Xiongnu. As a result of the war, the Chinese controlled the strategic region from the Ordos and Gansu corridor to Lop Nor. They separated the Xiongnu from the Qiang people on the south, and gained direct access to the Western Regions. Han China sent Zhang Qian as an envoy to the states of the region, beginning several decades of struggle between the Xiongnu and Han China in which China eventually prevailed. In 60 BC, Han China established the Protectorate of the Western Regions (西域都護府) at Wulei (烏壘, near modern Luntai), to oversee the region as far west as the Pamir Mountains. The protectorate was seized during the civil war against Wang Mang (r. AD 9–23), returning to Han control in 91 due to the efforts of general Ban Chao.

Old Uyghur/Yugur art from the Bezeklik murals
The Tarim Basin in the 3rd century AD

The Western Jin dynasty succumbed to successive waves of invasions by nomads from the north at the beginning of the 4th century. The short-lived kingdoms that ruled northwestern China one after the other, including Former Liang, Former Qin, Later Liang, and Western Liáng, all attempted to maintain the protectorate, with varying degrees of success. After the final reunification of northern China under the Northern Wei empire, its protectorate controlled what is now the southeastern region of Xinjiang. Local states such as Shule, Yutian, Guizi and Qiemo controlled the western region, while the central region around Turpan was controlled by Gaochang, remnants of a state (Northern Liang) that once ruled part of what is now Gansu province in northwestern China.

A Sogdian man on a Bactrian camel. Sancai ceramic statuette, Tang dynasty

During the Tang dynasty, a series of expeditions were conducted against the Western Turkic Khaganate and their vassals: the oasis states of southern Xinjiang. Campaigns against the oasis states began under Emperor Taizong with the annexation of Gaochang in 640. The nearby kingdom of Karasahr was captured by the Tang in 644, and the kingdom of Kucha was conquered in 649. The Tang Dynasty then established the Protectorate General to Pacify the West (安西都護府), or Anxi Protectorate, in 640 to control the region.

During the Anshi Rebellion, which nearly destroyed the Tang dynasty, Tibet invaded the Tang on a broad front from Xinjiang to Yunnan. It occupied the Tang capital of Chang'an in 763 for 16 days, and controlled southern Xinjiang by the end of the century. The Uyghur Khaganate took control of northern Xinjiang, much of Central Asia, and Mongolia at the same time.

As Tibet and the Uyghur Khaganate declined in the mid-9th century, the Kara-Khanid Khanate (a confederation of Turkic tribes including the Karluks, Chigils and Yaghmas) controlled western Xinjiang during the 10th and 11th centuries. After the Uyghur Khaganate in Mongolia was destroyed by the Kirghiz in 840, branches of the Uyghurs established themselves in Qocha (Karakhoja) and Beshbalik (near present-day Turfan and Ürümqi). The Uyghur state remained in eastern Xinjiang until the 13th century, although it was ruled by foreign overlords. The Kara-Khanids converted to Islam. The Uyghur state in eastern Xinjiang, initially Manichean, later converted to Buddhism.

Remnants of the Liao dynasty from Manchuria entered Xinjiang in 1132, fleeing rebellion by the neighboring Jurchens. They established a new empire, the Qara Khitai, which ruled the Kara-Khanid- and Uyghur-held parts of the Tarim Basin for the next century. Although Khitan and Chinese were the primary administrative languages, Persian and Uyghur were also used.

Islamization

Present-day Xinjiang consisted of the Tarim Basin and Dzungaria, and was originally inhabited by Indo-European Tocharians and Iranian Sakas who practiced Buddhism and Zoroastrianism. The Turfan and Tarim Basins were inhabited by speakers of Tocharian languages, with Caucasian mummies found in the region. The area became Islamified during the 10th century with the conversion of the Kara-Khanid Khanate, who occupied Kashgar. During the mid-10th century, the Saka Buddhist Kingdom of Khotan was attacked by the Turkic Muslim Karakhanid ruler Musa; the Karakhanid leader Yusuf Qadir Khan conquered Khotan around 1006.

Mongol period

See also: Yarkent Khanate
Mongol states from the 14th to the 17th centuries: the Northern Yuan dynasty, Four Oirat, Moghulistan and Kara Del

After Genghis Khan unified Mongolia and began his advance west the Uyghur state in the Turpan-Urumchi region offered its allegiance to the Mongols in 1209, contributing taxes and troops to the Mongol imperial effort. In return, the Uyghur rulers retained control of their kingdom; Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire conquered the Qara Khitai in 1218. Xinjiang was a stronghold of Ögedei Khan and later came under the control of his descendant, Kaidu. This branch of the Mongol family kept the Yuan dynasty at bay until their rule ended.

During the Mongol Empire era the Yuan dynasty vied with the Chagatai Khanate for rule of the region, and the latter controlled most of it. After the Chagatai Khanate divided into smaller khanates during the mid-14th century, the politically-fractured region was ruled by a number of Persianized Mongol Khans, including those from Moghulistan (with the assistance of local Dughlat emirs), Uigurstan (later Turpan), and Kashgaria. These leaders warred with each other and the Timurids of Transoxiana to the west and the Oirats to the east: the successor Chagatai regime based in Mongolia and China. During the 17th century, the Dzungars established an empire over much of the region.

The Mongolian Dzungars were the collective identity of several Oirat tribes which formed, and maintained, one of the last nomadic empires. The Dzungar Khanate covered Dzungaria, extending from the western Great Wall of China to present-day eastern Kazakhstan and from present-day northern Kyrgyzstan to southern Siberia. Most of the region was renamed "Xinjiang" by the Chinese after the fall of the Dzungar Empire, which existed from the early 17th to the mid-18th century.

The Dzungar–Qing Wars, between the Qing Dynasty and the Dzungar Khanate

The sedentary Turkic Muslims of the Tarim Basin were originally ruled by the Chagatai Khanate, and the nomadic Buddhist Oirat Mongols in Dzungaria ruled the Dzungar Khanate. The Naqshbandi Sufi Khojas, descendants of Muhammad, had replaced the Chagatayid Khans as rulers of the Tarim Basin during the early 17th century. There was a struggle between two Khoja factions: the Afaqi (White Mountain) and the Ishaqi (Black Mountain). The Ishaqi defeated the Afaqi, and the Afaq Khoja invited the 5th Dalai Lama (the leader of the Tibetans) to intervene on his behalf in 1677. The Dalai Lama then called on his Dzungar Buddhist followers in the Dzungar Khanate to act on the invitation. The Dzungar Khanate conquered the Tarim Basin in 1680, setting up the Afaqi Khoja as their puppet ruler. After converting to Islam, the descendants of the previously-Buddhist Uyghurs in Turfan believed that the "infidel Kalmuks" (Dzungars) built Buddhist monuments in their region.

Qing dynasty

The Battle of Oroi-Jalatu in 1756, between the Manchu and Oirat armies
The Qing Empire ca. 1820
Scene from the 1828 Qing campaign against rebels in Altishahr

The Turkic Muslims of the Turfan and Kumul oases then submitted to the Qing dynasty, and asked China to free them from the Dzungars; the Qing accepted their rulers as vassals. They warred against the Dzungars for decades before defeating them; Qing Manchu Bannermen then conducted the Dzungar genocide, nearly eradicating them and depopulating Dzungaria. The Qing freed the Afaqi Khoja leader Burhan-ud-din and his brother, Khoja Jihan, from Dzungar imprisonment and appointed them to rule the Tarim Basin as Qing vassals. The Khoja brothers reneged on the agreement, declaring themselves independent leaders of the Tarim Basin. The Qing and the Turfan leader Emin Khoja crushed their revolt, and by 1759 China controlled Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin.

The Manchu Qing dynasty gained control of eastern Xinjiang as a result of a long struggle with the Dzungars which began during the 17th century. In 1755, with the help of the Oirat noble Amursana, the Qing attacked Ghulja and captured the Dzungar khan. After Amursana's request to be declared Dzungar khan went unanswered, he led a revolt against the Qing. Qing armies destroyed the remnants of the Dzungar Khanate over the next two years, and many Han Chinese and Hui moved into the pacified areas.

The native Dzungar Oirat Mongols suffered greatly from the brutal campaigns and a simultaneous smallpox epidemic. Writer Wei Yuan described the resulting desolation in present-day northern Xinjiang as "an empty plain for several thousand li, with no Oirat yurt except those surrendered." It has been estimated that 80 percent of the 600,000 (or more) Dzungars died from a combination of disease and warfare, and recovery took generations.

Han and Hui merchants were initially only allowed to trade in the Tarim Basin; their settlement in the Tarim Basin was banned until the 1830 Muhammad Yusuf Khoja invasion, when the Qing rewarded merchants for fighting off Khoja by allowing them to settle in the basin. The Uyghur Muslim Sayyid and Naqshbandi Sufi rebel of the Afaqi suborder, Jahangir Khoja was sliced to death (Lingchi) in 1828 by the Manchus for leading a rebellion against the Qing. According to Robert Montgomery Martin, many Chinese with a variety of occupations were settled in Dzungaria in 1870; in Turkestan (the Tarim Basin), however, only a few Chinese merchants and garrison soldiers were interspersed with the Muslim population.

The 1765 Ush rebellion by the Uyghurs against the Manchu began after Uyghur women were raped by the servants and son of Manchu official Su-cheng. It was said that "Ush Muslims had long wanted to sleep on [Sucheng and son's] hides and eat their flesh" because of the months-long abuse. The Manchu emperor ordered the massacre of the Uyghur rebel town; Qing forces enslaved the Uyghur children and women, and killed the Uyghur men. Sexual abuse of Uyghur women by Manchu soldiers and officials triggered deep Uyghur hostility against Manchu rule.

Yettishar

Main article: Yettishar
Yakub Beg, ruler of Yettishar

By the 1860s, Xinjiang had been under Qing rule for a century. The region was captured in 1759 from the Dzungar Khanate, whose population (the Oirats) became the targets of genocide. Xinjiang was primarily semi-arid or desert and unattractive to non-trading Han settlers, and others (including the Uyghurs) settled there.

The Dungan Revolt by the Muslim Hui and other Muslim ethnic groups was fought in China's Shaanxi, Ningxia and Gansu provinces and in Xinjiang from 1862 to 1877. The conflict led to a reported 20.77 million deaths due to migration and war, with many refugees dying of starvation.[failed verification] Thousands of Muslim refugees from Shaanxi fled to Gansu; some formed battalions in eastern Gansu, intending to reconquer their lands in Shaanxi. While the Hui rebels were preparing to attack Gansu and Shaanxi, Yaqub Beg (an Uzbek or Tajik commander of the Kokand Khanate) fled from the khanate in 1865 after losing Tashkent to the Russians. Beg settled in Kashgar, and soon controlled Xinjiang. Although he encouraged trade, built caravansareis, canals and other irrigation systems, his regime was considered harsh. The Chinese took decisive action against Yettishar; an army under General Zuo Zongtang rapidly approached Kashgaria, reconquering it on 16 May 1877.

19th-century Khotan Uyghurs in Yettishar

After reconquering Xinjiang in the late 1870s from Yaqub Beg, the Qing dynasty established Xinjiang ("new frontier") as a province in 1884 – making it part of China, and dropping the old names of Zhunbu (準部, Dzungar Region) and Huijiang (Muslimland).

After Xinjiang became a Chinese province, the Qing government encouraged the Uyghurs to migrate from southern Xinjiang to other areas of the province (such as the region between Qitai and the capital, largely inhabited by Han Chinese, and Ürümqi, Tacheng (Tabarghatai), Yili, Jinghe, Kur Kara Usu, Ruoqiang, Lop Nor and the lower Tarim River.

Republic of China

Kuomintang in Xinjiang, 1942

In 1912, the Qing dynasty was replaced by the Republic of China. Yuan Dahua, the last Qing governor of Xinjiang, fled. One of his subordinates, Yang Zengxin, took control of the province and acceded in name to the Republic of China in March of that year. Balancing mixed ethnic constituencies, Yang controlled Xinjiang until his 1928 assassination after the Northern Expedition of the Kuomintang.

Governor Sheng Shicai ruled from 1933 to 1944.

The Kumul Rebellion and others broke out throughout Xinjiang during the early 1930s against Jin Shuren, Yang's successor, involving Uyghurs, other Turkic groups and Hui (Muslim) Chinese. Jin enlisted White Russians to crush the revolts. In the Kashgar region on 12 November 1933, the short-lived First East Turkestan Republic was self-proclaimed after debate about whether it should be called "East Turkestan" or "Uyghuristan". The region claimed by the ETR encompassed the Kashgar, Khotan and Aksu Prefectures in southwestern Xinjiang. The Chinese Muslim Kuomintang 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army) defeated the army of the First East Turkestan Republic in the 1934 Battle of Kashgar, ending the republic after Chinese Muslims executed its two emirs: Abdullah Bughra and Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra. The Soviet Union invaded the province; it was brought under the control of northeast Han warlord Sheng Shicai after the 1937 Xinjiang War. Sheng ruled Xinjiang for the next decade with support from the Soviet Union, many of whose ethnic and security policies he instituted. The Soviet Union maintained a military base in the province and deployed several military and economic advisors. Sheng invited a group of Chinese Communists to Xinjiang (including Mao Zedong's brother, Mao Zemin), but executed them all in 1943 in fear of a conspiracy. In 1944, President and Premier of China Chiang Kai-shek, informed by the Soviet Union of Shicai's intention to join it, transferred him to Chongqing as the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry the following year. During the Ili Rebellion, the Soviet Union backed Uyghur separatists to form the Second East Turkestan Republic (2nd ETR) in the Ili region while most of Xinjiang remained under Kuomintang control.

People's Republic of China

The Soviet-backed Second East Turkestan Republic encompassed Xinjiang's Ili, Tarbagatay and Altay districts.

The People's Liberation Army entered Xinjiang in 1949, when Kuomintang commander Tao Zhiyue and government chairman Burhan Shahidi surrendered the province to them. Five ETR leaders who were to negotiate with the Chinese about ETR sovereignty died in an air crash that year in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.

The PRC autonomous region was established on 1 October 1955, replacing the province; that year (the first modern census in China was taken in 1953), Uyghurs were 73 percent of Xinjiang's total population of 5.11 million. Although Xinjiang was designated a "Uygur Autonomous Region" since 1954, more than 50 percent of its area is designated autonomous areas for 13 native non-Uyghur groups. Modern Uyghurs developed ethnogenesis in 1955, when the PRC recognized formerly separately self-identified oasis peoples. In the 1950s General Wang Zhen coerced thousands of Hunanese women into sexual servitude at PLA units in Xinjiang.

Southern Xinjiang is home to most of the Uyghur population, about nine million people, out of a total population of twenty million; fifty-five percent of the Han population, mainly urban, live in northern Xinjiang. This created an economic imbalance, since the northern Junghar basin (Dzungaria) is more developed than the south.

Since Chinese economic reform since the late 1970s has exacerbated uneven regional development, more Uyghurs have migrated to Xinjiang's cities and some Han have migrated to Xinjiang for economic advancement. Deng Xiaoping made a nine-day visit to Xinjiang in 1981 and described the region as "unsteady". Increased ethnic contact and labor competition coincided with Uyghur terrorism since the 1990s, such as the 1997 Ürümqi bus bombings.

In 2000, Uyghurs were 45 percent of Xinjiang's population and 13 percent of Ürümqi's population. With nine percent of Xinjiang's population, Ürümqi accounts for 25 percent of the region's GDP; many rural Uyghurs have migrated to the city for work in its light, heavy and petrochemical industries. Han in Xinjiang are older, better-educated and work in higher-paying professions than their Uyghur counterparts. Han are more likely to cite business reasons for moving to Ürümqi, while some Uyghurs cite legal trouble at home and family reasons for moving to the city. Han and Uyghurs are equally represented in Ürümqi's floating population, which works primarily in commerce. Auto-segregation in the city is widespread in residential concentration, employment relationships and endogamy. In 2010, Uyghurs were a majority in the Tarim Basin and a plurality in Xinjiang as a whole.

Xinjiang has 81 public libraries and 23 museums, compared to none in 1949. It has 98 newspapers in 44 languages, compared with four in 1952. According to official statistics, the ratio of doctors, medical workers, clinics and hospital beds to the general population surpasses the national average; the immunization rate has reached 85 percent%.

The ongoing Xinjiang conflict includes the 2007 Xinjiang raid, a thwarted 2008 suicide-bombing attempt on a China Southern Airlines flight, the 2008 Kashgar attack which killed 16 police officers four days before the Beijing Olympics, the August 2009 syringe attacks, the 2011 Hotan attack, the 2014 Kunming attack, the April 2014 Ürümqi attack, and the May 2014 Ürümqi attack. Several of the attacks were orchestrated by the Turkistan Islamic Party (formerly the East Turkestan Islamic Movement), identified as a terrorist group by several entities (including Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States until October 2020, and the United Nations).

In 2014, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership in Xinjiang commenced a People's War against the "Three Evil Forces" of separatism, terrorism, and extremism. They deployed two hundred thousand party cadres to Xinjiang and the launched the Civil Servant-Family Pair Up program. Xi was dissatisfied with the initial results of the People's War and replaced Zhang Chunxian with Chen Quanguo in 2016. Following his appointment Chen oversaw the recruitment of tens of thousands of additional police officers and the division of society into three categories: trusted, average, untrustworthy. He instructed his subordinated to "Take this crackdown as the top project," and "to preëmpt the enemy, to strike at the outset." Following a meeting with Xi in Beijing Chen Quanguo held a rally in Ürümqi with ten thousand troops, helicopters, and armored vehicles. As they paraded he announced a "smashing, obliterating offensive," and declared that they would "bury the corpses of terrorists and terror gangs in the vast sea of the People's War."

Chinese authorities have operated internment camps to indoctrinate Uyghurs and other Muslims as part of the People's War since at least 2017. The camps have been criticized by a number of countries and human-rights organizations for abuse and mistreatment, with some alleging Uyghur genocide. In 2020, CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping said: "Practice has proven that the party's strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era is completely correct."

In 2021 the standard Uyghur language textbooks used in Xinjiang since the early 2000s were outlawed and their authors and editors sentenced to death or life imprisonment. The textbooks had been created and approved by relevant government officials, however according to the AP in 2021 the Chinese government said that the "2003 and 2009 editions of the textbooks contained 84 passages preaching ethnic separatism, violence, terrorism and religious extremism and that several people were inspired by the books to participate in a bloody anti-government riot in the regional capital Urumqi in 2009." Shirzat Bawudun, the former head of the Xinjiang department of justice, and Sattar Sawut, the former head of the Xinjiang education department, were sentenced to death on terrorism and extremism charges. Three other educators and two textbook editors were given lesser sentences. Chen was replaced as Community Party Secretary for Xinjiang by Ma Xingrui in December 2021.

Xinjiang is divided into thirteen prefecture-level divisions: four prefecture-level cities, six prefectures and five autonomous prefectures (including the sub-provincial autonomous prefecture of Ili, which in turn has two of the seven prefectures within its jurisdiction) for Mongol, Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Hui minorities. At the end of the year 2017, the total population of Xinjiang was 24.45 million.

These are then divided into 13 districts, 25 county-level cities, 62 counties and 6 autonomous counties. Ten of the county-level cities do not belong to any prefecture and are de facto administered by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. Sub-level divisions of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is shown in the adjacent picture and described in the table below:

Administrative divisions of Xinjiang
Division code Division Area in km2 Population 2010 Seat Divisions
Districts Counties Aut. counties CL cities
650000 Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region 1664900.00 21,813,334 Ürümqi city 13 61 6 27
650100 Ürümqi city 13787.90 3,110,280 Tianshan District 7 1
650200 Karamay city 8654.08 391,008 Karamay District 4
650400 Turpan city 67562.91 622,679 Gaochang District 1 2
650500 Hami city 142094.88 572,400 Yizhou District 1 1 1
652300 Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture 73139.75 1,428,592 Changji city 4 1 2
652700 Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture 24934.33 443,680 Bole city 2 2
652800 Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture 470954.25 1,278,492 Korla city 7 1 1
652900 Aksu Prefecture 127144.91 2,370,887 Aksu city 7 2
653000 Kizilsu Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture 72468.08 525,599 Artux city 3 1
653100 Kashgar Prefecture 137578.51 3,979,362 Kashi city 10 1 1
653200 Hotan Prefecture 249146.59 2,014,365 Hotan city 7 1
654000 Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture 56381.53 * 2,482,627 * Yining city 7 * 1 * 3 *
654200 Tacheng Prefecture* 94698.18 1,219,212 Tacheng city 4 1 2
654300 Altay Prefecture* 117699.01 526,980 Altay city 6 1
659000 Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps 13055.57 1,481,165 Ürümqi city 11
659001 Shihezi city (8th Division) 456.84 635,582 Hongshan Subdistrict 1
659002 Aral city (1st Division) 5266.00 190,613 Jinyinchuan Road Subdistrict 1
659003 Tumxuk city (3rd Division) 2003.00 174,465 Qiganquele Subdistrict 1
659004 Wujiaqu city (6th Division) 742.00 90,205 Renmin Road Subdistrict 1
659005 Beitun city (10th Division) 910.50 86,300 Xincheng Subdistrict 1
659006 Tiemenguan city (2nd Division) 590.27 50,000 Chengqu Subdistrict 1
659007 Shuanghe city (5th Division) 742.18 53,800 Tasierhai town 1
659008 Kokdala city (4th Division) 979.71 75,000 Jieliangzi Subdistrict 1
659009 Kunyu city (14th Division) 687.13 45,200 Kunyu town 1
659010 Huyanghe city (7th Division) 677.94 80,000 Gongqing town 1
659011 Xinxing city (13rd Division) town 1

* – Altay Prefecture or Tacheng Prefecture are subordinate to Ili Prefecture. / The population or area figures of Ili do not include Altay Prefecture or Tacheng Prefecture which are subordinate to Ili Prefecture.

Administrative divisions in Uyghur, Chinese and varieties of romanizations
English Uyghur SASM/GNC Uyghur Pinyin Chinese Pinyin
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region شىنجاڭ ئۇيغۇر ئاپتونوم رايونى Xinjang Uyĝur Aptonom Rayoni 新疆维吾尔自治区 Xīnjiāng Wéiwú'ěr Zìzhìqū
Ürümqi city ئۈرۈمچى شەھىرى Ürümqi Xäĥiri 乌鲁木齐市 Wūlǔmùqí Shì
Karamay city قاراماي شەھىرى K̂aramay Xäĥiri 克拉玛依市 Kèlāmǎyī Shì
Turpan city تۇرپان شەھىرى Turpan Xäĥiri 吐鲁番市 Tǔlǔfān Shì
Hami city قۇمۇل شەھىرى K̂umul Xäĥiri 哈密市 Hāmì Shì
Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture سانجى خۇيزۇ ئاپتونوم ئوبلاستى Sanji Huyzu Aptonom Oblasti 昌吉回族自治州 Chāngjí Huízú Zìzhìzhōu
Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture بۆرتالا موڭغۇل ئاپتونوم ئوبلاستى Börtala Mongĝul Aptonom Oblasti 博尔塔拉蒙古自治州 Bó'ěrtǎlā Měnggǔ Zìzhìzhōu
Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture بايىنغولىن موڭغۇل ئاپتونوم ئوبلاستى Bayinĝolin Mongĝul Aptonom Oblasti 巴音郭楞蒙古自治州 Bāyīnguōlèng Měnggǔ Zìzhìzhōu
Aksu Prefecture ئاقسۇ ۋىلايىتى Ak̂su Vilayiti 阿克苏地区 Ākèsū Dìqū
Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture قىزىلسۇ قىرغىز ئاپتونوم ئوبلاستى K̂izilsu K̂irĝiz Aptonom Oblasti 克孜勒苏柯尔克孜自治州 Kèzīlèsū Kē'ěrkèzī Zìzhìzhōu
Kashi Prefecture قەشقەر ۋىلايىتى K̂äxk̂är Vilayiti 喀什地区 Kāshí Dìqū
Hotan Prefecture خوتەن ۋىلايىتى Hotän Vilayiti 和田地区 Hétián Dìqū
Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture ئىلى قازاق ئاپتونوم ئوبلاستى Ili K̂azak̂ Aptonom Oblasti 伊犁哈萨克自治州 Yīlí Hāsàkè Zìzhìzhōu
Tacheng Prefecture تارباغاتاي ۋىلايىتى Tarbaĝatay Vilayiti 塔城地区 Tǎchéng Dìqū
Altay Prefecture ئالتاي ۋىلايىتى Altay Vilayiti 阿勒泰地区 Ālètài Dìqū
Shihezi city شىخەنزە شەھىرى Xihänzä Xäĥiri 石河子市 Shíhézǐ Shì
Aral city ئارال شەھىرى Aral Xäĥiri 阿拉尔市 Ālā'ěr Shì
Tumxuk city تۇمشۇق شەھىرى Tumxuk̂ Xäĥiri 图木舒克市 Túmùshūkè Shì
Wujiaqu city ۋۇجياچۈ شەھىرى Vujyaqü Xäĥiri 五家渠市 Wǔjiāqú Shì
Beitun city بەيتۈن شەھىرى Bäatün Xäĥiri 北屯市 Běitún Shì
Tiemenguan city باشئەگىم شەھىرى Baxägym Xäĥiri 铁门关市 Tiĕménguān Shì
Shuanghe city قوشئۆگۈز شەھىرى K̂oxögüz Xäĥiri 双河市 Shuānghé Shì
Kokdala city كۆكدالا شەھىرى Kökdala Xäĥiri 可克达拉市 Kěkèdálā Shì
Kunyu city قۇرۇمقاش شەھىرى Kurumkax Xäĥiri 昆玉市 Kūnyù Shì
Huyanghe city خۇياڭخې شەھىرى Huyanghê Xäĥiri 胡杨河市 Húyánghé Shì
Xinxing city شىنشىڭ شەھىرى Xinxing Xäĥiri 新星市 Xīnxīng Shì

Urban areas

Population by urban areas of prefecture & county cities
# City Urban area District area City proper Census date
1 Ürümqi 2,853,398 3,029,372 3,112,559 2010-11-01
2 Korla 425,182 549,324 part of Bayingolin Prefecture 2010-11-01
3 Yining 368,813 515,082 part of Ili Prefecture 2010-11-01
4 Karamay 353,299 391,008 391,008 2010-11-01
5 Shihezi 313,768 380,130 380,130 2010-11-01
6 Hami 310,500 472,175 572,400 2010-11-01
7 Kashi 310,448 506,640 part of Kashi Prefecture 2010-11-01
8 Changji 303,938 426,253 part of Changji Prefecture 2010-11-01
9 Aksu 284,872 535,657 part of Aksu Prefecture 2010-11-01
10 Usu 131,661 298,907 part of Tacheng Prefecture 2010-11-01
11 Bole 120,138 235,585 part of Bortala Prefecture 2010-11-01
12 Hotan 119,804 322,300 part of Hotan Prefecture 2010-11-01
13 Altay 112,711 190,064 part of Altay Prefecture 2010-11-01
14 Turpan 89,719 273,385 622,903 2010-11-01
15 Tacheng 75,122 161,037 part of Tacheng Prefecture 2010-11-01
16 Wujiaqu 75,088 96,436 96,436 2010-11-01
17 Fukang 67,598 165,006 part of Changji Prefecture 2010-11-01
18 Aral 65,175 158,593 158,593 2010-11-01
19 Artux 58,427 240,368 part of Kizilsu Prefecture 2010-11-01
(–) Beitun 57,889 57,889 57,889 2010-11-01
(–) Kokdala 57,537 57,537 57,537 2010-11-01
(–) Shuanghe 53,565 53,565 53,565 2010-11-01
(–) Korgas 51,462 51,462 part of Ili Prefecture 2010-11-01
(–) Kunyu 36,399 36,399 36,399 2010-11-01
20 Tumxuk 34,808 135,727 135,727 2010-11-01
(–) Tiemenguan 30,244 30,244 30,244 2010-11-01
21 Kuytun 20,805 166,261 part of Ili Prefecture 2010-11-01
(–) Alashankou 15,492 15,492 part of Bortala Prefecture 2010-11-01
  1. Hami Prefecture is currently known as Hami PLC after census; Hami CLC is currently known as Yizhou after census.
  2. Turpan Prefecture is currently known as Turpan PLC after census; Turpan CLC is currently known as Gaochang after census.
  3. Beitun CLC was established from parts of Altay CLC after census.
  4. Kokdala CLC was established from parts of Huocheng County after census.
  5. Shuanghe CLC was established from parts of Bole CLC after census.
  6. Korgas CLC was established from parts of Huocheng County after census.
  7. Kunyu CLC was established from parts of Hotan County, Pishan County, Moyu County, & Qira County after census.
  8. Tiemenguan CLC was established from parts of Korla CLC after census.
  9. Alashankou CLC was established from parts of Bole CLC & Jinghe County after census.
Close to Karakoram Highway in Xinjiang.

Xinjiang is the largest political subdivision of China, accounting for more than one sixth of China's total territory and a quarter of its boundary length. Xinjiang is mostly covered with uninhabitable deserts and dry grasslands, with dotted oases conducive to habitation accounting for 9.7% of Xinjiang's total area by 2015 at the foot of Tian Shan, Kunlun Mountains and Altai Mountains, respectively.

Mountain systems and basins

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Xinjiang is split by the Tian Shan mountain range (تەڭرى تاغ‎, Tengri Tagh, Тәңри Тағ), which divides it into two large basins: the Dzungarian Basin in the north and the Tarim Basin in the south. A small V-shaped wedge between these two major basins, limited by the Tian Shan's main range in the south and the Borohoro Mountains in the north, is the basin of the Ili River, which flows into Kazakhstan's Lake Balkhash; an even smaller wedge farther north is the Emin Valley.

Other major mountain ranges of Xinjiang include the Pamir Mountains and Karakoram in the southwest, the Kunlun Mountains in the south (along the border with Tibet) and the Altai Mountains in the northeast (shared with Mongolia). The region's highest point is the mountain K2, an eight-thousander located 8,611 meters (28,251 ft) above sea level in the Karakoram Mountains on the border with Pakistan.

Much of the Tarim Basin is dominated by the Taklamakan Desert. North of it is the Turpan Depression, which contains the lowest point in Xinjiang and in the entire PRC, at 155 meters (509 ft) below sea level.

The Dzungarian Basin is slightly cooler, and receives somewhat more precipitation, than the Tarim Basin. Nonetheless, it, too, has a large Gurbantünggüt Desert (also known as Dzoosotoyn Elisen) in its center.

The Tian Shan mountain range marks the Xinjiang-Kyrgyzstan border at the Torugart Pass (3752 m). The Karakorum highway (KKH) links Islamabad, Pakistan with Kashgar over the Khunjerab Pass.

Mountain passes

From south to north, the mountain passes bordering Xinjiang are:

Mountain passes bordering Xinjiang
山口 Mountain Pass Coordinate Elev. Appendix
喀喇昆仑山口 Karakoram Pass 35°30′48″N77°49′23″E /35.513333°N 77.823056°E /35.513333; 77.823056 5540m -
图尔吉斯坦拉山口 Turkistan La Pass 35°39′24″N76°51′38″E /35.656667°N 76.860556°E /35.656667; 76.860556 -
Windy Gap Windy Gap 35°52′23″N76°34′37″E /35.87318°N 76.57692°E /35.87318; 76.57692 6111m -
木斯塔山口 Mustagh Pass 35°50′24″N76°15′00″E /35.840000°N 76.250000°E /35.840000; 76.250000 5422m -
Sarpo Laggo Pass Sarpo Laggo Pass 35°49′24″N76°09′45″E /35.8234°N 76.16249°E /35.8234; 76.16249 6013m -
West Muztagh pass West Muztagh pass 35°51′12″N76°08′33″E /35.8532°N 76.1424°E /35.8532; 76.1424 -
红其拉甫口岸 Khunjerab Pass 36°51′00″N75°25′40″E /36.850000°N 75.427778°E /36.850000; 75.427778 4693m -
Parpik Pass Parpik Pass 36°57′N75°21′E /36.95°N 75.35°E /36.95; 75.35 5467m -
Mutsjliga Pass Mutsjliga Pass 36°58′25″N75°17′50″E /36.97374°N 75.2973°E /36.97374; 75.2973 5314m -
明铁盖达坂 Mintaka Pass 37°00′14″N74°51′04″E /37.0039°N 74.8511°E /37.0039; 74.8511 4709m -
基里克达坂 Kilik Pass 37°04′45″N74°40′20″E /37.0792°N 74.6722°E /37.0792; 74.6722 4827m -
瓦根基达坂 Wakhjir Pass 37°05′53″N74°29′05″E /37.098°N 74.4848°E /37.098; 74.4848 4837 m -
Kara Jilga Pass Kara Jilga Pass 37°15′16″N74°36′53″E /37.2545°N 74.6147°E /37.2545; 74.6147 5386m -
麦曼约里达坂 Mihman Yoli Pass 37°17′02″N74°43′58″E /37.28395°N 74.7328°E /37.28395; 74.7328 4937m -
托克满苏达坂 Tegermansu Pass 37°13′25″N74°52′28″E /37.2236°N 74.8744°E /37.2236; 74.8744 5427m -
克克敖吊克达坂
别伊克山口
排依克山口
Beyik Pass 37°18′N75°00′E /37.3°N 75.0°E /37.3; 75.0 4742m -
纳兹塔什山口
奈扎塔什山隘
Nezatash Pass 37°35′22″N74°56′10″E /37.58944°N 74.93611°E /37.58944; 74.93611 4476m -
Agachak Pass Agachak Pass 37°49′16″N74°56′42″E /37.82115°N 74.94492°E /37.82115; 74.94492 5127m -
卡拉苏口岸
阔勒买口岸
Kulma Pass 38°08′59″N74°48′14″E /38.1498°N 74.8038°E /38.1498; 74.8038 4362m -
Saritosh Pass Saritosh Pass 38°16′37″N74°48′04″E /38.27694°N 74.80111°E /38.27694; 74.80111 4538m -
Qaratokhterak Pass Qaratokhterak Pass 38°25′42″N74°52′02″E /38.42833°N 74.86722°E /38.42833; 74.86722 4877m -
Aromiti Pass Aromiti Pass 38°37′42″N74°29′05″E /38.62833°N 74.48472°E /38.62833; 74.48472 4703m -
Budabel Pass Budabel Pass 38°34′32″N74°04′20″E /38.57556°N 74.07222°E /38.57556; 74.07222 4251m -
Kiyaz-Ashu Kiyaz-Ashu 38°32′00″N74°00′00″E /38.53333°N 74.0°E /38.53333; 74.0 4479m -
乌孜别里山口 Uzbel-Pass 38°39′14″N73°48′09″E /38.653806°N 73.8023917°E /38.653806; 73.8023917 5540m -
Qarazoq Pass Qarazoq Pass 38°51′00″N73°42′43″E /38.85°N 73.71194°E /38.85; 73.71194 5217m -
Uch-Bel Pass Uch-Bel Pass 37°49′16″N74°56′42″E /37.82115°N 74.94492°E /37.82115; 74.94492 5127m -
Togochar Pass Togochar Pass 39°33′52″N73°54′52″E /39.56447°N 73.91435°E /39.56447; 73.91435 4361m -
Karachaychaty Pass Karachaychaty Pass 39°35′40″N73°55′27″E /39.59439°N 73.92407°E /39.59439; 73.92407 4284m -
斯姆哈纳
伊尔克什坦口岸
Erkeshtam 39°43′02″N73°58′25″E /39.7172°N 73.9735°E /39.7172; 73.9735 3005m -
Kashetek Pass Kashetek Pass 39°43′42″N73°54′52″E /39.72847°N 73.91437°E /39.72847; 73.91437 3120m -
Bezymyannyy Pass Bezymyannyy Pass 39°44′49″N73°53′30″E /39.74686°N 73.89173°E /39.74686; 73.89173 3306m -
Tupik Pass Tupik Pass 39°44′45″N73°53′03″E /39.74583°N 73.88416°E /39.74583; 73.88416 3299m -
Vorota Pass Vorota Pass 39°45′24″N73°51′42″E /39.75665°N 73.86167°E /39.75665; 73.86167 3604m -
Il'tyk Pass Il'tyk Pass 39°45′53″N73°50′20″E /39.7647°N 73.8388°E /39.7647; 73.8388 3836m -
Kara-Bel' Pass Kara-Bel' Pass 39°51′55″N73°53′43″E /39.8652°N 73.89535°E /39.8652; 73.89535 3863m -
Ityk Pass Ityk Pass 39°54′41″N73°54′38″E /39.9114°N 73.91068°E /39.9114; 73.91068 4133m -
Dungurama Pass Dungurama Pass 40°00′51″N73°58′00″E /40.01417°N 73.96673°E /40.01417; 73.96673 4067m -
Karachalsu Pass Karachalsu Pass 40°02′41″N73°58′43″E /40.04483°N 73.97866°E /40.04483; 73.97866 4201m -
Muzbel' Pass Muzbel' Pass 40°05′03″N74°01′08″E /40.08405°N 74.01892°E /40.08405; 74.01892 4507m -
Achiktash Pass Achiktash Pass 40°04′51″N74°03′57″E /40.0807°N 74.0658°E /40.0807; 74.0658 4191m -
Kyz-Dar Pass Kyz-Dar Pass 40°06′23″N74°07′08″E /40.10652°N 74.11892°E /40.10652; 74.11892 4246m -
Kurumdu Pass Kurumdu Pass 40°06′37″N74°07′43″E /40.11038°N 74.1286°E /40.11038; 74.1286 4369m -
Tart-Kul' Pass Tart-Kul' Pass 40°06′48″N74°16′11″E /40.1134°N 74.2698°E /40.1134; 74.2698 3786m -
Shuralu-Davan Pass Shuralu-Davan Pass 40°16′09″N74°34′55″E /40.26928°N 74.58181°E /40.26928; 74.58181 3875m -
Tata Pass Tata Pass 40°08′09″N74°24′58″E /40.1359°N 74.4161°E /40.1359; 74.4161 4036m -
Sulyuktur Pass Sulyuktur Pass 40°05′23″N74°05′41″E /40.08974°N 74.09467°E /40.08974; 74.09467 4086m -
Talgyy Pass Talgyy Pass 40°13′11″N74°32′12″E /40.21973°N 74.5368°E /40.21973; 74.5368 3672m -
Kalmak-Ashu Pass Kalmak-Ashu Pass 40°16′53″N74°36′59″E /40.28128°N 74.61626°E /40.28128; 74.61626 3581m -
Tuz-Ashu Pass Tuz-Ashu Pass 40°16′21″N74°39′09″E /40.27238°N 74.6524°E /40.27238; 74.6524 3625m -
Dzhetimashu Pass Dzhetimashu Pass 40°25′15″N74°48′54″E /40.42097°N 74.81503°E /40.42097; 74.81503 3838m -
苏约克山口 Borgun Pass 40°28′04″N74°48′51″E /40.46778°N 74.81406°E /40.46778; 74.81406 3945m -
吐尔尕特山口 Torugart Pass 40°33′06″N75°23′38″E /40.5517°N 75.3939°E /40.5517; 75.3939 3752m -
Uselek Pass Uselek Pass 40°38′01″N75°31′15″E /40.63374°N 75.5207°E /40.63374; 75.5207 3638m -
Chokolay Pass Chokolay Pass 40°35′59″N75°37′20″E /40.59985°N 75.62223°E /40.59985; 75.62223 3841m -
Saryiymek Pass Saryiymek Pass 40°28′14″N75°43′20″E /40.47055°N 75.72222°E /40.47055; 75.72222 3820m -
Ortosu Pass Ortosu Pass 40°19′34″N75°49′14″E /40.3261°N 75.82059°E /40.3261; 75.82059 3903m -
Terekty Pass Terekty Pass 40°18′35″N75°51′18″E /40.30978°N 75.85505°E /40.30978; 75.85505 3908m -
Kurpe-Bel' Pass Kurpe-Bel' Pass 40°22′34″N75°57′57″E /40.37611°N 75.96578°E /40.37611; 75.96578 3667m -
Buzaygyr Pass Buzaygyr Pass 40°21′59″N76°00′09″E /40.36648°N 76.00256°E /40.36648; 76.00256 3783m -
Khodzhent Pass Khodzhent Pass 40°24′39″N76°16′55″E /40.41093°N 76.282°E /40.41093; 76.282 3955m -
Yerteke Pass Yerteke Pass 40°20′46″N76°19′52″E /40.34612°N 76.33113°E /40.34612; 76.33113 3780m -
Tuyukkhodzhent Pass Tuyukkhodzhent Pass 40°22′55″N76°22′10″E /40.38185°N 76.36949°E /40.38185; 76.36949 3780m -
Kurumduk Pass Kurumduk Pass 40°24′43″N76°27′33″E /40.41196°N 76.45904°E /40.41196; 76.45904 3822m -
Karabel' Pervyy Pass Karabel' Pervyy Pass 40°25′45″N76°30′11″E /40.42914°N 76.50312°E /40.42914; 76.50312 4091m -
Karabel' Vtoroy Pass Karabel' Vtoroy Pass 40°28′41″N76°32′13″E /40.47805°N 76.53704°E /40.47805; 76.53704 4083m -
Aksaybel' Pass Aksaybel' Pass 40°33′40″N76°34′11″E /40.56114°N 76.56965°E /40.56114; 76.56965 4186m -
Tuyukbel' Pass Tuyukbel' Pass 40°38′30″N76°38′59″E /40.64156°N 76.6497°E /40.64156; 76.6497 4091m -
别迭里山口 Bedel Pass 41°24′41″N78°24′47″E /41.4114°N 78.4131°E /41.4114; 78.4131 4284m -
Chonteren Pass Chonteren Pass 42°02′58″N80°12′39″E /42.04934°N 80.21078°E /42.04934; 80.21078 5331m -
Bysokiy Pass Bysokiy Pass 42°04′13″N80°12′36″E /42.07022°N 80.21003°E /42.07022; 80.21003 5435m -
阿拉山口市 Alashankou 45°12′N82°36′E /45.2°N 82.6°E /45.2; 82.6 291m - Border

Geology

Xinjiang is geologically young. Collision of the Indian and the Eurasian plates formed the Tian Shan, Kunlun Shan, and Pamir mountain ranges; said tectonics render it a very active earthquake zone. Older geological formations are located in the far north, where the Junggar Block is geologically part of Kazakhstan, and in the east, where is part of the North China Craton.[citation needed]

Center of the continent

Xinjiang has within its borders, in the Dzoosotoyn Elisen Desert, the location in Eurasia that is furthest from the sea in any direction (a continental pole of inaccessibility): 46°16.8′N86°40.2′E /46.2800°N 86.6700°E /46.2800; 86.6700 (Eurasian pole of inaccessibility). It is at least 2,647 km (1,645 mi) (straight-line distance) from any coastline.

In 1992, local geographers determined another point within Xinjiang – 43°40′52″N87°19′52″E /43.68111°N 87.33111°E /43.68111; 87.33111 in the southwestern suburbs of Ürümqi, Ürümqi County – to be the "center point of Asia". A monument to this effect was then erected there and the site has become a local tourist attraction.

Rivers and lakes

Black Irtysh river in Burqin County is a famous spot for sightseeing.

Having hot summer and low precipitation, most of Xinjiang is endorheic. Its rivers either disappear in the desert, or terminate in salt lakes (within Xinjiang itself, or in neighboring Kazakhstan), instead of running towards an ocean. The northernmost part of the region, with the Irtysh River rising in the Altai Mountains, that flows (via Kazakhstan and Russia) toward the Arctic Ocean, is the only exception. But even so, a significant part of the Irtysh's waters were artificially diverted via the Irtysh–Karamay–Ürümqi Canal to the drier regions of southern Dzungarian Basin.

Elsewhere, most of Xinjiang's rivers are comparatively short streams fed by the snows of the several ranges of the Tian Shan. Once they enter the populated areas in the mountains' foothills, their waters are extensively used for irrigation, so that the river often disappears in the desert instead of reaching the lake to whose basin it nominally belongs. This is the case even with the main river of the Tarim Basin, the Tarim, which has been dammed at a number of locations along its course, and whose waters have been completely diverted before they can reach the Lop Lake. In the Dzungarian basin, a similar situation occurs with most rivers that historically flowed into Lake Manas. Some of the salt lakes, having lost much of their fresh water inflow, are now extensively use for the production of mineral salts (used e.g., in the manufacturing of potassium fertilizers); this includes the Lop Lake and the Manas Lake.

Time

Xinjiang is in the same time zone as the rest of China, Beijing time, UTC+8. But while Xinjiang being about two time zones west of Beijing, some residents, local organizations and governments watch another time standard known as Xinjiang Time, UTC+6. Han people tend to use Beijing Time, while Uyghurs tend to use Xinjiang Time as a form of resistance to Beijing. But, regardless of the time standard preferences, most businesses, schools open and close two hours later than in the other regions of China.

Deserts

Deserts include:

Major cities

Due to water scarcity, most of Xinjiang's population lives within fairly narrow belts that are stretched along the foothills of the region's mountain ranges in areas conducive to irrigated agriculture. It is in these belts where most of the region's cities are found.

Largest cities and towns of Xinjiang

Climate

A semiarid or desert climate (Köppen BSk or BWk, respectively) prevails in Xinjiang. The entire region has great seasonal differences in temperature with cold winters. The Turpan Depression recorded the hottest temperatures nationwide in summer, with air temperatures easily exceeding 40 °C (104 °F). Winter temperatures regularly fall below −20 °C (−4 °F) in the far north and highest mountain elevations.

Continuous permafrost is typically found in the Tian Shan starting at the elevation of about 3,500–3,700 m above sea level. Discontinuous alpine permafrost usually occurs down to 2,700–3,300 m, but in certain locations, due to the peculiarity of the aspect and the microclimate, it can be found at elevations as low as 2,000 m.

Statue of Mao Zedong in Kashgar
Secretaries of the CCP Xinjiang Committee
  1. 1949–1952: Wang Zhen (王震)
  2. 1952–1967: Wang Enmao (王恩茂)
  3. 1970–1972: Long Shujin (龙书金)
  4. 1972–1978: Saifuddin Azizi (赛福鼎·艾则孜;سەيپىدىن ئەزىزى)
  5. 1978–1981: Wang Feng (汪锋)
  6. 1981–1985: Wang Enmao (王恩茂)
  7. 1985–1994: Song Hanliang (宋汉良)
  8. 1994–2010: Wang Lequan (王乐泉)
  9. 2010–2016: Zhang Chunxian (张春贤)
  10. 2016–2021: Chen Quanguo (陈全国)
  11. Since 2021: Ma Xingrui (马兴瑞)
Chairmen of the Xinjiang Government
Erkin Tuniyaz, the incumbent Chairman of the Xinjiang Government
  1. 1949–1955: Burhan Shahidi (包尔汉·沙希迪;بۇرھان شەھىدى)
  2. 1955–1967: Saifuddin Azizi (赛福鼎·艾则孜;سەيپىدىن ئەزىزى)
  3. 1968–1972: Long Shujin (龙书金)
  4. 1972–1978: Saifuddin Azizi (赛福鼎·艾则孜;سەيپىدىن ئەزىزى)
  5. 1978–1979: Wang Feng (汪锋)
  6. 1979–1985: Ismail Amat (司马义·艾买提;ئىسمائىل ئەھمەد)
  7. 1985–1993: Tömür Dawamat (铁木尔·达瓦买提;تۆمۈر داۋامەت)
  8. 1993–2003: Abdul'ahat Abdulrixit (阿不来提·阿不都热西提;ئابلەت ئابدۇرىشىت)
  9. 2003–2007: Ismail Tiliwaldi (司马义·铁力瓦尔地;ئىسمائىل تىلىۋالدى)
  10. 2007–2015: Nur Bekri (努尔·白克力;نۇر بەكرى)
  11. 2015–2021: Shohrat Zakir (雪克来提·扎克尔;شۆھرەت زاكىر)
  12. Since 2021: Erkin Tuniyaz (艾尔肯·吐尼亚孜;ئەركىن تۇنىياز)

Human rights abuses

Human Rights Watch has documented the denial of due legal process and fair trials and failure to hold genuinely open trials as mandated by law e.g. to suspects arrested following ethnic violence in the city of Ürümqi's 2009 riots.

According to the Radio Free Asia and Human Rights Watch, at least 120,000 members of Kashgar's Muslim Uyghur minority have been detained in internment camps, aimed at changing the political thinking of detainees, their identities and their religious beliefs. Reports from the World Uyghur Congress submitted to the United Nations in July 2018 suggest that at least 1 million Uyghurs are currently being held in internment camps. The camps were established under CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping's administration.

An October 2018 exposé by the BBC News claimed based on analysis of satellite imagery collected over time that hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs must be interned in the camps, and they are rapidly being expanded. In 2019, The Art Newspaper reported that "hundreds" of writers, artists, and academics had been imprisoned, in what the magazine qualified as an attempt to "punish any form of religious or cultural expression" among Uyghurs.

In July 2019, 22 countries—Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK—sent a letter to the UN Human Rights Council, criticizing China for its mass arbitrary detentions and other violations against Muslims in China's Xinjiang region. However, on 12 July, a group of 37 countries submitted a similar letter in defense of China's policies: Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Gabon, Kuwait, Laos, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. However, in August 2019, Qatar withdrew its signature for 12 July letter, with Qatari Ambassador to the UN Ali Al-Mansouri quoted as: "co-authorizing the aforementioned letter would compromise our foreign policy key priorities".

On 28 June 2020, the Associated Press published an investigative report which states that the Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uyghurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population, even as it encourages some of the country's Han majority to have more children. While individual women have spoken out before about forced birth control, the practice is far more widespread and systematic than previously known, according to an AP investigation based on government statistics, state documents and interviews with 30 ex-detainees, family members and a former detention camp instructor. The campaign over the past four years in the far west region of Xinjiang is leading to what some experts are calling a form of "demographic genocide."

On 28 July 2020, a coalition of over 180 organizations called out dozens of clothing brands and retailers to re-examine and cut any ties they might have to Xinjiang region, where allegations of human rights violations have run rampant for years. The coalition cited "credible investigations and reports" by media outlets, nonprofit groups, government agencies and think tanks to support its claims.

In September 2020, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Xi Jinping's position as the following: "practice has proved that the party's strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era is completely correct and must be adhered to for a long time."

In February 2021, the Dutch government passed a motion stating that the treatment of the Uyghur minority in China amounts to genocide.

East Turkestan independence movement

This flag (Kök Bayraq) has become a symbol of the East Turkestan independence movement.

Some factions in Xinjiang province advocate establishing an independent country, which has led to tension and ethnic strife in the region. Autonomous regions in China putatively have a legal right to separate from the nation, however in practice this right can not be exercised. The Xinjiang conflict is an ongoing separatist conflict in the northwestern part of China. The separatist movement claims that the region, which they view as their homeland and refer to as East Turkestan, is not part of China, but was invaded by the CCP in 1949 and has been under occupation since then. Chinese government asserts that the region has been part of China since ancient times. The separatist movement is led by ethnically Uyghur Muslim underground organizations, most notably the East Turkestan independence movement and the Salafist Turkistan Islamic Party, against the Chinese government. According to the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, the two main sources for separatism in the Xinjiang Province are religion and ethnicity. Religiously, the Uyghur peoples of Xinjiang follow Islam; in the large cities of Han China many are Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian, although many follow Islam as well, such as the Hui ethnic subgroup of the Han ethnicity, comprising some 10 million people. Thus, the major difference and source of friction with eastern China is ethnicity and religious doctrinal differences that differentiate them politically from other Muslim minorities elsewhere in the country. Because of turkification from the turkificated Tocharians, the western Uyghurs became linguistically and culturally Turkic in the 10th century, a distinction from the Han that are the majority in the eastern and central regions of Xinjiang, although many other Turkic ethnicities live in Northwest China such as the Salar people, the Chinese Tatars and the Yugur. The capital of Xinjiang, Ürümqi, was originally a Han and Hui (Tungan) city with few Uyghur people before recent Uyghur migration to the city. Since 1996, China has engaged in "strike hard" campaigns targeted at separatists. On 5 June 2014, China sentenced nine people to death for terrorist attacks. They were alleged to be seeking to overthrow the government in Xinjiang and build an independent Uyghur state of East Turkestan.

This article needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(March 2019)
Development of GDP
Year GDP in billions of Yuan
1995 82
2000 136
2005 260
2010 544
2015 932
2020 1,380
Source:
The distribution map of Xinjiang's GDP per person (2011)
Ürümqi is a major industrial center within Xinjiang.
Wind farm in Xinjiang
Sunday market in Khotan

Xinjiang has traditionally been an agricultural region, but is also rich in minerals and oil.

Nominal GDP was about 932.4 billion RMB (US$140 billion) as of 2015 with an average annual increase of 10.4% for the past four years, due to discovery of the abundant reserves of coal, oil, gas as well as the China Western Development policy introduced by the State Council to boost economic development in Western China. Its per capita GDP for 2009 was 19,798 RMB (US$2,898), with a growth rate of 1.7%. Southern Xinjiang, with 95% non-Han population, has an average per capita income half that of Xinjiang as a whole.

In July 2010, state media outlet China Daily reported that:

Local governments in China's 19 provinces and municipalities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Liaoning, are engaged in the commitment of "pairing assistance" support projects in Xinjiang to promote the development of agriculture, industry, technology, education and health services in the region.

Xinjiang is a major producer of solar panel components due to its large production of the base material polysilicon. In 2020 45% of global production of solar-grade polysilicon occurred in Xinjiang. Concerns have been raised both within the solar industry and outside it that forced labor may occur in the Xinjiang part of the supply chain. The global solar panel industry are under pressure to move sourcing away from the region due to human rights and liability concerns. China's solar association claimed the allegations were baseless and unfairly stigmatized firms with operations there. A 2021 investigation in the United Kingdom (UK) found that 40% of solar farms in the UK had been built using panels from Chinese companies linked to forced labor in Xinjiang.

Agriculture and fishing

Main area is of irrigated agriculture. By 2015, the agricultural land area of the region is 631 thousand km2 or 63.1 million ha, of which 6.1 million ha is arable land. In 2016, the total cultivated land rose to 6.2 million ha, with the crop production reaching 15.1 million tons. Wheat was the main staple crop of the region, maize grown as well, millet found in the south, while only a few areas (in particular, Aksu) grew rice.

Cotton became an important crop in several oases, notably Khotan, Yarkand and Turpan by the late 19th century. Sericulture is also practiced. The Xinjiang cotton industry is the world's largest cotton exporter, producing 84% of Chinese cotton while the country provides 26% of global cotton export. Xinjiang also produces peppers and pepper pigments used in cosmetics such lipstick for export.

Xinjiang is famous for its grapes, melons, pears, walnuts, particularly Hami melons and Turpan raisins.[citation needed] The region is also a leading source for tomato paste, which it supplies for international brands.

The main livestock of the region have traditionally been sheep. Much of the region's pasture land is in its northern part, where more precipitation is available, but there are mountain pastures throughout the region.[citation needed]

Due to the lack of access to the ocean and limited amount of inland water, Xinjiang's fish resources are somewhat limited. Nonetheless, there is a significant amount of fishing in Lake Ulungur and Lake Bosten and in the Irtysh River. A large number of fish ponds have been constructed since the 1970s, their total surface exceeding 10,000 hectares by the 1990s. In 2000, the total of 58,835 tons of fish was produced in Xinjiang, 85% of which came from aquaculture. The Sayram Lake is both the largest alpine lake and highest altitude lake in Xinjiang, and is the location of a major cold-water fishery.[citation needed] Originally Sayram had no fish but in 1998, northern whitefish (Coregonus peled) from Russia were introduced and investment in breeding infrastructure and technology has consequently made Sayram into the country's largest exporter of northern whitefish with an annual output of over 400 metric tons.[better source needed]

Mining and minerals

Xinjiang was known for producing salt, soda, borax, gold, jade in the 19th century.

The Lop Lake was once a large brackish lake during the end of the Pleistocene but has slowly dried up in the Holocene where average annual precipitation in the area has declined to just 31.2 millimeters (1.2 inches), and experiences annual evaporation rate of 2,901 millimeters (114 inches). The area is rich in brine Potash, a key ingredient in fertilizer and is the second-largest source of potash in the country. Discovery of potash in the mid-1990s, has transformed Lop Nur into a major Potash mining industry.

The oil and gas extraction industry in Aksu and Karamay is growing, with the West–East Gas Pipeline linking to Shanghai. The oil and petrochemical sector get up to 60 percent of Xinjiang's economy. The region contains over a fifth of China's hydrocarbon resources and has the highest concentration of fossil fuel reserves of any region in the country. The region is rich in coal and contains 40 percent of the country's coal reserves or around 2.2 trillion tonnes, which is enough to supply China's thermal coal demand for more than 100 years even if only 15 percent of the estimated coal reserve prove recoverable.

Tarim basin is the largest oil and gas bearing area in the country with about 16 billion tonnes of oil and gas reserves discovered. The area is still actively explored and in 2021, China National Petroleum Corporation found a new oil field reserve of 1 billion tons (about 907 million tonnes). That find is regarded as being the largest one in recent decades. As of 2021, the basin produces hydrocarbons at an annual rate of 2 million tons, up from 1.52 million tons from 2020.

Foreign trade

Xinjiang's exports amounted to US$19.3 billion, while imports turned out to be US$2.9 billion in 2008. Most of the overall import/export volume in Xinjiang was directed to and from Kazakhstan through Ala Pass. China's first border free trade zone (Horgos Free Trade Zone) was located at the Xinjiang-Kazakhstan border city of Horgos. Horgos is the largest "land port" in China's western region and it has easy access to the Central Asian market. Xinjiang also opened its second border trade market to Kazakhstan in March 2006, the Jeminay Border Trade Zone.

Economic and Technological Development Zones

  • Bole Border Economic Cooperation Area
  • Shihezi Border Economic Cooperation Area
  • Tacheng Border Economic Cooperation Area
  • Ürümqi Economic & Technological Development Zone is northwest of Ürümqi. It was approved in 1994 by the State Council as a national level economic and technological development zones. It is 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from the Ürümqi International Airport, 2 km (1.2 mi) from the North Railway Station and 10 km (6.2 mi) from the city center. Wu Chang Expressway and 312 National Road passes through the zone. The development has unique resources and geographical advantages. Xinjiang's vast land, rich in resources, borders eight countries. As the leading economic zone, it brings together the resources of Xinjiang's industrial development, capital, technology, information, personnel and other factors of production.
  • Ürümqi Export Processing Zone is in Urumuqi Economic and Technology Development Zone. It was established in 2007 as a state-level export processing zone.
  • Ürümqi New & Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone was established in 1992 and it is the only high-tech development zone in Xinjiang, China. There are more than 3470 enterprises in the zone, of which 23 are Fortune 500 companies. It has a planned area of 9.8 km2 (3.8 sq mi) and it is divided into four zones. There are plans to expand the zone.
  • Yining Border Economic Cooperation Area
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(December 2020)

Media

The Xinjiang Networking Transmission Limited operates the Urumqi People's Broadcasting Station and the Xinjiang People Broadcasting Station, broadcasting in Mandarin, Uyghur, Kazakh and Mongolian.

In 1995[update], there were 50 minority-language newspapers published in Xinjiang, including the Qapqal News, the world's only Xibe language newspaper. The Xinjiang Economic Daily is considered one of China's most dynamic newspapers.

For a time after the July 2009 riots, authorities placed restrictions on the internet and text messaging, gradually permitting access to state-controlled websites like Xinhua's, until restoring Internet to the same level as the rest of China on 14 May 2010.

As reported by the BBC News, "China strictly controls media access to Xinjiang so reports are difficult to verify."

Distribution of ethnic Uyghurs in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Historical population
YearPop.±%
1912 2,098,000
1928 2,552,000+21.6%
1936–37 4,360,000+70.8%
1947 4,047,000−7.2%
1954 4,873,608+20.4%
1964 7,270,067+49.2%
1982 13,081,681+79.9%
1990 15,155,778+15.9%
2000 18,459,511+21.8%
2010 21,813,334+18.2%
2020 25,852,345+18.5%

The earliest Tarim mummies, dated to 1800 BC, are of a Caucasoid physical type. East Asian migrants arrived in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin about 3000 years ago and the Uyghur peoples appeared after the collapse of the Orkon Uyghur Kingdom, based in modern-day Mongolia, around 842 AD.

The Islamization of Xinjiang started around 1000 AD by eliminating Buddhism. Xinjiang Muslim Turkic peoples contain Uyghurs, Kazaks, Kyrgyz, Tatars, Uzbeks; Muslim Iranian peoples comprise Tajiks, Sarikolis/Wakhis (often conflated as Tajiks); Muslim Sino-Tibetan peoples are such as the Hui. Other ethnic groups in the region are Hans, Mongols (Oirats, Daurs, Dongxiangs), Russians, Xibes, Manchus. Around 70,000 Russian immigrants were living in Xinjiang in 1945.

The Han Chinese of Xinjiang arrived at different times from different directions and social backgrounds. There are now descendants of criminals and officials who had been exiled from China during the second half of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries; descendants of families of military and civil officers from Hunan, Yunnan, Gansu and Manchuria; descendants of merchants from Shanxi, Tianjin, Hubei and Hunan; and descendants of peasants who started immigrating into the region in 1776.

The languages of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Uyghur girl in Kashgar
County-level ethnicity map of Xinjiang as of 2018

Some Uyghur scholars claim descent from both the Turkic Uyghurs and the pre-Turkic Tocharians (or Tokharians, whose language was Indo-European); also, Uyghurs often have relatively-fair skin, hair and eyes and other Caucasoid physical traits.

In 2002, there were 9,632,600 males (growth rate of 1.0%) and 9,419,300 females (growth rate of 2.2%). The population overall growth rate was 1.09%, with 1.63% of birth rate and 0.54% mortality rate.

Three Uyghur girls at a Sunday market in the oasis city Khotan.

The Qing began a process of settling Han, Hui, and Uyghur settlers into Northern Xinjiang (Dzungaria) in the 18th century. At the start of the 19th century, 40 years after the Qing reconquest, there were around 155,000 Han and Hui Chinese in northern Xinjiang and somewhat more than twice that number of Uyghurs in Southern Xinjiang. A census of Xinjiang under Qing rule in the early 19th century tabulated ethnic shares of the population as 30% Han and 60% Turkic and it dramatically shifted to 6% Han and 75% Uyghur in the 1953 census. However, a situation similar to the Qing era's demographics with a large number of Han had been restored by 2000, with 40.57% Han and 45.21% Uyghur. Professor Stanley W. Toops noted that today's demographic situation is similar to that of the early Qing period in Xinjiang. Before 1831, only a few hundred Chinese merchants lived in Southern Xinjiang oases (Tarim Basin), and only a few Uyghurs lived in Northern Xinjiang (Dzungaria). After 1831, the Qing encouraged Han Chinese migration into the Tarim Basin, in southern Xinjiang, but with very little success, and permanent troops were stationed on the land there as well. Political killings and expulsions of non-Uyghur populations during the uprisings in the 1860s and the 1930s saw them experience a sharp decline as a percentage of the total population though they rose once again in the periods of stability from 1880, which saw Xinjiang increase its population from 1.2 million, to 1949. From a low of 7% in 1953, the Han began to return to Xinjiang between then and 1964, where they comprised 33% of the population (54% Uyghur), like in Qing times. A decade later, at the beginning of the Chinese economic reform in 1978, the demographic balance was 46% Uyghur and 40% Han, which did not change drastically until the 2000 Census, when the Uyghur population had reduced to 42%. In 2010, the population of Xinjiang was 45.84% Uyghur and 40.48% Han. The 2020 Census showed the Uyghur population decline slightly to 44.96%, and the Han population rise to 42.24%

Military personnel are not counted and national minorities are undercounted in the Chinese census, as in most other censuses. While some of the shift has been attributed to an increased Han presence, Uyghurs have also emigrated to other parts of China, where their numbers have increased steadily. Uyghur independence activists express concern over the Han population changing the Uyghur character of the region though the Han and Hui Chinese mostly live in Northern Xinjiang Dzungaria and are separated from areas of historic Uyghur dominance south of the Tian Shan mountains (Southwestern Xinjiang), where Uyghurs account for about 90% of the population.

In general, Uyghurs are the majority in Southwestern Xinjiang, including the prefectures of Kashgar, Khotan, Kizilsu and Aksu (about 80% of Xinjiang's Uyghurs live in those four prefectures) as well as Turpan Prefecture, in Eastern Xinjiang. The Han are the majority in Eastern and Northern Xinjiang (Dzungaria), including the cities of Ürümqi, Karamay, Shihezi and the prefectures of Changjyi, Bortala, Bayin'gholin, Ili (especially the cities of Kuitun) and Kumul. Kazakhs are mostly concentrated in Ili Prefecture in Northern Xinjiang. Kazakhs are the majority in the northernmost part of Xinjiang.

Ethnic groups in Xinjiang
根据2015年底人口抽查统计 2018 government data
Nationality Population Percentage Population Percentage
Uyghur 11,303,300 46.42% 11,678,646 51.145%
Han 8,611,000 38.99% 7,857,370 34.410%
Kazakh 1,591,200 7.02% 1,574,930 6.897%
Hui 1,015,800 4.54% 1,015,700 4.448%
Kirghiz 202,200 0.88% 208,346 0.912%
Mongols 180,600 0.83% 178,993 0.784%
Tajiks 50,100 0.21% 51,355 0.225%
Xibe 43,200 0.20% 42,772 0.187%
Manchu 27,515 0.11% 27,372 0.120%
Tujia 15,787 0.086% N/A N/A
Uzbek 18,769 0.066% 19,652 0.086%
Russian 11,800 0.048% 11,604 0.051%
Miao 7,006 0.038% N/A N/A
Daur N/A N/A 6,793 0.030%
Tibetan 6,153 0.033% N/A N/A
Zhuang 5,642 0.031% N/A N/A
Tatar 5,183 0.024% 5,019 0.022%
Salar 3,762 0.020% N/A N/A
Other 129,190 0.600% 156,024 0.683%
Major ethnic groups in Xinjiang by region (2018 data)
P = Prefecture; AP = Autonomous prefecture; PLC = Prefecture-level city; DACLC = Directly administered county-level city.
Uyghurs (%) Han (%) Kazakhs (%) others (%)
Xinjiang 51.14 34.41 6.90 7.55
Ürümqi PLC 12.85 71.21 2.77 13.16
Karamay PLC 15.59 74.67 4.05 5.69
Turpan Prefecture 76.96 16.84 0.05 6.15
Kumul Prefecture 20.01 65.49 10.04 4.46
Changji AP 4.89 72.28 10.34 12.49
Bortala AP 14.76 63.27 10.41 11.56
Bayin'gholin AP 36.38 53.31 0.11 10.20
Aksu Prefecture 80.08 18.56 0.01 1.36
Kizilsu AP 66.24 6.29 0.03 27.44
Kashgar Prefecture 92.56 6.01 < 0.005 1.42
Khotan Prefecture 96.96 2.85 < 0.005 0.19
Ili AP 17.95 40.09 27.16 14.80
former Ili Prefecture 26.30 35.21 21.57 16.91
Tacheng Prefecture 4.25 54.66 26.66 14.43
Altay Prefecture 1.42 39.85 52.76 5.97
Shihezi DACLC 1.09 94.13 0.63 4.15
Aral DACLC 3.66 91.96 < 0.005 4.38
Tumushuke DACLC 67.49 31.73 < 0.005 0.78
Wujiaqu DACLC 0.05 96.29 0.10 3.55
Tiemenguan DACLC 0.07 95.96 0.00 3.97
  1. Does not include members of the People's Liberation Army in active service.

Vital statistics

Year Population Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate
(per 1000)
Crude death rate
(per 1000)
Natural change
(per 1000)
2011 22,090,000 14.99 4.42 10.57
2012 22,330,000 15.32 4.48 10.84
2013 22,640,000 15.84 4.92 10.92
2014 22,980,000 16.44 4.97 11.47
2015 23,600,000 15.59 4.51 11.08
2016 23,980,000 15.34 4.26 11.08
2017 24,450,000 15.88 4.48 11.40
2018 24,870,000 10.69 4.56 6.13
2019 25,230,000 8.14 4.45 3.69
2020 25,852,000 7.01
2021 25,890,000 6.16 5.60 0.56

Religion

Religion in Xinjiang (around 2010)

Islam (58%)
Buddhism (32%)
Taoism (9%)

The major religions in Xinjiang are Islam, among the Uyghurs and the Hui Chinese minority, while many of the Han Chinese practice Chinese folk religions, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. According to a demographic analysis of the year 2010, Muslims form 58% of the province's population. In 1950, there were 29,000 mosques and 54,000 imams in Xinjiang, which fell to 14,000 mosques and 29,000 imams by 1966. Following the Cultural Revolution, there were only about 1,400 remaining mosques. By the mid-1980's, the number of mosques had returned to 1950 levels. According to a 2020 report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, since 2017, Chinese authorities have destroyed or damaged 16,000 mosques in Xinjiang – 65% of the region's total. Christianity in Xinjiang is the religion of 1% of the population according to the Chinese General Social Survey of 2009.

A majority of the Uyghur Muslims adhere to Sunni Islam of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence or madhab. A minority of Shias, almost exclusively of the Nizari Ismaili (Seveners) rites are located in the higher mountains of Tajik and Tian Shan. In the western mountains (the Tajiks), almost the entire population of Tajiks (Sarikolis and Wakhis), are Nizari Ismaili Shia. In the north, in the Tian Shan, the Kazakhs and Kyrgyz are Sunni.

Afaq Khoja Mausoleum and Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar are most important Islamic Xinjiang sites. Emin Minaret in Turfan is a key Islamic site. Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves is a noticeable Buddhist site.

  • "Heroic Gesture of Bodhisattvathe Bodhisattva", example of 6th-7th-century terracotta Greco-Buddhist art (local populations were Buddhist) from Tumxuk, Xinjiang

  • Sogdian donors to the Buddha, 8th century fresco (with detail), Bezeklik, Eastern Tarim Basin

  • A mosque in Ürümqi

  • People engaging in snow sports by a statue of bodhisattva Guanyin in Wujiaqu

  • Christian Church in Hami

  • Catholic Church in Urumqi

Xinjiang is home to the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers professional basketball team of the Chinese Basketball Association, and to Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard F.C., a football team that plays in China League One.

The capital, Ürümqi, is home to the Xinjiang University baseball team, an integrated Uyghur and Han group profiled in the documentary film Diamond in the Dunes.

Roads

In 2008, according to the Xinjiang Transportation Network Plan, the government has focused construction on State Road 314, Alar-Hotan Desert Highway, State Road 218, Qingshui River Line-Yining Highway and State Road 217, as well as other roads.

The construction of the first expressway in the mountainous area of Xinjiang began a new stage in its construction on 24 July 2007. The 56 km (35 mi) highway linking Sayram Lake and Guozi Valley in Northern Xinjiang area had cost 2.39 billion yuan. The expressway is designed to improve the speed of national highway 312 in northern Xinjiang. The project started in August 2006 and several stages have been fully operational since March 2007. Over 3,000 construction workers have been involved. The 700 m-long Guozi Valley Cable Bridge over the expressway is now currently being constructed, with the 24 main pile foundations already completed. Highway 312 national highway Xinjiang section, connects Xinjiang with China's east coast, Central and West Asia, plus some parts of Europe. It is a key factor in Xinjiang's economic development. The population it covers is around 40% of the overall in Xinjiang, who contribute half of the GDP in the area.

The head of the Transport Department was quoted as saying that 24,800,000,000 RMB had been invested into Xinjiang's road network in 2010 alone and, by this time, the roads covered approximately 152,000 km (94,000 mi).

Rail

Xinjiang's rail hub is Ürümqi. To the east, a conventional and a high-speed rail line runs through Turpan and Hami to Lanzhou in Gansu Province. A third outlet to the east connects Hami and Inner Mongolia.

To the west, the Northern Xinjiang runs along the northern footslopes of the Tian Shan range through Changji, Shihezi, Kuytun and Jinghe to the Kazakh border at Alashankou, where it links up with the Turkestan–Siberia Railway. Together, the Northern Xinjiang and the Lanzhou-Xinjiang lines form part of the Trans-Eurasian Continental Railway, which extends from Rotterdam, on the North Sea, to Lianyungang, on the East China Sea. The Second Ürümqi-Jinghe Railway provides additional rail transport capacity to Jinghe, from which the Jinghe-Yining-Horgos Railway heads into the Ili River Valley to Yining, Huocheng and Khorgos, a second rail border crossing with Kazakhstan. The Kuytun-Beitun Railway runs from Kuytun north into the Junggar Basin to Karamay and Beitun, near Altay.

In the south, the Southern Xinjiang Line from Turpan runs southwest along the southern footslopes of the Tian Shan into the Tarim Basin, with stops at Yanqi, Korla, Kuqa, Aksu, Maralbexi (Bachu), Artux and Kashgar. From Kashgar, the Kashgar–Hotan railway, follows the southern rim of the Tarim to Hotan, with stops at Shule, Akto, Yengisar, Shache (Yarkant), Yecheng (Karghilik), Moyu (Karakax).

The Ürümqi-Dzungaria Railway connects Ürümqi with coal fields in the eastern Junggar Basin. The Hami–Lop Nur Railway connects Hami with potassium salt mines in and around Lop Nur. The Golmud-Korla Railway, opened in 2020, provides an outlet to Qinghai. Planning is underway on additional intercity railways. Railways to Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan have been proposed.[citation needed]

  1. Uighur:شىنجاڭ, SASM/GNC: Xinjang; Chinese:新疆; pinyin: Xīnjiāng; formerly romanized as Sinkiang
  2. The imperial-era Chinese word gui is not descriptive, but normative: It is a term which seeks to justify new conquests by presenting them as a naturally appropriate "return." It does not indicate that the territory already had been conquered earlier.
  3. Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture is composed of Kuitun DACLC, Tacheng Prefecture, Aletai Prefecture, and the former Ili Prefecture. Ili Prefecture has been disbanded and its former area is now directly administered by Ili AP.

Citations

  1. 6-1 自然资源划 [6-1 Natural Resources] (in Chinese). Statistics Bureau of Xinjiang. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved19 December 2015.
  2. Mackerras, Colin; Yorke, Amanda (1991). The Cambridge handbook of contemporary China. Cambridge University Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-521-38755-2. Retrieved4 June 2008.
  3. "Communiqué of the Seventh National Population Census (No. 3)". National Bureau of Statistics of China. 11 May 2021. Retrieved11 May 2021.
  4. "Main Data of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region from the Seventh National Population Census". www.fmprc.gov.cn. Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Toronto. 16 June 2021. Retrieved8 August 2021.
  5. "China". Ethnologue. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved3 June 2015.
  6. GDP-2021 is a preliminary data "Home – Regional – Quarterly by Province" (Press release). China NBS. 1 March 2022. Retrieved23 March 2022.
  7. United Nations Development Program (2013). China Human Development Report 2013: Sustainable and Liveable Cities: Toward Ecological Urbanisation(PDF). Beijing: Translation and Publishing Corporation. ISBN 978-7-5001-3754-2. Archived(PDF) from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved14 May 2014.
  8. Longman, J.C. (2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3 ed.). Pearson Education ESL. ISBN 978-1405881173.
  9. "Xinjiang Uygur". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  10. "新疆维吾尔自治区政府网(En)". The Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. Archived from the original on 7 December 2020. Retrieved18 August 2020.
  11. "National Data". Archived from the original on 15 April 2020. Retrieved16 September 2020.
  12. "Regions and territories: Xinjiang". BBC News. 7 May 2011. Archived from the original on 20 May 2011.
  13. "Turkestan". Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. XV. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1912. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved26 November 2008.
  14. ^<

Xinjiang Article Talk Language Watch Edit This article is about the administrative division of the People s Republic of China For the geographical region see East Turkestan For other uses see Xinjiang disambiguation Xinjiang n 1 UK ˌ ʃ ɪ n dʒ iː ˈ ae ŋ 8 US ˈ ʃ ɪ n ˈ dʒ j ɑː ŋ 9 officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region 10 XUAR is a landlocked autonomous region of the People s Republic of China PRC located in the northwest of the country at the crossroads of Central Asia and East Asia Being the largest province level division of China by area and the 8th largest country subdivision in the world Xinjiang spans over 1 6 million square kilometres 620 000 sq mi and has about 25 million inhabitants 1 11 Xinjiang borders the countries of Mongolia Russia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Afghanistan Pakistan and India The rugged Karakoram Kunlun and Tian Shan mountain ranges occupy much of Xinjiang s borders as well as its western and southern regions The Aksai Chin and Trans Karakoram Tract regions both administered by China are claimed by India Xinjiang also borders the Tibet Autonomous Region and the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai The most well known route of the historic Silk Road ran through the territory from the east to its northwestern border Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous RegionAutonomous regionName transcription s Chinese新疆维吾尔自治区 Xinjiang Weiwu er Zizhiqu AbbreviationXJ 新 Xin Uyghurشىنجاڭ ئۇيغۇر ئاپتونوم رايونى Shinjang Uyghur Aptonom Rayoni Clockwise from top Skyline of Urumqi City Planning Exhibition Hall Kashgar Flaming Mountains Turpan Hotan Karakul Lake and Muztagh AtaLocation of Xinjiang within ChinaCoordinates 41 N 85 E 41 N 85 E 41 85 Coordinates 41 N 85 E 41 N 85 E 41 85Country ChinaCapital and largest cityUrumqiDivisions14 prefectures 99 counties 1005 townshipsGovernment TypeAutonomous region BodyXinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional People s Congress CPC SecretaryMa Xingrui Congress ChairmanShewket Imin Government ChairmanErkin Tuniyaz CPPCC ChairmanNurlan AbilmazhinulyArea 1 Total1 664 897 km2 642 820 sq mi Rank1stHighest elevation Mount K2 8 611 m 28 251 ft Lowest elevation Lake Ayding 2 154 m 505 ft Population 2021 3 Total25 890 000 Rank21st Density16 km2 40 sq mi Rank29thDemographics 4 Ethnic composition 2020 Census 44 96 Uyghur42 24 Han12 80 Other Languages and dialectsUyghur official 5 Mandarin official KazakhKyrgyzOiratMongolian43 other languagesISO 3166 codeCN XJGDP 2021 CN 1 6 trillion US 251 billion 25th 6 GDP per capitaCN 61 952 US 9 600 21st GDP growth7 HDI 2019 0 732 7 high 22nd WebsiteXinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region The template Contains special characters is being considered for merging This article contains Uyghur text Without proper rendering support you may see unjoined letters or other symbols instead of Uyghur script It is home to a number of ethnic groups including the Turkic Uyghur Kazakhs and Kyrgyz the Han Tibetans Hui Chinese Tajiks Pamiris Mongols Russians and Sibe 12 There are more than a dozen autonomous prefectures and counties for minorities in Xinjiang Older English language reference works often refer to the area as Chinese Turkestan 13 14 East Turkestan 15 and East Turkistan 16 Xinjiang is divided into the Dzungarian Basin in the north and the Tarim Basin in the south by a mountain range and only about 9 7 of Xinjiang s land area is fit for human habitation 17 With a documented history of at least 2 500 years a succession of people and empires have vied for control over all or parts of this territory The territory came under the rule of the Qing dynasty in the 18th century later replaced by the Republic of China government Since 1949 and the Chinese Civil War it has been part of the People s Republic of China In 1954 Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps XPCC was established to strengthen border defense against the Soviet Union and promote the local economy by settling soldiers into the region 18 In 1955 Xinjiang was administratively changed from a province into an autonomous region In recent decades abundant oil and mineral reserves have been found in Xinjiang and it is currently China s largest natural gas producing region From the 1990s to the 2010s the East Turkestan independence movement separatist conflict and the influence of radical Islam have resulted in unrest in the region with occasional terrorist attacks and clashes between separatist and government forces 19 20 These conflicts prompted the Chinese government to commit a series of ongoing human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in the province that is often characterized as genocide 21 22 23 Contents 1 Names 2 Description 3 History 3 1 Early history 3 2 Islamization 3 3 Mongol period 3 4 Qing dynasty 3 4 1 Yettishar 3 5 Republic of China 3 6 People s Republic of China 4 Administrative divisions 4 1 Urban areas 5 Geography and geology 5 1 Mountain systems and basins 5 2 Mountain passes 5 3 Geology 5 4 Center of the continent 5 5 Rivers and lakes 5 6 Time 5 7 Deserts 5 8 Major cities 5 9 Climate 6 Politics 6 1 Human rights abuses 6 2 East Turkestan independence movement 7 Economy 7 1 Agriculture and fishing 7 2 Mining and minerals 7 3 Foreign trade 7 4 Economic and Technological Development Zones 8 Culture 8 1 Media 9 Demographics 9 1 Vital statistics 9 2 Religion 10 Sports 11 Transportation 11 1 Roads 11 2 Rail 12 See also 13 Notes 14 References 14 1 Citations 14 2 Sources 15 Further reading 16 External linksNames EditXinjiang Xinjiang in Chinese charactersChinese nameChinese新疆Hanyu PinyinXinjiangPostalSinkiangLiteral meaning New Frontier TranscriptionsStandard MandarinHanyu PinyinXinjiangBopomofoㄒㄧㄣ ㄐㄧㄤGwoyeu RomatzyhShinjiangWade GilesHsin1 chiang1Tongyong PinyinSinjiangYale RomanizationSyinjyangMPS2ShinjihangIPA ɕi n tɕja ŋ other MandarinXiao erjingس ك ي اDunganShinҗyonHakkaRomanizationSin kiongYue CantoneseYale RomanizationSan geungJyutpingSan1goeng1IPA sɐ n kœ ːŋ Southern MinHokkien POJSin kiongTeochew Peng imSing kiangEastern MinFuzhou BUCSĭng giŏngXinjiang Uygur Autonomous RegionSimplified Chinese新疆维吾尔自治区Traditional Chinese新疆維吾爾自治區Hanyu PinyinXinjiang Weiwu er ZizhiquPostalSinkiang Uyghur Autonomous RegionTranscriptionsStandard MandarinHanyu PinyinXinjiang Weiwu er ZizhiquBopomofoㄒㄧㄣ ㄐㄧㄤ ㄨㄟˊ ㄨˊ ㄦˇ ㄗˋ ㄓˋ ㄑㄩGwoyeu RomatzyhShinjiang Weiwueel TzyhjyhchiuWade GilesHsin1 chiang1 Wei2 wu2 erh3 Tzŭ4 chih4 chʻu1Tongyong PinyinSinjiang Weiwu er ZihjhihcyuYale RomanizationSyinjyang Weiwuer Dz jr chyuMPS2Shinjiang Wheihuel TzyhgukhickhuIPA ɕi n tɕja ŋ we ɪ u a ɚ tsɹ ʈʂɻ tɕʰy other MandarinXiao erjingس ك ي ا و ء ع ر ذ ج ٿ و DunganShinҗyon Ujgur ZyҗychүWuRomanizationsin cian vi ng el zy zy chiuHakkaRomanizationSin kiong Vi nga ngi Tshṳ tshṳ khiSouthern MinHokkien POJSin kiong Ui ngo ni Chu ti khuTeochew Peng imSing kiang Jui u jeu Tsĕu ti khuEastern MinFuzhou BUCSĭng giŏng Mi ngu i Ce ṳ de kṳ Tibetan nameTibetanཞ ན ཅང ཡ ག ར རང ས ང ལ ངས TranscriptionsWyliezhin cang yu gur rang skyong ljongsMongolian nameMongolian CyrillicShinzhyan Ujguryn oortoo zasah oronMongolian scriptᠰᠢᠨᠵᠢᠶᠠᠩ ᠤᠶᠢᠭᠤᠷ ᠤᠨ ᠥᠪᠡᠷᠲᠡᠭᠡᠨ ᠵᠠᠰᠠᠬᠤ ᠣᠷᠤᠨTranscriptionsSASM GNCSinjiyaŋ Uyiɣur un obertegen jasaqu orun Classical Shin jyan Uiguryn oortoo zasakh oron Khalkha Uyghur nameUyghurشىنجاڭ ئۇيغۇر ئاپتونوم رايونى TranscriptionsLatin YeziqiShinjang Uyghur Aptonom RayoniYengi YeziⱪXinjang Uyƣur Aptonom RayoniSASM GNCXinjang Uyĝur Aptonom RayoniSiril YeziqiShinҗan Ujgur Aptonom RajoniManchu nameManchu scriptᡳᠴᡝ ᠵᡝᠴᡝᠨ ᡠᡳᡤᡠᡵ ᠪᡝᠶᡝ ᡩᠠᠰᠠᠩᡤᠠ ᡤᠣᠯᠣMollendorffIce Jecen Uigur beye dasangga goloRussian nameRussianSinczyanRomanizationSin tsjanKazakh nameKazakhشينجياڭ ۇيعۇر اۆتونوميالى رايونى Shynjan Uiǵyr aytonomiialyq aydanyKyrgyz nameKyrgyzشئنجاڭ ۇيعۇر اپتونوم رايونۇ Shinzhan Ujgur avtonom rajonuSincan Uygur avtonom rayonuOirat nameOiratᠱᡅᠨᡓᡅᡕᠠᡊ ᡇᡕᡅᡎᡇᠷ ᡅᠨ ᡄᡋᡄᠷᡄᡃᠨ ᠴᠠᠰᠠᡍᡇ ᡆᠷᡇᠨ Sinǰiyang Uyigur in ebereen zasaqu orunXibe nameXibeᠰᡞᠨᡪᠶᠠᡢ ᡠᡞᡤᡠᠷ ᠪᡝᠶᡝ ᡩᠠᠰᠠᡢᡤᠠ ᡤᠣᠯᠣ Sinjyang Uigur beye dasangga golo The general region of Xinjiang has been known by many different names in earlier times in indigenous languages as well as other languages These names include Altishahr the historical Uyghur name for the southern half of the region referring to the six cities of the Tarim Basin as well as Khotan Khotay Chinese Tartary High Tartary East Chagatay it was the eastern part of the Chagatai Khanate Moghulistan land of the Mongols Kashgaria Little Bokhara Serindia due to Indian cultural influence 24 and in Chinese Western Regions 25 In Chinese under the Han dynasty Xinjiang was known as Xiyu 西域 meaning Western Regions Between the 2nd century BCE and 2nd century CE the Han Empire established the Protectorate of the Western Regions or Xiyu Protectorate 西域都護府 in an effort to secure the profitable routes of the Silk Road 26 The Western Regions during the Tang era were known as Qixi 磧西 Qi refers to the Gobi Desert while Xi refers to the west The Tang Empire had established the Protectorate General to Pacify the West or Anxi Protectorate 安西都護府 in 640 to control the region During the Qing dynasty the northern part of Xinjiang Dzungaria was known as Zhunbu 準部 Dzungar region and the southern Tarim Basin was known as Huijiang 回疆 Muslim Frontier Both regions merged after Qing dynasty suppressed the Revolt of the Altishahr Khojas in 1759 and became the region of Xiyu Xinjiang Chinese 西域新疆 lit Western Regions New Frontier later simplified as Xinjiang Sinkiang Chinese 新疆 Manchu ᡳᠴᡝ ᠵᡝᠴᡝᠨ Romanization ice jecen The official name was given during the reign of the Guangxu Emperor in 1878 27 According to Chinese statesman Zuo Zongtang s report to the Guangxu Emperor Xinjiang means an old land newly returned 故土新歸 or the new old land n 2 It can also be translated as new frontier or new territory 29 In fact the term Xinjiang was used in many other places conquered but never were ruled by Chinese empires directly until the gradual Gaitu Guiliu administrative reform including regions in Southern China 30 For instance present day Jinchuan County in Sichuan was then known as Jinchuan Xinjiang Zhaotong in Yunnan was named directly as Xinjiang Qiandongnan region Anshun and Zhenning were named as Liangyou Xinjiang etc 31 In 1955 Xinjiang Province was renamed Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region The name that was originally proposed was simply Xinjiang Autonomous Region because that was the name for the imperial territory This proposal was not well received by Uyghurs in the Communist Party who found the name colonialist in nature since it meant new territory Saifuddin Azizi the first chairman of Xinjiang registered his strong objections to the proposed name with Mao Zedong arguing that autonomy is not given to mountains and rivers It is given to particular nationalities Some Uyghur Communists proposed the name Tian Shan Uyghur Autonomous Region instead The Han Communists in the central government denied the name Xinjiang was colonialist and that the central government could be colonialists both because they were communists and because China was a victim of colonialism But due to the Uyghur complaints the administrative region would be named Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region 32 29 Uyghur nationalists refer to Xinjiang as Uyghurstan 33 Description Edit Dzungaria Red and the Tarim Basin or Altishahr Blue Northern Xinjiang Junggar Basin Yellow Eastern Xinjiang Turpan Depression Turpan Prefecture and Hami Prefecture Red and Altishahr the Tarim Basin Blue Physical map showing the separation of Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin Altishahr by the Tien Shan Mountains Xinjiang consists of two main geographically historically and ethnically distinct regions with different historical names Dzungaria north of the Tianshan Mountains and the Tarim Basin south of the Tianshan Mountains before Qing China unified them into one political entity called Xinjiang Province in 1884 At the time of the Qing conquest in 1759 Dzungaria was inhabited by steppe dwelling nomadic Tibetan Buddhist Dzungar people while the Tarim Basin was inhabited by sedentary oasis dwelling Turkic speaking Muslim farmers now known as the Uyghur people They were governed separately until 1884 The native Uyghur name for the Tarim Basin is Altishahr The Qing dynasty was well aware of the differences between the former Buddhist Mongol area to the north of the Tian Shan and the Turkic Muslim area south of the Tian Shan and ruled them in separate administrative units at first 34 However Qing people began to think of both areas as part of one distinct region called Xinjiang 35 The very concept of Xinjiang as one distinct geographic identity was created by the Qing It was originally not the native inhabitants who viewed it that way but rather the Chinese who held that point of view 36 During the Qing rule no sense of regional identity was held by ordinary Xinjiang people rather Xinjiang s distinct identity was given to the region by the Qing since it had distinct geography history and culture while at the same time it was created by the Chinese multicultural settled by Han and Hui and separated from Central Asia for over a century and a half 37 In the late 19th century it was still being proposed by some people that two separate regions be created out of Xinjiang the area north of the Tianshan and the area south of the Tianshan while it was being argued over whether to turn Xinjiang into a province 38 Xinjiang is a large sparsely populated area spanning over 1 6 million km2 comparable in size to Iran which takes up about one sixth of the country s territory Xinjiang borders the Tibet Autonomous Region and India s Leh district in Ladakh to the south Qinghai and Gansu provinces to the east Mongolia Bayan Olgii Govi Altai and Khovd Provinces to the east Russia s Altai Republic to the north and Kazakhstan Almaty and East Kazakhstan Regions Kyrgyzstan Issyk Kul Naryn and Osh Regions Tajikistan s Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region Afghanistan s Badakhshan Province and Pakistan s Gilgit Baltistan to the west The east west chain of the Tian Shan separate Dzungaria in the north from the Tarim Basin in the south Dzungaria is a dry steppe and the Tarim Basin contains the massive Taklamakan Desert surrounded by oases In the east is the Turpan Depression In the west the Tian Shan split forming the Ili River valley History EditEarly history Edit Main article History of Xinjiang Further information Western Regions Kingdom of Khotan Shule Kingdom Shanshan Saka Tocharians and Sogdia Map of Han Dynasty in 2 CE Light blue is the Tarim Basin protectorate The earliest inhabitants of the region encompassing modern day Xinjiang were genetically of Northeast Asian and Paleo Siberian origin with later geneflow during the Bronze Age linked to the expansion of early Indo Europeans These population dynamics gave rise to a heterogeneous demographic makeup Ancient samples from Xinjiang during the Bronze Age showed higher affinity with Paleo Siberians than Europeans suggesting that the spread of Indo European Tocharian languages was more linguistically than ethnically Linguistic evidence revealed that Indo European languages spoken in the region specifically Tocharian showed high amounts of influence from Paleosiberian languages 39 such as Uralic and Yeniseian languages Iron Age samples from Xinjiang while being of mixed ancestry were generally closer to Northeast Asians In the late Iron Age geneflow from Yellow river farmers increased throughout Xinjiang associated with Han Chinese 40 41 42 Between 2009 and 2015 the remains of 92 individuals in the Xiaohe Cemetery were analyzed for Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA markers Genetic analyses of the mummies showed that the paternal lineages of the Xiaohe people were of west Eurasian origin while the maternal lineages of the early population were diverse featuring both east Eurasian and west Eurasian lineages Over time the west Eurasian maternal lineages were gradually replaced by east Eurasian maternal lineages This implies a pattern of outmarriage to women from Siberian communities which over many hundreds of years led to the loss of the original diversity of mtDNA lineages observed in the earlier Xiaohe population 43 44 45 46 The Tarim population was therefore always notably diverse reflecting a complex history of admixture between people of Ancient North Eurasian South Asian and Northeast Asian descent The Tarim mummies have been found in various locations in the western Tarim Basin such as Loulan the Xiaohe Tomb complex and Qawrighul These mummies have been previously suggested to have been Tocharian or Indo European speakers but recent evidence suggest that the mummies belonged to a distinct population unrelated to Indo European pastoralists such as Afanasievo and spoke a unknown language probably a language isolate 47 Nomadic tribes such as the Yuezhi Saka and Wusun were probably part of the migration of Indo European speakers who had settled in western Central Asia long before the Xiongnu and Han Chinese By the time the Han dynasty under Emperor Wu r 141 87 BC wrested the western Tarim Basin away from its previous overlords the Xiongnu it was inhabited by various peoples who included the Indo European speaking Tocharians in Turfan and Kucha the Saka peoples centered in the Shule Kingdom and the Kingdom of Khotan the various Tibeto Burmese groups especially people related to the Qiang as well as the Han Chinese people 48 Yuezhi culture is documented in the region The first known reference to the Yuezhi was in 645 BC by the Chinese chancellor Guan Zhong in his work Guanzi 管子 Guanzi Essays 73 78 80 81 He described the Yushi 禺氏 or Niushi 牛氏 as a people from the north west who supplied jade to the Chinese from the nearby mountains also known as Yushi in Gansu 49 The longtime jade supply 50 from the Tarim Basin is well documented archaeologically It is well known that ancient Chinese rulers had a strong attachment to jade All of the jade items excavated from the tomb of Fuhao of the Shang dynasty more than 750 pieces were from Khotan in modern Xinjiang As early as the mid first millennium BC the Yuezhi engaged in the jade trade of which the major consumers were the rulers of agricultural China 51 Crossed by the Northern Silk Road 52 the Tarim and Dzungaria regions were known as the Western Regions At the beginning of the Han dynasty 206 BC 220 AD the region was ruled by the Xiongnu a powerful nomadic people based in present day Mongolia During the 2nd century BC the Han dynasty prepared for war against Xiongnu when Emperor Wu of Han dispatched Zhang Qian to explore the mysterious kingdoms to the west and form an alliance with the Yuezhi against the Xiongnu As a result of the war the Chinese controlled the strategic region from the Ordos and Gansu corridor to Lop Nor They separated the Xiongnu from the Qiang people on the south and gained direct access to the Western Regions Han China sent Zhang Qian as an envoy to the states of the region beginning several decades of struggle between the Xiongnu and Han China in which China eventually prevailed In 60 BC Han China established the Protectorate of the Western Regions 西域都護府 at Wulei 烏壘 near modern Luntai to oversee the region as far west as the Pamir Mountains The protectorate was seized during the civil war against Wang Mang r AD 9 23 returning to Han control in 91 due to the efforts of general Ban Chao Old Uyghur Yugur art from the Bezeklik murals The Tarim Basin in the 3rd century AD The Western Jin dynasty succumbed to successive waves of invasions by nomads from the north at the beginning of the 4th century The short lived kingdoms that ruled northwestern China one after the other including Former Liang Former Qin Later Liang and Western Liang all attempted to maintain the protectorate with varying degrees of success After the final reunification of northern China under the Northern Wei empire its protectorate controlled what is now the southeastern region of Xinjiang Local states such as Shule Yutian Guizi and Qiemo controlled the western region while the central region around Turpan was controlled by Gaochang remnants of a state Northern Liang that once ruled part of what is now Gansu province in northwestern China A Sogdian man on a Bactrian camel Sancai ceramic statuette Tang dynasty During the Tang dynasty a series of expeditions were conducted against the Western Turkic Khaganate and their vassals the oasis states of southern Xinjiang 53 Campaigns against the oasis states began under Emperor Taizong with the annexation of Gaochang in 640 54 The nearby kingdom of Karasahr was captured by the Tang in 644 and the kingdom of Kucha was conquered in 649 55 The Tang Dynasty then established the Protectorate General to Pacify the West 安西都護府 or Anxi Protectorate in 640 to control the region During the Anshi Rebellion which nearly destroyed the Tang dynasty Tibet invaded the Tang on a broad front from Xinjiang to Yunnan It occupied the Tang capital of Chang an in 763 for 16 days and controlled southern Xinjiang by the end of the century The Uyghur Khaganate took control of northern Xinjiang much of Central Asia and Mongolia at the same time As Tibet and the Uyghur Khaganate declined in the mid 9th century the Kara Khanid Khanate a confederation of Turkic tribes including the Karluks Chigils and Yaghmas 56 controlled western Xinjiang during the 10th and 11th centuries After the Uyghur Khaganate in Mongolia was destroyed by the Kirghiz in 840 branches of the Uyghurs established themselves in Qocha Karakhoja and Beshbalik near present day Turfan and Urumqi The Uyghur state remained in eastern Xinjiang until the 13th century although it was ruled by foreign overlords The Kara Khanids converted to Islam The Uyghur state in eastern Xinjiang initially Manichean later converted to Buddhism Remnants of the Liao dynasty from Manchuria entered Xinjiang in 1132 fleeing rebellion by the neighboring Jurchens They established a new empire the Qara Khitai which ruled the Kara Khanid and Uyghur held parts of the Tarim Basin for the next century Although Khitan and Chinese were the primary administrative languages Persian and Uyghur were also used 57 Islamization Edit Present day Xinjiang consisted of the Tarim Basin and Dzungaria and was originally inhabited by Indo European Tocharians and Iranian Sakas who practiced Buddhism and Zoroastrianism The Turfan and Tarim Basins were inhabited by speakers of Tocharian languages 58 with Caucasian mummies found in the region 59 The area became Islamified during the 10th century with the conversion of the Kara Khanid Khanate who occupied Kashgar During the mid 10th century the Saka Buddhist Kingdom of Khotan was attacked by the Turkic Muslim Karakhanid ruler Musa the Karakhanid leader Yusuf Qadir Khan conquered Khotan around 1006 60 Mongol period Edit See also Yarkent Khanate Mongol states from the 14th to the 17th centuries the Northern Yuan dynasty Four Oirat Moghulistan and Kara Del After Genghis Khan unified Mongolia and began his advance west the Uyghur state in the Turpan Urumchi region offered its allegiance to the Mongols in 1209 contributing taxes and troops to the Mongol imperial effort In return the Uyghur rulers retained control of their kingdom Genghis Khan s Mongol Empire conquered the Qara Khitai in 1218 Xinjiang was a stronghold of Ogedei Khan and later came under the control of his descendant Kaidu This branch of the Mongol family kept the Yuan dynasty at bay until their rule ended During the Mongol Empire era the Yuan dynasty vied with the Chagatai Khanate for rule of the region and the latter controlled most of it After the Chagatai Khanate divided into smaller khanates during the mid 14th century the politically fractured region was ruled by a number of Persianized Mongol Khans including those from Moghulistan with the assistance of local Dughlat emirs Uigurstan later Turpan and Kashgaria These leaders warred with each other and the Timurids of Transoxiana to the west and the Oirats to the east the successor Chagatai regime based in Mongolia and China During the 17th century the Dzungars established an empire over much of the region The Mongolian Dzungars were the collective identity of several Oirat tribes which formed and maintained one of the last nomadic empires The Dzungar Khanate covered Dzungaria extending from the western Great Wall of China to present day eastern Kazakhstan and from present day northern Kyrgyzstan to southern Siberia Most of the region was renamed Xinjiang by the Chinese after the fall of the Dzungar Empire which existed from the early 17th to the mid 18th century The Dzungar Qing Wars between the Qing Dynasty and the Dzungar Khanate The sedentary Turkic Muslims of the Tarim Basin were originally ruled by the Chagatai Khanate and the nomadic Buddhist Oirat Mongols in Dzungaria ruled the Dzungar Khanate The Naqshbandi Sufi Khojas descendants of Muhammad had replaced the Chagatayid Khans as rulers of the Tarim Basin during the early 17th century There was a struggle between two Khoja factions the Afaqi White Mountain and the Ishaqi Black Mountain The Ishaqi defeated the Afaqi and the Afaq Khoja invited the 5th Dalai Lama the leader of the Tibetans to intervene on his behalf in 1677 The Dalai Lama then called on his Dzungar Buddhist followers in the Dzungar Khanate to act on the invitation The Dzungar Khanate conquered the Tarim Basin in 1680 setting up the Afaqi Khoja as their puppet ruler After converting to Islam the descendants of the previously Buddhist Uyghurs in Turfan believed that the infidel Kalmuks Dzungars built Buddhist monuments in their region 61 Qing dynasty Edit Main article Xinjiang under Qing rule The Battle of Oroi Jalatu in 1756 between the Manchu and Oirat armies The Qing Empire ca 1820 Scene from the 1828 Qing campaign against rebels in Altishahr The Turkic Muslims of the Turfan and Kumul oases then submitted to the Qing dynasty and asked China to free them from the Dzungars the Qing accepted their rulers as vassals They warred against the Dzungars for decades before defeating them Qing Manchu Bannermen then conducted the Dzungar genocide nearly eradicating them and depopulating Dzungaria The Qing freed the Afaqi Khoja leader Burhan ud din and his brother Khoja Jihan from Dzungar imprisonment and appointed them to rule the Tarim Basin as Qing vassals The Khoja brothers reneged on the agreement declaring themselves independent leaders of the Tarim Basin The Qing and the Turfan leader Emin Khoja crushed their revolt and by 1759 China controlled Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin The Manchu Qing dynasty gained control of eastern Xinjiang as a result of a long struggle with the Dzungars which began during the 17th century In 1755 with the help of the Oirat noble Amursana the Qing attacked Ghulja and captured the Dzungar khan After Amursana s request to be declared Dzungar khan went unanswered he led a revolt against the Qing Qing armies destroyed the remnants of the Dzungar Khanate over the next two years and many Han Chinese and Hui moved into the pacified areas 62 The native Dzungar Oirat Mongols suffered greatly from the brutal campaigns and a simultaneous smallpox epidemic Writer Wei Yuan described the resulting desolation in present day northern Xinjiang as an empty plain for several thousand li with no Oirat yurt except those surrendered 63 It has been estimated that 80 percent of the 600 000 or more Dzungars died from a combination of disease and warfare 64 and recovery took generations 65 Han and Hui merchants were initially only allowed to trade in the Tarim Basin their settlement in the Tarim Basin was banned until the 1830 Muhammad Yusuf Khoja invasion when the Qing rewarded merchants for fighting off Khoja by allowing them to settle in the basin 66 The Uyghur Muslim Sayyid and Naqshbandi Sufi rebel of the Afaqi suborder Jahangir Khoja was sliced to death Lingchi in 1828 by the Manchus for leading a rebellion against the Qing According to Robert Montgomery Martin many Chinese with a variety of occupations were settled in Dzungaria in 1870 in Turkestan the Tarim Basin however only a few Chinese merchants and garrison soldiers were interspersed with the Muslim population 67 The 1765 Ush rebellion by the Uyghurs against the Manchu began after Uyghur women were raped by the servants and son of Manchu official Su cheng 68 It was said that Ush Muslims had long wanted to sleep on Sucheng and son s hides and eat their flesh because of the months long abuse 69 The Manchu emperor ordered the massacre of the Uyghur rebel town Qing forces enslaved the Uyghur children and women and killed the Uyghur men 70 Sexual abuse of Uyghur women by Manchu soldiers and officials triggered deep Uyghur hostility against Manchu rule 71 Yettishar Edit Main article Yettishar Yakub Beg ruler of Yettishar By the 1860s Xinjiang had been under Qing rule for a century The region was captured in 1759 from the Dzungar Khanate 72 whose population the Oirats became the targets of genocide Xinjiang was primarily semi arid or desert and unattractive to non trading Han settlers and others including the Uyghurs settled there The Dungan Revolt by the Muslim Hui and other Muslim ethnic groups was fought in China s Shaanxi Ningxia and Gansu provinces and in Xinjiang from 1862 to 1877 The conflict led to a reported 20 77 million deaths due to migration and war with many refugees dying of starvation 73 failed verification Thousands of Muslim refugees from Shaanxi fled to Gansu some formed battalions in eastern Gansu intending to reconquer their lands in Shaanxi While the Hui rebels were preparing to attack Gansu and Shaanxi Yaqub Beg an Uzbek or Tajik commander of the Kokand Khanate fled from the khanate in 1865 after losing Tashkent to the Russians Beg settled in Kashgar and soon controlled Xinjiang Although he encouraged trade built caravansareis canals and other irrigation systems his regime was considered harsh The Chinese took decisive action against Yettishar an army under General Zuo Zongtang rapidly approached Kashgaria reconquering it on 16 May 1877 74 19th century Khotan Uyghurs in Yettishar After reconquering Xinjiang in the late 1870s from Yaqub Beg 75 the Qing dynasty established Xinjiang new frontier as a province in 1884 76 making it part of China and dropping the old names of Zhunbu 準部 Dzungar Region and Huijiang Muslimland 77 78 After Xinjiang became a Chinese province the Qing government encouraged the Uyghurs to migrate from southern Xinjiang to other areas of the province such as the region between Qitai and the capital largely inhabited by Han Chinese and Urumqi Tacheng Tabarghatai Yili Jinghe Kur Kara Usu Ruoqiang Lop Nor and the lower Tarim River 79 Republic of China Edit See also History of the Republic of China Xinjiang Province Republic of China First East Turkestan Republic and Second East Turkestan Republic Kuomintang in Xinjiang 1942 In 1912 the Qing dynasty was replaced by the Republic of China Yuan Dahua the last Qing governor of Xinjiang fled One of his subordinates Yang Zengxin took control of the province and acceded in name to the Republic of China in March of that year Balancing mixed ethnic constituencies Yang controlled Xinjiang until his 1928 assassination after the Northern Expedition of the Kuomintang 80 Governor Sheng Shicai ruled from 1933 to 1944 The Kumul Rebellion and others broke out throughout Xinjiang during the early 1930s against Jin Shuren Yang s successor involving Uyghurs other Turkic groups and Hui Muslim Chinese Jin enlisted White Russians to crush the revolts In the Kashgar region on 12 November 1933 the short lived First East Turkestan Republic was self proclaimed after debate about whether it should be called East Turkestan or Uyghuristan 81 82 The region claimed by the ETR encompassed the Kashgar Khotan and Aksu Prefectures in southwestern Xinjiang 83 The Chinese Muslim Kuomintang 36th Division National Revolutionary Army defeated the army of the First East Turkestan Republic in the 1934 Battle of Kashgar ending the republic after Chinese Muslims executed its two emirs Abdullah Bughra and Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra The Soviet Union invaded the province it was brought under the control of northeast Han warlord Sheng Shicai after the 1937 Xinjiang War Sheng ruled Xinjiang for the next decade with support from the Soviet Union many of whose ethnic and security policies he instituted The Soviet Union maintained a military base in the province and deployed several military and economic advisors Sheng invited a group of Chinese Communists to Xinjiang including Mao Zedong s brother Mao Zemin but executed them all in 1943 in fear of a conspiracy In 1944 President and Premier of China Chiang Kai shek informed by the Soviet Union of Shicai s intention to join it transferred him to Chongqing as the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry the following year 84 During the Ili Rebellion the Soviet Union backed Uyghur separatists to form the Second East Turkestan Republic 2nd ETR in the Ili region while most of Xinjiang remained under Kuomintang control 81 People s Republic of China Edit See also Incorporation of Xinjiang into the People s Republic of China and Migration to Xinjiang The Soviet backed Second East Turkestan Republic encompassed Xinjiang s Ili Tarbagatay and Altay districts The People s Liberation Army entered Xinjiang in 1949 when Kuomintang commander Tao Zhiyue and government chairman Burhan Shahidi surrendered the province to them 82 Five ETR leaders who were to negotiate with the Chinese about ETR sovereignty died in an air crash that year in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic 85 The PRC autonomous region was established on 1 October 1955 replacing the province 82 that year the first modern census in China was taken in 1953 Uyghurs were 73 percent of Xinjiang s total population of 5 11 million 32 Although Xinjiang was designated a Uygur Autonomous Region since 1954 more than 50 percent of its area is designated autonomous areas for 13 native non Uyghur groups 86 Modern Uyghurs developed ethnogenesis in 1955 when the PRC recognized formerly separately self identified oasis peoples 87 In the 1950s General Wang Zhen coerced thousands of Hunanese women into sexual servitude at PLA units in Xinjiang 88 Southern Xinjiang is home to most of the Uyghur population about nine million people out of a total population of twenty million fifty five percent of the Han population mainly urban live in northern Xinjiang 89 90 This created an economic imbalance since the northern Junghar basin Dzungaria is more developed than the south 91 Since Chinese economic reform since the late 1970s has exacerbated uneven regional development more Uyghurs have migrated to Xinjiang s cities and some Han have migrated to Xinjiang for economic advancement Deng Xiaoping made a nine day visit to Xinjiang in 1981 and described the region as unsteady 92 Increased ethnic contact and labor competition coincided with Uyghur terrorism since the 1990s such as the 1997 Urumqi bus bombings 93 In 2000 Uyghurs were 45 percent of Xinjiang s population and 13 percent of Urumqi s population With nine percent of Xinjiang s population Urumqi accounts for 25 percent of the region s GDP many rural Uyghurs have migrated to the city for work in its light heavy and petrochemical industries 94 Han in Xinjiang are older better educated and work in higher paying professions than their Uyghur counterparts Han are more likely to cite business reasons for moving to Urumqi while some Uyghurs cite legal trouble at home and family reasons for moving to the city 95 Han and Uyghurs are equally represented in Urumqi s floating population which works primarily in commerce Auto segregation in the city is widespread in residential concentration employment relationships and endogamy 96 In 2010 Uyghurs were a majority in the Tarim Basin and a plurality in Xinjiang as a whole 97 Xinjiang has 81 public libraries and 23 museums compared to none in 1949 It has 98 newspapers in 44 languages compared with four in 1952 According to official statistics the ratio of doctors medical workers clinics and hospital beds to the general population surpasses the national average the immunization rate has reached 85 percent 98 The ongoing Xinjiang conflict 99 100 includes the 2007 Xinjiang raid 101 a thwarted 2008 suicide bombing attempt on a China Southern Airlines flight 102 the 2008 Kashgar attack which killed 16 police officers four days before the Beijing Olympics 103 104 the August 2009 syringe attacks 105 the 2011 Hotan attack 106 the 2014 Kunming attack 107 the April 2014 Urumqi attack 108 and the May 2014 Urumqi attack 109 Several of the attacks were orchestrated by the Turkistan Islamic Party formerly the East Turkestan Islamic Movement identified as a terrorist group by several entities including Russia 110 Turkey 111 112 the United Kingdom 113 the United States until October 2020 114 115 and the United Nations 116 In 2014 Chinese Communist Party CCP leadership in Xinjiang commenced a People s War against the Three Evil Forces of separatism terrorism and extremism They deployed two hundred thousand party cadres to Xinjiang and the launched the Civil Servant Family Pair Up program Xi was dissatisfied with the initial results of the People s War and replaced Zhang Chunxian with Chen Quanguo in 2016 Following his appointment Chen oversaw the recruitment of tens of thousands of additional police officers and the division of society into three categories trusted average untrustworthy He instructed his subordinated to Take this crackdown as the top project and to preempt the enemy to strike at the outset Following a meeting with Xi in Beijing Chen Quanguo held a rally in Urumqi with ten thousand troops helicopters and armored vehicles As they paraded he announced a smashing obliterating offensive and declared that they would bury the corpses of terrorists and terror gangs in the vast sea of the People s War 117 Chinese authorities have operated internment camps to indoctrinate Uyghurs and other Muslims as part of the People s War since at least 2017 118 21 The camps have been criticized by a number of countries and human rights organizations for abuse and mistreatment with some alleging Uyghur genocide 119 In 2020 CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping said Practice has proven that the party s strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era is completely correct 120 In 2021 the standard Uyghur language textbooks used in Xinjiang since the early 2000s were outlawed and their authors and editors sentenced to death or life imprisonment The textbooks had been created and approved by relevant government officials however according to the AP in 2021 the Chinese government said that the 2003 and 2009 editions of the textbooks contained 84 passages preaching ethnic separatism violence terrorism and religious extremism and that several people were inspired by the books to participate in a bloody anti government riot in the regional capital Urumqi in 2009 Shirzat Bawudun the former head of the Xinjiang department of justice and Sattar Sawut the former head of the Xinjiang education department were sentenced to death on terrorism and extremism charges 121 Three other educators and two textbook editors were given lesser sentences 122 Chen was replaced as Community Party Secretary for Xinjiang by Ma Xingrui in December 2021 123 Administrative divisions EditFor a more comprehensive list see List of administrative divisions of Xinjiang and List of township level divisions of Xinjiang Xinjiang is divided into thirteen prefecture level divisions four prefecture level cities six prefectures and five autonomous prefectures including the sub provincial autonomous prefecture of Ili which in turn has two of the seven prefectures within its jurisdiction for Mongol Kazakh Kyrgyz and Hui minorities At the end of the year 2017 the total population of Xinjiang was 24 45 million 124 These are then divided into 13 districts 25 county level cities 62 counties and 6 autonomous counties Ten of the county level cities do not belong to any prefecture and are de facto administered by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Sub level divisions of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is shown in the adjacent picture and described in the table below Administrative divisions of Xinjiang Urumqi K a r a m a y Turpan Hami Changji Hui AP Changji Bortala Mongol AP Bayingolin Mongol AP Aksu Prefecture Kizilsu Kyrgyz AP Kashgar Prefecture Hotan Prefecture Ili Kazakh AP Tacheng Prefecture Altay Prefecture Shihezi Aral Tumxuk Wujiaqu Beitun Tiemenguan Shuanghe Kokdala Kunyu Huyanghe Xinxing XPCC Bingtuan administered county level divisions Subordinate to Ili Kazakh A P Disputed areas claimed by India and administered by China see Sino Indian border dispute Division code 125 Division Area in km2 126 Population 2010 127 Seat Divisions 128 Districts Counties Aut counties CL cities650000 Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region 1664900 00 21 813 334 Urumqi city 13 61 6 27650100 Urumqi city 13787 90 3 110 280 Tianshan District 7 1650200 Karamay city 8654 08 391 008 Karamay District 4650400 Turpan city 67562 91 622 679 Gaochang District 1 2650500 Hami city 142094 88 572 400 Yizhou District 1 1 1652300 Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture 73139 75 1 428 592 Changji city 4 1 2652700 Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture 24934 33 443 680 Bole city 2 2652800 Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture 470954 25 1 278 492 Korla city 7 1 1652900 Aksu Prefecture 127144 91 2 370 887 Aksu city 7 2653000 Kizilsu Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture 72468 08 525 599 Artux city 3 1653100 Kashgar Prefecture 137578 51 3 979 362 Kashi city 10 1 1653200 Hotan Prefecture 249146 59 2 014 365 Hotan city 7 1654000 Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture 56381 53 2 482 627 Yining city 7 1 3 654200 Tacheng Prefecture 94698 18 1 219 212 Tacheng city 4 1 2654300 Altay Prefecture 117699 01 526 980 Altay city 6 1659000 Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps 13055 57 1 481 165 Urumqi city 11659001 Shihezi city 8th Division 456 84 635 582 Hongshan Subdistrict 1659002 Aral city 1st Division 5266 00 190 613 Jinyinchuan Road Subdistrict 1659003 Tumxuk city 3rd Division 2003 00 174 465 Qiganquele Subdistrict 1659004 Wujiaqu city 6th Division 742 00 90 205 Renmin Road Subdistrict 1659005 Beitun city 10th Division 910 50 86 300 Xincheng Subdistrict 1659006 Tiemenguan city 2nd Division 590 27 50 000 Chengqu Subdistrict 1659007 Shuanghe city 5th Division 742 18 53 800 Tasierhai town 1659008 Kokdala city 4th Division 979 71 75 000 Jieliangzi Subdistrict 1659009 Kunyu city 14th Division 687 13 45 200 Kunyu town 1659010 Huyanghe city 7th Division 677 94 80 000 Gongqing town 1659011 Xinxing city 13rd Division town 1 Sub provincial prefecture Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps cities Altay Prefecture or Tacheng Prefecture are subordinate to Ili Prefecture The population or area figures of Ili do not include Altay Prefecture or Tacheng Prefecture which are subordinate to Ili Prefecture Administrative divisions in Uyghur Chinese and varieties of romanizationsEnglish Uyghur SASM GNC Uyghur Pinyin Chinese PinyinXinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region شىنجاڭ ئۇيغۇر ئاپتونوم رايونى Xinjang Uyĝur Aptonom Rayoni 新疆维吾尔自治区 Xinjiang Weiwu er ZizhiquUrumqi city ئۈرۈمچى شەھىرى Urumqi Xaĥiri 乌鲁木齐市 Wulǔmuqi ShiKaramay city قاراماي شەھىرى K aramay Xaĥiri 克拉玛依市 Kelamǎyi ShiTurpan city تۇرپان شەھىرى Turpan Xaĥiri 吐鲁番市 Tǔlǔfan ShiHami city قۇمۇل شەھىرى K umul Xaĥiri 哈密市 Hami ShiChangji Hui Autonomous Prefecture سانجى خۇيزۇ ئاپتونوم ئوبلاستى Sanji Huyzu Aptonom Oblasti 昌吉回族自治州 Changji Huizu ZizhizhōuBortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture بۆرتالا موڭغۇل ئاپتونوم ئوبلاستى Bortala Mongĝul Aptonom Oblasti 博尔塔拉蒙古自治州 Bo ertǎla Menggǔ ZizhizhōuBayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture بايىنغولىن موڭغۇل ئاپتونوم ئوبلاستى Bayinĝolin Mongĝul Aptonom Oblasti 巴音郭楞蒙古自治州 Bayinguōleng Menggǔ ZizhizhōuAksu Prefecture ئاقسۇ ۋىلايىتى Ak su Vilayiti 阿克苏地区 Akesu DiquKizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture قىزىلسۇ قىرغىز ئاپتونوم ئوبلاستى K izilsu K irĝiz Aptonom Oblasti 克孜勒苏柯尔克孜自治州 Kezilesu Ke erkezi ZizhizhōuKashi Prefecture قەشقەر ۋىلايىتى K axk ar Vilayiti 喀什地区 Kashi DiquHotan Prefecture خوتەن ۋىلايىتى Hotan Vilayiti 和田地区 Hetian DiquIli Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture ئىلى قازاق ئاپتونوم ئوبلاستى Ili K azak Aptonom Oblasti 伊犁哈萨克自治州 Yili Hasake ZizhizhōuTacheng Prefecture تارباغاتاي ۋىلايىتى Tarbaĝatay Vilayiti 塔城地区 Tǎcheng DiquAltay Prefecture ئالتاي ۋىلايىتى Altay Vilayiti 阿勒泰地区 Aletai DiquShihezi city شىخەنزە شەھىرى Xihanza Xaĥiri 石河子市 Shihezǐ ShiAral city ئارال شەھىرى Aral Xaĥiri 阿拉尔市 Ala er ShiTumxuk city تۇمشۇق شەھىرى Tumxuk Xaĥiri 图木舒克市 Tumushuke ShiWujiaqu city ۋۇجياچۈ شەھىرى Vujyaqu Xaĥiri 五家渠市 Wǔjiaqu ShiBeitun city بەيتۈن شەھىرى Baatun Xaĥiri 北屯市 Beitun ShiTiemenguan city باشئەگىم شەھىرى Baxagym Xaĥiri 铁门关市 Tiĕmenguan ShiShuanghe city قوشئۆگۈز شەھىرى K oxoguz Xaĥiri 双河市 Shuanghe ShiKokdala city كۆكدالا شەھىرى Kokdala Xaĥiri 可克达拉市 Kekedala ShiKunyu city قۇرۇمقاش شەھىرى Kurumkax Xaĥiri 昆玉市 Kunyu ShiHuyanghe city خۇياڭخې شەھىرى Huyanghe Xaĥiri 胡杨河市 Huyanghe ShiXinxing city شىنشىڭ شەھىرى Xinxing Xaĥiri 新星市 Xinxing ShiUrban areas Edit Population by urban areas of prefecture amp county cities City Urban area 129 District area 129 City proper 129 Census date1 Urumqi 2 853 398 3 029 372 3 112 559 2010 11 012 Korla 425 182 549 324 part of Bayingolin Prefecture 2010 11 013 Yining 368 813 515 082 part of Ili Prefecture 2010 11 014 Karamay 353 299 391 008 391 008 2010 11 015 Shihezi 313 768 380 130 380 130 2010 11 016 Hami i 310 500 472 175 572 400 2010 11 017 Kashi 310 448 506 640 part of Kashi Prefecture 2010 11 018 Changji 303 938 426 253 part of Changji Prefecture 2010 11 019 Aksu 284 872 535 657 part of Aksu Prefecture 2010 11 0110 Usu 131 661 298 907 part of Tacheng Prefecture 2010 11 0111 Bole 120 138 235 585 part of Bortala Prefecture 2010 11 0112 Hotan 119 804 322 300 part of Hotan Prefecture 2010 11 0113 Altay 112 711 190 064 part of Altay Prefecture 2010 11 0114 Turpan ii 89 719 273 385 622 903 2010 11 0115 Tacheng 75 122 161 037 part of Tacheng Prefecture 2010 11 0116 Wujiaqu 75 088 96 436 96 436 2010 11 0117 Fukang 67 598 165 006 part of Changji Prefecture 2010 11 0118 Aral 65 175 158 593 158 593 2010 11 0119 Artux 58 427 240 368 part of Kizilsu Prefecture 2010 11 01 Beitun iii 57 889 57 889 57 889 2010 11 01 Kokdala iv 57 537 57 537 57 537 2010 11 01 Shuanghe v 53 565 53 565 53 565 2010 11 01 Korgas vi 51 462 51 462 part of Ili Prefecture 2010 11 01 Kunyu vii 36 399 36 399 36 399 2010 11 0120 Tumxuk 34 808 135 727 135 727 2010 11 01 Tiemenguan viii 30 244 30 244 30 244 2010 11 0121 Kuytun 20 805 166 261 part of Ili Prefecture 2010 11 01 Alashankou ix 15 492 15 492 part of Bortala Prefecture 2010 11 01 Hami Prefecture is currently known as Hami PLC after census Hami CLC is currently known as Yizhou after census Turpan Prefecture is currently known as Turpan PLC after census Turpan CLC is currently known as Gaochang after census Beitun CLC was established from parts of Altay CLC after census Kokdala CLC was established from parts of Huocheng County after census Shuanghe CLC was established from parts of Bole CLC after census Korgas CLC was established from parts of Huocheng County after census Kunyu CLC was established from parts of Hotan County Pishan County Moyu County amp Qira County after census Tiemenguan CLC was established from parts of Korla CLC after census Alashankou CLC was established from parts of Bole CLC amp Jinghe County after census Geography and geology Edit Close to Karakoram Highway in Xinjiang Xinjiang is the largest political subdivision of China accounting for more than one sixth of China s total territory and a quarter of its boundary length Xinjiang is mostly covered with uninhabitable deserts and dry grasslands with dotted oases conducive to habitation accounting for 9 7 of Xinjiang s total area by 2015 17 at the foot of Tian Shan Kunlun Mountains and Altai Mountains respectively Mountain systems and basins Edit This section does not cite any sources Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed July 2019 Learn how and when to remove this template message Xinjiang is split by the Tian Shan mountain range تەڭرى تاغ Tengri Tagh Tәnri Tag which divides it into two large basins the Dzungarian Basin in the north and the Tarim Basin in the south A small V shaped wedge between these two major basins limited by the Tian Shan s main range in the south and the Borohoro Mountains in the north is the basin of the Ili River which flows into Kazakhstan s Lake Balkhash an even smaller wedge farther north is the Emin Valley Pamir Mountains and Muztagh Ata Other major mountain ranges of Xinjiang include the Pamir Mountains and Karakoram in the southwest the Kunlun Mountains in the south along the border with Tibet and the Altai Mountains in the northeast shared with Mongolia The region s highest point is the mountain K2 an eight thousander located 8 611 meters 28 251 ft above sea level in the Karakoram Mountains on the border with Pakistan Taklamakan Desert Much of the Tarim Basin is dominated by the Taklamakan Desert North of it is the Turpan Depression which contains the lowest point in Xinjiang and in the entire PRC at 155 meters 509 ft below sea level The Dzungarian Basin is slightly cooler and receives somewhat more precipitation than the Tarim Basin Nonetheless it too has a large Gurbantunggut Desert also known as Dzoosotoyn Elisen in its center The Tian Shan mountain range marks the Xinjiang Kyrgyzstan border at the Torugart Pass 3752 m The Karakorum highway KKH links Islamabad Pakistan with Kashgar over the Khunjerab Pass Mountain passes Edit From south to north the mountain passes bordering Xinjiang are Mountain passes bordering Xinjiang山口 Mountain Pass Coordinate Elev Appendix喀喇昆仑山口 Karakoram Pass 35 30 48 N 77 49 23 E 35 513333 N 77 823056 E 35 513333 77 823056 5540m 图尔吉斯坦拉山口 Turkistan La Pass 35 39 24 N 76 51 38 E 35 656667 N 76 860556 E 35 656667 76 860556 Windy Gap Windy Gap 35 52 23 N 76 34 37 E 35 87318 N 76 57692 E 35 87318 76 57692 6111m 木斯塔山口 Mustagh Pass 35 50 24 N 76 15 00 E 35 840000 N 76 250000 E 35 840000 76 250000 5422m Sarpo Laggo Pass Sarpo Laggo Pass 35 49 24 N 76 09 45 E 35 8234 N 76 16249 E 35 8234 76 16249 6013m West Muztagh pass West Muztagh pass 35 51 12 N 76 08 33 E 35 8532 N 76 1424 E 35 8532 76 1424 红其拉甫口岸 Khunjerab Pass 36 51 00 N 75 25 40 E 36 850000 N 75 427778 E 36 850000 75 427778 4693m Parpik Pass Parpik Pass 36 57 N 75 21 E 36 95 N 75 35 E 36 95 75 35 5467m Mutsjliga Pass Mutsjliga Pass 36 58 25 N 75 17 50 E 36 97374 N 75 2973 E 36 97374 75 2973 5314m 明铁盖达坂 Mintaka Pass 37 00 14 N 74 51 04 E 37 0039 N 74 8511 E 37 0039 74 8511 4709m 基里克达坂 Kilik Pass 37 04 45 N 74 40 20 E 37 0792 N 74 6722 E 37 0792 74 6722 4827m 瓦根基达坂 Wakhjir Pass 37 05 53 N 74 29 05 E 37 098 N 74 4848 E 37 098 74 4848 4837 m Kara Jilga Pass Kara Jilga Pass 37 15 16 N 74 36 53 E 37 2545 N 74 6147 E 37 2545 74 6147 5386m 麦曼约里达坂 Mihman Yoli Pass 37 17 02 N 74 43 58 E 37 28395 N 74 7328 E 37 28395 74 7328 4937m 托克满苏达坂 Tegermansu Pass 37 13 25 N 74 52 28 E 37 2236 N 74 8744 E 37 2236 74 8744 5427m 克克敖吊克达坂 别伊克山口 排依克山口 Beyik Pass 37 18 N 75 00 E 37 3 N 75 0 E 37 3 75 0 4742m 纳兹塔什山口 奈扎塔什山隘 Nezatash Pass 37 35 22 N 74 56 10 E 37 58944 N 74 93611 E 37 58944 74 93611 4476m Agachak Pass Agachak Pass 37 49 16 N 74 56 42 E 37 82115 N 74 94492 E 37 82115 74 94492 5127m 卡拉苏口岸 阔勒买口岸 Kulma Pass 38 08 59 N 74 48 14 E 38 1498 N 74 8038 E 38 1498 74 8038 4362m Saritosh Pass Saritosh Pass 38 16 37 N 74 48 04 E 38 27694 N 74 80111 E 38 27694 74 80111 4538m Qaratokhterak Pass Qaratokhterak Pass 38 25 42 N 74 52 02 E 38 42833 N 74 86722 E 38 42833 74 86722 4877m Aromiti Pass Aromiti Pass 38 37 42 N 74 29 05 E 38 62833 N 74 48472 E 38 62833 74 48472 4703m Budabel Pass Budabel Pass 38 34 32 N 74 04 20 E 38 57556 N 74 07222 E 38 57556 74 07222 4251m Kiyaz Ashu Kiyaz Ashu 38 32 00 N 74 00 00 E 38 53333 N 74 0 E 38 53333 74 0 4479m 乌孜别里山口 Uzbel Pass 38 39 14 N 73 48 09 E 38 653806 N 73 8023917 E 38 653806 73 8023917 5540m Qarazoq Pass Qarazoq Pass 38 51 00 N 73 42 43 E 38 85 N 73 71194 E 38 85 73 71194 5217m Uch Bel Pass Uch Bel Pass 37 49 16 N 74 56 42 E 37 82115 N 74 94492 E 37 82115 74 94492 5127m Togochar Pass Togochar Pass 39 33 52 N 73 54 52 E 39 56447 N 73 91435 E 39 56447 73 91435 4361m Karachaychaty Pass Karachaychaty Pass 39 35 40 N 73 55 27 E 39 59439 N 73 92407 E 39 59439 73 92407 4284m 斯姆哈纳 伊尔克什坦口岸 Erkeshtam 39 43 02 N 73 58 25 E 39 7172 N 73 9735 E 39 7172 73 9735 3005m Kashetek Pass Kashetek Pass 39 43 42 N 73 54 52 E 39 72847 N 73 91437 E 39 72847 73 91437 3120m Bezymyannyy Pass Bezymyannyy Pass 39 44 49 N 73 53 30 E 39 74686 N 73 89173 E 39 74686 73 89173 3306m Tupik Pass Tupik Pass 39 44 45 N 73 53 03 E 39 74583 N 73 88416 E 39 74583 73 88416 3299m Vorota Pass Vorota Pass 39 45 24 N 73 51 42 E 39 75665 N 73 86167 E 39 75665 73 86167 3604m Il tyk Pass Il tyk Pass 39 45 53 N 73 50 20 E 39 7647 N 73 8388 E 39 7647 73 8388 3836m Kara Bel Pass Kara Bel Pass 39 51 55 N 73 53 43 E 39 8652 N 73 89535 E 39 8652 73 89535 3863m Ityk Pass Ityk Pass 39 54 41 N 73 54 38 E 39 9114 N 73 91068 E 39 9114 73 91068 4133m Dungurama Pass Dungurama Pass 40 00 51 N 73 58 00 E 40 01417 N 73 96673 E 40 01417 73 96673 4067m Karachalsu Pass Karachalsu Pass 40 02 41 N 73 58 43 E 40 04483 N 73 97866 E 40 04483 73 97866 4201m Muzbel Pass Muzbel Pass 40 05 03 N 74 01 08 E 40 08405 N 74 01892 E 40 08405 74 01892 4507m Achiktash Pass Achiktash Pass 40 04 51 N 74 03 57 E 40 0807 N 74 0658 E 40 0807 74 0658 4191m Kyz Dar Pass Kyz Dar Pass 40 06 23 N 74 07 08 E 40 10652 N 74 11892 E 40 10652 74 11892 4246m Kurumdu Pass Kurumdu Pass 40 06 37 N 74 07 43 E 40 11038 N 74 1286 E 40 11038 74 1286 4369m Tart Kul Pass Tart Kul Pass 40 06 48 N 74 16 11 E 40 1134 N 74 2698 E 40 1134 74 2698 3786m Shuralu Davan Pass Shuralu Davan Pass 40 16 09 N 74 34 55 E 40 26928 N 74 58181 E 40 26928 74 58181 3875m Tata Pass Tata Pass 40 08 09 N 74 24 58 E 40 1359 N 74 4161 E 40 1359 74 4161 4036m Sulyuktur Pass Sulyuktur Pass 40 05 23 N 74 05 41 E 40 08974 N 74 09467 E 40 08974 74 09467 4086m Talgyy Pass Talgyy Pass 40 13 11 N 74 32 12 E 40 21973 N 74 5368 E 40 21973 74 5368 3672m Kalmak Ashu Pass Kalmak Ashu Pass 40 16 53 N 74 36 59 E 40 28128 N 74 61626 E 40 28128 74 61626 3581m Tuz Ashu Pass Tuz Ashu Pass 40 16 21 N 74 39 09 E 40 27238 N 74 6524 E 40 27238 74 6524 3625m Dzhetimashu Pass Dzhetimashu Pass 40 25 15 N 74 48 54 E 40 42097 N 74 81503 E 40 42097 74 81503 3838m 苏约克山口 Borgun Pass 40 28 04 N 74 48 51 E 40 46778 N 74 81406 E 40 46778 74 81406 3945m 吐尔尕特山口 Torugart Pass 40 33 06 N 75 23 38 E 40 5517 N 75 3939 E 40 5517 75 3939 3752m Uselek Pass Uselek Pass 40 38 01 N 75 31 15 E 40 63374 N 75 5207 E 40 63374 75 5207 3638m Chokolay Pass Chokolay Pass 40 35 59 N 75 37 20 E 40 59985 N 75 62223 E 40 59985 75 62223 3841m Saryiymek Pass Saryiymek Pass 40 28 14 N 75 43 20 E 40 47055 N 75 72222 E 40 47055 75 72222 3820m Ortosu Pass Ortosu Pass 40 19 34 N 75 49 14 E 40 3261 N 75 82059 E 40 3261 75 82059 3903m Terekty Pass Terekty Pass 40 18 35 N 75 51 18 E 40 30978 N 75 85505 E 40 30978 75 85505 3908m Kurpe Bel Pass Kurpe Bel Pass 40 22 34 N 75 57 57 E 40 37611 N 75 96578 E 40 37611 75 96578 3667m Buzaygyr Pass Buzaygyr Pass 40 21 59 N 76 00 09 E 40 36648 N 76 00256 E 40 36648 76 00256 3783m Khodzhent Pass Khodzhent Pass 40 24 39 N 76 16 55 E 40 41093 N 76 282 E 40 41093 76 282 3955m Yerteke Pass Yerteke Pass 40 20 46 N 76 19 52 E 40 34612 N 76 33113 E 40 34612 76 33113 3780m Tuyukkhodzhent Pass Tuyukkhodzhent Pass 40 22 55 N 76 22 10 E 40 38185 N 76 36949 E 40 38185 76 36949 3780m Kurumduk Pass Kurumduk Pass 40 24 43 N 76 27 33 E 40 41196 N 76 45904 E 40 41196 76 45904 3822m Karabel Pervyy Pass Karabel Pervyy Pass 40 25 45 N 76 30 11 E 40 42914 N 76 50312 E 40 42914 76 50312 4091m Karabel Vtoroy Pass Karabel Vtoroy Pass 40 28 41 N 76 32 13 E 40 47805 N 76 53704 E 40 47805 76 53704 4083m Aksaybel Pass Aksaybel Pass 40 33 40 N 76 34 11 E 40 56114 N 76 56965 E 40 56114 76 56965 4186m Tuyukbel Pass Tuyukbel Pass 40 38 30 N 76 38 59 E 40 64156 N 76 6497 E 40 64156 76 6497 4091m 别迭里山口 Bedel Pass 41 24 41 N 78 24 47 E 41 4114 N 78 4131 E 41 4114 78 4131 4284m Chonteren Pass Chonteren Pass 42 02 58 N 80 12 39 E 42 04934 N 80 21078 E 42 04934 80 21078 5331m Bysokiy Pass Bysokiy Pass 42 04 13 N 80 12 36 E 42 07022 N 80 21003 E 42 07022 80 21003 5435m 阿拉山口市 Alashankou 45 12 N 82 36 E 45 2 N 82 6 E 45 2 82 6 291m BorderGeology Edit Xinjiang is geologically young Collision of the Indian and the Eurasian plates formed the Tian Shan Kunlun Shan and Pamir mountain ranges said tectonics render it a very active earthquake zone Older geological formations are located in the far north where the Junggar Block is geologically part of Kazakhstan and in the east where is part of the North China Craton citation needed Center of the continent Edit Xinjiang has within its borders in the Dzoosotoyn Elisen Desert the location in Eurasia that is furthest from the sea in any direction a continental pole of inaccessibility 46 16 8 N 86 40 2 E 46 2800 N 86 6700 E 46 2800 86 6700 Eurasian pole of inaccessibility It is at least 2 647 km 1 645 mi straight line distance from any coastline In 1992 local geographers determined another point within Xinjiang 43 40 52 N 87 19 52 E 43 68111 N 87 33111 E 43 68111 87 33111 in the southwestern suburbs of Urumqi Urumqi County to be the center point of Asia A monument to this effect was then erected there and the site has become a local tourist attraction 130 Rivers and lakes Edit Tianchi Lake Black Irtysh river in Burqin County is a famous spot for sightseeing Having hot summer and low precipitation most of Xinjiang is endorheic Its rivers either disappear in the desert or terminate in salt lakes within Xinjiang itself or in neighboring Kazakhstan instead of running towards an ocean The northernmost part of the region with the Irtysh River rising in the Altai Mountains that flows via Kazakhstan and Russia toward the Arctic Ocean is the only exception But even so a significant part of the Irtysh s waters were artificially diverted via the Irtysh Karamay Urumqi Canal to the drier regions of southern Dzungarian Basin Kanas Lake Elsewhere most of Xinjiang s rivers are comparatively short streams fed by the snows of the several ranges of the Tian Shan Once they enter the populated areas in the mountains foothills their waters are extensively used for irrigation so that the river often disappears in the desert instead of reaching the lake to whose basin it nominally belongs This is the case even with the main river of the Tarim Basin the Tarim which has been dammed at a number of locations along its course and whose waters have been completely diverted before they can reach the Lop Lake In the Dzungarian basin a similar situation occurs with most rivers that historically flowed into Lake Manas Some of the salt lakes having lost much of their fresh water inflow are now extensively use for the production of mineral salts used e g in the manufacturing of potassium fertilizers this includes the Lop Lake and the Manas Lake Time Edit Main articles Xinjiang Time and Time in China Xinjiang Xinjiang is in the same time zone as the rest of China Beijing time UTC 8 But while Xinjiang being about two time zones west of Beijing some residents local organizations and governments watch another time standard known as Xinjiang Time UTC 6 131 Han people tend to use Beijing Time while Uyghurs tend to use Xinjiang Time as a form of resistance to Beijing 132 But regardless of the time standard preferences most businesses schools open and close two hours later than in the other regions of China 133 Deserts Edit Deserts include Gurbantunggut Desert also known as Dzoosotoyn Elisen Taklamakan Desert Kumtag Desert east of TaklamakanMajor cities Edit Due to water scarcity most of Xinjiang s population lives within fairly narrow belts that are stretched along the foothills of the region s mountain ranges in areas conducive to irrigated agriculture It is in these belts where most of the region s cities are found Largest cities and towns of Xinjiang Urumqi Turpan Kashgar Karamay Ghulja Shihezi Hotan Atush Aksu KorlaClimate Edit A semiarid or desert climate Koppen BSk or BWk respectively prevails in Xinjiang The entire region has great seasonal differences in temperature with cold winters The Turpan Depression recorded the hottest temperatures nationwide in summer 134 with air temperatures easily exceeding 40 C 104 F Winter temperatures regularly fall below 20 C 4 F in the far north and highest mountain elevations Continuous permafrost is typically found in the Tian Shan starting at the elevation of about 3 500 3 700 m above sea level Discontinuous alpine permafrost usually occurs down to 2 700 3 300 m but in certain locations due to the peculiarity of the aspect and the microclimate it can be found at elevations as low as 2 000 m 135 Politics EditFurther information List of current Chinese provincial leaders Statue of Mao Zedong in Kashgar Secretaries of the CCP Xinjiang Committee1949 1952 Wang Zhen 王震 1952 1967 Wang Enmao 王恩茂 1970 1972 Long Shujin 龙书金 1972 1978 Saifuddin Azizi 赛福鼎 艾则孜 سەيپىدىن ئەزىزى 1978 1981 Wang Feng 汪锋 1981 1985 Wang Enmao 王恩茂 1985 1994 Song Hanliang 宋汉良 1994 2010 Wang Lequan 王乐泉 2010 2016 Zhang Chunxian 张春贤 2016 2021 Chen Quanguo 陈全国 Since 2021 Ma Xingrui 马兴瑞 Chairmen of the Xinjiang Government Erkin Tuniyaz the incumbent Chairman of the Xinjiang Government 1949 1955 Burhan Shahidi 包尔汉 沙希迪 بۇرھان شەھىدى 1955 1967 Saifuddin Azizi 赛福鼎 艾则孜 سەيپىدىن ئەزىزى 1968 1972 Long Shujin 龙书金 1972 1978 Saifuddin Azizi 赛福鼎 艾则孜 سەيپىدىن ئەزىزى 1978 1979 Wang Feng 汪锋 1979 1985 Ismail Amat 司马义 艾买提 ئىسمائىل ئەھمەد 1985 1993 Tomur Dawamat 铁木尔 达瓦买提 تۆمۈر داۋامەت 1993 2003 Abdul ahat Abdulrixit 阿不来提 阿不都热西提 ئابلەت ئابدۇرىشىت 2003 2007 Ismail Tiliwaldi 司马义 铁力瓦尔地 ئىسمائىل تىلىۋالدى 2007 2015 Nur Bekri 努尔 白克力 نۇر بەكرى 2015 2021 Shohrat Zakir 雪克来提 扎克尔 شۆھرەت زاكىر Since 2021 Erkin Tuniyaz 艾尔肯 吐尼亚孜 ئەركىن تۇنىياز Human rights abuses Edit Main articles Human rights in China Xinjiang internment camps and Uyghur genocide See also Law of the People s Republic of China Human Rights Watch has documented the denial of due legal process and fair trials and failure to hold genuinely open trials as mandated by law e g to suspects arrested following ethnic violence in the city of Urumqi s 2009 riots 136 According to the Radio Free Asia and Human Rights Watch at least 120 000 members of Kashgar s Muslim Uyghur minority have been detained in internment camps aimed at changing the political thinking of detainees their identities and their religious beliefs 137 118 138 Reports from the World Uyghur Congress submitted to the United Nations in July 2018 suggest that at least 1 million Uyghurs are currently being held in internment camps The camps were established under CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping s administration 21 139 An October 2018 expose by the BBC News claimed based on analysis of satellite imagery collected over time that hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs must be interned in the camps and they are rapidly being expanded 140 In 2019 The Art Newspaper reported that hundreds of writers artists and academics had been imprisoned in what the magazine qualified as an attempt to punish any form of religious or cultural expression among Uyghurs 141 In July 2019 22 countries Australia Austria Belgium Canada Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Iceland Ireland Japan Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg the Netherlands New Zealand Norway Spain Sweden Switzerland and the UK sent a letter to the UN Human Rights Council criticizing China for its mass arbitrary detentions and other violations against Muslims in China s Xinjiang region However on 12 July a group of 37 countries submitted a similar letter in defense of China s policies Algeria Angola Bahrain Belarus Bolivia Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Comoros Congo Cuba Democratic Republic of the Congo Egypt Eritrea Gabon Kuwait Laos Myanmar Nigeria North Korea Oman Pakistan Philippines Qatar Russia Saudi Arabia Somalia South Sudan Sudan Syria Tajikistan Togo Turkmenistan United Arab Emirates Venezuela and Zimbabwe 142 143 However in August 2019 Qatar withdrew its signature for 12 July letter with Qatari Ambassador to the UN Ali Al Mansouri quoted as co authorizing the aforementioned letter would compromise our foreign policy key priorities 144 145 On 28 June 2020 the Associated Press published an investigative report which states that the Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uyghurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population even as it encourages some of the country s Han majority to have more children 146 While individual women have spoken out before about forced birth control the practice is far more widespread and systematic than previously known according to an AP investigation based on government statistics state documents and interviews with 30 ex detainees family members and a former detention camp instructor The campaign over the past four years in the far west region of Xinjiang is leading to what some experts are calling a form of demographic genocide 146 On 28 July 2020 a coalition of over 180 organizations called out dozens of clothing brands and retailers to re examine and cut any ties they might have to Xinjiang region where allegations of human rights violations have run rampant for years The coalition cited credible investigations and reports by media outlets nonprofit groups government agencies and think tanks to support its claims 147 In September 2020 the state run Xinhua News Agency reported Xi Jinping s position as the following practice has proved that the party s strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era is completely correct and must be adhered to for a long time 148 In February 2021 the Dutch government passed a motion stating that the treatment of the Uyghur minority in China amounts to genocide 149 East Turkestan independence movement Edit Main articles Xinjiang conflict and East Turkestan independence movement This flag Kok Bayraq has become a symbol of the East Turkestan independence movement Some factions in Xinjiang province advocate establishing an independent country which has led to tension and ethnic strife in the region 150 151 Autonomous regions in China putatively have a legal right to separate from the nation however in practice this right can not be exercised 152 The Xinjiang conflict 153 is an ongoing 154 separatist conflict in the northwestern part of China The separatist movement claims that the region which they view as their homeland and refer to as East Turkestan is not part of China but was invaded by the CCP in 1949 and has been under occupation since then Chinese government asserts that the region has been part of China since ancient times 155 The separatist movement is led by ethnically Uyghur Muslim underground organizations most notably the East Turkestan independence movement and the Salafist Turkistan Islamic Party against the Chinese government According to the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies the two main sources for separatism in the Xinjiang Province are religion and ethnicity Religiously the Uyghur peoples of Xinjiang follow Islam in the large cities of Han China many are Buddhist Taoist and Confucian although many follow Islam as well such as the Hui ethnic subgroup of the Han ethnicity comprising some 10 million people Thus the major difference and source of friction with eastern China is ethnicity and religious doctrinal differences that differentiate them politically from other Muslim minorities elsewhere in the country Because of turkification from the turkificated Tocharians the western Uyghurs became linguistically and culturally Turkic in the 10th century a distinction from the Han that are the majority in the eastern and central regions of Xinjiang although many other Turkic ethnicities live in Northwest China such as the Salar people the Chinese Tatars and the Yugur The capital of Xinjiang Urumqi was originally a Han and Hui Tungan city with few Uyghur people before recent Uyghur migration to the city 156 Since 1996 China has engaged in strike hard campaigns targeted at separatists 157 On 5 June 2014 China sentenced nine people to death for terrorist attacks They were alleged to be seeking to overthrow the government in Xinjiang and build an independent Uyghur state of East Turkestan 158 Economy EditThis article needs to be updated Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information March 2019 Development of GDPYear GDP in billions of Yuan1995 822000 1362005 2602010 5442015 9322020 1 380Source 159 The distribution map of Xinjiang s GDP per person 2011 Urumqi is a major industrial center within Xinjiang Wind farm in Xinjiang Sunday market in Khotan Xinjiang has traditionally been an agricultural region but is also rich in minerals and oil Nominal GDP was about 932 4 billion RMB US 140 billion as of 2015 with an average annual increase of 10 4 for the past four years 160 due to discovery of the abundant reserves of coal oil gas as well as the China Western Development policy introduced by the State Council to boost economic development in Western China 161 Its per capita GDP for 2009 was 19 798 RMB US 2 898 with a growth rate of 1 7 161 Southern Xinjiang with 95 non Han population has an average per capita income half that of Xinjiang as a whole 162 In July 2010 state media outlet China Daily reported that Local governments in China s 19 provinces and municipalities including Beijing Shanghai Guangdong Zhejiang and Liaoning are engaged in the commitment of pairing assistance support projects in Xinjiang to promote the development of agriculture industry technology education and health services in the region 163 Xinjiang is a major producer of solar panel components due to its large production of the base material polysilicon In 2020 45 of global production of solar grade polysilicon occurred in Xinjiang Concerns have been raised both within the solar industry and outside it that forced labor may occur in the Xinjiang part of the supply chain 164 The global solar panel industry are under pressure to move sourcing away from the region due to human rights and liability concerns 165 China s solar association claimed the allegations were baseless and unfairly stigmatized firms with operations there 166 A 2021 investigation in the United Kingdom UK found that 40 of solar farms in the UK had been built using panels from Chinese companies linked to forced labor in Xinjiang 167 Agriculture and fishing Edit Main area is of irrigated agriculture By 2015 the agricultural land area of the region is 631 thousand km2 or 63 1 million ha of which 6 1 million ha is arable land 168 In 2016 the total cultivated land rose to 6 2 million ha with the crop production reaching 15 1 million tons 169 Wheat was the main staple crop of the region maize grown as well millet found in the south while only a few areas in particular Aksu grew rice 170 Cotton became an important crop in several oases notably Khotan Yarkand and Turpan by the late 19th century 170 Sericulture is also practiced 171 The Xinjiang cotton industry is the world s largest cotton exporter producing 84 of Chinese cotton while the country provides 26 of global cotton export 172 Xinjiang also produces peppers and pepper pigments used in cosmetics such lipstick for export 173 Xinjiang is famous for its grapes melons pears walnuts particularly Hami melons and Turpan raisins citation needed The region is also a leading source for tomato paste which it supplies for international brands 172 The main livestock of the region have traditionally been sheep Much of the region s pasture land is in its northern part where more precipitation is available 174 but there are mountain pastures throughout the region citation needed Due to the lack of access to the ocean and limited amount of inland water Xinjiang s fish resources are somewhat limited Nonetheless there is a significant amount of fishing in Lake Ulungur and Lake Bosten and in the Irtysh River A large number of fish ponds have been constructed since the 1970s their total surface exceeding 10 000 hectares by the 1990s In 2000 the total of 58 835 tons of fish was produced in Xinjiang 85 of which came from aquaculture 175 The Sayram Lake is both the largest alpine lake and highest altitude lake in Xinjiang and is the location of a major cold water fishery citation needed Originally Sayram had no fish but in 1998 northern whitefish Coregonus peled from Russia were introduced and investment in breeding infrastructure and technology has consequently made Sayram into the country s largest exporter of northern whitefish with an annual output of over 400 metric tons 176 better source needed Mining and minerals Edit Xinjiang was known for producing salt soda borax gold jade in the 19th century 177 The Lop Lake was once a large brackish lake during the end of the Pleistocene but has slowly dried up in the Holocene where average annual precipitation in the area has declined to just 31 2 millimeters 1 2 inches and experiences annual evaporation rate of 2 901 millimeters 114 inches The area is rich in brine Potash a key ingredient in fertilizer and is the second largest source of potash in the country Discovery of potash in the mid 1990s has transformed Lop Nur into a major Potash mining industry 178 The oil and gas extraction industry in Aksu and Karamay is growing with the West East Gas Pipeline linking to Shanghai The oil and petrochemical sector get up to 60 percent of Xinjiang s economy 179 The region contains over a fifth of China s hydrocarbon resources and has the highest concentration of fossil fuel reserves of any region in the country 180 The region is rich in coal and contains 40 percent of the country s coal reserves or around 2 2 trillion tonnes which is enough to supply China s thermal coal demand for more than 100 years even if only 15 percent of the estimated coal reserve prove recoverable 181 182 Tarim basin is the largest oil and gas bearing area in the country with about 16 billion tonnes of oil and gas reserves discovered 183 The area is still actively explored and in 2021 China National Petroleum Corporation found a new oil field reserve of 1 billion tons about 907 million tonnes That find is regarded as being the largest one in recent decades As of 2021 the basin produces hydrocarbons at an annual rate of 2 million tons up from 1 52 million tons from 2020 184 Foreign trade Edit Xinjiang s exports amounted to US 19 3 billion while imports turned out to be US 2 9 billion in 2008 Most of the overall import export volume in Xinjiang was directed to and from Kazakhstan through Ala Pass China s first border free trade zone Horgos Free Trade Zone was located at the Xinjiang Kazakhstan border city of Horgos 185 Horgos is the largest land port in China s western region and it has easy access to the Central Asian market Xinjiang also opened its second border trade market to Kazakhstan in March 2006 the Jeminay Border Trade Zone 186 Economic and Technological Development Zones Edit See also List of Chinese administrative divisions by GDP per capita Bole Border Economic Cooperation Area 187 Shihezi Border Economic Cooperation Area 188 Tacheng Border Economic Cooperation Area 189 Urumqi Diwopu International Airport Urumqi Economic amp Technological Development Zone is northwest of Urumqi It was approved in 1994 by the State Council as a national level economic and technological development zones It is 1 5 km 0 93 mi from the Urumqi International Airport 2 km 1 2 mi from the North Railway Station and 10 km 6 2 mi from the city center Wu Chang Expressway and 312 National Road passes through the zone The development has unique resources and geographical advantages Xinjiang s vast land rich in resources borders eight countries As the leading economic zone it brings together the resources of Xinjiang s industrial development capital technology information personnel and other factors of production 190 Urumqi Export Processing Zone is in Urumuqi Economic and Technology Development Zone It was established in 2007 as a state level export processing zone 191 Urumqi New amp Hi Tech Industrial Development Zone was established in 1992 and it is the only high tech development zone in Xinjiang China There are more than 3470 enterprises in the zone of which 23 are Fortune 500 companies It has a planned area of 9 8 km2 3 8 sq mi and it is divided into four zones There are plans to expand the zone 192 Yining Border Economic Cooperation Area 193 Culture EditFurther information Uyghur cuisine and List of Major National Historical and Cultural Sites in Xinjiang This section needs expansion You can help by adding to it December 2020 Media Edit The Xinjiang Networking Transmission Limited operates the Urumqi People s Broadcasting Station and the Xinjiang People Broadcasting Station broadcasting in Mandarin Uyghur Kazakh and Mongolian In 1995 update there were 50 minority language newspapers published in Xinjiang including the Qapqal News the world s only Xibe language newspaper 194 The Xinjiang Economic Daily is considered one of China s most dynamic newspapers 195 For a time after the July 2009 riots authorities placed restrictions on the internet and text messaging gradually permitting access to state controlled websites like Xinhua s 196 until restoring Internet to the same level as the rest of China on 14 May 2010 197 198 199 As reported by the BBC News China strictly controls media access to Xinjiang so reports are difficult to verify 200 Demographics EditFurther information Migration to Xinjiang and Turkic settlement of the Tarim Basin Distribution of ethnic Uyghurs in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Historical populationYearPop 1912 201 2 098 000 1928 202 2 552 000 21 6 1936 37 203 4 360 000 70 8 1947 204 4 047 000 7 2 1954 205 4 873 608 20 4 1964 206 7 270 067 49 2 1982 207 13 081 681 79 9 1990 208 15 155 778 15 9 2000 209 18 459 511 21 8 2010 210 21 813 334 18 2 2020 211 25 852 345 18 5 The earliest Tarim mummies dated to 1800 BC are of a Caucasoid physical type 212 East Asian migrants arrived in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin about 3000 years ago and the Uyghur peoples appeared after the collapse of the Orkon Uyghur Kingdom based in modern day Mongolia around 842 AD 213 214 The Islamization of Xinjiang started around 1000 AD by eliminating Buddhism 215 Xinjiang Muslim Turkic peoples contain Uyghurs Kazaks Kyrgyz Tatars Uzbeks Muslim Iranian peoples comprise Tajiks Sarikolis Wakhis often conflated as Tajiks Muslim Sino Tibetan peoples are such as the Hui Other ethnic groups in the region are Hans Mongols Oirats Daurs Dongxiangs Russians Xibes Manchus Around 70 000 Russian immigrants were living in Xinjiang in 1945 216 The Han Chinese of Xinjiang arrived at different times from different directions and social backgrounds There are now descendants of criminals and officials who had been exiled from China during the second half of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries descendants of families of military and civil officers from Hunan Yunnan Gansu and Manchuria descendants of merchants from Shanxi Tianjin Hubei and Hunan and descendants of peasants who started immigrating into the region in 1776 217 The languages of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Uyghur girl in Kashgar County level ethnicity map of Xinjiang as of 2018 Some Uyghur scholars claim descent from both the Turkic Uyghurs and the pre Turkic Tocharians or Tokharians whose language was Indo European also Uyghurs often have relatively fair skin hair and eyes and other Caucasoid physical traits In 2002 there were 9 632 600 males growth rate of 1 0 and 9 419 300 females growth rate of 2 2 The population overall growth rate was 1 09 with 1 63 of birth rate and 0 54 mortality rate Three Uyghur girls at a Sunday market in the oasis city Khotan The Qing began a process of settling Han Hui and Uyghur settlers into Northern Xinjiang Dzungaria in the 18th century At the start of the 19th century 40 years after the Qing reconquest there were around 155 000 Han and Hui Chinese in northern Xinjiang and somewhat more than twice that number of Uyghurs in Southern Xinjiang 218 A census of Xinjiang under Qing rule in the early 19th century tabulated ethnic shares of the population as 30 Han and 60 Turkic and it dramatically shifted to 6 Han and 75 Uyghur in the 1953 census However a situation similar to the Qing era s demographics with a large number of Han had been restored by 2000 with 40 57 Han and 45 21 Uyghur 219 Professor Stanley W Toops noted that today s demographic situation is similar to that of the early Qing period in Xinjiang 220 Before 1831 only a few hundred Chinese merchants lived in Southern Xinjiang oases Tarim Basin and only a few Uyghurs lived in Northern Xinjiang Dzungaria 221 After 1831 the Qing encouraged Han Chinese migration into the Tarim Basin in southern Xinjiang but with very little success and permanent troops were stationed on the land there as well 222 Political killings and expulsions of non Uyghur populations during the uprisings in the 1860s 222 and the 1930s saw them experience a sharp decline as a percentage of the total population 223 though they rose once again in the periods of stability from 1880 which saw Xinjiang increase its population from 1 2 million 224 225 to 1949 From a low of 7 in 1953 the Han began to return to Xinjiang between then and 1964 where they comprised 33 of the population 54 Uyghur like in Qing times A decade later at the beginning of the Chinese economic reform in 1978 the demographic balance was 46 Uyghur and 40 Han 219 which did not change drastically until the 2000 Census when the Uyghur population had reduced to 42 226 In 2010 the population of Xinjiang was 45 84 Uyghur and 40 48 Han The 2020 Census showed the Uyghur population decline slightly to 44 96 and the Han population rise to 42 24 227 228 Military personnel are not counted and national minorities are undercounted in the Chinese census as in most other censuses 229 While some of the shift has been attributed to an increased Han presence 12 Uyghurs have also emigrated to other parts of China where their numbers have increased steadily Uyghur independence activists express concern over the Han population changing the Uyghur character of the region though the Han and Hui Chinese mostly live in Northern Xinjiang Dzungaria and are separated from areas of historic Uyghur dominance south of the Tian Shan mountains Southwestern Xinjiang where Uyghurs account for about 90 of the population 230 In general Uyghurs are the majority in Southwestern Xinjiang including the prefectures of Kashgar Khotan Kizilsu and Aksu about 80 of Xinjiang s Uyghurs live in those four prefectures as well as Turpan Prefecture in Eastern Xinjiang The Han are the majority in Eastern and Northern Xinjiang Dzungaria including the cities of Urumqi Karamay Shihezi and the prefectures of Changjyi Bortala Bayin gholin Ili especially the cities of Kuitun and Kumul Kazakhs are mostly concentrated in Ili Prefecture in Northern Xinjiang Kazakhs are the majority in the northernmost part of Xinjiang Ethnic groups in Xinjiang根据2015年底人口抽查统计 231 2018 government data 232 Nationality Population Percentage Population PercentageUyghur 11 303 300 46 42 11 678 646 51 145 Han 8 611 000 38 99 7 857 370 34 410 Kazakh 1 591 200 7 02 1 574 930 6 897 Hui 1 015 800 4 54 1 015 700 4 448 Kirghiz 202 200 0 88 208 346 0 912 Mongols 180 600 0 83 178 993 0 784 Tajiks 50 100 0 21 51 355 0 225 Xibe 43 200 0 20 42 772 0 187 Manchu 27 515 0 11 27 372 0 120 Tujia 15 787 0 086 N A N AUzbek 18 769 0 066 19 652 0 086 Russian 11 800 0 048 11 604 0 051 Miao 7 006 0 038 N A N ADaur N A N A 6 793 0 030 Tibetan 6 153 0 033 N A N AZhuang 5 642 0 031 N A N ATatar 5 183 0 024 5 019 0 022 Salar 3 762 0 020 N A N AOther 129 190 0 600 156 024 0 683 Major ethnic groups in Xinjiang by region 2018 data I P Prefecture AP Autonomous prefecture PLC Prefecture level city DACLC Directly administered county level city 232 Uyghurs Han Kazakhs others Xinjiang 51 14 34 41 6 90 7 55Urumqi PLC 12 85 71 21 2 77 13 16Karamay PLC 15 59 74 67 4 05 5 69Turpan Prefecture 76 96 16 84 0 05 6 15Kumul Prefecture 20 01 65 49 10 04 4 46Changji AP 4 89 72 28 10 34 12 49Bortala AP 14 76 63 27 10 41 11 56Bayin gholin AP 36 38 53 31 0 11 10 20Aksu Prefecture 80 08 18 56 0 01 1 36Kizilsu AP 66 24 6 29 0 03 27 44Kashgar Prefecture 92 56 6 01 lt 0 005 1 42Khotan Prefecture 96 96 2 85 lt 0 005 0 19Ili AP n 3 17 95 40 09 27 16 14 80 former Ili Prefecture 26 30 35 21 21 57 16 91 Tacheng Prefecture 4 25 54 66 26 66 14 43 Altay Prefecture 1 42 39 85 52 76 5 97Shihezi DACLC 1 09 94 13 0 63 4 15Aral DACLC 3 66 91 96 lt 0 005 4 38Tumushuke DACLC 67 49 31 73 lt 0 005 0 78Wujiaqu DACLC 0 05 96 29 0 10 3 55Tiemenguan DACLC 0 07 95 96 0 00 3 97 Does not include members of the People s Liberation Army in active service Vital statistics Edit Year 233 Population Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate per 1000 Crude death rate per 1000 Natural change per 1000 2011 22 090 000 14 99 4 42 10 572012 22 330 000 15 32 4 48 10 842013 22 640 000 15 84 4 92 10 922014 22 980 000 16 44 4 97 11 472015 23 600 000 15 59 4 51 11 082016 23 980 000 15 34 4 26 11 082017 24 450 000 15 88 4 48 11 402018 24 870 000 10 69 4 56 6 132019 25 230 000 8 14 4 45 3 692020 25 852 000 7 012021 25 890 000 6 16 5 60 0 56 234 Religion Edit Religion in Xinjiang around 2010 Islam 235 58 Buddhism 32 Taoism 9 Christianity 1 The major religions in Xinjiang are Islam among the Uyghurs and the Hui Chinese minority while many of the Han Chinese practice Chinese folk religions Confucianism Taoism and Buddhism According to a demographic analysis of the year 2010 Muslims form 58 of the province s population 235 In 1950 there were 29 000 mosques and 54 000 imams in Xinjiang which fell to 14 000 mosques and 29 000 imams by 1966 Following the Cultural Revolution there were only about 1 400 remaining mosques By the mid 1980 s the number of mosques had returned to 1950 levels 236 According to a 2020 report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute since 2017 Chinese authorities have destroyed or damaged 16 000 mosques in Xinjiang 65 of the region s total 237 238 Christianity in Xinjiang is the religion of 1 of the population according to the Chinese General Social Survey of 2009 239 A majority of the Uyghur Muslims adhere to Sunni Islam of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence or madhab A minority of Shias almost exclusively of the Nizari Ismaili Seveners rites are located in the higher mountains of Tajik and Tian Shan In the western mountains the Tajiks almost the entire population of Tajiks Sarikolis and Wakhis are Nizari Ismaili Shia 12 In the north in the Tian Shan the Kazakhs and Kyrgyz are Sunni Afaq Khoja Mausoleum and Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar are most important Islamic Xinjiang sites Emin Minaret in Turfan is a key Islamic site Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves is a noticeable Buddhist site Heroic Gesture of Bodhisattvathe Bodhisattva example of 6th 7th century terracotta Greco Buddhist art local populations were Buddhist from Tumxuk Xinjiang Sogdian donors to the Buddha 8th century fresco with detail Bezeklik Eastern Tarim Basin A mosque in Urumqi People engaging in snow sports by a statue of bodhisattva Guanyin in Wujiaqu Christian Church in Hami Catholic Church in Urumqi Temple of the Great Buddha in Midong Urumqi Taoist Temple of Fortune and Longevity at the Heavenly Lake of Tianshan in Fukang Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture Emin Minaret Id Kah mosque in Kashgar largest mosque in ChinaSports EditXinjiang is home to the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers professional basketball team of the Chinese Basketball Association and to Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard F C a football team that plays in China League One The capital Urumqi is home to the Xinjiang University baseball team an integrated Uyghur and Han group profiled in the documentary film Diamond in the Dunes Transportation EditRoads Edit Karakorum highway In 2008 according to the Xinjiang Transportation Network Plan the government has focused construction on State Road 314 Alar Hotan Desert Highway State Road 218 Qingshui River Line Yining Highway and State Road 217 as well as other roads The construction of the first expressway in the mountainous area of Xinjiang began a new stage in its construction on 24 July 2007 The 56 km 35 mi highway linking Sayram Lake and Guozi Valley in Northern Xinjiang area had cost 2 39 billion yuan The expressway is designed to improve the speed of national highway 312 in northern Xinjiang The project started in August 2006 and several stages have been fully operational since March 2007 Over 3 000 construction workers have been involved The 700 m long Guozi Valley Cable Bridge over the expressway is now currently being constructed with the 24 main pile foundations already completed Highway 312 national highway Xinjiang section connects Xinjiang with China s east coast Central and West Asia plus some parts of Europe It is a key factor in Xinjiang s economic development The population it covers is around 40 of the overall in Xinjiang who contribute half of the GDP in the area The head of the Transport Department was quoted as saying that 24 800 000 000 RMB had been invested into Xinjiang s road network in 2010 alone and by this time the roads covered approximately 152 000 km 94 000 mi 240 Rail Edit Urumqi South railway station Kashgar railway station Lanzhou Xinjiang Railway Southern Xinjiang Railway Xinjiang s rail hub is Urumqi To the east a conventional and a high speed rail line runs through Turpan and Hami to Lanzhou in Gansu Province A third outlet to the east connects Hami and Inner Mongolia To the west the Northern Xinjiang runs along the northern footslopes of the Tian Shan range through Changji Shihezi Kuytun and Jinghe to the Kazakh border at Alashankou where it links up with the Turkestan Siberia Railway Together the Northern Xinjiang and the Lanzhou Xinjiang lines form part of the Trans Eurasian Continental Railway which extends from Rotterdam on the North Sea to Lianyungang on the East China Sea The Second Urumqi Jinghe Railway provides additional rail transport capacity to Jinghe from which the Jinghe Yining Horgos Railway heads into the Ili River Valley to Yining Huocheng and Khorgos a second rail border crossing with Kazakhstan The Kuytun Beitun Railway runs from Kuytun north into the Junggar Basin to Karamay and Beitun near Altay In the south the Southern Xinjiang Line from Turpan runs southwest along the southern footslopes of the Tian Shan into the Tarim Basin with stops at Yanqi Korla Kuqa Aksu Maralbexi Bachu Artux and Kashgar From Kashgar the Kashgar Hotan railway follows the southern rim of the Tarim to Hotan with stops at Shule Akto Yengisar Shache Yarkant Yecheng Karghilik Moyu Karakax The Urumqi Dzungaria Railway connects Urumqi with coal fields in the eastern Junggar Basin The Hami Lop Nur Railway connects Hami with potassium salt mines in and around Lop Nur The Golmud Korla Railway opened in 2020 provides an outlet to Qinghai Planning is underway on additional intercity railways 241 Railways to Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan have been proposed citation needed See also Edit China portal Administrative divisions of ChinaNotes Edit Uighur شىنجاڭ SASM GNC Xinjang Chinese 新疆 pinyin Xinjiang formerly romanized as Sinkiang The imperial era Chinese word gui 歸 is not descriptive but normative It is a term which seeks to justify new conquests by presenting them as a naturally appropriate return It does not indicate that the territory already had been conquered earlier 28 Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture is composed of Kuitun DACLC Tacheng Prefecture Aletai Prefecture and the former Ili Prefecture Ili Prefecture has been disbanded and its former area is now directly administered by Ili AP References EditCitations Edit a b 6 1 自然资源划 6 1 Natural Resources in Chinese Statistics Bureau of Xinjiang Archived from the original on 22 December 2015 Retrieved 19 December 2015 Mackerras Colin Yorke Amanda 1991 The Cambridge handbook of contemporary China Cambridge University Press p 192 ISBN 978 0 521 38755 2 Retrieved 4 June 2008 Communique of the Seventh National Population Census No 3 National Bureau of Statistics of China 11 May 2021 Retrieved 11 May 2021 Main Data of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region from the Seventh National Population Census www fmprc gov cn Consulate General of the People s Republic of China in Toronto 16 June 2021 Retrieved 8 August 2021 China Ethnologue Archived from the original on 26 December 2018 Retrieved 3 June 2015 GDP 2021 is a preliminary data Home Regional Quarterly by Province Press release China NBS 1 March 2022 Retrieved 23 March 2022 United Nations Development Program 2013 China Human Development Report 2013 Sustainable and Liveable Cities Toward Ecological Urbanisation PDF Beijing Translation and Publishing Corporation ISBN 978 7 5001 3754 2 Archived PDF from the original on 11 June 2014 Retrieved 14 May 2014 Longman J C 2008 Longman Pronunciation Dictionary 3 ed Pearson Education ESL ISBN 978 1405881173 Xinjiang Uygur Merriam Webster Dictionary 新疆维吾尔自治区政府网 En The Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China Archived from the original on 7 December 2020 Retrieved 18 August 2020 National Data Archived from the original on 15 April 2020 Retrieved 16 September 2020 a b c Regions and territories Xinjiang BBC News 7 May 2011 Archived from the original on 20 May 2011 Turkestan Catholic Encyclopedia Vol XV New York Robert Appleton Company 1912 Archived from the original on 20 April 2008 Retrieved 26 November 2008 span, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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