Xinjiang

Xinjiang[n 1] (UK: /ˌʃɪnˈæŋ/,[8] US: /ˈʃɪnˈjɑːŋ/),[9] officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR),[10] is an 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 Region
Name transcription(s)
  Chinese新疆维吾尔自治区
(Xīnjiāng Wéiwú'ěr Zìzhìqū)
  Uyghurشىنجاڭ ئۇيغۇر ئاپتونوم رايونى
(Shinjang Uyghur Aptonom Rayoni)
  AbbreviationXJ / (Xīn)
Clockwise from top:
Location of Xinjiang within China
Coordinates: 41°N 85°E
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 ChairwomanZumret Obul
  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)[6]
GDP per capitaCN¥61,952
US$9,600 (21st)
GDP growth 7%
HDI (2019)0.732[7] (high) (22nd)
Websitewww.xinjiang.gov.cn
(Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region)

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.[12][unreliable source?] It is home to a number of ethnic groups, including the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, the Han Chinese, Tibetans, Hui, Chinese Tajiks (Pamiris), Mongols, Russians and Sibe.[13] 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,[14][15] East Turkestan[16] and East Turkistan.[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, which was later replaced by the Republic of China. 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 including, according to some, genocide.[21][22][23]


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