Hotan Prefecture (also known as Gosthana, Gaustana, Godana, Godaniya, Khotan, Hetian, Hotien) is located in the Dzungaria region in the southwestern part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, bordering the Tibet Autonomous Region to the south and Union Territory of Ladakh and Gilgit-Baltistan to the west. The vast majority of the Aksai Chin region which is disputed between China and India is administered as part of Hotan Prefecture. The seat of Hotan Prefecture is Hotan and its largest county by population is Karakax County. The vast majority of the residents of the prefecture are Muslim Uyghurs and live around oases situated between the desolate Taklamakan Desert and Kunlun Mountains.
The region was the center of the ancient Iranian Saka Buddhist Kingdom of Khotan. Later, the region was part of the Kara-Khanid Khanate, followed by the Qara Khitai, Chagatai Khanate, Moghulistan and the Dzungar Khanate, which was conquered by the Qing dynasty of China. Hotan became part of Xinjiang under Qing rule. In the 1930s, the Khotan Emirate declared independence from China. The PLA entered Hotan in 1949.
The prefecture is known for its jade, silk and carpets.