CHINESE OR EASTERN TURKESTAN. A depend ency of China, bordered on the north by Sun garia, on the east by Mongolia, on the south by Tibet, on the southwest by Kashmir, and on the west and northwest by the Pamir and Rus sian Turkestan. The country is isolated and forbidding in many aspects. It is in the main a large and elevated desert plateau, surrounded by lofty mountain ranges, of which the Tian Shan lines the northern frontier, and the Kuen Altyn Tag, and the spurs of the Karakorum the southern. The southern range reaches more than 18,000 feet. The desert of Gobi occupies a portion of the eastern section. The mean eleva tion of Chinese Turkestan is assumed to be about 3500 feet. but there are a number of markedly low levels, and along the southern face of the Bog,do-Ola mountains, in the depression of Luk tchun. the surface drops 200 feet or more below sea-level. The region is watered chiefly by the Tarim River (q.v.), which rises in the west. and its tributaries. The Tashun-Gobi desert occupies the centre of the eastern part. At the foot of the frontier ranges there are chains of oases which mark the chief caravan routes of the region. the foot of the Tian Shan stretches a series of lakes. of which the largest is the Bagrach Kul.
The climate is severe and extremely dry. Do
mestic animals abound, and the tiger, jackal, wild camel, bear, and wolf are found. The oases and the strips along the base of the mountain ranges alone offer conditions for permanent habi tation. The people are engaged principally in agriculture, stock-raising. commerce, and hunt ing. Cotton. silk, and animal products are ex ported, and in some of the larger cities, such as iarkand. Khotan, Aksu. and Kashgar, there are manufactured copper-ware, silk, carpet, felt, and leather goods. There are extensive mineral re sources, hut mining is engaged in only by the natives and accordingly in a primitive way. Asbestos, sulphur, and saltpetre are obtained, A heavy caravan commerce traverses Eastern Turkestan en route to and from China, this region being in the direct central western route. Administratively, Eastern Turkestan has formed since 1885 a part of the Chinese Province of Sin kiang, and is divided into the three dao-tais of Kashgar, Aksu, and Crumehi (qq.v.). The seat of the administration is at Urnmehi. The in habitants are of mixed Aryan and Turanian de scent, The most numerous are the Kirghizes, Sarts, Kalmneks, Csbegs, and Tajiks. The lan guage is Eastern Turkish with an admixture of Chinese words.