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Section 1

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Section 2
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Section 3
turpan cotton field at the foot of the flaming mountians



long staple cotton the best in the country
   


As September gets under way, the fields and open country of southern Xinjiang, stretching from Turpan through Korla, Aksu and Kashi to Hotan, as well as the northern country areas from Manas and Shihu westwards across to Bole (Bortala), are all abloom with silvery, snow-white blossoms. Setting off the beauty of the Gobi Desert oases, these are the flowers of Xinjiang's famous

cotton trees.

Xinjiang was one of the first regions in China to cultivate cotton, which in ancient times was known as "White Folds," "Weaving Shell" and "Shell of Fortune." Cotton is known nowadays as pohta in the Uygur language, and some historians believe that because of the similarity in sound, this name is the same as the Chinese word baidie ("White Folds"). The joint origins of these names provide evidence of the introduction of cotton into China from Xinjiang. The history of cotton cultivation in Xinjiang is reckoned to be no less than 2,000 years long. Archaeological finds and historical records show that cotton-growing within the Tarim Basin region and around Turpan began at the time of the Eastern Han (25-220) and continued to spread in these areas up to the time of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386-581). Weaving developed at this time too. Excavation of Eastern Han tombs in Minfeng County has produced archaeological evidence of indigenous batik cloth as well as calico trousers, handkerchiefs and other woven cotton articles. More cotton textiles were discovered in the ancient Jin (265-420) and Tang (618-907) dynasty tombs uncovered near Turpan. In the "Liang Shu," a record of that dynasty (502-557) compiled during the Tang Dynasty, the biography of the Rong people of the Northwest contains the following section: "In the kingdom of Gaochang (Tur- pan), shrubs and trees are numerous. The pod of one kind of shrub looks like a cocoon, the filaments of which are as fine as ramie fibers. It is known as baidie and the people of the kingdom use it to weave the softest, whitest cloth which they then sell." In addition to cloth, cotton bolls were discovered during excavations of the late Tang city of Tokuzsara in Bachu (Maralwexi) Caunty. On examination, the small yellow seeds covered in short hairs turned out to be a variety of wild cotton which was grown at that time. Despite its long history of cotton cultivation, it was only after 1949 that Xinjiang's cotton production took new strides forward. In 1949 there were only 33,333 or so hectares cultivating cotton, with a total yield of a little over 5,000 tons. However by 1959 cotton acreage had increased to over 140,665 hectares. Following the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Party Congress, agricultural policies became more relaxed, and economic policies relating to cotton production became more practicable. As a result, cotton growing in Xinjiang developed even further. By 1983, the area devoted to cotton had risen to around 267,000 hectares, and total production had leapt to 150,000 tons, At the present time, cotton is Xinjiang's most important cash crop.
Environmental conditions in Xinjiang are ideal for cotton cultivation. Its hot, dry climate has a high thermal capacity, ample daylight,minimal precipitation and high daytime temperatures plunging at night. These factors Coupled with snow-melt irrigation make Xinjiang an excellent cotton-growing region unparalleled within China.Xinjiang's dominant position in cotton production is also due in some part to the scarcity of pests in the region, which keeps down production costs, and the excellent quality of the variety grown, with over eighty percent of each year's crop being classed as first and second grade cotton. Together with Hubei and Jiangsu provinces, Xinjiang produces the highest quality cotton in China.
As well as growing upland cotton, Xinjiang is the sole producer of long-staple cotton in China. Known also as Sea-Island cotton, the long-staple variety requires a long period of warmth and abundant daylight for the bolls to develop and is most suited to a dr'y, hot, irrigated environment such as Xinjiang's. The fibers of long,staple cotton are relatively long and strong, and so this variety of cotton has many special uses, such as in tyre-cord, blasting fuses and
parachutes, as well as in the manufacture of top-grade textiles