November 30, 2006 8:05pm CST
The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, also called Xin for short, is located in northwestern China. Largest in area in all the province-level administrative regions of China, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region covers an area of 1.66 million sq.km, one sixth of Chinese territory. Situated in the hinterland of Eurasian continent, Xinjiang of China borders eight countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Kirghiziastan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, India and Afghanistan. The geographic position of Xinjiang makes it very important in strategy. In history, Xinjiang served as the key controlling section of the well-known Silk Road, while now it is an unavoidable part of the railway leading to the second Eurasia Continental Bridge. Xinjiang, called Western Region in ancient times, has been an inalienable part of China from ancient times. In 60 B.C., Xinjiang officially became a part of China’s territory for that year central government of the Western Han Dynasty founded the West Region Frontier Command here. In 1884, the government of the Qing Dynasty established Xinjiang Province. In 1949, Xinjiang was liberated through peaceful means. October 1, 1955 saw the establishment of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Presently, there are 14 prefectures (including prefectures, autonomous prefectures and prefecture-level cities) and 88 counties (including cities and cities at county level) under the government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, including 33 counties (county-level cities) in border areas. The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) is an important component part of Xinjiang and has 174 regimental agricultural and stockbreeding farms under it. By the end of 2004, the population of Xinjiang had reached 19.6311 million.