History of Xinjiang

History of Xinjiang

The known history of Xinjiang dates back to the 2nd millennium BC. Throughout history many empires have controlled some or all of this vast area, including the Xiongnu, Han, Göktürks, Tang, Turkic Uyghurs, and Mongols. The region was conquered by the Qing Dynasty in 1759, who subsequently named the area Xinjiang (新疆, meaning "new frontier"). Since 1949 Xinjiang has been part of the People's Republic of China.

The Name

In ancient China, the area was simply known as "Xiyu" or "Western Regions", a name that became prevalent in Chinese records after the Han Dynasty took control of the region. [Whitfield, Susan. "The Silk Road: Trade, Travel, War and Faith". Serindia Publications Inc. 2004. p. 27. ISBN 1932476121.] [Fairbank, K. John. "The Cambridge History of China". Cambridge University Press. 1978. p. 269. ISBN 0521243270 ] For the Uyghurs, the region is "Sharqi Turkistan" (literally "Eastern Land of the Turks" in English) [ Chiao-min Hsieh, Max Lu. "Changing China: A Geographic Appraisal" ,p412-413, ISBN 0813334748 ] . The region was referred to as being part of "Turkistan" by the 13th century venetian traveler Marco Polo ["The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian By Marco Polo", p100,ISBN 1421248573 ] . "Xinjiang" is a relatively new name for this ancient region. After the Manchu Qing dynasty reconquered this region, the area was renamed Xinjiang, meaning "New Frontier" by the Qing in 1884. This name of the whole region is an anachronism in Uyghur. For Uyghurs, the region is not a frontier but a centre, not new but old [ Chiao-min Hsieh, Max Lu. "Changing China: A Geographic Appraisal" ,p413, ISBN 0813334748 ] .

Early Caucasian Inhabitants

According to JP Mallory, the Chinese describe the existence of "white people with long hair" or the "Bai" people in the "Shan Hai Jing", who lived beyond their northwestern border. ["The strange creatures of the Shanhai jing: (...) we find recorded north of the territory of the "fish dragons" the land of the Whites (Bai), whos bodies are white and whose long hair falls on their shoulders. Such a description could accord well with a Caucasoid population beyond the frontiers of ancient China and some scholars have identified these Whites as Yuezhi." JP Mallory, "The Tarim Mummies", p55 ISBN 0500051011]

The very well preserved Tarim mummies with Caucasoid features, often with reddish or blond hair, today displayed at the Ürümqi Museum and dated to the 2nd millennium BC, have been found in precisely the same area of the Tarim Basin. Various nomadic tribes, such as the Yuezhi were probably part of the large migration of Indo-European speakers who were settled in eastern Central Asia (possibly as far as Gansu) at that time. The Ordos culture situated at northern China east of the Yuezhi, is another example.

The first known reference to the nomadic Yuezhi was made in 645 BC by the Chinese Guan Zhong in his Guanzi 管子 (Guanzi Essays: 73: 78: 80: 81) . He described the Yuzhi 禺氏, or Niuzhi 牛氏, as a people from the north-west who supplied jade to the Chinese from the nearby mountains of Yuzhi 禺氏 at Gansu. ["Les Saces", Iaroslav Lebedynsky, ISBN 2877723372, p59] The supply of jade from the Tarim Basin ["China: A Historical and Cultural Dictionary", by Michael Dillon] from ancient times is indeed well documented archaeologically: "It is well known that ancient Chinese rulers had a strong attachment to jade. All of the jade items excavated from the tomb of Fuhao of the Shang dynasty, more than 750 pieces, were from Khotan in modern Xinjiang. As early as the mid-first millennium BC the Yuezhi engaged in the jade trade, of which the major consumers were the rulers of agricultural China." (Liu (2001), pp. 267-268).

The nomadic tribes of the Yuezhi are also documented in detail in Chinese historical accounts, in particular the 2nd-1st century BC "Records of the Great Historian", or "Shiji", by Sima Qian. According to these accounts: :"The Yuezhi originally lived in the area between the Qilian or Heavenly Mountains (Tian Shan) and Dunhuang, but after they were defeated by the Xiongnu they moved far away to the west, beyond Dayuan, where they attacked and conquered the people of Daxia and set up the court of their king on the northern bank of the Gui [= Oxus] River. A small number of their people who were unable to make the journey west sought refuge among the Qiang barbarians in the Southern Mountains, where they are known as the Lesser Yuezhi.", [Watson, Burton. Trans. 1993. "Records of the Grand Historian of China: Han Dynasty II." Translated from the "Shiji" of Sima Qian. Chapter 123: "The Account of Dayuan," Columbia University Press. Revised Edition. ISBN 0-231-08166-9; ISBN 0-231-08167-7 (pbk.), p. 234.]

According to Han accounts, the Yuezhi "were flourishing" during the time of the first great Chinese Qin emperor, but were regularly in conflict with the neighbouring tribe of the Xiongnu to the northeast.

Some Uyghur scholars claim modern Uyghurs descent from both the turkic Uyghurs and the pre-turkic Tocharians (Yuezhi), and relatively fair skin, hair and eyes, as well as other so-called 'Caucasoid' physical traits, are not uncommon among Uyghurs. Modern genetic analysis suggests that aboriginal inhabitants had a high proportion of DNA of European origin [Trading Genes along the Silk Road: mtDNA Sequences and the Origin of Central Asian Populations; David Comas1, 2, *, Francesc Calafell1, 3, *, Eva Mateu1, Anna Pérez-Lezaun1, 4, Elena Bosch1, Rosa Martínez-Arias1, Jordi Clarimon1, Fiorenzo Facchini5, Giovanni Fiori5, Donata Luiselli5, Davide Pettener5 and Jaume Bertranpetit1, The American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 63, Issue 6, 1824-1838, 1 December 1998doi:10.1086/302133 ] .

truggle between Xiongnu and Han China

Traversed by the Northern Silk Road, [ [http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=18006 C.Michael Hogan, "Silk Road, North China", the Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnham] ] Western Regions is the Chinese name for the Tarim and Dzungaria regions of what is now northwest China. At the beginning of the Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 220), the region was subservient to the Xiongnu, a powerful nomadic people based in modern Mongolia. In the 2nd century BC, Han China sent Zhang Qian as an envoy to the states in the region, beginning several decades of struggle between the Xiongnu and Han China over dominance of the region, eventually ending in Chinese success. In 60 BC Han China established the Protectorate of the Western Regions (西域都護府) at Wulei (烏壘; near modern Luntai) to oversee the entire region as far west as the Pamir.

During the usurpation of Wang Mang in China, the dependent states of the protectorate rebelled and returned to Xiongnu domination in AD 13. Over the next century, Han China conducted several expeditions into the region, re-establishing the protectorate from 74-76, 91-107, and from 123 onward. After the fall of the Han Dynasty (220), the protectorate continued to be maintained by Cao Wei (until 265) and the Western Jin Dynasty (from 265 onwards).

A succession of peoples

The Western Jin Dynasty succumbed to successive waves of invasions by nomads from the north at the beginning of the 4th century. The short-lived non-Han Chinese kingdoms that ruled northwestern China one after the other, including Former Liang, Former Qin, Later Liang, and Western Liáng, all attempted to maintain the protectorate, with varying extents and degrees of success. After the final reunification of northern China under the Northern Wei empire, its protectorate controlled what is now the southeastern third of Xinjiang. Local states such as Kashgar (Shule), Hotan (Yutian), Kucha (Guizi) and Cherchen (Qiemo) controlled the western half, while the central region around Turpan was controlled by Qara-hoja (Gao chang), remnants of a Xiongnu state Northern Liang that once ruled part of what is now Gansu province in northwestern China.

Gokturk Empire

In the late 5th century the Tuyuhun and the Rouran began to assert power in southern and northern Xinjiang, respectively, and the Chinese protectorate was lost again. In the 6th century the Turks began to emerge in the Altay region, subservient to the Rouran. Within a century they had defeated the Rouran and established a vast Turk Empire, stretching over most of Central Asia past both the Aral Sea in the west and Lake Baikal in the east. In 583 the Gokturks split into western and eastern halves, with Xinjiang coming under the western half. In 609, China under the Sui Dynasty defeated the Tuyuhun, forced him to take refuge in Qilian mountains.

The Tang Dynasty

Starting from the 620's and 630's, Chinese Tang empire conducted a series of expeditions against the Turks. Southeastern Xinjiang was placed under the Anxi Protectorate (安西都護府; "Protectorate Pacifying the West") in 640 [ Hans J. Van de Ven, Warfare in Chinese History, ISBN 9004117741] . in 657, Tang army forced the surrender of the western Gokturks and took control of the Tarim Basin kingdoms. In 662 a rebellion broke out and Tang army was sent to control the stuation, but was badly defeated by the Tibetans in the south of Kashgar. After defeating Tang in 670, the Tibetans gained control of the whole region and completely subjugated Kashgar in 676-8 and retained possession until 692, then China regained control of all southern Xinjiang, and retained it for the next fifty years. 728, the local king of Kashgar was awarded a brevet by the Tang emperor. During the devastating Anshi Rebellion, Tibet invaded Tang China on a wide front from Xinjiang to Yunnan, sacking the Tang capital in 763, and taking control of southern Xinjiang. At the same time, the Uyghur Empire took control of northern Xinjiang, as well as much of the rest of Central Asia, including Mongolia, where their empire originated.

Uyghur Empire

By 745 the Uyghur Empire stretched from the Caspian Sea to Manchuria and lasted from 745 to 840.Fact|date=February 2008 After the battle of Talas in 751, Uyghur Khaganate took control of northern Xinjiang, as well as much of the rest of Central Asia, including Mongolia, where their empire originated. It was also during this time that Tang China started a process of withdrawal from Central Asia. Bayanchur Khan acted quickly and took over the fertile Tarim Basin as well. [Lev Gumilev. Ancient Turks. Kyzyl, 2004] .

The Chinese defeat at the Battle of Talas combined with a series of rebellions, the largest being of An Lushan, forced the Chinese emperor to turn to Bayanchur Khan for assistance. Seeing this as an ideal opportunity to meddle in Chinese affairs, the Khagan agreed, quelling several rebellions and defeating an invading Tibetan army from the south. As a result, the Uyghurs received tribute from the Chinese and Bayanchur Khan was given the daughter of the Chinese Emperor to marry (princess Ningo).

In 762, in alliance with the Tang, Tengri Bögü (Chinese transcription Idigan ) launched a campaign against the Tibetans. He recaptured for the Tang Emperor the western capital Luoyang. Khagan Tengri Bögü met with Manichaean priests from Iran while on campaign, and was converted to Manicheism, adopting it as the official religion of the Uyghur Empire.

In 779 Tengri Bögü, incited by sogdian traders, living in Ordu Baliq, planned an invasion of China to take advantage of the accession of a new emperor. Tengri Bögü's uncle, Tun Bagha Tarkhan opposed this plan, fearing it would result in Uyghur assimilation into Chinese culture [citation needed] .

In 840, the Kyrgyz tribe invaded from the north with a force of around 80,000 horsemen. They sacked the Uyghur capital at Ordu Baliq, razing it to the ground. The Kyrgyz captured the Uyghur Khagan, Kürebir (Hesa) and promptly beheaded him. The Kyrgyz went on to destroy other Uyghur cities throughout their empire, burning them to the ground. The last legitimate khagan, Öge, was assassinated in 847, having spent his 6-year reign in fighting the Kyrgyz and the supporters of his rival Ormïzt, a brother of Kürebir. The Kyrgyz invasion destroyed the Uyghur Empire, causing a diaspora of Uyghur people across Central Asia.

Uyghur State and Kara-Khanid Khanate

Both Tibet and the Uyghur Khaganate declined in the mid-9th century.After the Uyghur khanate in Mongolia had been smashed by the Kirghiz, branches of the Uyghurs established themselves in the area around today's Turfan and Urumchi in 840. This Uyghur state would remain in eastern Xinjiang until the 13th century, though it would be subject to various overlords during that time.

The Kara-Khanid Khanate, which arose from a confederation of Turkic tribes scattered after the destruction of the Uyghur empire. The Uygurs living in the southern part of Khan Tengri, established the Karakhanid Uygur Kingdom in 840 with the support of other Turkic clans like the Karluks, Turgish and the Basmyls, with Kashgar as its capital. Kara-Khanids ruled Turkistan including modern western Xinjiang and much of central Asia. The Kara-Khanids were likewise "Uyghurs," as the components in the Kara-Khanid federation were likewise from the ruling clans of the Uyghur empire. The Kara-Khanids converted to Islam, whereas the Uyghur state in eastern Xinjiang remained Manicheaean, while tolerating Buddhism and Christianity.

Kara-Khitan Khanate

In 1132, remnants of the Khitan Empire from Manchuria entered Xinjiang, fleeing the onslaught of the Jurchens into north China. They established an exile regime, the Kara-Khitan Khanate, which became overlord over both Kara-Khanid-held and Uyghur State-held parts of the Tarim Basin for the next century.

Chagatai Khanate

After Genghis Khan had unified Mongolia and began his advance west, the Uyghur state in the Turfan-Urumchi area sensibly offered its allegiance to the Mongols in 1209, contributing taxes and troops to the Mongol imperial effort. In return, the Uyghur rulers retained control of their kingdom. By contrast, Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire conquered the Kara-Khitan in 1218. Because the Kara-Khitan had persecuted Islam, the Mongols were met as liberators in the Kashgar area. After the break-up of the Mongol Empire into smaller khanates, Xinjiang, though mostly ruled by the Chagatai Khanate, one of the successor states of the empire, in fact was fought over by Yuan Dynasty, the successor regime based in Mongolia and in China.


After the death of Qazan Khan in 1346, the Chagatai Khanate, which embraced both East and West Turkestan, was divided into western (Transoxiana) and eastern Moghulistan halves. Power in the western half devolved into the hands of several tribal leaders, most notably the Qara'unas. Khans appointed by the tribal rulers were mere puppets. In the east, Tughlugh Timur (1347–1363), an obscure Chaghataite adventurer, gained ascendancy over the nomadic Mongols, and converted to Islam. During his rein (and ruled until 1363), the moghuls were converted to Islam and slowly turkizised. In 1360, and again in 1361, he invaded the western half in the hope that he could reunify the khanate. At their height, the Chaghataite domains extended from the Irtysh River in Siberia down to Ghazni in Afghanistan, and from Transoxiana to the Tarim Basin.

Moghulistan embraced settled lands in Eastern Turkestan as well as nomad lands north of Tangri Tagh. The settled lands were known at the time as Manglai Sobe or Mangalai Suyah, which translates as Shiny Land, or Advanced Land Which Faced the Sun. These lands included west and central Tarim oasis-cities, such as Khotan, Yarkand, Yangihisar, Kashgar, Aksu, and Uch Turpan; and hardly involved eastern Tangri Tagh oasis-cities, such as Kucha, Karashahr, Turpan and Kumul, where a local uyghur administration and buddhist population still existed. The nomadic areas comprised the present Kyrghyzstan and part of Kazakhstan, including Jettisu, the area of seven rivers.

Moghulistan existed around 100 years, and then split into two parts: Yarkand state (mamlakati Yarkand), with its capital at Yarkand, which embraced all the settled lands of Eastern Turkestan, and nomad Moghulistan, which embraced the nomad lands north of Tengri Tagh. The founder of Yarkand was Mirza Abu-Bakr, who was from the dughlat tribe. In 1465, he raised a rebellion, captured Yarkand, Kashgar, and Khotan, and declared himself an independent ruler, successfully repelling attacks by the Moghulistan rulers Yunus Khan and his son Akhmad Khan, or Ahmad Alaq, named Alach, "Slaughterer", for his war against the kalmyks.

Dughlat amirs had ruled the country that lay south of the Tarim Basin from the middle of the thirteenth century, on behalf of Chagatai Khan and his descendents, as their satellites. The first dughlat ruler, who received lands directly from the hands of Chagatai, was amir Babdagan or Tarkhan. The capital of the emirate was Kashgar, and the country was known as Mamlakati Kashgar. Although the emirate, representing the settled lands of Eastern Turkestan, was formally under the rule of the moghul khans, the dughlat amirs often tried to put an end to that dependence, and raised frequent rebellions, one of which resulted in the separation of Kashgar from Moghulistan for almost 15 years (1416 - 1435).Mirza Abu-Bakr ruled Yarkand for 48 years. ["A history of the Moghuls of central Asia; being the Tarikh-i-Rashidi of Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat", edited, with commentary, notes, and map by N. Elias, translated by E. Denison Ross (London: Curzon, 1898)] .

tate of Yarkand

In May, 1514, Sultan Said Khan, grandson of Yunus Khan (ruler of Moghulistan between 1462 and 1487) and third son of Akhmad Khan, made an expedition against Kashgar from Andijan with only 5000 men, and having captured the Yangihisar citadel, that defended Kashgar from south road, took the city, dethroning Mirza Abu-Bakr. Soon after, other cities of Eastern Turkestan — Yarkand, Khotan, Aksu, and Uch Turpan — joined him, and recognized Sultan Said Khan as ruler, creating a union of six cities, called Altishahr. Sultan Said Khan's sudden success is considered to be contributed to by the dissatisfaction of the population with the tyrannical rule of Mirza Abu-Bakr and the unwillingness of the dughlat amirs to fight against a descendant of Chagatai Khan, deciding instead to bring the head of the slain ruler to Sultan Said Khan. This move put an end to almost 300 years of rule (nominal and actual) by the Dughlat Amirs in the cities of West Kashgaria (1219-1514). He made Yarkand the capital of a state, "Mamlakati Yarkand" which lasted until 1678.

The Khojah Kingdom

In the 17th century, the Dzungars (Oirats, Kalmyks) established an empire over much of the region. Kalmyks controlled a vast area known as Grand Tartary or the Kalmyk Empire to Westerners, which stretched from the Great Wall of China to the Don River, and from the Himalayas to Siberia. A Sufi cleric Khoja Āfāq defeated Saidiye kingdom and took the throne at Kashgar with the help of the Oirat (Dzungar) Mongols. Khoja dynasty rule in the region lasted until 1759.

The Qing Empire

The Qing Empire, established by the Manchus in China, gained control over eastern Xinjiang as a result of a long struggle with the Zunghars (Dzungars) that began in the seventeenth century. In 1755, the Qing Empire attacked Ghulja, and captured the Zunghar Khan. Over the next two years, the Manchus and Mongol armies of the Qing destroyed the remnants of the Zunghar Khanate, and attempted to divide the Xinjiang region into four sub-Khanates under four chiefs. Similarly, the Qing made members of a clan of Sufi shaykhs known as the Khojas, rulers in the western Tarim Basin, south of the Tianshan Mts. In 1758-59, however, rebellions against this arrangement broke out both north and south of the Tian Shan mountains.

After perpetrating wholesale massacres, in 1759, the Qing finally consolidated their authority by settling Chinese emigrants, together with a Manchu Qing garrison. The Qing put the whole region under the rule of a General of Ili ( _zh. 伊犁将军, Yili Jiangjün), headquartered at the fort of Huiyuan (the so-called "Manchu Kuldja", or Yili), 30km west of Ghulja (Yining). The Qing had thoughts of pushing their conquests towards western Turkestan and Samarkand, the chiefs of which sent to ask assistance of the Afghan king Ahmed Shah. This monarch despatched an embassy to Peking to demand the restitution of the Muslim states of Central Asia, but the embassy was not well received, and Ahmed Shah was too much engaged with the Sikhs to attempt to enforce his demands by arms.

Uyghur Rebellions and Qing Reconquest

In 1827, southern part of Xinjiang was retaken by former ruler's descendant Jihangir Khojah; Chang-lung, the Chinese general of Hi, recovered possession of Kashgar and the other revolted cities in 1828 [Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, article on Kashgar] . A revolt in 1829 under Mohammed AH Khan and Yusuf, brother of Jihangir Khojah, was more successful, and resulted in the concession of several important trade privileges to the of the district of Alty Shahr (the "six cities"). Until 1846 the country enjoyed peace under the just and liberal rule of Zahir-ud-din, the Uyghur governor, but in that year a fresh Khojah revolt under Kath Tora led to his making himself master of the city, with circumstances of unbridled license and oppression. His reign was, however, brief, for at the end of seventy-five days, on the approach of the Chinese, he fled back to Khokand amid the jeers of the inhabitants. The last of the Khojah revolts (1857) was of about equal duration with the previous one, and took place under Wali-Khan. The great Tungani revolt, or insurrection of the Chinese Muslims, which broke out in 1862 in Gansu, spread rapidly to Zungaria and through the line of towns in the Tarim basin. The Tungani troops in Yarkand rose, and (10th August, 1863) massacred some seven thousand Chinese, while the inhabitants of Kashgar, rising in their turn against their masters, invoked the aid of Sadik Beg, a Kurghiz chief, who was reinforced by Buzurg Khan, the heir of Jahanghir, and Yakub Beg, his general, these being despatched at Sadik's request by the ruler of Khokand to raise what troops they could to aid Muslims in Kashgar. Sadik Beg soon repented of having asked for a Khojah, and eventually marched against Kashgar, which by this time had succumbed to Buzurg Khan and Yakub Beg, but was defeated and driven back to Khokand. Buzurg Khan delivered himself up to indolence and debauchery, but Yakub Beg, with singular energy and perseverance, made himself master of Yangi Shahr, Yangi-Hissar, Yarkand, and other towns, and eventually declared himself the Amir of Kashgaria [Shaw, Robert. Visits to High Tartary, Yarkand and Kashgar. John Murray, London. (1871). Reprint with new introduction (1984): Oxford University Press, pp. 53-56. ISBN 0-19-583830-0] .

Yakub Beg ruled at the height of The Great Game era when the British, Russian, and Manchu Qing empires were all vying for Central Asia. Kashgaria extended from the capital Kashgar in south-western Xinjiang to Urumqi, Turfan, and Hami in central and eastern Xinjiang more than a thousand kilometers to the north-east, including a majority of what was known at the time as East Turkestan [Demetrius Charles Boulger. The life of Yakoob Beg; Athalik Ghazi, And Badaulet; Ameer of Kashgar.] .

Kashgar and the other cities of the Tarim basin remained under Yakub Beg's rule until December 1877. Yakub Beg's rule lasted until General Zuo Zongtang (also known as General Tso) reconquered the region in1877 for Qing China. In 1881, Qing China recovered the Gulja region through diplomatic negotiations (Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1881)).

In 1884, Qing China renamed the conquered region, established Xinjiang ("new frontier") as a province, formally applying onto it the political system of China proper. For the 1st time the name "Xinjiang" replaced old historical names such as "Western Regions", "Chinese Turkestan", "Eastern Turkestan", "Uyghuristan", "Kashgaria", "Uyghuria" , "Alter Sheher" and "Yetti Sheher".

20th Century and after the Qing Dynasty

In 1912 the Qing Dynasty was replaced by the Republic of China. Yuan Dahua, the last Qing governor of Xinjiang, fled. One of his subordinates Yang Zengxin (杨增新), acceded to the Republic of China in March of the same year, and maintained control of Xinjiang until his death in 1928. Following insurgencies against Governor Jin Shuren (金树仁) in the early 1930s, a rebellion in Kashgar led to establishment of the short-lived First East Turkistan Republic (1st ETA) in 1933.

Xinjiang was eventually brought under the control of the Manchu Sheng Shicai (盛世才), who ruled Xinjiang for the next decade with close support from the Soviet Union, following some of its ethnic and security policies. Sheng invited a group of Chinese Communists to Xinjiang, including Mao Zedong's brother Mao Zemin, but in 1943, fearing a conspiracy, Sheng killed all communists, including Mao Zemin, in Xinjiang. A Second East Turkistan Republic (2nd ETA, also known as the Three Districts Revolution) existed from 1944-1949 with Soviet support in what is now Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture in northern Xinjiang.

The Second East Turkistan Republic came to an end when the People's Liberation Army (PLA) entered Xinjiang in 1949. According to the PRC interpretation, the 2nd ETA was Xinjiang's revolution, a positive part of the communist revolution in China; the 2nd ETA acceded to and welcomed the PLA when they entered Xinjiang, a process known as the Peaceful Liberation of Xinjiang. However independence advocates view the ETA as an effort to establish an independent state, and the subsequent PLA entry as an invasion. The autonomous region of the PRC was established on October 1, 1955, replacing the province. The PRC's first nuclear test was carried out at Lop Nur, Xinjiang, on October 16, 1964.

Continued tensions

There continues to be concern over tensions in the region, centering upon Uyghur cultural aspirations to independence, and resentment towards what Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch describe as repression of non-Han Chinese culture.

Conversely, many Han Chinese perceive PRC policies of ethnic autonomy as discriminatory against them (see autonomous entities of China) and previous Chinese dynasties owned Xinjiang before the Uyghur Empire. Independence advocates view Chinese rule in Xinjiang, and policies like the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps as Chinese imperialism.

The tensions have occasionally resulted in major incidents and violent clashes during the PRC period. For example, in 1962 60,000 Uyghur and Kazak refugees fled northern Xinjiang into the Soviet Union, escaping famine and political purges of the Great Leap Forward era; in the 1980s there was a scattering of student demonstrations and riots against police action that took on an ethnic aspect; and the Baren Township riot in April, 1990, an abortive uprising, resulted in more than 50 deaths.

A police round-up of suspected separatists during Ramadan resulted in large demonstrations that turned violent in February 1997, and episode known as the Ghulja / Yining Incident and led to in at least 9 deaths [http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/china-bck1017.htm] . The Urumqi bus bombs of February 25, 1997, perhaps a response to the crackdown that followed the Ghulja Incident, killed 9 and injured 68. Despite much talk of separatism and terrorism in Xinjiang, especially after the 9-11 attacks in the United States and the US invasion of Afghanistan, the situation in Xinjiang was quiet from the late nineties through mid-2006, though inter-ethnic tensions no doubt remained.

On January 5 2007 the Chinese Public Security Bureau raided a terrorist training camp in the mountains near the Pamir Plateau in southern Xinjiang. According to reports 18 terrorists were killed and another 17 captured in a gun battle between the East Turkestan Independence Movement and PRC forces. One Police Officer was killed and "over 1,500 hand grenades... were seized." [http://www.cctv.com/english/20070110/100828.shtml]

An additional present-day concern is that the supply of jade. The jade that has been extracted for millennia is projected to be exhausted at the present rate of mineral extraction in the Xinjiang Territory. [ [http://www.asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=7076 » 08/30/2006 13:45, "Xinjiang jade worthy of an emperor running in short supply"] ]



*"The Tarim mummies", J.P. Mallory. ISBN 0500051011
*"Les Saces", Iaroslav Lebedynsky, ISBN 2877723372
*Watson, Burton. Trans. 1993. "Records of the Grand Historian of China: Han Dynasty II". Translated from the Shiji of Sima Qian. Columbia University Press. Revised Edition. ISBN 0-231-08166-9; ISBN 0-231-08167-7 (pbk.)
*Mirza Muhammad Haidar. The Tarikh-i-Rashidi: A History of the Moghuls of Central Asia. Trans. Edward Denison Ross, ISBN 818678702X.
*Shaw, Robert. Visits to High Tartary, Yarkand and Kashgar. John Murray, London. (1871). Reprint with new introduction (1984): Oxford University Press, pp. 53-56. ISBN 0-19-583830-0.
*Demetrius Charles Boulger. The life of Yakoob Beg; Athalik Ghazi, And Badaulet; Ameer of Kashgar.

External links

* [http://news.xinhuanet.com/zhengfu/2003-06/12/content_916306.htm History and Development of Xinjiang]
* [http://www.atimes.com/c-asia/CL14Ag01.html The Grand Game in Afghanistan]

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