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Updated: 2014-03-17

Located in the Ili Valley in the west of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Huocheng County is seen as a gateway to western China. In 176 BC, when the Wusun people (a nomadic people originally living in western Gansu) ruled the north bank of the Ili River, where Huocheng lies, it became a herding place for the Wusuners.

In the Tang Dynasty, this county was administered by the Shuanghe regional government, which was later ruled by the Beiting government, a major provincial military governing body set up in 702 AD by the Tang court.

In the Southern Song Dynasty, the county came within the jurisdiction of the Western Liao empire (dominant roughly in central Asia), which was founded by Yelü Dashiin in 1132. During the Ming Dynasty(1368-1644), Huocheng became part of Zunghar Khanate in 1643, when Erdenebaatar, founder of the Khanate, conquered central Asia with his legions of cavalry.

In the Qing Dynasty(1644-1911), Huocheng was the site of Huiyuan City (now Huiyuan Town, a sub division of Huocheng County), a fortress built in 1764 as the center of Chinese authority in Xinjiang, since Ili General, the top political-military official in the region, lived and worked there.

In early July 1870, Russian invaders took all the nine cities in the Ili area, including Huiyuan City, on the excuse of “defending and administering on behalf of the Qing Dynasty.”

In 1882, Ili was officially recovered by the Qing court. Huiyuan was rebuilt on a new site, and resumed its status as the seat of the Office of Ili.

After 1949, Suiding County and Huocheng County (the former Huoerguosi, or Khorgas County) were under the jurisdiction of Ili’s Prefectural Commissioner’s Office. On January 18, 1966, Suiding County was incorporated into Huocheng County, with Shuiding Town as the latter’s county government seat. By 2010, the county consisted of five towns, five townships, two pastures, one breeding center, and 90 villages. There are also about 20 regimental units, including 5 production regiments belonging to the 4th Agricultural Division of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, four division-charged enterprises, Huoerguosi Port Council, PLA Unit 69348, and so on.