Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/416

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By the Editor.

Before dealing with Mongolia proper, it may be well to add a few words to what has been written by Mr. George Hunter in his article on Sinkiang, concerning that general geographical relationship which exists between all the vast tract of territory which constitutes the whole northern section of the central Asiatic plateau, lying between the Kuen-luen and the Altai mountain systems. Speaking somewhat roughly, it may be said that that country which extends from Pamir on the west to Manchuria on the east, and bounded by Siberia on the north and China proper on the south, is Mongolia in its widest sense.

Between the Gobi Desert of Mongolia proper and Taklamakan of Chinese Turkestan (called by some writers "Western Gobi or even Western Mongolia) lies a broad belt of country some three hundred miles wide, which is not desert to the same extent as the two deserts mentioned above, but is fairly well watered by the streams which flow from the Nan-shan and Tien-shan, on the south and north respectively. The explanation of this is by some thought to be that the inlet of the Bay of Bengal brings that portion of Central Asia nearer to the sea than elsewhere. This belt of country which unites China proper with the Tien-shan is of great importance to China, affording as it does the lines of communication from China to Kashgaria and Zungaria.

With the Pamir and Kuen-luen mountains on the west