Most of these oases are modem Chinese industrial townships, producing China vacation act building materials. That is one thing which abounds in the desert. Standing in the barrenness China vacation act we would see small groups of people sieving sand and gravel; they wore dust-masks. It looked to me like a grim way to earn a living, and a fellow passenger said that the people were a labour force of political dissidents from the south.
Some older oases are known for other products in which they have specialised for countless generations: whetstone for grinding knives, inkstone for calligraphists, axle-grease, fine sand for polishing jade, and gold dust. Marco Polo mentions mines producing steel and zinc but it was the asbestos which fascinated him because it can be put into a fire but will not bum: A fossil substance with fibres not unlike those of wool.