SHERQI TÜRKISTAN JUMHURIYITI SÜRGÜNDIKI HOKUMITI
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Agriculture in the province depends on irrigation fed by rivers flowing from the mountains and oases. Crops include winter and spring wheat, corn, rice and millet. The province's farmers are a major producer of long-fiber cotton for China; fruit from the region such as the seedless grapes of Turfan, melons of Artush and Peyzawat, and apples of Ghulja are well known.
The territory is one of China’s biggest producers of livestock. Large numbers of sheep, cattle, horses, goats, donkeys, camels, mules and yaks are to be found grazing on the provinces vast natural grasslands.
Potentially of greatest importance is the natural wealth to be found beneath the land -- a fact not lost on China. The land is rich in uranium, platinum, gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds and and other precious stones. Iron, lead, copper, silver, sulphur, tin, and mica are abundant as well.
Most significantly, East Turkistan has vast and largely untapped deposits of coal and reserves of oil. China estimates that one third of its total coal and oil is to be found within the province. By the year 2000, confirmed oil reserves are expected to reach 6.5 billion tons -- along with billions of cubic meters of natural gas.
According to The Washington Post, "oil in China’s Tarim Basin may contain nearly as much crude as Saudi Arabia." Despite the natural wealth of East Turkistan, the Turkic people of this land remain poor, living in what China itself acknowledges to be one of its poorest provinces. Indeed, according to China’s own statistics, 90 percent of the Turkic people live below the nation’s poverty line.
People and Culture