Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/256

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THE CHINESE EMPIRE

New Dominion. The date of this division is differently given. The Far East says 1877, it being the result of Tso Tsong-tang's great campaign against the successors of Yakob Beg. The Jesuits' recent work, Geographie de l'Empire de Chine, gives it as 1882, while others say 1884.

As a rough indication of the vast tracts of country covered by Kansu and Sinkiang, it may be mentioned that it is about seventy-two days' journey from Hankow to Lanchow Fu, and the same again from Lanchow Fu to Urumtsi, the capital of Sinkiang. In the latter province it is the common thing for the traveller to travel by night, so as to avoid thirst, as the water-supply is very scarce. With the exception of the few trade routes which traverse the province, the means of communication are few. Along these main routes wheel traffic is possible, but as on the other routes it is often difficult for animals to be employed, the goods are carried by men. The Yellow River is not properly navigable, though it is used for rafts.

The principal routes are from Sian Fu in Shensi to Lanchow Fu, following along the valley of the King River. This route also leads on past Lanchow to Sining and on to Tibet. There is also a more difficult road from Sian Fu to Lanchow, which passes by Tsin Chow in the south. Another road leads from Ningsia Fu into Sinkiang, passing Liangchow Fu, Kanchow Fu, and Suchow. Among places of special interest in this province should be mentioned Gumbum, which lies to the south-west of Sining Fu. Here there is an important lamasery — with a living Buddha — which is visited by many pilgrims.

The climate of the province is very dry and cold in the north, though naturally less so towards the south. The weather is generally very fine, but the dust, which, on account of the dryness of the atmosphere and the lightness of the soil, covers the roads to a great depth, is very trying. The province is on the whole mountainous, inter- spersed with a few wide fertile valleys. The east of the