Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Korla, an expanding (oil) town, Xinjiang

A Remote Boomtown Where Mainly Newcomers Benefit

Howard W French

New York Times 20 December 2005

KORLA, China - The prop plane packed with businessmen swoops into this once sleepy oasis town in far western China, flying in low over the spectacular Tian Shan mountain range, now snowcapped.
At the tiny, primitive airport here, where people have to wait outdoors in the biting cold for their luggage, a billboard over the shabby terminal announces the arrival of change clearly enough: "Petroleum Hotel," it reads, in Chinese, English and the Arabic script used by the region's Uighur ethnic minority.
There are three ways to get to this city, sprouting on the edge of one of the world's largest deserts, the Taklimakan, and they all bespeak the remarkable boom under way. By night, flares from new oil fields blaze on the horizon in every direction on the bleak roads that cross the desert and run along its edge.
By day, trains disgorge passengers: newly arriving ethnic Chinese migrants from the country's crowded east or, in the harvest season, day laborers who come by the tens of thousands to pick cotton and fruit grown on spreads owned by big east coast investors.
Since this little airfield hardly befits a boomtown, a fancy new airport is being built a short distance away.
Thriving "insta-cities" are common on the prospering eastern seaboard. But in many ways what is happening in Korla and cities like it here in Xinjiang Province is even more impressive. And to a degree little suspected back east, the country's future depends on their success.
China has a bottomless thirst for oil and gas, and Xinjiang these days is producing both in ever greater quantities. Moreover, because of its proximity to Central Asia, the province has become the favorite route for pipelines bringing imported energy from Kazakhstan and beyond.
Since this is China's largest province in area, and home to the largest Muslim minority population, what happens here is crucial to the country's future stability. As with Tibet to the south, China's hold on Xinjiang is recent. Elements of the Uighur and Kazakh minorities have long yearned for independence and have sporadically engaged in terrorism.
Beijing has cracked down harshly on separatists and has banned religious schools in Xinjiang, for fear they will foment Islamic radicalism and separatism. But for now, as elsewhere in China, the government seems to be betting that strong economic growth is the best way to consolidate its control.
The province's recent record of discovering new sources of oil has certainly created an air of confidence here among government leaders and business people, most of whom hail from the east. Natural gas output has doubled in the last five years, and oil production is also rising fast, especially from the nearby Tarim Basin.
"This place is blowing and a-glowing," said Jim Scott, an ebullient Louisiana native who spends much of the year here, selling high-pressure valves and other oil field equipment to Chinese companies. "I guarantee you there's a boom on here. There's more drilling and exploring around here than you can imagine."
Beyond foreign oilmen, the explosive growth in the petroleum sector is drawing thousands of Chinese entrepreneurs from coastal cities like Shanghai and Wenzhou. Some arrive wealthy, ready to invest. Others, like, Qian Bolun, 36, who has been here for 15 years, sought their fortune in Korla when it was little more than a dusty township.
"See this," he said, nudging a glass across the lunch table at a fancy downtown restaurant owned by a Wenzhou entrepreneur. "In the old days if I bought one of these for one yuan I'd sell it here for 1.20." Nowadays Mr.Qian, who dresses in nice suits and drives a late-model Japanese sedan, deals exclusively in big-ticket items like industrial generators, tractors and mining equipment.
The new petroleum economy has left its mark all over downtown Korla, from the smart department stores and shopping malls that line the broad streets of the central city to a large nightclub district that bathes in flashing neon after sunset.
At one club, Chinese fashion models strut and Russian dancers shimmy on a stage for ogling oil workers. An entertainer with an atrocious voice belts out karaoke songs urging patrons who disapprove to "throw your money, your cellphones, whatever you've got at me."
The local Communist Party leaders speak proudly of the city's development. "In the 1990's we were a relatively backward, small and poor agricultural city, with only 100,000 residents," said Hao Jianming, deputy party secretary.
Now the city boasts 420,000 residents and is growing by 20,000 people a year. "People come here because we've become a tourism city, a recreational city with a good environment," the official said.
For all of these economic successes, Korla's problems with minorities have not been solved so much as pushed aside. On the streets of the fancy downtown, Uighur-owned shops are a rarity and Uighurs themselves are few. Across the river that divides the town into old and new, that balance is reversed.
"Uighurs usually don't have a storefront - they'll rent a place in a corner," said Hao Lin, 32, a personal computer merchant in a new computer mall. "Their main customers are Uighurs. Very few of them have business with the Tarim oil company. Those who do are Han," members as he is of China's main ethnic group.
In a barbershop that sits amid a frigid outdoor market across the river from downtown, three Uighur men sit in chairs near a coal-heated stove that warms the place.
"I studied at the university in Urumqi," the province's capital, "for three years, majoring in mechanical engineering," said the Uighur barber, Yasen Keyimu, 25, "but I can't find a job with the oil industry. Such great skills, and I can't get work."

Other sources on Korla:
About the city:
The area surrounding Korla
Photos from City and area around Korla
Korla Declaration (wetlands)
Xinjiang Region / China overall


Blogger 林磊 said...

celine bags
canada goose jackets
Coach Outlet Store Online
Canada Gooses Sale,Canada Gooses Jackets,Canada Gooses Coats,Canada Gooses Parka
Toms Outlet Shoes
Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet Stores
coach outlet
oakley sunglasses cheap
Jordan Retro 13 Hot Sale
ugg boots
Abercrombie Store
Christian Louboutin Sale For Men And Women
Air Jordan 8
coach outlet online
michael kors uk
hollister uk sale
coach outlet online
Mont Blanc Pens
Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Shop
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton handbags
cheap ugg boots
Coach Factory Outlet
timberland outlet
ralph lauren outlet
Coach Outlet Coach factory
Abercrombie kids - Official Site
michael kors outlet
Louis Vuitton Handbags Official Site
ralph lauren uk
cheap ugg boots
michael kors outlet clearance
true religion outlet
nike trainers
michael kors outlet

3:55 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 16.01
nike air max, gucci outlet, longchamp, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, jordan shoes, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, oakley sunglasses, chanel handbags, ugg boots, polo ralph lauren outlet, louboutin outlet, louis vuitton outlet, ugg boots, prada outlet, louis vuitton outlet, replica watches, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin outlet, nike free, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet, michael kors, michael kors outlet, louboutin, louis vuitton, uggs on sale, tory burch outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, louboutin shoes, michael kors outlet, prada handbags, ugg boots, replica watches, nike air max, burberry outlet online, tiffany and co, burberry

3:09 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ray ban uk, oakley pas cher, tn pas cher, ralph lauren uk, true religion jeans, nike huarache, nike air max, new balance pas cher, nike air max, nike blazer, hogan, michael kors, coach purses, north face, michael kors, nike free run uk, air max, converse pas cher, true religion jeans, timberland, lacoste pas cher, coach outlet, mulberry, nike air max, air force, michael kors, burberry, true religion jeans, louboutin pas cher, nike roshe, longchamp, lululemon, nike free, longchamp pas cher, replica handbags, nike trainers, ralph lauren pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, sac longchamp, nike roshe run, north face, ray ban pas cher, michael kors, vanessa bruno, sac guess, air jordan pas cher, hollister pas cher, hermes, vans pas cher, true religion outlet, hollister

3:11 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

celine handbags, lululemon, birkin bag, bottega veneta, abercrombie and fitch, chi flat iron, mcm handbags, ralph lauren, gucci, nfl jerseys, vans, herve leger, p90x workout, nike air max, nike roshe, new balance, iphone 6s cases, iphone 5s cases, baseball bats, converse, ghd, iphone 6 cases, babyliss, hollister, louboutin, ray ban, north face outlet, reebok shoes, iphone cases, beats by dre, giuseppe zanotti, hollister, oakley, mont blanc, vans shoes, timberland boots, nike air max, north face outlet, ferragamo shoes, ipad cases, wedding dresses, iphone 6s plus cases, mac cosmetics, insanity workout, instyler, soccer jerseys, iphone 6 plus cases, soccer shoes, asics running shoes, valentino shoes, jimmy choo shoes, s5 cases

3:13 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

barbour jackets, pandora jewelry, canada goose, converse outlet, replica watches, supra shoes, canada goose, louis vuitton, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora charms, moncler, montre pas cher, sac louis vuitton pas cher, doudoune canada goose, hollister, ugg boots uk, thomas sabo, moncler, moncler, karen millen, moncler, canada goose outlet, moncler, moncler, canada goose uk, canada goose, canada goose outlet, canada goose, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, juicy couture outlet, moncler outlet, pandora charms, barbour, doke gabbana outlet, wedding dresses, moncler, swarovski crystal, louis vuitton, toms shoes, bottes ugg, lancel, links of london, louis vuitton, marc jacobs, coach outlet, louis vuitton, juicy couture outlet, swarovski, ugg pas cher, pandora jewelry
ninest123 16.01

3:14 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home