The Economy of Xinjiang
The course of Xinjiang's economic development has been shaped by a powerful confluence of environmental and sociopolitical factors. The region is remote from heavily populated areas, and the natural environment is largely harsh and inhospitable. Well into the twentieth century, Xinjiang was crossable only by camel caravan. The journey from China's heartland took many months and was fraught with both natural and man-made perils. 1 Locals eked out a subsistence existence from the land and engaged in barter trade with passing traffic.