Sinkiang, China

By | November 2, 2021

Sinkiang, Hsinchiang [-d ʒ -], Chinese Xinjiang [ ɕ ɪ nd ʒ jang], autonomous region of the Uyghurs in northwest China, 1,663,000 km 2, (2017) 24.5 million residents, the capital is Ürümqi.

Sinkiang is mainly from the northern Djungary and the Tarim Basin Taken with the Lop Nur and the Takla-Makan desert in the southern part. Between these tectonic depressions, the eastern Tian Shan (here 3,000–5,000 m above sea level; in the western part with two main chains separated by the Ili) runs through Sinkiang in a west-east direction for a length of 1,500 km (at 250–300 km width); on its south-eastern flank lie, among other things. the Hami and Turfan Depression (at 154 m below sea level, the lowest point in China). The high mountain ranges of the Western Kunlun Shan with the massifs of the Muztagata (7,546 m above sea level) and the Middle Kunlun Shan (7,723 m above sea level) as well as the Altun Shan (6,161 m above sea level) occupy the south. In the far north, Sinkiang is part of the Mongolian Altai. The isolation of the area and the great distance from the sea result in an extremely continental dry climate (mean annual precipitation in the north 100–500, in the south 25–100 mm; temperatures in January –10 ° C to –20 ° C; mean temperature in July around 25 ° C); over a fifth of Sinkiang is desert.

The most important population groups are the Uyghurs, whose share fell from (1953) 75% due to the mass immigration or sending of Chinese after the construction of the Lanzhou – Ürümqi railway line to (2000) about 47%, and the Chinese, whose share is about the same today (1953: 6%). The Han Chinese have v. a. located in northern Sinkiang, especially next to Ürümqi in the cities of Shihezi, Kuytun and Karamai. National minorities are the Kazakhs (6%), Hui (5%), Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Mongols, Tatars, Russians, Dauren and others. In Djungaria, pasture farming (cattle, sheep, horses) by former nomads (especially Kazakhs and Mongols) predominates; on the edge of the Tarim basin, the oasis economy is of great importance. In the oases on the northern (including Hetian, Yarkand, Kashgar) and southern (including Aksu, Kuqa) mountain rim, Wheat, maize, rice, cotton, sugar beet, apricots, figs and melons are grown through which the two main routes of the Silk Road already passed; Sericulture is also important. Especially since the expansion of agricultural land by the immigrant Han Chinese since 1950, cotton has been the most important agricultural product (largest cultivation area in China). Further oasis areas are located on the upper Ili, at the northern foot of the Tian Shan and in its southeastern peripheral depressions.

Sinkiang has rich mineral resources, which are only partially used: extraction (and processing) of crude oil (in the Djungarian region), mining of coal (in Urumqi and Hami), uranium ore (in the Tian Shan) and iron ore (in the Djungarian region) as well Gold mining (Altun Shan, Kunlun Shan, Djungary). The industry (built up from 1950) includes v. a. Cotton and silk processing and the food industry. Ürümqi developed into an important industrial location (iron and steel works, oil refinery). The craft is well developed (especially carpet weaving). National and international tourism is growing due to scenic and historical attractions (e.g. Tianchi Lake north of Ürümqi, oases like Turfan [known for fruit and wine growing] or Hami; numerous historical evidence such as the structural remains of the two cities of Qocho [Gaochang] and Jiache, founded in the 2nd / 3rd centuries. Century BC Chr.). Since the 1980s, border trade with neighboring Central Asian countries has increased through more than 20 border crossings. There are often political tensions with the central government in Beijing, including: due to civil unrest and religious activity.

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History: The area – 101 BC The southern part (Ost-Turkestan, Turkestan) for the first time under Chinese sovereignty – was the most important land bridge to West and South Asia for China and therefore also a constant object of dispute with the neighboring non-Chinese peoples. The Uighurs settled here in the 9th century, and western Mongolian tribes invaded since the Ming period (1368–1644). When these grew stronger in the 17th century under the leadership of the Dzungars (Oirats) and increasingly threatened Manchu rule, the Dzungarian Wars (1696-1758) broke out. With the pacification of Djungaria and the conquest of East Turkestan (since then also called Chinese Turkestan) in 1758, all of Sinkiang was won and later annexed to the Chinese Empire as a protectorate. In a revolt of the Islamic Turkic peoples (1862–78), their leader Jakub Beg (* around 1820, † 1877) unite the entire Tarim Basin under his rule (formation of the Islamic State of Kashgar, 1873). The rebellious Chinese Muslims allied with him succeeded in taking possession of almost all of Djungaria, with the exception of the Ili region, which was occupied by Russia in 1871. In protracted battles, the Chinese finally recaptured Djungaria (1876) and Kashgar (1878). When the Ili area became Chinese again in 1881, the entire area was incorporated into the Chinese civil administration as Sinkiang Province.

In the provinces that were independent from the government headquarters between 1911 and 1941, the USSR was able to gain influence. When Sinkiang submitted to the Chinese central government in 1941/42, this led to an uprising in the Ili region (1944) and the formation of the pro-Soviet East Turkestan Republic in Kuldja. Their government was replaced in 1949 by a Communist People’s Provisional Government, which was responsible for all of Sinkiang and was subordinate to Beijing. In 1955, Sinkiang was constituted as an autonomous region. In 1962, with Soviet help, around 50,000 Uyghurs and Kazakhs left Sinkiang, which led to the closure of the border with the USSR. Sinkiang became a military exclusion zone. There are often political tensions with the central government in Beijing, including: due to religious activity.

Sinkiang, China