Migration to East Turkestan

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Migration to East Turkestan is both an ongoing and historical movement of people, often sponsored by various states who controlled the region, including the Han dynasty, Qing dynasty, Republic of China, and People's Republic of China.


Dzungaria (Red) and the Tarim Basin (Blue)
Northern Xinjiang (Junggar Basin) (Yellow), Eastern Xinjiang- Turpan Depression (Turpan Prefecture and Hami Prefecture) (Red), and the Tarim Basin (Blue)
Physical map showing the separation of Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin (Taklamakan) by the Tien Shan Mountains

Xinjiang consists of two main geographically, historically, and ethnically distinct regions, Dzungaria north of the Tianshan Mountains and the Tarim Basin south of the Tianshan Mountains, before Qing China unified them into one political entity called Xinjiang province in 1884. At the time of the Qing conquest in 1759, Dzungaria was inhabited by steppe dwelling, nomadic Tibetan Buddhist Oirat Mongol Dzungar people, while the Tarim Basin was inhabited by sedentary, oasis dwelling, Turkic speaking Muslim farmers, now known as the Uyghur people.

The Qing dynasty was well aware of the differences between the former Buddhist Mongol area to the north of the Tianshan and Turkic Muslim south of the Tianshan, and ruled them in separate administrative units at first.[1] However, Qing people began to think of both areas as part of one distinct region called Xinjiang .[2] The very concept of Xinjiang as one distinct geographic identity was created by the Qing and it was originally not the native inhabitants who viewed it that way, but rather it was the Chinese who held that point of view.[3] During the Qing rule, no sense of "regional identity" was held by ordinary Xinjiang people, rather, Xinjiang's distinct identity was given to the region by the Qing, since it had both its distinct geography, history and culture, but at the same time was created by Chinese, was multiethnic, settled by Han and Hui, and separated from Central Asia for over a century and a half.[4]

In the late 19th century, it was still being proposed by some people that two separate parts be created out of Xinjiang, the area north of the Tianshan and the area south of the Tianshan, while it was being argued over whether to turn Xinjiang into a province.[5]



Southern Xinjiang below the Tianshan had military colonies established in it by the Han dynasty.[6]

Uyghur nationalist historians such as Turghun Almas claim that Uyghurs were distinct and independent from Chinese for 6000 years, and that all non-Uyghur peoples are non-indigenous immigrants to Xinjiang.[7] However, the Han Dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) established military colonies (tuntian) and commanderies (duhufu) to control Xinjiang from 120 BCE, while the Tang Dynasty (618-907) also controlled much of Xinjiang until the An Lushan rebellion.[8] Chinese historians refute Uyghur nationalist claims by pointing out the 2000-year history of Han settlement in Xinjiang, documenting the history of Mongol, Kazakh, Uzbek, Manchu, Hui, Xibo indigenes in Xinjiang, and by emphasizing the relatively late "westward migration" of the Huigu (equated with "Uyghur" by the PRC government) people from Mongolia the 9th century.[7] The name "Uyghur" was associated with a Buddhist people in the Tarim Basin in the 9th century, but completely disappeared by the 15th century, until it was revived by the Soviet Union in the 20th century.[9]

Han dynasty in 1 AD. 
Russian map showing Xinjiang as a protectorate of the Han in pink color. 
Xinjiang as a protectorate of the Han dynasty in light orange color. 
Han dynasty 
Xinjiang as a protectorate of the Han dynasty in light orange color. 
Map showing how the territories of the Han dynasty and xiongnu overlapped at different time periods. 
Japanese map of Eastern Han dynasty. 
French map showing the Han dynasty and its protectorate in Xinjiang. 
Han dynasty in 1 AD. 
Cities of the protectorate. 

Maps of the Chinese Tang dynasty

The Tang dynasty with its protectorates shown in lighter color. 
Tang dynasty around 700 CE 
Tang dynasty in 742 CE 
Tang dynasty territory and its changes throughout history 


The Kingdom of Gaochang consisted of Chinese colonists who settled the oases after the collapse of the Han dynasty.

Islamicisation and Turkicisation of Xinjiang

Turkification of the Tarim Basin
Date 9th and 10th centuries
Location Tarim Basin in Xinjiang
Result Turkic victory, complete Turkification of the Tarim Basin, extinction of Indo-European peoples in the Tarim Basin
Caucasian Indo-European Buddhist Tocharians and Eastern Iranian Sakas (Kingdom of Khotan) Mongoloid Turkic Buddhist Uyghurs (Kingdom of Qocho) Mongoloid Turkic Muslim Karluks (Kara-Khanid Khanate)
Commanders and leaders
Satok Bughra Khan
Ali Arslan
Yusuf Qadir Khan

The historical area of what is modern day Xinjiang consisted of the distinct areas of the Tarim Basin and Dzungaria, and was originally populated by Indo-European Tocharian and Iranic Saka peoples who practiced the Buddhist religion. The area was subjected to Turkification and Islamification at the hands of invading Turkic Muslims. Both the Buddhist Turkic Uyghurs and Muslim Turkic Karluks participated in the Turkification and conquest of the native Buddhist Indo-European inhabitants of the Tarim Basin. The Turkic Muslims then proceeded to conquer the Turkic Buddhists in Islamic holy wars and converted them to Islam. The mixture between the invading Mongoloid Turkic peoples and the native Caucasian Indo-European inhabitants resulted in the modern day Turkic speaking hybrid Europoid-East Asian inhabitants of Xinjiang.

Buddhist Uyghur migration into the Tarim Basin

The discovery of the Tarim mummies has created a stir in the Turkic-speaking Uighur population of the region, who claim the area has always belonged to their culture, while it was not until the 10th century when the Uighurs are said by scholars to have moved to the region from Central Asia.[10] American Sinologist Victor H. Mair claims that "the earliest mummies in the Tarim Basin were exclusively Caucasoid, or Europoid" with "east Asian migrants arriving in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin around 3,000 years ago", while Mair also notes that it was not until 842 that the Uighur peoples settled in the area.[11]

Protected by the Taklamakan Desert from steppe nomads, elements of Tocharian culture survived until the 7th century, when the arrival of Turkic immigrants from the collapsing Uyghur Khaganate of modern-day Mongolia began to absorb the Tocharians to form the modern-day Uyghur ethnic group.[12]

Professor James A. Millward described the original Uyghurs as physically Mongoloid, giving as an example the images in Bezeklik at temple 9 of the Uyghur patrons, until they began to mix with the Tarim Basin's original eastern Iranian inhabitants.[13]

The modern Uyghurs are now a mixed hybrid of Mongoloid and Caucasian.[14][15][16]

Images of Buddhist and Manichean Uyghurs

Images of Mongoloid Buddhist and Manichean Turkic Uyghurs from the Bezeklik caves and Mogao grottoes.

Uyghur Khagan 
Uyghur king from Turfan, from the murals at the Dunhuang Mogao Caves. 
Uyghur prince from the Bezeklik murals. 
Uyghur woman from the Bezeklik murals. 
Uyghur Princess. 
Uyghur Princesses from the Bezeklik murals. 
Uyghur Princes from the Bezeklik murals. 
Uyghur Prince from the Bezeklik murals. 
Uyghur noble from the Bezeklik murals. 
Uyghur noble from the Bezeklik murals. 
Uyghur donor from the Bezeklik murals. 
Uyghur Manichaean Electae from Qocho. 
Uyghur Manichaean clergymen from Qocho. 
Art from Qocho. 
Manicheans from Qocho 
Images of Modern Uyghurs
Uyghur girl in Melikawat, Khotan 
Uyghur girl in Melikawat, Khotan 
Uyghur children in Khotan. 
Uyghur boy in a market in Khotan. 
Uyghur women in Khotan making carpets. 
Uyghur Meshrep musicians in Yarkand. 
Uyghur melon seller in Kashgar. 
Uyghur man. 
Uyghur barber in Kashgar. 

Turkic-Islamic Kara-Khanid conquest of Iranic Saka Buddhist Khotan

The Islamic attacks and conquest of the Buddhist cities east of Kashgar was started by the Turkic Karakhanid Satok Bughra Khan who in 966 converted to Islam and many tales emerged about the Karakhanid ruling family's war against the Buddhists, Satok Bughra Khan's nephew or grandson Ali Arslan was slain by the Buddhists during the war. Buddhism lost territory to Islam during the Karakhanid reign around the Kashgar area.[17] A long war ensued between Islamic Kashgar and Buddhist Khotan which eventually ended in the conquest of Khotan by Kashgar.[18]

Iranic Saka peoples originally inhabited Yarkand and Kashgar in ancient times. The Buddhist Iranic Saka Kingdom of Khotan was the only city-state that was not conquered yet by the Turkic Uyghur (Buddhist) and the Turkic Qarakhanid (Muslim) states and its ruling family used Indian names and the population were devout Buddhists. The Buddhist entitites of Dunhuang and Khotan had a tight-knit partnership, with intermarriage between Dunhuang and Khotan's rulers and Dunhuang's Mogao grottos and Buddhist temples being funded and sponsored by the Khotan royals, whose likenesses were drawn in the Mogao grottoes.[19] The rulers of Khotan were aware of the menace they faced since they arranged for the Mogao grottoes to paint a growing number of divine figures along with themselves. Halfway in the 10th century Khotan came under attack by the Qarakhanid ruler Musa, and in what proved to be a pivotal moment in the Turkification and Islamification of the Tarim Basin, the Karakhanid leader Yusuf Qadir Khan conquered Khotan around 1006.[19]

The Taẕkirah is a genre of literature written about Sufi Muslim saints in Altishahr. Written sometime in the period from 1700-1849, the Eastern Turkic language (modern Uyghur) Taẕkirah of the Four Sacrificed Imams provides an account of the Muslim Karakhanid war against the Khotanese Buddhists, containing a story about Imams, from Mada'in city (possibly in modern-day Iraq) came 4 Imams who travelled to help the Islamic conquest of Khotan, Yarkand, and Kashgar by Yusuf Qadir Khan, the Qarakhanid leader.[20] Accounts of the battles waged by the invading Muslims upon the indigenous Buddhists takes up most of the Taẕkirah with descriptions such as "blood flows like the Oxus", "heads litter the battlefield like stones" being used to describe the murderous battles over the years until the "infidels" were defeated and driven towards Khotan by Yusuf Qadir Khan and the four Imams, but the Imams were assassinated by the Buddhists prior to the last Muslim victory so Yusuf Qadir Khan assigned Khizr Baba, who was born in Khotan but whose mother originated from western Turkestan's Mawarannahr, to take care of the shrine of the 4 Imams at their tomb and after Yusuf Qadir Khan's conquest of new land in Altishahr towards the east, he adopted the title "King of the East and China".[21] Due to the Imams deaths in battle and burial in Khotan, Altishahr, despite their foreign origins, they are viewed as local saints by the current Muslim population in the region.[22]

Muslim works such as Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam contained anti-Buddhist rhetoric and polemic against Buddhist Khotan,[23] aimed at "dehumanizing" the Khotanese Buddhists, and the Muslims Kara-Khanids conquered Khotan just 26 years following the completion of Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam.[24]

Muslims gouged the eyes of Buddhist murals along Silk Road caves and Kashgari recorded in his Turkic dictionary an anti-Buddhist poem/folk song.[25]

Satuq Bughra Khan and his son directed endeavors to proselytize Islam among the Turks and engage in military conquests.[26] The Islamic conquest of Khotan led to alarm in the east and Dunhuang's Cave 17, which contained Khotanese literary works, was closed shut possibly after its caretakers heard that Khotan's Buddhist buildings were razed by the Muslims, the Buddhist religion had suddenly ceased to exist in Khotan.[27]

In 1006, the Muslim Kara-Khanid ruler Yusuf Kadir (Qadir) Khan of Kashgar conquered Khotan, ending Khotan's existence as an independent state. The war was described as a Muslim Jihad (holy war) by the Japanese Professor Takao Moriyasu. The Karakhanid Turkic Muslim writer Mahmud al-Kashgari recorded a short Turkic language poem about the conquest:

English translation:[24][25][27][28][29][30]

We came down on them like a flood,
We went out among their cities,
We tore down the idol-temples,
We shat on the Buddha's head!

Alternate English translation:[31]

We came down on them like a flood
We went out upon their cities
We tore down the idol temples
We shit upon the idols' heads.

In Turkic:[32]

kälginläyü aqtïmïz
kändlär üzä čïqtïmïz
furxan ävin yïqtïmïz
burxan üzä sïčtïmïz

Alternate Turkic transliteration:[31]

kãlñizlãyũ aqtimiz
kãndlãr õzã čiqtimiz
furxan ãwin yiqtimiz
burxan ũzã sičtimiz

German translation:[32]

Wir strömten wie eine alles vor sich herschiebende Flut,
wir drangen in ihre Städte ein (eroberten sie),
wir zerstörten die buddhistischen Tempel,
wir koteten auf die Buddha-statuen.

Idols of "infidels" were subjected to desecration by being defecated upon by Muslims when the "infidel" country was conquered by the Muslims, according to Muslim tradition.[32]

Maps of the Turkicisation of Xinjiang
Xinjiang's Tarim Basin and Turfan Basin with its native Indo-European inhabitants before Turkification. 
Invasion of Xinjiang's Tarim Basin and Turfan Basin by Muslim Turks and Buddhist Turks. 
Turkified Tarim Basin and Turfan Basin in Xinjiang. 

Islamic conquest of the Buddhist Uighurs

Islamification of the Tarim Basin
Date 14th-16th centuries
Location Tarim Basin in Xinjiang
Result Chagatai Muslim victory, complete Islamicisation of all Turks in the Tarim Basin, extinction of Buddhism among Turks in the Tarim Basin
Turkic Muslim Chagatai Khanate Turkic Buddhist Uyghurs (Kingdom of Qocho and Qara Del)
Commanders and leaders
Khizr Khwaja

Buddhism survived in Uyghurstan (Turfan and Qocho). during the Ming dynasty.[33]

The Buddhist Uyghurs of the Kingdom of Qocho and Turfan were converted to Islam by conquest during a ghazat (holy war) at the hands of the Muslim Chagatai Khizr Khwaja.[34]

Kara Del was a Mongolian ruled and Uighur populated Buddhist Kingdom. The Muslim Chagatai Khan Mansur invaded and used the sword to make the population convert to Islam.[35]

After being converted to Islam, the descendants of the previously Buddhist Uyghurs in Turfan failed to retain memory of their ancestral legacy and falsely believed that the "infidel Kalmuks" (Dzungars) were the ones who built Buddhist monuments in their area.[36][37]

Maps of the Islamicisation of Xinjiang
Muslim Turks and Buddhist Turks. 
Ghazat (Islamic holy war) by Muslim Turks against Buddhist Turks. 
Muslim Turks and Buddhist Turks. 
Ghazat (Islamic holy war) by Muslim Turks against Buddhist Turks. 
All Turks in the Tarim Basin and Turfan Basin converted to Islam. 
Ethnogenesis of the modern Uyghur ethnic group. 

Turkic ultra-nationalist revisionism

Some Uyghur ultra-nationalist revisionists, worried at the prospect that they are descendants of migrants into Xinjiang and could be seen as invaders and not the indigenous inhabitants, have sought to revise history like Turghun Almas in his book Uyghurlar, claiming that Turkic Uyghurs were always natives of Xinjiang, claiming that the Tocharian Tarim mummies were Uyghurs, claiming Uyghurs invented gunpowder, paper, compass, printing, and that Uyghur civilization is 6,000 years old and is the origin of all world civilization.[38][39]

The claims of these "Uyghur nationalist historians", which the majority of Uyghurs believe in, are not backed up by actual evidence.[40][41] The belief that they were native to the Tarim Basin is held by all Uyghurs.[42]

Qurban Wäli is another ultra-nationalist Uyghur who engaged in historical revisionism and claimed Uyghur civilization is 6,000 years old and native to Xinjiang.[43]

The Chinese government pointed out that it was in the 9th century when Uyghurs migrated into Xinjiang,[44][45] but since many Uyghurs believe in the opposite of whatever the Chinese government says, they eagerly believe books written by Uyghur authors which glorify their past and assume what authors like Almas write is automatically true.[46]

Historians say that it was in the 9th century when Uyghurs moved into Xinjiang.[47][48]

Yuan dynasty

Han Chinese were moved to Central Asian areas like Besh Baliq, Almaliq, and Samarqand by the Mongols where they worked as artisans and farmers.[49] Alans were recruited into the Mongol forces with one unit called "Right Alan Guard" which was combined with "recently surrendered" soldiers, Mongols, and Chinese soldiers stationed in the area of the former Kingdom of Qocho and in Besh Balikh the Mongols established a Chinese military colony led by Chinese general Qi Kongzhi (Ch'i Kung-chih).[50]

Qing dynasty

The Zunghar Khanate (c.1750) (within blue borders)
1616 map showing the Oirats in Dzungaria and the Chagatai Khanate in the Tarim Basin
Tianshan Beilu (Dzungaria) and Tianshan Nanlu (Little Bukharia, the Tarim Basin) in 1820
1689 map showing the Oirats Zunghar Khanate after it conquered the Chagatai Khanate in the Tarim Basin
Tianshan Beilu and Tianshan Nanlu with dates of original incorporation into China and dates or reincorporation after the Dungan revolt
1844 map labeling Dzungaria as "Songar Kalmuks" and the Tarim Basin as "Little Bukharia"

The Turkic Muslim sedentary people of the Tarim Basin were originally ruled by the Chagatai Khanate while the nomadic Buddhist Oirat Mongol in Dzungaria ruled over the Dzungar Khanate. The Naqshbandi Sufi Khojas, descendants of Muhammad, had replaced the Chagatayid Khans as the ruling authority of the Tarim Basin in the early 17th century. There was a struggle between two factions of Khojas, the Afaqi (White Mountain) faction and the Ishaqi (Black Mountain) faction. The Ishaqi defeated the Afaqi, which resulted in the Afaqi Khoja inviting the 5th Dalai Lama, the leader of the Tibetan Buddhists, to intervene on his behalf in 1677. The 5th Dalai Lama then called upon his Dzungar Buddhist followers in the Zunghar Khanate to act on this invitation. The Dzungar Khanate then conquered the Tarim Basin in 1680 in the Dzungar conquest of Altishahr, setting up the Afaqi Khoja as their puppet ruler.

Khoja Afaq asked the 5th Dalai Lama when he fled to Lhasa to help his Afaqi faction take control of the Tarim Basin (Kashgaria).[51] The Dzungar leader Galdan was then asked by the Dalai Lama to restore Khoja Afaq as ruler of Kashgararia.[52] Khoja Afaq collaborated with Galdan's Dzungars when the Dzungars conquered the Tarim Basin from 1678-1680 and set up the Afaqi Khojas as puppet client rulers.[53][54][55] The Dalai Lama blessed Galdan's conquest of the Tarim Basin and Turfan Basin.[56]

67,000 patman (each patman is 4 piculs and 5 pecks) of grain 48,000 silver ounces were forced to be paid yearly by Kashgar to the Dzungars and cash was also paid by the rest of the cities to the Dzungars. Trade, milling, and distilling taxes, corvée labor,saffron, cotton, and grain were also extracted by the Dzungars from the Tarim Basin. Every harvest season, women and food had to be provided to Dzungars when they came to extract the taxes from them.[57]

When the Dzungars levied the traditional nomadic Alban poll tax upon the Muslims of Altishahr, the Muslims viewed it as the payment of jizyah (a tax traditionally taken from non-Muslims by Muslim conquerors).[58]

The Turkic Muslims of the Turfan and Kumul Oases then submitted to the Qing dynasty of China, and asked China to free them from the Dzungars. The Qing accepted the rulers of Turfan and Kumul as Qing vassals. The Qing dynasty waged war against the Dzungars for decades until finally defeating them and then Qing Manchu Bannermen carried out the Zunghar genocide, nearly wiping them from existence and depopulating Dzungaria. The Qing then freed the Afaqi Khoja leader Burhan-ud-din and his brother Khoja Jihan from their imprisonment by the Dzungars, and appointed them to rule as Qing vassals over the Tarim Basin. The Khoja brothers decided to renege on this deal and declare themselves as independent leaders of the Tarim Basin. The Qing and the Turfan leader Emin Khoja crushed their revolt and China then took full control of both Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin by 1759.

After perpetrating wholesale massacres and completing the Zunghar Genocide on the native Dzungar Oirat Mongol (Zunghar) population after conquering the Zunghar Khanate, in 1759, the Qing finally consolidated their authority by settling Han Chinese, Hui, and Uyghur emigrants the Dzungar (Zunghar) land in Dzungaria, together with a Manchu Qing garrison of Bannermen. The Han, Hui, and Uyghurs worked as farmers on state farms in the region to supply the Manchu garrison with food. The Qing put the whole region under the rule of a General of Ili (Chinese: 伊犁将军, Yili Jiangjün), headquartered at the fort of Huiyuan (the so-called "Manchu Kuldja", or Yili), 30 km west of Ghulja (Yining). The Qing dynasty Qianlong Emperor conquered the Jungharian (Dzungarian) plateau and the Tarim Basin, bringing the two separate regions, respectively north and south of the Tianshan mountains, under his rule as Xinjiang.[59] The south was inhabited by Turkic Muslims (Uyghurs) and the north by Junghar Mongols (Dzungars).[60] The Dzungars were also called "Eleuths" or "Kalmyks".

Xinjiang at this time did not exist as one unit. It consisted of the two separate political entities of Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin (Eastern Turkestan).[61][62][63][64] There was the Zhunbu (Dzungar region) and Huibu (Muslim region)[65] Dzungaria or Ili was called Zhunbu 準部 (Dzungar region) Tianshan Beilu 天山北路 (Northern March), "Xinjiang" 新疆 (New Frontier),[66] Dzongarie, Djoongaria,[67] Soungaria,[68][69] or "Kalmykia" (La Kalmouquie in French).[70][71] It was formerly the area of the Zunghar Khanate 準噶爾汗國, the land of the Dzungar Oirat Mongols. The Tarim Basin was known as "Tianshan Nanlu 天山南路 (southern March), Huibu 回部 (Muslim region), Huijiang 回疆 (Muslim frontier), Bacheng (8 cities), Chinese Turkestan, Kashgaria, Little Bukharia, East Turkestan", Yeti Shahr (7 cities), Dorben Shahr (4 cities) and the traditional Uyghur name for it was Altishahr (Uyghur: التى شهر‎, ULY: Altä-shähär) (6 cities).[72][73] Or just called Nan-lu.[74] It was formerly the area of the Eastern Chagatai Khanate 東察合台汗國, land of the Uyghur people before being conquered by the Dzungars. The Chinese Repository said that "Neither the natives nor the Chinese appear to have any general name to designate the Mohammedan colonies. They are called Kashgar, Bokhára, Chinese Turkestan, &c., by foreigners, none of which seem to be very appropriate. They have also been called Jagatai, after a son of Genghis khan, to whom this country fell as his portion after his father’s death, and be included all the eight Mohammedan cities, with some of the surrounding countries, in one kingdom. It is said to have remained in this family, with some interruptions, until conquered by the Eleuths of Soungaria in 1683."[68][69]

Between Jiayu Guan's west and Urumchi's East, an area of Xinjiang was also disginated as Tianshan Donglu 天山東路 (Eastern March).[75][76][77] The three routes that made up Xinjiang were - Tarim Basin (southern route), Dzungaria (northern route), and the Turfan Basin (eastern route with Turfan, Hami, and Urumqi).[77][78]

Dzungaria's alternate name is 北疆 Beijing (North Xinjiang) and Altishahr's alternate name is 南疆 Nanjiang (South Xinjiang).[79]

Zunghar Genocide

Main article: Zunghar Genocide

The Dzungar (or Zunghar), Oirat Mongols who lived in an area that stretched from the west end of the Great Wall of China to present-day eastern Kazakhstan and from present-day northern Kyrgyzstan to southern Siberia (most of which is located in present-day Xinjiang), were the last nomadic empire to threaten China, which they did from the early 17th century through the middle of the 18th century.[80] After a series of inconclusive military conflicts that started in the 1680s, the Dzungars were subjugated by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty (1644–1911) in the late 1750s. Clarke argued that the Qing campaign in 1757–58 "amounted to the complete destruction of not only the Zunghar state but of the Zunghars as a people."[81] After the Qianlong Emperor led Qing forces to victory over the Zunghar Oirat (Western) Mongols in 1755, he originally was going to split the Zunghar Empire into four tribes headed by four Khans, the Khoit tribe was to have the Zunghar leader Amursana as its Khan. Amursana rejected the Qing arrangement and rebelled since he wanted to be leader of a united Zunghar nation. Qianlong then issued his orders for the genocide and eradication of the entire Zunghar nation and name, Qing Manchu Bannermen and Khalkha (Eastern) Mongols enslaved Zunghar women and children while slaying the other Zunghars.[82]

The Qianlong Emperor issued direct orders for his commanders to "massacre" the Zunghars and "show no mercy", rewards were given to those who carried out the extermination and orders were given for young men to be slaughtered while women were taken as spoils. The Qing extirpated Zunghar identity from the remaining enslaved Zunghar women and children.[83] Orders were given to "completely exterminate the Zunghar tribes, and this successful genocide by the Qing left Zungharia mostly unpopulated and vacant.[84] Qianlong ordered his men to- "Show no mercy at all to these rebels. Only the old and weak should be saved. Our previous campaigns were too lenient."[85] The Qianlong Emperor did not see any conflict between performing genocide on the Zunghars while upholding the peaceful principles of Confucianism, supporting his position by portraying the Zunghars as barbarian and subhuman. Qianlong proclaimed that "To sweep away barbarians is the way to bring stability to the interior.", that the Zunghars "turned their back on civilization.", and that "Heaven supported the emperor." in the destruction of the Zunghars.[86][87] According to the "Encyclopedia of genocide and crimes against humanity, Volume 3", per the United Nations Genocide Convention Article II, Qianlong's actions against the Zunghars constitute genocide, as he massacred the vast majority of the Zunghar population and enslaved or banished the remainder, and had "Zunghar culture" extirpated and destroyed.[88] Qianlong's campaign constituted the "eighteenth-century genocide par excellence."[89]

The Qianlong Emperor moved the remaining Zunghar people to China and ordered the generals to kill all the men in Barkol or Suzhou, and divided their wives and children to Qing soldiers.[90][91] In an account of the war, Qing scholar Wei Yuan, wrote that about 40% of the Zunghar households were killed by smallpox, 20% fled to Russia or the Kazakh Khanate, and 30% were killed by the army, leaving no yurts in an area of several thousands of li except those of the surrendered.[92][93][94][95][96] Clarke wrote 80%, or between 480,000 and 600,000 people, were killed between 1755 and 1758 in what "amounted to the complete destruction of not only the Zunghar state but of the Zunghars as a people."[92][97] 80% of the Zunghars died in the genocide.[98][99] The Zunghar genocide was completed by a combination of a smallpox epidemic and the direct slaughter of Zunghars by Qing forces made out of Manchu Bannermen and (Khalkha) Mongols.[100]

Anti-Zunghar Uyghur rebels from the Turfan and Hami oases had submitted to Qing rule as vassals and requested Qing help for overthrowing Zunghar rule. Uyghur leaders like Emin Khoja were granted titles within the Qing nobility, and these Uyghurs helped supply the Qing military forces during the anti-Zunghar campaign.[101][102][103] The Qing employed Khoja Emin in its campaign against the Zunghars and used him as an intermediary with Muslims from the Tarim Basin to inform them that the Qing were only aiming to kill Oirats (Zunghars) and that they would leave the Muslims alone, and also to convince them to kill the Oirats (Zunghars) themselves and side with the Qing since the Qing noted the Muslims' resentment of their former experience under Zunghar rule at the hands of Tsewang Araptan.[104]

It was not until generations later that Dzungaria rebounded from the destruction and near liquidation of the Zunghars after the mass slayings of nearly a million Zunghars.[105] Historian Peter Perdue has shown that the decimation of the Dzungars was the result of an explicit policy of extermination launched by Qianlong,[92] Perdue attributed the decimation of the Dzungars to a "deliberate use of massacre" and has described it as an "ethnic genocide".[106] Although this "deliberate use of massacre" has been largely ignored by modern scholars,[92] Dr. Mark Levene, a historian whose recent research interests focus on genocide,[107] has stated that the extermination of the Dzungars was "arguably the eighteenth century genocide par excellence."[108] The Dzungar (Zunghar) genocide has been compared to the Qing extermination of the Jinchuan Tibetan people in 1776.[109]

The Qing identified their state as "China" (Zhongguo), and referred to it as "Dulimbai Gurun" in Manchu. The Qing equated the lands of the Qing state (including present day Manchuria, Dzungaria in Xinjiang, Mongolia, and other areas as "China" in both the Chinese and Manchu languages, defining China as a multi ethnic state. The Qianlong Emperor explicitly commemorated the Qing conquest of the Zunghars as having added new territory in Xinjiang to "China", defining China as a multi ethnic state, rejecting the idea that China only meant Han areas in "China proper", meaning that according to the Qing, both Han and non-Han peoples were part of "China", which included Xinjiang which the Qing conquered from the Zunghars.[110] After the Qing were done conquering Dzungaria in 1759, they proclaimed that the new land which formerly belonged to the Zunghars, was now absorbed into "China" (Dulimbai Gurun) in a Manchu language memorial.[111][112][113] The Qing expounded on their ideology that they were bringing together the "outer" non-Han Chinese like the Inner Mongols, Eastern Mongols, Oirat Mongols, and Tibetans together with the "inner" Han Chinese, into "one family" united in the Qing state, showing that the diverse subjects of the Qing were all part of one family, the Qing used the phrase "Zhong Wai Yi Jia" 中外一家 or "Nei Wai Yi Jia" 內外一家 ("interior and exterior as one family"), to convey this idea of "unification" of the different peoples.[114] Xinjiang people were not allowed to be called foreigners (yi) under the Qing.[115]

The Qianlong Emperor rejected earlier ideas that only Han could be subjects of China and only Han land could be considered as part of China, instead he redefined China as multiethnic, saying in 1755 that "There exists a view of China (zhongxia), according to which non-Han people cannot become China's subjects and their land cannot be integrated into the territory of China. This does not represent our dynasty's understanding of China, but is instead that of the earlier Han, Tang, Song, and Ming dynasties."[116] The Manchu Qianlong Emperor rejected the views of Han officials who said Xinjiang was not part of China and that he should not conquer it, putting forth the view that China was multiethnic and did not just refer to Han.[117] Han migration to Xinjiang was permitted by the Manchu Qianlong Emperor, who also gave Chinese names to cities to replace their Mongol names, instituting civil service exams in the area, and implementing the county and prefecture Chinese style administrative system, and promoting Han migration to Xinjiang to solidify Qing control was supported by numerous Manchu officials under Qianlong.[118] A proposal was written in The Imperial Gazetteer of the Western Regions (Xiyu tuzhi) to use state-funded schools to promote Confucianism among Muslims in Xinjiang by Fuheng and his team of Manchu officials and the Qianlong Emperor.[119] Confucian names were given to towns and cities in Xinjiang by the Qianlong Emperor, like "Dihua" for Urumqi in 1760 and Changji, Fengqing, Fukang, Huifu, and Suilai for other cities in Xinjiang, Qianlong also implemented Chinese style prefectures, departments, and counties in a portion of the region.[120]

The Qing Qianlong Emperor compared his achievements with that of the Han and Tang ventures into Central Asia.[121] Qianlong's conquest of Xinjiang was driven by his mindfulness of the examples set by the Han and Tang[122] Qing scholars who wrote the official Imperial Qing gazetteer for Xinjiang made frequent references to the Han and Tang era names of the region.[123] The Qing conqueror of Xinjiang, Zhao Hui, is ranked for his achievements with the Tang dynasty General Gao Xianzhi and the Han dynasty Generals Ban Chao and Li Guangli.[124] Both aspects pf the Han and Tang models for ruling Xinjiang were adopted by the Qing and the Qing system also superficially resembled that of nomadic powers like the Qara Khitay, but in reality the Qing system was different from that of the nomads, both in terms of territory conquered geographically and their centralized administrative system, resembling a western stye (European and Russian) system of rule.[125] The Qing portrayed their conquest of Xinjiang in officials works as a continuation and restoration of the Han and Tang accomplishments in the region, mentioning the previous achievements of those dynasties.[126] The Qing justified their conquest by claiming that the Han and Tang era borders were being restored,[127] and identifying the Han and Tang's grandeur and authority with the Qing.[128] Many Manchu and Mongol Qing writers who wrote about Xinjiang did so in the Chinese language, from a culturally Chinese point of view.[129] Han and Tang era stories about Xinjiang were recounted and ancient Chinese places names were reused and circulated.[130] Han and Tang era records and accounts of Xinjiang were the only writings on the region available to Qing era Chinese in the 18th century and needed to be replaced with updated accounts by the literati.[60][129]

Consequences of the Genocide in Xinjiang's demographics

The Qing "final solution" of genocide to solve the problem of the Zunghar Mongols, made the Qing sponsored settlement of millions of Han Chinese, Hui, Turkestani Oasis people (Uyghurs) and Manchu Bannermen in Dzungaria possible, since the land was now devoid of Zunghars.[92][131] The Dzungarian basin, which used to be inhabited by (Zunghar) Mongols, is currently inhabited by Kazakhs.[132] In northern Xinjiang, the Qing brought in Han, Hui, Uyghur, Xibe, and Kazakh colonists after they exterminated the Zunghar Oirat Mongols in the region, with one third of Xinjiang's total population consisting of Hui and Han in the northern area, while around two thirds were Uyghurs in southern Xinjiang's Tarim Basin.[133] In Dzungaria, the Qing established new cities like Urumqi and Yining.[134] The Qing were the ones who unified Xinjiang and changed its demographic situation.[135]

The depopulation of northern Xinjiang after the Buddhist Öölöd Mongols (Zunghars) were slaughtered, led to the Qing settling Manchu, Sibo (Xibe), Daurs, Solons, Han Chinese, Hui Muslims, and Turkic Muslim Taranchis in the north, with Han Chinese and Hui migrants making up the greatest number of settlers. Since it was the crushing of the Buddhist Öölöd (Dzungars) by the Qing which led to promotion of Islam and the empowerment of the Muslim Begs in southern Xinjiang, and migration of Muslim Taranchis to northern Xinjiang, it was proposed by Henry Schwarz that "the Qing victory was, in a certain sense, a victory for Islam".[136] Xinjiang as a unified, defined geographic identity was created and developed by the Qing. It was the Qing who led to Turkic Muslim power in the region increasing since the Mongol power was crushed by the Qing while Turkic Muslim culture and identity was tolerated or even promoted by the Qing.[137]

The Qing gave the name Xinjiang to Dzungaria after conquering it and wiping out the Dzungars, reshaping it from a steppe grassland into farmland cultivated by Han Chinese farmers, 1 million mu (17,000 acres) were turned from grassland to farmland from 1760-1820 by the new colonies.[138]

Settlement of Dzungaria with Han, Hui, Uyghurs (Taranchi), Xibo, and others

"Some years later internal disorders enabled Amursana, one of the Zungar chiefs, to declare himself and his tribe Chinese subjects, and to persuade other tribes to follow his example; he also induced Kashgar to tender allegiance to the Chinese. It was the policy of the Emperor Keen Lung to reconquer Hi and Eastern Turkestan for the Celestial Empire; and in 1755 he despatched an army 150,000 strong, which met with little resistance and enabled him to consolidate the allegiance tendered through Amursana, who was appointed Paramount Chief. The Zungar soon tired of Chinese rule and massacred a detachment of the Celestial forces; but the Chinese reoccupied Zungaria in 1757, and in the following year crushed the tribe. Kulja was founded on the site of the Zungarian capital, and the modern name of Hsin-Chiang or the "New Province" was formally bestowed on the reconquered countries.

The Chinese, realizing their numerical weakness, settled soldiers and landless men in the fertile districts of the " New Province," to which they also deported criminals and political prisoners, among the latter being Tunganis deported from Kansu and Shensi. Chinese rule was evidently less harsh than Russian; for in 1771 the Torgut Mongols to the number of 100,000 famines fled back to the Hi valley from the banks of the Volga, as narrated in dramatic fashion by De Quincey." - Sir Percy Sykes and Ella Sykes. Sykes, Ella and Percy Sykes. page 271 Through deserts and oases of Central Asia. London. Macmillan and Co. Limited, 1920.

The Soungarian or northern portion of the government is of small extent, including only three cantons, viz. Ele (or Hi) in the west, Tarbagatai in the north, and Kour-khara-ousou between Ele and Oroumtchi. The cantons of Bsrkoul and Oroumtchi, with their dependencies, were attached by Keen lung to Kansuh province, Barkoul receiving the name of Chinse foo, and Oroumtchi that of Teih-hwa chow. All these cantons are occupied chiefly by resident soldiery, that is, by soldiers who are settled down on the soil, with their families, the sons being required to inherit their fathers' profession together with their lands. These are descendants of Mantchous, Chinese, Solons, Chahars, Eluths, and others, removed from their respective countries, at the period when Soungaria was depopulated by Keenlung. There are likewise other troops, stationed in the country for limited periods; also, convicts transported from all the provinces of China and Manchuria ; tribes of Hassacks, Tourgouths, &.c.; and Chinese colonists.[139]

After Qing dynasty defeated the Dzungars Oirat Mongols and exterminated them from their native land of Dzungaria in the Zunghar Genocide, the Qing settled Han, Hui, Manchus, Xibe, and Taranchis (Uyghurs) from the Tarim Basin, into Dzungaria. Han Chinese criminals and political exiles were exiled to Dzungaria, such as Lin Zexu. Chinese Hui Muslims and Salar Muslims belonging to banned Sufi orders like the Jahriyya were also exiled to Dzhungaria as well. In the aftermath of the crushing of the 1781 Jahriyya rebellion, Jahriyya adherents were exiled.

The Qing enacted different policies for different areas of Xinjiang. Han and Hui migrants were urged by the Qing government to settle in Dzungaria in northern Xinjiang, while they were not allowed in southern Xinjiang's Tarim Basin oases with the exception of Han and Hui merchants.[140] In areas where more Han Chinese settled like in Dzungaria, the Qing used a Chinese style administrative system.[141]

The Manchu Qing ordered the settlement of thousands of Han Chinese peasants in Xinijiang after 1760, the peasants originally came from Gansu and were given animals, seeds, and tools as they were being settled in the area, for the purpose of making China's rule in the region permanent and a fait accompli.[142]

Taranchi was the name for Turki (Uyghur) agriculturalists who were resettled in Dzhungaria from the Tarim Basin oases ("East Turkestani cities") by the Qing dynasty, along with Manchus, Xibo (Xibe), Solons, Han and other ethnic groups in the aftermath of the destruction of the Dzhunghars.[143][144][145][146][147][148][149][150][151][152][153][154][155][citation clutter] Kulja (Ghulja) was a key area subjected to the Qing settlement of these different ethnic groups into military colonies.[156] The Manchu garrisons were supplied and supported with grain cultivated by the Han soldiers and East Turkestani (Uyghurs) who were resettled in agricultural colonies in Zungharia.[72] The Manchu Qing policy of settling Chinese colonists and Taranchis from the Tarim Basin on the former Kalmucks (Dzungar) land was described as having the land "swarmed" with the settlers.[157][158] The amount of Uyghurs moved by the Qing from Altä-shähär (Tarim Basin) to depopulated Zunghar land in Ili numbered around 10,000 families.[159][160][161] The amount of Uyghurs moved by the Qing into Jungharia (Dzungaria) at this time has been described as "large".[162] The Qing settled in Dzungaria even more Turki-Taranchi (Uyghurs) numbering around 12,000 families originating from Kashgar in the aftermath of the Jahangir Khoja invasion in the 1820s.[163] Standard Uyghur is based on the Taranchi dialect, which was chosen by the Chinese government for this role.[164] Salar migrants from Amdo (Qinghai) came to settle the region as religious exiles, migrants, and as soldiers enlisted in the Chinese army to fight in Ili, often following the Hui.[165]

In Dzungaria (Northern Xinjiang), the Qing exacted corvée labor for construction and infrastructure projects from Uyghur (Taranchi) colonizers and Han colonizers.[166][167]

After a revolt by the Xibe in Qiqihar in 1764, the Qianlong Emperor ordered an 800-man military escort to transfer 18,000 Xibe to the Ili valley of Dzungaria in Xinjiang.[168][169] In Ili, the Xinjiang Xibe built Buddhist monasteries and cultivated vegetables, tobacco, and poppies.[170] One punishment for Bannermen for their misdeeds involved them being exiled to Xinjiang.[171]

Sibe Bannermen were stationed in Dzungaria while Northeastern China (Manchuria) was where some of the remaining Öelet Oirats were deported to.[172] The Nonni basin was where Oirat Öelet deportees were settled. The Yenisei Kirghiz were deported along with the Öelet.[173] Chinese and Oirat replaced Oirat and Kirghiz during Manchukuo as the dual languages of the Nonni-based Yenisei Kirghiz.[174]

In 1765, 300,000 ch'ing of land in Xinjiang were turned into military colonies, as Chinese settlement expanded to keep up with China's population growth.[175]

The Qing resorted to incentives like issuing a subsidy which was paid to Han who were willing to migrate to northwest to Xinjiang, in a 1776 edict.[176][177] There were very little Uyghurs in Urumqi during the Qing dynasty, Urumqi was mostly Han and Hui, and Han and Hui settlers were concentrated in Northern Xinjiang (Beilu aka Dzungaria). Around 155,000 Han and Hui lived in Xinjiang, mostly in Dzungaria around 1803, and around 320,000 Uyghurs, living mostly in Southern Xinjiang (the Tarim Basin), as Han and Hui were allowed to settle in Dzungaria but forbidden to settle in the Tarim, while the small amount of Uyghurs living in Dzungaria and Urumqi was insignificant.[178][179][180] Hans were around one third of Xinjiang's population at 1800, during the time of the Qing Dynasty.[181] Spirits (alcohol) were introduced during the settlement of northern Xinjiang by Han Chinese flooding into the area.[182] The Qing made a special case in allowing northern Xinjiang to be settled by Han, since they usually did not allow frontier regions to be settled by Han migrants. This policy led to 200,000 Han and Hui settlers in northern Xinjiang when the 18th century came to a close, in addition to military colonies settled by Han called Bingtun.[183]

The Qing Wianlong Emperor settled Hui Chinese Muslims, Han Chinese, and Han Bannermen in Xinjiang, the sparsely populated and impovershied Gansu provided most of the Hui and Han settlers instead of Sichuan and other provinces with dense populations from which Qianlong wanted to relieve population pressure.[184]

Professor of Chinese and Central Asian History at Georgetown University, James A. Millward wrote that foreigners often mistakenly think that Urumqi was originally a Uyghur city and that the Chinese destroyed its Uyghur character and culture, however, Urumqi was founded as a Chinese city by Han and Hui (Tungans), and it is the Uyghurs who are new to the city.[185][186]

While a few people try to give a misportrayal of the historical Qing situation in light of the contemporary situation in Xinjiang with Han migration, and claim that the Qing settlements and state farms were an anti-Uyghur plot to replace them in their land, Professor James A. Millward pointed out that the Qing agricultural colonies in reality had nothing to do with Uyghur and their land, since the Qing banned settlement of Han in the Uyghur Tarim Basin and in fact directed the Han settlers instead to settle in the non-Uyghur Dzungaria and the new city of Urumqi, so that the state farms which were settled with 155,000 Han Chinese from 1760-1830 were all in Dzungaria and Urumqi, where there was only an insignificant amount of Uyghurs, instead of the Tarim Basin oases.[187]

Dzungaria was subjected to mass Kazakh settlement after the defeat of the Dzungars.[188]

From Manchuria, Solon, Dagur, and Sibe were swapped for Yenisei Kirghiz (Fuyu Kirghiz) and Oirats from Dzungaria.[189]

Henning Haslund found in the Ili valley descendants of Chahar soldier migrants still living there in 1928-1929.[190] The China Year Book of 1914 said that there were "Some Ch'ahars on the river Borotala in Sinkiang (N. of Ili).".[191]

6,000 agriculturalist migrants were reported by the military governor of Ili in 1788, in Ili, 3,000 migrant agriculturalists were reported in 1783, at Urumqi one thousand and at Ili agriculturalists of exile criminal backgrounds numbering 1,700 were reported in 1775, 1,000 or several hundred migrants moved to Ili yearly in the 1760s.[192]

Kalmyk Oirats return to Dzungaria

The Oirat Mongol Kalmyk Khanate was founded in the 17th century with Tibetan Buddhism as its main religion, following the earlier migration of the Oirats from Zungharia through Central Asia to the steppe around the mouth of the Volga River. During the course of the 18th century, they were absorbed by the Russian Empire, which was then expanding to the south and east. The Russian Orthodox church pressured many Kalmyks to adopt Orthodoxy. In the winter of 1770–1771, about 300,000 Kalmyks set out to return to China. Their goal was to retake control of Zungharia from the Qing dynasty of China.[193] Along the way many were attacked and killed by Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, their historical enemies based on intertribal competition for land, and many more died of starvation and disease. After several grueling months of travel, only one-third of the original group reached Zungharia and had no choice but to surrender to the Qing upon arrival.[194] These Kalmyks became known as Oirat Torghut Mongols. After being settled in Qing territory, the Torghuts were coerced by the Qing into giving up their nomadic lifestyle and to take up sedentary agriculture instead as part of a deliberate policy by the Qing to enfeeble them. They proved to be incompetent farmers and they became destitute, selling their children into slavery, engaging in prostitution, and stealing, according to the Manchu Qi-yi-shi.[195][196] Child slaves were in demand on the Central Asian slave market, and Torghut children were sold into this slave trade.[197]

Settlement of the Tarim Basin

Han and Hui merchants were initially only allowed to trade in the Tarim Basin, while Han and Hui settlement in the Tarim Basin was banned, until the Muhammad Yusuf Khoja invasion, in 1830 when the Qing rewarded the merchants for fighting off Khoja by allowing them to settle down permanently, however, few of them actually took up on the offer.[198] Robert Michell noted that as of 1870, there were many Chinese of all occupations living in Dzungaria and they were well settled in the area, while in Turkestan (Tarim Basin) there were only a few Chinese merchants and soldiers in several garrisons among the Muslim population.[61][62]

Altishahr (Southern Xinjiang) served as a place to send convicted Han Chinese convicts to become slaves to Turkestani (Uyghur) begs.[199][200][201][202][203][204][205][206][207][208] Christian converts were also sent as slaves to the Begs.[209][210][211] These Han Chinese exile-slaves managed to consort with the local Turkestani (Uyghur) women and even marry them, in addition to Han Chinese Green Standard soldiers, Bannermen, and Manchus, Turkestani women were also married by Kokandi merchants.[212][213] Xinjiang (Uyghur) Muslim begs also received Hui Muslims as slaves since those Hui were punished by the government for being members of illegal heterodox Sufi orders.[214]

Even though Muslim women are forbidden to marry non-Muslims in Islamic law, from 1880-1949 it was frequently violated in Xinjiang since Chinese men married Muslim Turki (Uyghur) women, a reason suggested by foreigners that it was due to the women being poor, while the Turki women who married Chinese were labelled as whores by the Turki community, these marriages were illegitimate according to Islamic law but the women obtained benefits from marrying Chinese men since the Chinese defended them from Islamic authorities so the women were not subjected to the tax on prostitution and were able to save their income for themselves. Chinese men gave their Turki wives privileges which Turki men's wives did not have, since the wives of Chinese did not have to wear a veil and a Chinese man in Kashgar once beat a mullah who tried to force his Turki Kashgari wife to veil. The Turki women also benefited in that they were not subjected to any legal binding to their Chinese husbands so they could make their Chinese husbands provide them with as much their money as she wanted for her relatives and herself since otherwise the women could just leave, and the property of Chinese men was left to their Turki wives after they died.[215] Turki women considered Turki men to be inferior husbands to Chinese and Hindus. Because they were viewed as "impure", Islamic cemeteries banned the Turki wives of Chinese men from being buried within them, the Turki women got around this problem by giving shrines donations and buying a grave in other towns. Besides Chinese men, other men such as Hindus, Armenians, Jews, Russians, and Badakhshanis intermarried with local Turki women.[216] The local society accepted the Turki women and Chinese men's mixed offspring as their own people despite the marriages being in violation of Islamic law. Turki women also conducted temporary marriages with Chinese men such as Chinese soldiers temporarily stationed around them as soldiers for tours of duty, after which the Chinese men returned to their own cities, with the Chinese men selling their mixed daughters with the Turki women to his comrades, taking their sons with them if they could afford it but leaving them if they couldn't, and selling their temporary Turki wife to a comrade or leaving her behind.[217]

Slaves from British India were imported into Xinjiang by the Begs.[218][219]

Conversion of Xinjiang into a province and effect on Uyghur migration

The two separate regions, Dzungaria, known as Zhunbu or Tianshan Beilu (Northern March),[66][220][221] and the Tarim Basin, which had been known as Altishahr, Huibu (Muslim region), Huijiang (Muslim-land) or "Tianshan Nanlu 天山南路 (southern March),[72][222] were combined into a single province called Xinjiang by in 1884.[223] Before this, there was never one administrative unit in which North Xinjiang (Zhunbu) and Southern Xinjiang (Huibu) were integrated together.[224]

After Xinjiang was converted into a province by the Qing, the provincialisation and reconstruction programs initiated by the Qing resulted in the Chinese government helping Uyghurs migrate from southern Xinjiang to other areas of the province, like the area between Qitai and the capital, which was formerly nearly completely inhabited by Han Chinese, and other areas like Urumqi, Tacheng (Tabarghatai), Yili, Jinghe, Kur Kara Usu, Ruoqiang, Lop Nor, and the Tarim River's lower reaches.[225] It was during Qing times that Uyghurs were settled throughout all of Xinjiang, from their original home cities in the western Tarim Basin. The Qing policies after they created Xinjiang by uniting Zungharia and Altishahr (Tarim Basin) led Uyghurs to believe that the all of Xinjiang province was their homeland, since the annihilation of the Zunghars (Dzungars) by the Qing, populating the Ili valley with Uyghurs from the Tarim Basin, creating one political unit with a single name (Xinjiang) out of the previously separate Zungharia and the Tarim Basin, the war from 1864-1878 which led to the killing of much of the original Han Chinese and Chinese Hui Muslims in Xinjiang, led to areas in Xinjiang with previously had insignificant amounts of Uyghurs, like the southeast, east, and north, to then become settled by Uyghurs who spread through all of Xinjiang from their original home in the southwest area. There was a major and fast growth of the Uyghur population, while the original population of Han Chinese and Hui Muslims from before the war of 155,000 dropped, to the much lower population of 33,114 Tungans (Hui) and 66,000 Han.[226]

A regionalist style nationalism was fostered by the Han Chinese officials who came to rule Xinjiang after its conversion into a province by the Qing, it was from this ideology that the later East Turkestani nationalists appropriated their sense of nationalism centered on Xinjiang as a clearly defined geographic territory.[135]

Among the Uyghur settlers in Gulja (Yining in Ili) were Rebiya Kadeer's family, her family were descendants of migrants who moved across the Tianshan Mountains to Gulja, Merket was the hometown of her mother's father and Khotan was the hometown of her father's parents.[227]

Qing era-demographics

At the start of the 19th century, 40 years after the Qing reconquest, there were around 155,000 Han and Hui Chinese in northern Xinjiang and somewhat more than twice that number of Uyghurs in southern Xinjiang.[228] A census of Xinjiang under Qing rule in the early 19th century tabulated ethnic shares of the population as 30% Han and 60% Turkic, while it dramatically shifted to 6% Han and 75% Uyghur in the 1953 census, however a situation similar to the Qing era-demographics with a large number of Han has been restored as of 2000 with 40.57% Han and 45.21% Uyghur.[229] Professor Stanley W. Toops noted that today's demographic situation is similar to that of the early Qing period in Xinjiang.[133] Before 1831, only a few hundred Chinese merchants lived in southern Xinjiang oases (Tarim Basin) and only a few Uyghurs lived in northern Xinjiang (Dzungaria).[230] Northern Xinjiang was where most Han were.[231]

Population growth

The Qing dynasty gave large amounts of land to Chinese Hui Muslims and Han Chinese who settled in Dzungaria, while Turkic Muslim Taranchis were also moved into Dzungaria in the Ili region from Aqsu in 1760, the population of the Tarim Basin swelled to twice its original size during Qing rule for 60 years since the start, No permanent settlement was allowed in the Tarim Basin, with only merchants and soldiers being allowed to stay temporarily,[232] up into the 1830s after Jahangir's invasion and Altishahr was open to Han Chinese and Hui (Tungan) colonization, the 19th century rebellions caused the population of Han to drop, the name "Eastern Turkestan" was used for the area consisting of Uyghuristan (Turfan and Hami) in the northeast and Altishahr/Kashgaria in the southwest, with various estimates given by foreign visitors on the entire region's population- At the start of Qing rule, the population was concentrated more towards Kucha's western region with around 260,000 people living in Altishahr, with 300,000 living at the start of the 19th century, one tenth of them lived in Uyghuristan in the east while Kashgaria had seven tenths of the population.[233]

Around 1,200,000 people lived in Kashgaria according to Kuropatkin at the close of the 19th century,[234] while 1,015,000 people lived in Kashgaria according to Forsyth. 2.5 million was the population guessed by Grennard, the population was commonly estimated at 2-3 million in 1922 according to Golomb while it was estimated at 5 million according to Yang Zengxin, it was then estimated at 6-8 million in 1931.[235]

An estimate of 65,000 Kirghiz, 92,000 Hui, 326,000 Kazakh, 187,000 Han, and 2,984,000 Uyghur adding up to a total population of 3,730,000 in all of Xinjiang in 1941 was estimated by Toops, and 4,334,000 people lived in Xinjiang according to Hoppe in 1949.[236]

Republic of China

Mongols have at times advocated for the historical Oirat Dzungar Mongol area of Dzungaria in northern Xinjiang, to be annexed to the Mongolian state in the name of Pan-Mongolism.

Legends grew among the remaining Oirats that Amursana had not died after he fled to Russia, but was alive and would return to his people to liberate them from Manchu Qing rule and restore the Oirat nation. Prophecies had been circulating about the return of Amursana and the revival of the Oirats in the Altai region.[237][238] The Oirat Kalmyk Ja Lama claimed to be a grandson of Amursana and then claimed to be a reincarnation of Amursana himself, preaching anti-Manchu propaganda in western Mongolia in the 1890s and calling for the overthrow of the Qing dynasty.[239] Ja Lama was arrested and deported several times. However, he returned to the Oirat Torghuts in Altay (in Dzungaria) in 1910 and in 1912 he helped the Outer Mongolians mount an attack on the last Qing garrison at Kovd, where the Manchu Amban was refusing to leave and fighting the newly declared independent Mongolian state.[240][241][242][243][244][245] The Manchu Qing force was defeated and slaughtered by the Mongols after Khovd fell.[246][247]

Ja Lama told the Oirat remnants in Xinjiang: "I am a mendicant monk from the Russian Tsar's kingdom, but I am born of the great Mongols. My herds are on the Volga river, my water source is the Irtysh. There are many hero warriors with me. I have many riches. Now I have come to meet with you beggars, you remnants of the Oirats, in the time when the war for power begins. Will you support the enemy? My homeland is Altai, Irtysh, Khobuk-sari, Emil, Bortala, Ili, and Alatai. This is the Oirat mother country. By descent, I am the great-grandson of Amursana, the reincarnation of Mahakala, owning the horse Maralbashi. I am he whom they call the hero Dambijantsan. I came to move my pastures back to my own land, to collect my subject households and bondservants, to give favour, and to move freely."[248][249]

Ja Lama built an Oirat fiefdom centered on Kovd,[250] he and fellow Oirats from Altai wanted to emulate the original Oirat empire and build another grand united Oirat nation from the nomads of western China and Mongolia,[251] but was arrested by Russian Cossacks and deported in 1914 on the request of the Monglian government after the local Mongols complained of his excesses, and out of fear that he would create an Oirat separatist state and divide them from the Khalkha Mongols.[252] Ja Lama returned in 1918 to Mongolia and resumed his activities and supported himself by extorting passing caravans,[253][254][255] but was assassinated in 1922 on the orders of the new Communist Mongolian authorities under Damdin Sükhbaatar.[256][257][258]

The part Buryat Momgol Transbaikalian Cossack Ataman Grigory Semyonov declared a "Great Mongol State" in 1918 and had designs to unify the Oirat Mongol lands, portions of Xinjiang, Transbaikal, Inner Mongolia, Outer Mongolia, Tannu Uriankhai, Khovd, Hu-lun-pei-erh and Tibet into one Mongolian state.[259]

The Buryat Mongol Agvan Dorzhiev tried advocating for Oirat Mongol areas like Tarbagatai, Ili, and Altai to get added to the Outer Mongolian state.[260] Out of concern that China would be provoked, this proposed addition of the Oirat Dzungaria to the new Outer Mongolian state was rejected by the Soviets.[261]

Hui Muslim General Bai Chongxi was interested in Xinjiang. He wanted to resettle disbanded Chinese soldiers there to prevent it from being seized by the Soviet Union.[262] The Kuomintang settled 20,000 Han in Xinjiang in 1943.[263][264]

The Kuomintang government settled a million refugees from central China in Dzungaria before the outbreak of the Ili Rebellion.

People's Republic of China

  Uyghur majority
  Han majority
  Kazakh majority
The distribution map of Xinjiang's GDP per person (2011)

In 1950 Owen Lattimore wrote that 90% of Uyghurs lived in the Tarim Basin and they made up 95% of the Tarim Basin's population.[265] In 1978 Joseph Fletcher estimated that the Turfan Basin (Uyghurstan) held 10% of the Uyghurs population while the Tarim Basin held 70% of the Uyghur population.[266]

In 1955 (the first modern census in China was taken in 1953), Uyghurs were counted as 73% of Xinjiang's total population of 5.11 million.[267] Although Xinjiang as a whole is designated as a "Uyghur Autonomous Region", since 1954 more than 50% of Xinjiang's land area are designated autonomous areas for 13 native non-Uyghur groups.[268] The modern Uyghur people experienced ethnogenesis especially from 1955, when the PRC officially recognized that ethnic category - in opposition to the Han - of formerly separately self-identified oasis peoples.[269]

The People's Republic of China has directed the majority of Han migrants towards the sparsely populated Dzungaria (Junggar Basin). Before 1953 75% of Xinjiang's population lived in the Tarim Basin, thus the Han migrants resulted in the distribution of population between Dzungaria and the Tarim being changed.[270][271][272] Most new Chinese migrants ended up in the northern region, in Dzungaria.[273] Han and Hui made up the majority of the population in Dzungaria's cities while Uighurs made up most of the population in Kashgaria's cities.[274] Eastern and Central Dzungaria are the specific areas where these Han and Hui are concentrated.[275] China made sure that new Han migrants were settled in entirely new areas uninhabited by Uyghurs so as to not disturb the already existing Uyghur communities.[276] Lars-Erik Nyman noted that Kashgaria was the native land of the Uighurs, "but a migration has been in progress to Dzungaria since the 18th century".[277]

Both Han economic migrants from other parts of China and Uyghur economic migrants from southern Xinjiang have been flooding into northern Xinjiang since the 1980s.[278] Deliberately kept away from the Uyghur populated southern Xinjiang, Northern Xinjiang had been populated by 2 million Han in 1957-1967.[279]

Southern Xinjiang is where the majority of the Uyghur population resides, while it is in Northern Xinjiang cities where the majority of the Han (90%) population of Xinjiang reside.[280] Southern Xinjiang is dominated by its nine million Uighur majority population, while northern Xinjiang is where the mostly urban Han population holds sway.[281] This situation has been followed by an imbalance in the economic situation between the two ethnic groups, since the Northern Junghar Basin (Dzungaria) has been more developed than the Uighur south.[282]

From the 1950s to the 1970s, 92% of migrants to Xinjiang were Han and 8% were Hui. Most of these migrants were unorganized settlers coming from neighboring Gansu province to seek trading opportunities.[283]

After the Sino-Soviet split in 1962, over 60,000 Uyghurs and Kazakhs defected from Xinjiang to the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.[284] China responded by reinforcing the Xinjiang-Soviet border area specifically with Han Bingtuan militia and farmers.[285]

"Bloody incidents" in 1966-67 flared up as Chinese and Soviet forces clashed along the border as the Soviets trained anti-Chinese guerrillas and urged Uyghurs to revolt against China, hailing their "national liberation struggle".[286] In 1969, Chinese and Soviet forces directly fought each other along the Xinjiang-Soviet border.[287][288][289][290]

Xinjiang's importance to China increased after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, leading to China's perception of being encircled by the Soviets.[291] The Chinese authorities viewed the Han migrants in Xinjiang as vital to defending the area against the Soviet Union.[292] China opened up camps to train the Afghan Mujahideen near Kashgar and Khotan and supplied them with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of small arms, rockets, mines, and anti-tank weapons.[293][294]

Since the Chinese economic reform from the late 1970s has exacerbated uneven regional development, more Uyghurs have migrated to Xinjiang cities and some Hans have also migrated to Xinjiang for independent economic advancement. Increased ethnic contact and labor competition coincided with Uyghur separatist terrorism from the 1990s, such as the 1997 Ürümqi bus bombings.[295]

In the 1980s, 90% of Xinjiang Han lived in north Xinjiang (Jiangbei, historical Dzungaria). In the mid-1990s, Uyghurs consisted of 90% of south Xinjiang (Nanjiang, historical Tarim)'s population.[283] In 1980, the liberal reformist Hu Yaobang announced the expulsion of ethnic Han cadres in Xinjiang to eastern China. Hu was purged in 1987 for a series of demonstrations that he is said to have provoked in other areas of China. The prominent Xinjiang and national official Wang Zhen criticized Hu for destroying Xinjiang Han cadres' "sense of security", and for exacerbating ethnic tensions.[296]

In the 1990s, there was a net inflow of Han people to Xinjiang, many of whom were previously prevented from moving because of the declining number of social services tied to hukou (residency permits).[297] As of 1996, 13.6% of Xinjiang's population was employed by the publicly traded Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (Bingtuan) corporation. 90% of the Bingtuan's activities relate to agriculture, and 88% of Bingtuan employees are Han, although the percentage of Hans with ties to the Bingtuan has decreased.[298] Han emigration from Xinjiang has also resulted in an increase of minority-identified agricultural workers as a total percentage of Xinjiang's farmers, from 69.4% in 1982 to 76.7% in 1990.[299] During the 1990s, about 1.2 million temporary migrants entered Xinjiang every year to stay for the cotton picking season.[300] Many Uyghur trading communities exist outside of Xinjiang; the largest in Beijing is one village of a few thousand.[300]

A chain of aggressive and belligerent press releases in the 1990s making false claims about violent insurrections in Xinjiang, and exaggerating both the number of Chinese migrants and the total number of Uyghurs in Xinjiang were made by the former Soviet supported URFET leader Yusupbek Mukhlisi.[301][302]

In 2000, Uyghurs "comprised 45 per cent of Xinjiang's population, but only 12.8 per cent of Urumqi's population." Despite having 9% of Xinjiang's population, Urumqi accounts for 25% of the region's GDP, and many rural Uyghurs have been migrating to that city to seek work in the dominant light, heavy, and petrochemical industries.[303] Hans in Xinjiang are demographically older, better-educated, and work in higher-paying professions than their Uyghur cohabitants. Hans are more likely to cite business reasons for moving to Urumqi, while some Uyghurs also cite trouble with the law back home and family reasons for their moving to Urumqi.[304] Hans and Uyghurs are equally represented in Urumqi's floating population that works mostly in commerce. Self-segregation within the city is widespread, in terms of residential concentration, employment relationships, and a social norm of endogamy.[305] As of 2010, Uyghurs constitute a majority in the Tarim Basin, and a mere plurality in Xinjiang as a whole.[306]

Manchu, Daur, Tartar, Tajik, Xibo, Uzbeks, Russians, Kirgiz, Hui, Mongols, Kazakhs, Han, and Uyghur make up the ethniciites in Xinjiang, the Uyghur population has grown along with the Kazakh, there were 1.3 million Kazakhs and 8.4 million Uyghurs in 2001, an increase from 900,000 Kazakhs and 6 million Uyghurs in 1982, which was an increase from 500,000 Kazakhs and 4 million Uyghurs in the 1960s. There has been a declining death rate for child birth and diseases have been checked by advanced medical care, helping Xinjiang's population growth, and China does not strictly apply birth control to the area.[307]

There was a 1.7 growth in the Uyghur population in Xinjiang while there was a 4.4% growth from 1940-1982 in the Hui population in Xinjiang. Uyghur Muslims and Hui Muslims have experienced a growth in major tensions against each other due to the Hui population surging in its growth. Some old Uyghurs in Kashgar remember that the Hui army at the Battle of Kashgar (1934) massacred 2,000 to 8,000 Uyghurs, which caused tension as more Hui moved into Kashgar from other parts of China.[308] Some Hui criticize Uyghur separatism, Dru C. Gladney said the Hui “don't tend to get too involved in international Islamic conflict, They don't want to be branded as radical Muslims."[309][310] Hui and Uyghur live separately, attending different mosques.[311]

Han and Hui mostly live in northern Xinjiang (Dzungaria), and are separated from areas of historical Uyghur dominance south of the Tian Shan mountains (southwestern Xinjiang), where Uyghurs account for about 90% of the population.[312]

Uyghur is the dominant language in southern Xinjiang while Mandarin is the dominant language in northern Xinjiang.[313]

Future projections

The Chinese demographer Qiu Yuanyao projects a zero growth rate of Xinjiang's Han population by 2020, and negative growth thereafter with Hans dropping to 24% percent of the region's population by 2030.[314][315] Factors contributing to this Han decline include: a high minority birth rate, brain drain of thousands of Xinjiang university graduates per year, and recruitment of Xinjiangese civil servants from work units on China's eastern coast.[316] According to the Xinjiang regional government, 12,000 students from Xinjiang leave the area for education, and only 20% return, resulting in a loss of 210,000 skilled Xinjiangese over 20 years.[317]

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Volume 145 of Indiana University Uralic and Altaic series, Indiana University Bloomington. Contributor Indiana University, Bloomington. Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies. Psychology Press. ISBN 0700703802. Retrieved 24 April 2014.  horizontal tab character in |others= at position 12 (help); line feed character in |volume= at position 64 (help)