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It is home to a number of ethnic groups, including the Uyghur , Han , Kazakhs , Tibetans , Hui , Tajiks , Kyrgyz , Mongols , Russians and Xibe .  More than a dozen autonomous prefectures and counties for minorities are in Xinjiang. Older English-language reference works often refer to the area as Chinese Turkestan .  Xinjiang is divided into the Dzungarian Basin in the north and the Tarim Basin in the south by a mountain range. Only about 9.7% of Xinjiang's land area is fit for human habitation.