National Geographic : 2009 Dec
Bachu Kashi (Kashgar) Shache (Yarkant) K2 28,251 ft 8,611 m KUNLUN PAMIRS AFGHAN. INDIA KASHMIR PAKISTAN TAJIKISTAN KYRGYZSTAN Yarkant Boundary claimed by Pakistan Boundary claimed by India Boundary claimed by India Where merchants once trekked through western China on the Silk Road, today pipelines, high- ways, and railroads serve as conduits of wealth. In recent years Xinjiang ("new frontier") has attracted a ood of Han Chinese, with many going to new town sites like Alar (right) on the desert rim. Uygurs still dominate the rural south, but the north looks increasingly like the rest of booming China. EXPLOITING A RICH FRONTIER 1941 1953 1964 1982 1990 2000 2007 7% 39% 46% Kazakh 9% Uygur 80% Han 5% Uygur: 12% Han: 73% Uygur: 82% Han: 17% Urumqi Kashi Uygur Han Kazakh Other Xinjiang is China's leading cotton producer, with 38 percent of the total. Most is grown on irrigated desert near Aksu and Kashgar. NEWCOMERS The population of Han Chinese in Xinjiang has swelled by 2.5 million since the 1990s, when Beijing's "Develop the West" initiative began a rush from the interior and the east coast. If the inflow continues, Han could soon outnumber Uygurs in their traditional homeland. One dot equals 5,000 persons (2007 data); "other" includes Hui, Kyrgyz, and additional ethnic groups repre- senting 8 percent of Xinjiang's population.