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Natural Resources and the New FrontierConstructing Modern China's Borderlands$
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Judd C. Kinzley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226492155

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226492322.001.0001

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Petroleum, Lithium, and the Foundations of Chinese State Power

Petroleum, Lithium, and the Foundations of Chinese State Power

(p.150) 7 Petroleum, Lithium, and the Foundations of Chinese State Power
Natural Resources and the New Frontier
Judd C. Kinzley
University of Chicago Press

The lofty production targets of the People's Republic of China's First Five Year Plan (1953-1957) created a desperate need for raw materials like petroleum, and various minerals like beryllium, lithium, and tantalum niobium, among others. Increasingly in the 1950s, this demand pushed exploratory efforts in Xinjiang. These efforts, driven by the earlier layers lain around Dushanzi and in the Altay Mountains, led to the discovery of oil at Karamay and new efforts to exploit the high value nonferrous metal ores in northern Xinjiang in particular. The state investments into resource-sites in this region helped transform it into a hub of state power and authority. While the Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) led to the aggressive surveying and exploitation of the region, the larger priorities of the state stayed tied to those regions prioritized for production by Soviet state planners and their provincial counterparts in the 1930s.

Keywords:   First Five Year Plan, oil, beryllium, lithium, Great Leap Forward, Bingtuan, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, Sino-Soviet split, Karamay

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