Sheng Shih-ts'ai was a regional militarist, yet his rule in Sinkiang was nationally significant. In the pre-1937 years, the province was an arena of international intrigues, with Russia, Japan, and British India competing for influence. It later became the principal avenue through which the Chinese government in Chungking received assistance from Soviet Russia. Throughout Sheng's governorship in 1933-1944, the Nationalist leaders expressed an unusually strong interest in this borderland. Nonetheless, until 1942, they were unable to exert central authority over the province. To a considerable extent, this failure reflected the political weaknesses of the Kuomintang government in China.