East Turkestan is located in central Asia within the Chinese province of Xinjiang. It is bordered to the west by the other Turkic lands of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikstan, to the north by Mongolia and to the south by Afghanistan and Tibet. Its area is 1.6 million square kilometers. Its population is 16 million of whom 7.2 million are Uyghur and 6.4 million are Chinese. Natural resources in the area include emeralds, platinum, gold, petroleum and uranium.
It was annexed by China following the ascension to power of the communist regime in 1949. The Soviet Union annexed west Turkestan (subsequently divided into stans for the Tajik, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Turkmen people). These were geopolitically vital acquistions by the competing communists powers, part of a power play sometimes known as 'The Great Game'.
In the eight century things circumstances were reversed. The Uyghur Khagan accepted 20,000 rolls of silk in tribute from the Chinese emperor. To cement ties, Chinese princesses were married off to became Uyghur Khajans. Up to 1759, East Turkestan remained free of China. Read the Uyghur node for more about their history and culture.
More recently, China has conducted 40 nuclear tests in the deserts of East Turkestan. It is alleged that the Uyghur culture is repressed in an attempt to transform East Turkestan into a bona fide Chinese province. Read the Xinjiang node for opposing views on this topic.