The Process of Historical Change
Xinjiang from Remote Antiquity up to the Spring and
Autumn Period and Warring States Period In recent years archaeologists have uncovered evidence of human
habitation in Xinjiang in as early as the Paleolithic age. In addition, large numbers of ruins and relics have been found all over the vast area of Xinjiang, which date back to Neolithic times 10,000. years ago up to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.) and the Warring States Period (476-221 B.C.). However, existing archaeological finds are still too few to enable us to construct a clear
picture of the human history of those ancient times. Today we can merely pick out several sites representative of different stages to give a general idea of the developments in the long course of Xinjiang's history.
Dating back 10,000 years, the sites of the Qijiaojing microlithic culture in eastern Xinjiang have provided important remains of the late Mesolithic Age or early Neolithic Age. They first attracted the attention of archaeologists at home and abroad back in the 1930s,
then after the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, Chinese archaeologists paid many visits there, in an area of several square kilometers, they discovered six or seven spots rich in artifacts of the microlithic culture, excavating a number of boat-shaped, awl-like and cylindrical objects made of silica, quartz or chert, as well as stone arrowheads, drills and scrapers. At one of the sites close to Qijiaojing Village, the archaeologists felt as if they were touring an ancient masonry workshop, and in half a day they gathered nearly 1,000 stone artifacts. But they found no pottery at all, which
showed that the makers of the stone articles lived by hunting and
gathering. It is quite possible that Xinjiang's dry climate may have
helped to preserve these artifacts for so long.
The material and shapes of the microlithic stone objects
unearthed in the Qijiaojing ruins as well as the techniques used in making them show them to be of the same type as those discovered earlier in northern China. Obviously they are part of the same system of microlithic culture distributed over the northern and eastern parts of Asia as well as the northern and western parts of
America. They are very different from the type of microlithic cultures found in the southern and western parts of Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa.
Archaeologists have found 4,000-year-old remains of microlithic culture in the Lop Nur area, at a spot north of Astana in Turpan, west of the ancient city of Jiaohe, and on the east bank of the Mori River. The stone objects excavated in these places show more skill in their construction,

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   

and several of the stone knives and spears
found are delicately modelled with regular shapes. Pottery was found in some of these ruins, indicating that the nomadic hunters had settled down and developed farming and livestock raising. Archaeologists at home and abroad have shown great interest in the ancient tombs and mummies unearthed in the past few years in the Lop Nur area. Dating back 3,800 years, all the mummies found
in the tombs wore pointed felt hats and leather shoes, and were wrapped in woolen blankets. A package of ephedra branches was placed on each person's chest, which might have had some religious or suchlike significance. Burial objects include wooden articles, straw baskets, ornamental beads made of jade, stone or bone, as well as stone arrowheads, and small bronze ornaments in a few
tombs. More household articles were discovered in tombs for women, and there were statues of women in some tombs. All this shows that the inhabitants of the Lop Nur wilderness lived in a primitive commune where.all members of the clan had equal social status, and women were especially respected. People lived mainly
by raising sheep and cattle and, hunting, but they planted wheat too. They used primitive vertical looms to weave woolen cloth and blankets with plain weave. Household handicrafts too began to develop, resulting in felt, straw objects, wooden and bone artifacts. From the eleventh to the third century B.C. the Zhou Dynasty in
central China rose and declined, petering out in the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. For the inhabitants of Xinjiang, however, it was a time when they gradually turned from primitive society to a slave society. As class polarization developed,
the ancients living north and south of the Tianshan Mountains crossed the threshold of civilization.
A large number of ruins and relics representing this historical stage have been found in Lop Nur, Hotan, Hami and Ill, and have produced extensive finds of painted pottery artifacts and stone objects. Later tombs contain small bronzes too. Ironware appears together with painted pottery artifacts in sites dating from the Warring States Period and the Han Dynasty. This demonstrates that
the ancients built settlements in various parts of Xinjiang, and developed the land around river banks and in some major oases.It is interesting to note that while the unearthed painted pottery carries specific features of Xinjiang's local culture, it is quite similar
to that found in central and northwestern China in shape, decoration and technique. For instance, the common Xinjiang decorations of triangle, whirlpool and wave designs were influenced by the culture
of Gansu. The S-shaped design on the handle of painted pottery )ars found in Mori was also a popular Gansu pattern, while the pottery beads unearthed at Fish Gorge were molded in a style of central China. The similarity of pottery style is evidence of the mutual exchanges and influences between Xinjiang and Central China.
Ancient dwellings excavated in Turpan, Qitai and Jimsar have revealed that the residents in those times used painted pottery and articles and ornaments made of iron, gold and bronze. While engaging in livestock breeding, they also practiced farming on a considerable scale, and started wool-weaving, carpentry, pottery and
smelting crafts. Productivity was certainly advancing in this period.In the large ancient tombs built during the Warring States Period in what is today's Xinyuan Kanes and Alagou, a great number of gold, silver and bronze artifacts as well as fine pottery have been
unearthed. The gold and silver articles are engraved with vivid images of lions, tigers, bears and strange animals with wings. These finds indicate both improvement of technique and intensified class polarization at that time. As all production was the result of simple
manual labor, it would have been impossible for any one person to bury so many valuable gold, silver and bronze articles as funerary objects if he or she had not been a member of the ruling class possessing large numbers of slaves. It was precisely this slave labor
that created considerable quantities of exquisite gold, silver and bronze artifacts and ornaments.
In a number of excavations, such as those at Alagou, Wubu
and Lake Aydingkol, archaeologists found lacquerware, silks, embroideries and bronze mirrors brough~t in from Central China. In some tombs, they even picked up sea shells which had come all the way from the southeastern coast. These archaeological finds together with records in the ancient literature of the early Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.) give us a clear picture of the history of
Xinjiang in that period. The scenery and produce of Xinjiang have been recorded in a number of noted pre-Qin literary works such as The Classic of Mountains and Seas and The Memoirs of King Mu. The Memoirs of
King Mu tells the story of how King Mu of the Zhou Dynasty once toured Xinjiang where he met and exchanged gifts with Xiwangmu (the Queen Mother of the West), the leader of a primitive society there. This was a tale on everybody's-lips in Central China. All along the way, the story says, King Mu gave people sea shells as presents.
This may not be mere coincidence, judging by the sea shells found at ancient sites in Xinjiang.
All' this informs us that during the pre-Qin period, Xinjiang and Central China maintained broad and close ties. Silks, bronze mirrors and lacquerware were transported from Central China to Xinjiang,
which exported jade and other local products in exchange. In the 1970s, Chinese archaeologists excavated an ancient royal tomb at the Yin Ruins in Anyang City, in what is present Henan Province. The occupant of the tomb was Fu Hao, wife of King Wu Ding, who reigned 3,200 years ago in the Shang Dynasty (17th century-11th century B.C.). A total of 1,928 relics were found in the tomb, 756
of which were of jade. The Geological Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and experts from Beijing and Anyang jade workshops made a careful study of 300 unearthed jade specimens, and reported that "the jades were largely produced in Xinjiang~' That Xinjiang has carried on considerable economic and Cultural exchanges with other parts of China since antiquity is
evident. These circumstances in early history laid the foundation for Xinjiang to become part of the territory of China in the Han dynasty.

Becoming a Part of China
Xinjiang was officially included in the territory of China in the western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 24). In 60 B.C., the Han dynasty assigned a Viceroy to the Western Region to take charge of Xiniiang including the area around Lake Balkash and the Pamirs. Unifying Central China in 206 B.C., the Western Hah Dynasty became a strong power. At that time the northern border of China was inhabited by the nomadic Xiongnu or Huns, who frequently swept south and harassed Central China. They also disturbed the
peaceful life of many nationalities in the Western Region, and forced two nomadic tribes Dayuezhi and Wusun, living in the Gansu Corridor to move westward. As they gained control over Loulan and twenty other small city states in the Western Region, the Huns severed the communication between Central China and the Western Region. At this juncture the Han Dynasty pursued a policy of allying
itself with the states in the Western Region to deter the Huns. It was then that Zhang Qian made his historic journey to the Western Region.
According to A History of the FIan Dynasty, Zhang Qian was
born in Chenggu County, Shaanxi Province, and was originally an attendant of the emperor. He volunteered for the post of Emperor Wu's envoy to the Western Region, ignoring the danger. Winning the emperor's approval, he set out in 139 B.C. with a retinue of more than a hundred people. When they were passing through the Gansu Corridor, they were attacked and captured by a cavalry of the Huns and brought to the court of Chanyu, king of the Huns, in
what is present-day Huhhot, capital of Inner Mongolia Autonomous ~ Region. Zhang Qian was imprisoned for eleven years, but he never forgot his mission. Seizing an opportunity, he secretly gathered his retinue and escaped from the Hun court in 129 B.C. Trekking through hundreds of miles of wilderness under harsh conditions, Zhang Qian and his followers passed by the southern foot of the
Tianshan Mountains, crossed the Pamirs and arrived in the Dayuezhi lands by way of Dawan and Kangju (both Soviet territory now). By this time the Dayuezhi people had built new homes in the fertile valley of the Amu River and were living a happy and peaceful life. Their king was unwilling to accept Zhang Qian's proposal for an alliance against the Huns, and although he stayed there for more than a year, Zhang Qian failed to convince the king and was obliged to leave for home. This time he took another road eastward on the southern edge of the Tarim Basin to avoid meeting the Hun cavalry. As they were climbing the Qilian Mountains, however, he and his retinue once more ran into the Huns and were brought to the Hun court and imprisoned again. Luckily, a year later, the king of the Huns died and an internal conflict flared up. Taking advantage of
the confusion, Zhang Qian fled and returned to Chang'an, capital of the Han Dynasty, in 126 B.C. After being away for thirteen years,he returned having lost his entire retinue except for one man, Ganfu,his close attendant.
Although he failed to attain his aim in his journey to the Western Region, Zhang Qian toured many places in what is now Gansu and Qinghai provinces, and north and south of the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang. His reports to Emperor Wu contained a great deal of information on the geography, economy, culture and customs of the states in Western Region. On the basis of this information the
emperor decided to open communications and exchanges with the states in the Western Region.In 121 B.C., two Hun princes in the Gansu Corridor .Hunxie and Xiutu surrendered to the Han government. In 119 B.C.,
Emperor Wu ordered Zhang Qian, as an envoy, to lead 300 persons,each equipped with two horses, to the State of Wusun in the northern part of the Western Region. They took with them 10,000 head of cattle and sheep and a great quantity of gold and silks. Arriving at the State of Wusun without mishap they were well received by the king. During his stay there, Zhang Qian carried out bservations himself and sent his assistants to the states of Dawan,
Kangju, Yuezhi, Anxi, Daxia, Shendu, Yutian and Yumi to make friends with the people there. As a result a number of states sent envoys to come with Zhang Qian and his assistants to the Han capital of Chang'an to return the courtesy of Emperor Wu. From that time the Western Han court established friendly ties with the states in the Western Region and opened the Silk Road, which
contributed to economic and cultural exchanges between the Orient and the West. Following Zhang Qian's second visit to Xinjiang, there were more and more exchanges between the Western Han government and the states in the Western Region. Time and again they conducted joint military operations against the Huns. To strengthen the friendship,
Emperor Wu married Princess Xi Jun, daughter of the Prince of Jiangdu to Liejiaomi, king of the State of Wusun. After the princess died, the emperor sent a new bride, Princess Jie You,granddaughter of the Prince of Chu to Junxumi, the new king of the State of Wusun. Both sides had hoped to consolidate their alliance through these marriages. Feng Liao, a maid accompanying Princess Xie You to Wusun, was very able and smart, and so the king of Wusun assigned her an important mission. As an envoy from the Han Dynasty, Feng Liao visited many states south of the Tianshan
Mountains and was respected by all the .people there who called her "Lady Feng." Once, when the Hun army threatened Wusun, the king and Princess Xie You asked the Western Han government for help. The emperor sent a rescue army, which routed the Huns. The peoples of the Western Region hoped that alliances with Central China would stop the plunder by the Huns and allow them to live a peaceful and prosperous life. In the meantime a split occurred among the rulers of the Huns, and Prince Rizhu of the western division of the Huns surrendered to the Han government, thus breaking the supreme command of the Huns in the Western Region. The time was ripe for the Han Dynasty
to unify the Western Region, and Emperor Xuan appointed Zheng Ji as the first military viceroy to the Western Region in 60 B.C.Zheng Ji had earlier defeated the Huns at Cheshi and was successful in his many military exploits. His appointment marked the official establishment of Xinjiang as part of the territory of China.
At the end of the Western Han Dynasty, Wang Mang usurped the throne, causing commotion in Central China as well as in the Western Region. The Huns took advantage of the situation and took over the Western Region. In 25 A.D., Liu Xiu (Emperor Guang Wu) established the Eastern Han government, following which eighteen states in the Western Region, including Shache, Shanshan, Yanqi and Cheshi, sent their crown princes to the Han capital of Luoyang
to request the restoration of the viceroyalty in the Western Region. In 29 A.D., the Eastern Han government made the prince of Shache the Great Commander of the Western Region. Later in 73 A.D., the Han emperor ordered generals Dou Gu and Geng Zhong to lead an army to attack the northern Huns and captured the Yiwu area. In
this new area they set up an agricultural garrison, and appointed a commander to make sure that the army stationed in the Western Region had a lasting supply of provisions. In the same year General Dou Gu sent an officer named Ban Chao to go south. He successfully organized the three states of Shanshan, Yutian and Shule against the Huns, restoring peace and order in the Western Region. Subsequently, in 74 A.D., the Eastern Han government
reestablished the military viceroy's office in the Western Region, in the city of Taqian, Qiuci southwest of what is today Xinhe (Toksu) County. Between 75 and 76 A.D., on the death of the Han Emperor Ming the Huns seized their opportunity and captured Cheshi, Yanqi, Qiuci
and Liuzhong. As the Xinjiang situation was getting precarious, Ban Chao, who was left to defend Shule and Yutian, won the support of the local officials and people and drove the Hun troops from the city of Gumoshi (north of today's Aksu). Then he wrote to the imperial
court, proposing that they send more troops to the Western Region. Emperor Zhang agreed to his proposal and ordered General Xu Gan to lead an army to help Ban Chao. Xu and Ban attacked and recaptured Qiuci and Yanqi, defeating the Huns' remnant forces south of the Tianshan Mountains. Meanwhile the Han government dispatched General Dou Xian leading an army to the area north of the Tianshan Mountains, where he won a big victory over the Hun forces.
As a result, the states north and south of the Tianshan Mountains were reunified under 'the central government of the I-Ian Dynasty. During the war against the Hun which lasted several decades, Ban Chao distinguished himself as a statesman and strategist. Relying on the various nationalities in the Western Region, he united all the
people and maintained the unity of the empire. In 91 A.D., the Eastern Han government appointed Ban Chao Military Viceroy of the Western Region, with his office in Qiuci. Later the emperor confered the title of Dingyuan Marquis on Ban Chao. For more than thirty years Ban Chao worked in the Western Region until he was seventy, when he retired and returned to Luoyang. Ren Shang succeeded Ban Chao as military viceroy of the Western Region, but as he was unkind and harsh toward the local people they rose against him, plunging the region into disorder. The Han court soon recalled him, and the Huns returned and ruled the
Western Region once again, often harassing the Han territory west of the Yellow River. In 123 A.D., the Eastern Han government decided to recover the Western Region and sent Ban Yong, the son of Ban Chao, to perform the mission. Appointed Superior Officer of
the Western Region, Ban Yong carried on his father's cause and led an army to Liuzhong. He recaptured Qiuci and Gumo, suppressed the Huns and strengthened the frontier of the Western Region. On the basis of his personal experiences and investigations, he wrote the important work An Account of the Western Region, which was later included by Fan Ye in A History of the Later Han Dynasty. The incorporation of the Western Region into China during the Western and Eastern Han dynasties promoted economic and
cultural exchanges between Xinjiang and Central. From Xinjiang fine breeds of horses and such plants as alfalfa, grapes, broad beans, walnuts, garlic, coriander, carrots, cucumbers, pomegranate were brought to other parts of the country. In exchange Xinjiang received tools and expertise in such skills as smelting, silkworm-raising, weaving, well-sinking, ditch-digging and manufacturing hoes and
seed ploughs. The Han soldiers and immigrants opened up
wasteland and built water-conservancy projects to grow crops in Xinjiang, helping the local people develop agriculture and improve their life.
The Han government protected the Silk Road and set up posts along the way. The Silk Road had so much traffic that envoys and traders came and went in an endless stream of convoys, each with a hundred or even several hundred men.
During the Sui and Tang Dynasties The ties between the Western Region and Central China never broke throughout the 390 years from the fall of the Eastern Han Dynasty to the establishment of the Tang Dynasty, which unified
China. During this period, political powers rose and fell: first the Three Kingdoms (220-265 A.D.), then the Western (265-316 A.D.) and Eastern Jin (317-420 A.D.) dynasties, Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-581 A.D.) and Sui Dynasty (581-618 A~D~). The Sui Dynasty unified China in 589, ending the division of Central China. Even the Western Turks, who ruled over others in the Western Region, pledged allegiance to the Sui Dynasty. After he,(~ Wei Jie
ascended the throne Emperor Yang sent Du Xingman and Weijie
as envoys to the Western Region and ordered Xue Shixiong and Pei Ju to garrison Yiwu to protect trade caravans and traffic. Between 609 and 610 A.D., the Sui Dynasty established the prefectures of Shanshan, Qiemo and Yiwu as well as counties under them in the Western Region, and thus the administrative system of Central China continued to be imposed. More than forty states in the Western Region presented tribute to the Sui court, and consequently
the Sui government instituted special officials to handle the affairs of the Western Region. The Sui cities of Chang'an and Luoyang were frequented by merchants from the west and once Emperor Yang ordered a theatrical performance to be stajed specially for the merchants from the Western Region at the Duanmen Gate of Luoyang.
The powerful Tang Dynasty came to power in 618 A.D. After
unifying the whole country, the Tang court took various measures to expand the ties between the Western Region and Central. The ruling group of Western Turks, who controlled the Western Region, became plagued with internal conflicts at the end of the $ui Dynasty and in the early Tang Dynasty. The strife intensified in 638 A.D., when the Western Turks split into two groups, led by two
khans each belligerent toward the other. Xilishi Khan occupied the area west of the Ill River and continued to pledge allegiance to the Tang Dynasty, while Yipi Duolu Khan who opposed the Tang Dynasty, controlled the area east of the Iii River, coercing the princes both of Gaocliang and Yanqi into attacking the Tang. Determined to remove this threat, Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty in 640 sent Hou Junji and Qibi Heli to lead an army to the
Western Region where they eliminated the rebellious power in Gaochang. In 644, the emperor ordered Guo Xiaolao to put down the rebellion in Yanqi. Meanwhile the Tang Dynasty was supporting the pro-Tang Western Turk forces against plunder by Yipi Duolu Khan. Finally Yipi Duolu Khan, deserted by his followers, was defeated and fled west. In 647, the Tang generals Ashi Nadu'er (Ashnashur) and Qibi Hell suppressed the revolt of the Prince of Qiuci, which had been instigated by the anti-Tang Western Turk forces.
As the Tang army destroyed the .anti-Tang Western Turk forces, Emperor Taizong gained the allegiance of the states south of the Tianshan Mountains. He established an Anxi Military Viceroy's Office in Jiaohe, which later moved to Qiuci. Under the office were four suboffices in Yanqi, Qiuci, Shule and Pisha as well as the four towns of Yanqi, Qiuci, Yutian and Shule, where Tang troops were
garrisoned to safeguard the rule of the Tang Dynasty south of the Tianshan Mountains. When Yipi Duolu Khan was defeated, his subordinate, Ashnagaru, led his remnant troops and surrendered to the Tang Dynasty. In
649, Emperor Taizong made Ashnagaru Military Superintendent of Yaochi based in Tingzhou. In 651, however, Ashnagaru revolted against the Tang and led his men to the west, where he defeated Yipi Shekui Khan, who was appointed by the Tang Dynasty, and made himself Shaboluo Khan. Then he returned with his troops to harass Tingzhou. Emperor, Gaozong sent his .generals Liang Jianfang; Qibi Heli, Su Dingfang and others to put down the rebellion. They joined forces in what is today's Ill in 657. Suffering complete defeat, Ashnagaru fled west and was captured, resulting in
the demise of the Western Turks. After subduing the Western Turks, the Tang court established two military viceroy's offices in Kunling and Mengchi east and west of
the Suiye River (nowadays the Chu River in the Soviet Union). After Empress Wu Zetian ascended the throne, a Beiting Military Viceroy's Office was founded in Tingzhou in command of the two above military viceroy's offices. The new Beiting Military Viceroy's Office governed the area north of the Tianshan Mountains while the previously established Anxi Military Viceroy's Office administered
the region to the south. In ruling the Western Region, the Tang Dynasty put two administrative systems into effect. One of the systems, similar to that practiced in Central China, consisted of prefectures, counties,
townships and villages. This system was applied to the eastern part of Xinjiang, dividing it into three prefectures: Yizhou (Hami), Xizhou (Turpan) and Tingzhou (jimsar). The other system, like that practiced in other frontier areas, was one involving a military
viceroy's office, military superintendent's offices and prefectural administration. The Anxi Military Viceroy's Office had sixteen military superintendent's offices under it, administering an extensive area south of the Tianshan Mountains and west of the Pamirs, while the Beiting Military Viceroy's Office commanded more than thirty
military superintendents, controlling the area north of the Tianshan Mountains, including Lake Balkash.
The Anxi and Beiting military viceroy's offices .were both the highest administrative organ and the supreme military command of the Tang Dynasty in the Western Region. The Anxi Military Viceroy's Office administered four famous strategic town garrisons known as the "four Anxi towns," namely Qiuci, Shule, Yutian and Suiye (later Yanqi), and one division garrison on the Pamirs. The Beiting Military Viceroy's Office commanded the Hanhai army garrison (at Tingzhou), the Yiwu army garrison (at Hami) and the
Tianshan army garrison (at Turpan). These garrisons also farmed and raised horses and sheep. This measure of having troops engage in both military and farming activities helped maintain security in the Western Region and on the Silk Road, and contributed to the development of the border areas. As administrative structures were progressively built up, government decrees of the Tang Dynasty were effectively enforced in the Western Region. For example,~ the system of loaning farmland, left to waste by war to peasants; the new system of rent, collection and corvee labor; the system of military corvee on a rotational basis; and the measure of checking households were instituted. Laws involving the control of trade and communications
and other affairs were similar to those in Central China. As in other parts of China, the central government kept a census in Xinjiang by residential registration of citizens.
Agriculture, livestock-breeding, water conservancy, handicrafts and communications made rapid progress after the political system of the Tang Dynasty had been established in the Western Region. This promoted economic and cultural exchanges with Central China with Xinjiang shipping quantities of livestock woolen fabrics, jade,
spices and medicine to central areas in exchange for silks, iron and lacquerware and tea. Xinjiang merchants also brought back the technique of paper-making. Cultural exchanges were conducted on a far greater scale than ever before. Many works in the Han language were circulated in the Western Region. At the same time,music, dancing and painting techniques of the Western Region filtered into Central China. During the later years of the Tang Dynasfy, the Huihu people inhabiting the Erhun River Valley were weakened by natural disaster, widespread contagious diseases and internal conflicts. As they were further attacked by another nomadic people, the Xiajiasi,
the predecessors of the modern Kirgiz people, they were forced to move into the Western Region. The branch settling in Anxi and Xizhou pledged allegiance to the Tang court with their chief accepting a title. The Huihu people gradually assimilated with the local inhabitants, bringing about far-reaching changes in the national composition and history of Xinjiang. The Tang Dynasty represented the heyday of China's feudal society. Depending on its powerful state resources, the central government actively developed the Western Region, strengthening its political, economic and cultural ties with Central China. As a result the peoples of the Western Region made many achievements,
and outstanding statesmen, generals, men of letters, artists and scientists appeared, who contributed to the unification of China and to its history and culture.
During the Dynasties of Song, Liao, Jin, Yuan and Ming
Following the Tang Dynasty, China saw a period of feudal
separatism the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-979),
during which a number of independent local political powers
emerged in the Western Region. The most prominent among them Were Halahan (Qarakhanid), Yutian and Gaochang. The Halahan court occupied what is the western part of Xinjiang arid part of Soviet territory, the Yutian court ruled the Hotan oases at the northern foot of the Kunlun Mountains, and the Gaochang Huihus controlled the area north of the Tianshan Mountains as well as Turpan, Yanqi and Kuqa to the south. At the end of the tenth century, war broke out between Halahan and Yutian, resulting in the defeat of Yutian which became part of the territory under the
Halahan court. These local political powers maintained relations with Central China, while the Khan of the Halahan court announced that his territory was part of China.
During the tenth and eleventh centuries, the Liao Dynasty
(916-1125) and the Song Dynasty (960-1279) confronted each
other in Central China. The Liao Dynasty took over control of Xinjiang, and established several principalities there, including Asalan, Gaochang, Yutian, Xiajiasi and the West Turkish regions. Consequently a large number of Huihu and Qidan (Khitan) people took office. The Song Dynasty also sent men to establish contact with the Western Region, and the princes of Gaochang, Yutian and Halahan also dispatched envoys to pay tribute to the imperial court. In 963,
three years after the Song Dynasty had been founded, the Prince of Gaochang sent more than forty envoys to present local products to the dynasty. In return, the Song emperor ordered a lord from the imperial court to take gifts to the Prince of Gaochang. Aside from this the Song emperor also confered the title of "Loyal Golden-Winged Eagle Prince" on the Prince of Yutian, and at that time, Yutian was engaged in flourishing trade with Central China. The Song Dynasty also granted a tax and customs exemptions for
Yutian merchants who bought tea and transported it back to the Western Region. The Liao army was defeated by the Jin army in the early twelfth century. Yelu Dashi, a Liao noble, led his men westwards to Qirman (now within the Uzbekistan Soviet Socialist Republic), and founded
the Western Liao Dynasty (1124-1211), establishing his capital at Hos Ordu (today in the valley of the Chu River). His territory extended from Bieshi Bali in the east to the Salt sea in the west, from Lake Balkash in the north to Kaxgar and Hotan in the south. Retaining the political system of the former Liao Dynasty, the Western Liao Dynasty controlled the leaders and troops of all the local states.
In the early years of the thirteenth century, Genghis Khan rose to power on the Mongolian grasslands. Conquering all tribes in Mongolia, he led his army in a westerly expedition and subjugated the Western Liao Dynasty. After unifying all the areas north and south of the Tianshan Mountains, he drove west into Central Asia. He appointed administrative officials for places under his rule
including what is today Jimsar, Ili, Hotan and Kaxgar. Later his grandson Mengii Khan, merged Jimsar and Ili into a province, the first province ever established in the history of China. With the founding of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), control over the Western Region was strengthened. Applying file same administrative system as in Central China, the Yuan government set up in Xinjiang a Generalissimo's Office to take charge of military
affairs, a Judiciary Supervisor to take care of legal matters, and administrators to take care of civil affairs. A Textile Bureau was instituted and an iron-smelting factory was built. The Yuan Dynasty also built many military and communications posts in the Western
Region and its garrisoned, troops were ordered to be self-supporting by working the land. All this helped speed up the development of economy in Xinjiang. And throughout the eighty-nine years of Yuan rule, the central government continued to pay great attention to Xinjiang, placing it on a par with other provinces.
At the end of the Yuan Dynasty and the beginning of the
Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), descendants of Chahetai Khan, the
Mongolian nobility ruling Xinjiang, split up into separate regimes. Afterthe Ming Dynasty had united Central China, these separate regimes fell into a decline. The leader of Hami was the first to come over and pledge allegiance to the Ming Dynasty. The Ming emperor confered on him the title of "Loyal Prince" and established a Hami
garrison command. Soon afterwards, Mahmud, chief of the Oyrats, paid tribute to the Ming Dynasty and asked for a title. Emperor Chengzu granted him the title of "Prince of Obedience." After Prince Mahmud died, his son Togan unified all the Oyrat tribes and inherited his father's title of "Prince of Obedience." Following this the leaders of the Yutian, Kaxgar and other states also presented
tribute to the Ming Dynasty, and received titles, their heirs succeeding to their positions under the Ming imperial mandate. The Ming government also appointed officers under these princes, and the military forces of all the states were controlled by the Ming court. The Ming Dynasty frequently sent officials to inspect various
places in the Western Region. In 1418, Emperor Chengzu
(1403-1425) ordered Chen Cheng, an official from the Board of Personnel Affairs, and Li Xian from the Board of Revenue to tour the Western Region and to extend imperial greetings to the princes. They passed through Hami and Turpan and arrived in Herat (now within Afghanistan)west of the Pamirs. In 1463, Emperor Yingzong named Liu Fu and Pu Xian as envoys to convey greetings to Kashgar.
All these activities improved the ties between Central China and the Western Region. The two books--Travels in the Western Region and Mission to the Western States written by Chen Cheng give a detailed and accurate account of the Western Region at that time, and provide valuable material for the study of the history and geography of Xinjiang and Central Asia during the Ming Dynasty. In the 700 years from the end of the Tang Dynasty to the late Ming Dynasty, Xinjiang's history was one of constant changes.
First, large numbers of the Huihu people moved into Xinjiang and established political power there, then the remnants of tile Liao Dynasty founded the Western Liao state in Xinjiang and the area.west of it. Subsequently Genghis Khan advanced westwards, and his descendants took control of Xinjiang. These historic events had
great impact on life and society in Xinjiang and promoted exchanges with Central China. They also caused the merging of some nationalities and the expansion of ties among others. In this period Xinjiang was a link joining Central China to Arabia and Europe, and influences from both Central China and countries to the west were felt in its economy, culture and religion. In the Qing Dynasty
In 1644 the Manchu nobility, who had risen to power in
northeastern China, attacked and took Beijing, founding the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)-- the last feudal dynasty in China. The area north of the Tianshan Mountains was then inhabited by four nomadic Oyrat tribes from western Mongolia, while the Uygur people, ruled by descendants of Mongolian Chahetai, lived in the area south of the Tianshan Mountains. As soon as the Qing Dynasty
was established, the chief of the Hoshot Tribe the leader of the four Oyrat tribes too and the leader of the Uygur people in the Turpan area paid tribute to the Qing government, as did other leaders later in various places in Xinjiang.~ All of them accepted the rule of the Qing central government. In those early years, the Qing Dynasty was preoccupied with the resistance of the remnant Ming forces in southern China and as a result, paid little attention to the Western Region. Taking advantage
of this situation, the Junggar Tribe, one of the Oyrat tribes, expanded its power and unified all the,Oyrat tribes, taking control of southern Xinjiang in 1678. Ten years later, the Junggar sent ' troops to harass both Inner and Outer Mongolia, threatening the Qing Dynasty. Tsarist Russia, which was busy expanding its territory in the east, took the opportunity to draw Gardan, chief of the
Junggars over to their side. In 1690, Gardan sent an army frown Inner Mongolia to attack the Qing government to the south. The Qing court decided to send troops to put down the Gardan rebellion, a decision which gained the support of all the Oyrat tribes and the Uygur people. In 1696 and 1720 the Uygur leaders of Hami and Turpan broke away from the Junggars one after the other and went over to the Qing court. In 1755 the Qing army swept into Ill,
the center of the Junggar rule, forcing its leader Dawaqi to flee across the Tianshan Mountains to Wushi (Uqturpan), where he was captured by the leaders of the Uygur people and handed over to the Qing army. Following their victory, the Qing army freed the Muslim Khwajas, the brothers Bulanidun and Huojizhan, who had been imprisoned for a long time in Ili, and allowed Bulanidun to return to
his former ruling position in southern Xinjiang.
Just as peace was in sight, Amursana, chief of the Huite Tribe who dreamt of being the Supreme Khan of the four Oyrat tribes, and the Khwaja brothers rebelled against the Qing army in Ill and southern Xinjiang, but in the ensuing battles, the Qing forces won victory after victory over them. Amursana escaped to Russia, while the two Khwajas fled into the Badak Mountains, leaving the Qing
government to unify all areas north and south of the Tianshan Mountains. The Western Region was often refered to in Chinese history as "The Western Region--Xinjiang (the new border)," but later the "Western Region" was dropped, and it became known as "Xinjiang." After uniting Xinjiang, the Qing government exercised military control there, and in 1762 appointed an Ili Banner General in the
city of Huiyuan (south of present-day Huocheng County) to head the administration of the entire Xinjiang. Under him military counsellors were assigned to Iii and Tacheng to take charge of the military and political affairs there, and a banner commander was named in Urumqi to rule the remaining areas in northern Xinjiang and Turpan. Another military counsellor was appointed to Kashgar (later
moving to Wushi and Yarkant) to lead the administrative officials in the eight cities of Kaxgar, Yengisar, Yarkant (present-day Shache), Hotan, Wushi, Aksu, Kuqa and Kalasar. The Ili Banner General and the military counsellors controlled all the local garrison troops, but apart from the Urumqi Banner Commander who also administered
the Zhendi Supervisor's Office, none of them concerned themselves with civil affairs, which were handled by the leaders of the various nationalities. The appointment and dismissal of the local leaders,however, were controlled by the Qing officials, except in a few cases
in which they had to be reported to the imperial court.
The Qing government applied various political systems to
different nationalities in Xinjiang, based mainly on the traditions of each nationality. For example, in extensive areas inhabited by compact Uygur communities, the system of Begs remained intact. The chief of an area was known as the Hakim Beg, and he was in charge of a number of junior Begs assigned to various duties. But it was no longer a hereditary system. The ranks of the Begs were
fixed, as were their shares of farmland and corv~e labor. In addition religion became separated from politics.
The Uygur leaders in Hami and Turpan had contributed to the
unification of Xinjiang and in recognition of their services they were granted the hereditary title of prince with a fief. Known as the Zhasak system, it was also applied to the areas inhabited by Mongolian peoples. In this system, the tribes were divided into leagues and banners and their leaders, namely Zhasake, were usually Manchu noblemen. In 1771 the Mongolian Torgut Tribe of
herdsmen, who had lived for one and a half centuries in the Volga valley, could no longer tolerate the conscription and forced labor imposed on them by Tsarist Russia and longed to return to their homeland. Led by their khan, they marched east and returned to China. Emperor Qianlong resettled them in the ranges of northern Xinjiang, where the Zhasak system was also instituted. The Hui and Han immigrants were concentrated in the area extending from Zhenxi (now Barkol) to Usu. A Zhendi Supervisor's
Office was established there to administer prefectures and counties in the same way as in Central China.
The Qing government also moved four battalions of officers
and men, together with their families, from Inner .Mongolia and northeastern China to Ill. These four battalions, namely Xibe, Solon, Oyrat and Chahar were to garrison Iii and strengthen the defense of the northwestern frontier. Immigration occurred too when the Qing court allowed large numbers of Kazak, Kirgiz and Kokan herdsmen and merchants to move from Qing protectorates into Xinjiang. All
Kazak and Kirgiz leaders accepted titles from the Qing government, and the Kokan merchants traded freely in various areas under the administration of the Qing officials. After Emperor Qianlong unified Xinjiang and pursued proper policies there, production expanded and peace and order reigned for a long time, broken only by a local peasant uprising at Wushi and Changji in 1765. In the middle of the nineteenth century,
imperialist invasion and intensified domestic feudal oppression led to nationwide opposition, and large and small struggles against conscription and forced labor flared up in various places all over Xinjiang. Under the impact of the peasant uprisings of the Taiping
Heavenly Kingdom and of the Huis rebellion in Shaanxi and Gansu, the peasants of Kuqa took the lead in rebellion in Xinjiang in the summer of 1864. In a matter of months, the flames of peasant uprisings spread all over the areas north and south of the Tianshan Mountains.
As the peasant uprisings won initial victory, religious leaders and feudal lords in various places began to establish many independent regimes combining politics and religion. Among them were Rashid-din the Khwaja Khan of Kuqa who controlled t'ne areas at the southern foot of the Tianshan Mountains, and Tuodelin, known as the "Muslim King" in Urumqi who ruled the region between
Manas in the west and Turpan in the southeast. Otthers' include Habibulla, leader in Hotan, as well as Abudulusu and Ayiahan, who were "sultans" in Ili. These regimes constantly fought amongst themselves for more land and power. Conflicts between the independent regimes in various places weakened their own strength, leaving the way open for the state of Kokan and Russia to invade Xinjiang. Groomed by the Kokan chief,Yusupu and Jangir, descendants of Bulanidun, frequently harassed Kashgar and places around, and in 1865, Yakub Beg, an officer of the State of Kokan, forced Busuluk, Jangir's son, to invade southern
Xinjiang. Working hand in glove with Russia and Britain, they utilized the strife between the independent regimes and wiped them out one by one. By 1871 they had occupied al! places in southern Xinjiang as well as Turpan, Urumqi and Manas. Local resistance suffered from a lack of unified command, and hundreds of thousands of Uygur, Hui, Kirgiz and Han people were killed in the blood-bath. Tsarist Russia was the principal culprit responsible for invading
the north border of China. It attained the privilege of conducting trade and establishing consulates in Ili and Tacheng in 1851. By signing a Sino-Russian treaty in 1864, Russia took all Chinese territory east and south of Lake Balkash. The people in I!i and Tacheng suffered very much from Russian invasion and oppression, and in 1855 the civilians of Tacheng launched an anti-Russian
campaign. In 1864 the citizens of both lli and Tacheng rebelled by setting fire to the local Russian consulate and commercial center, but in 1871, Kolpakovsky, Russian governor of Semirechie, led an army to capture tli The local people put up a heroic resistance but failed against the heavy odds of strong Russian artillery fire.
The Russian invasion aroused indignation across China, and
people of all nationalities demanded the recovery of lost territory, Everyone in Xinjiang hoped the Qing army Would march west and drive the invaders away. By order of the Qing government, Zuo Zongtang, governor of Shaanxi and Gansu, took charge of the military in Xinjiang and stationed his office in Suzhou (now Jiuquan),
Gansu. Province, in 1876. He sent armies to march to Mori, Qitai and Fukang, and by summer that year, the Qing forces had recaptured Miquan, Urumqi, Manas and other cities. All southern Xinjiang was recovered the next year with the support of the local Uygur, Kirgiz, Hui and Han peoples. Just as the Qing army crossed the Tianshan Mountains, Yakub Beg died suddenly in Korla, and his son led his remnant troops and fled Io Russia. After driving out Yakub B eg's forces, the Qing court set the recovery of Ili as its first priority. In I878 and 1880 thc Qing government sent the Shengjing (now Shenyang) General Chongi Hou and later Zeng Jize counsellor to Britain and France, to negotiate with Russia, and in 1881, under the pressure of Tsarist
Russia, China signed the unequal "Sino-Russian Ili Treaty."
Although Russia returned Ili to China under this treaty, China had to give up its territory west of the Khorgos River, open the whole 0f Xinjiang to Russian trade free of tax, pay an additional indemnity,and allow Russia to increase its consulates. After recovering Ili, the Qing government approved Zuo Zongtang's proposal to turn Xinjiang into a province, and appointed Minister Liu Jintang, who assisted in the handling of Xinjoangs military affairs, as the first governor of Xinjiang Province. He headed the four Supervisor's Offices of Zhendi, Aksu, Kaxgar and Yita, as well as prefectures and counties. Urumqi was named the provincial capital, and Xinjiang's administrative center was moved east from Ili as a result of the Russian occupation of more than 500,000 square
kilometers of Chinese territory. The establishment of Xinjiang Province was the inevitable outcome of historical development. It unified the administrative System governing both the western frontiers and Central China, abolished restrictions on migration, and allowed closer political,
economic and cultural relations to be established between Xinjiang and Central China. All this stimulated economic and cultural development in Xinjiang and strengthened the local forces against the imperialist powers of Russia and Britain. The establishment of Xinjiang Province was a great progressive event in modern Chinese history.While Dr. Sun Yat-sen and his followers were engaged in the
Nationalist Revolution which in 1911 was to overthrow China's 2,000-year-old feudal imperial rule, Yang Zuanxu, a regimental commander of the 42nd Army in Hubei Province, was appointed brigade commander of the troops in Ili, Xinjiang Province. He was a member of the China Revolutionary League, and many revolutionaries secretly followed him to ili in 1908. They published the Iii Vernacular Newspaper in the four languages of Han,
Manchu, Uygur and Mongol in 1910 to disseminate democratic and republican ideas among the various peoples. Other revolutionaries arrived in Urumqi, and one of them recommended Liu Xianjun to the Xinjiang governor Yuan Dahua.At this juncture, the Wuchang Uprising broke out in October 1911. Liu Xianjun tried to persuade the provincial governor to proclaim republicanism, but was rejected and rebuked. He revolted in late December, but failed and was killed. Other revolutionaries who escaped arrest and slaughter went to Ili to increase revolutionary strength there. The Ili revolutionaries had received a secret message saying the provincial governor plotted to move the
dethroned Emperor Xuantong westward to Xinjiang. They rose in rebellion in early January 1.912 when they killed Ill Banner General Zhi Rui. Although the provincial governor sent troops to suppress the rebellion, they were beaten back by the revolutionary troops led by Yang Zuanxu at Jinghe. Very soon Emperor Xuantong abdicated, and Yuan Shikai made himself Interim President of China. Yuan Dahua, governor of Xinjiang, saw that not much could be done to save the situation and, retiring from his post, returned home. Consequently Yuan Shikai appointed Yang Zengxin, chief of Zhendi Supervisor's Office, as governor of Xinjiang Province. At this point, Xinjiang entered a new
historical period, Greeting Peaceful Liberation
Although the Revolution of 1911 was not completely realized, it was indeed a great historic event. It had immediate impact on the various nationalities in Xinjiang, where anti-imperialist and anti-feudal ideas were growing. In the spring of 1912, a riot started in Qira Village, Yutian County, against Russian merchants who perpetrated outrages and trampled on Chinese sovereignty.
Meanwhile a peasant uprising headed by Temir broke out in Hami against compulsory labor, and in Turpan County, Moyding led peasants in a revolt. All .this threatened Yang Zengxin's reactionary rule. . Relying on his reactionary experience, Yang Zengxin made efforts to split and disintegrate the peasant rebels, buying over some men and assassinating others. In this way, he succeeded
in suppressing all the peasant revolts and stabilizing his rule in Xinjiang. Following this, he enforced an obscurantist policy of walling Xinjiang 'off from other provinces, blockading the news of the May Fourth Movement and the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. After, the collapse of the government of the northern warlords, he sent an open telegram on July l, 1928 in support of Chang Kai-shek's government in Nanjing. Six days later
he was assassinated by Fan Yaonan, director of the provincial Military Affairs Department. Then. Jin Shuren, director of the provincial Civil Affairs Department, triggered an anti-.coup and shot Fan Yaonan, seizing power in the province. As soon as he rose to power, Jin Shuren recruited men and soldiers to expand his strength and ordered a great deal of paper currency to be printed to cover growing military spending, causing serious inflation and acute social tensions. The Hami peasants suffered bitterly under serfdom and had long demanded the abolition
of the local monarchy, so as to be administered by the Hami county government. To increase the revenue of the government, Jin Shuren abolished the monarchical system in 1931. The peasants no longer had to provide forced labor for the royal court and chieftains, but they had to pay land tax as from 1930. Disappointment ran high and new revolts broke out.The abolition of the monarchical system wreaked havoc on the interests of the prince of Hami and his chieftains, so they plotted insurrection. Seeing that the peasants had risen against the
government, they took advantage of this opportunity to sneak into the ranks and usurped the leadership. Changing the nature of the struggle, they formally demanded the restoration of the monarchical system. Hoja Niyez, former leader of the royal guards, now became the commander of the armed peasants. He sent some men to Jiuquan, Gansu Province, to ask help from Ma Zhongying. War raged in Hami and gradually extended westward. By the spring of 1933 the army of Jin Shuren's government had retreated from Hami and Turpan, and the flames of war spread to the outskirts of Urumqi. Ma Zhongying cut communications between
north and south Xinjiang, while in Hotan and Kashi British
imperialists instigated the "Great Turkey" chauvinists to conduct divisive activities, adding to the complicated situation. The political unrest speeded up disintegration within the Jin Shuren regime, and on April 12, Jin Shuren was ousted by Chen Zhong, director of the Staff Department of the Governor's Office, Tao Mingyue, magistrate
of Dihua County, and Li Xiaotian, head of the Airforce Department. Sheng Shicai, who had been invited to Xinjiang by Jin Shuren in 1930, was battling Ma Zhongying at Fukang when the coup took place. After winning the battle, he returned with. his troops to a place near the provincial capital and watched the proceedings from the
sidelines. Seeing that Jin Shuren's game was up, he promised to cooperate with the organizers of the coup, but after entering Urumqi, he seized the top post of Interim Governor, controlling the military and political power of the province, the chairman of the province became virtually his puppet. Sheng Shicai took office in April, but he was not officially appointed by the Nanjing government until August. In the meantime, the Nanjing government sent Huang Musong, deputy Chief-of-Staff of the General Staff Headquarters, to Xinjiang to "pacify" the local
troops and get in contact with various circles. Sensing the ill intention of the visitor, Sheng Shicai arrested and shot Chen Zhong and two other persons, forcing Huang Musong to go away. Later Luo Wengan, the foreign minister, came to Xinjiang in the guise of overseeing the swearing-in ceremony for Sheng Shicai. On his arrival he incited Ma Zhongying and Zhang Peiyuan, garrison commander in Ili, to overthrow Sheng Shicai.With the support of other forces, Sheng Shicai first overwhelmed Zhang Peiyuan at his base, then drove Ma Zhongying into southern Xinjiang, thus restoring peace and order in northern Xinjiang.
Ma Zhongying arrived in Kashi in the spring of 1934, where he destroyed the puppet "East Turkistan Islam Republic" backed by British imperialism before going over to the Soviet Union. Sheng Shicai finally eliminated all opposition and became the ruler of the whole of Xinjiang.
The Communist Party of China began to carry out secret activities in Xinjiang in the early 1930s, and in 1935 a number of Party members arrived in the region from the Soviet Union at the invitation of Sheng Shicai. When the War of Resistance to Japanese Aggression broke out in 1937, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party decided to join forces with the Sheng Shicai government to form an Anti-Japanese National United Front. It sent more than a hundred outstanding cadres to Xinjiang,
including Deng Fa, Chen Tanqiu, Mao Zemin and Lin Jilu, who
established an Eighth Route Army Office in Urumqi.
Prompted by the communists, Sheng Shicai formulated the "six major policies" opposing imperialism, befriending the Soviet Union, maintaining equality between nationalities, running a corruption-free government, supporting peace and engaging in construction. He founded the "Xinjiang People's Anti-Imperialist Federation" and reorganized the Xinjiang Daily. The communists openly disseminated Marxism-Leninism, as well as the Party line, principles and policies. At the same time they helped to abolish backward rural administrative systems, reform the financial and
i currency system and develop cultural, medical and educationalundertakings As the prestige of Party members rose higher and higher among the people, Sheng Shicai became alarmed. He tried to divide them by sending them to different counties, but this failed to shake the
communist will. On the contrary, they took advantage of this opportunity to spread revolutionary ideas in vast rural areas inhabited by minority nationalities.
The martyrs Deng Fa and Chen Tanqiu have correctly profiled
Sheng Shicai as "an ambitious warlord who has the ideas of a local tyrant and the reactions of a wolf." When Fascist Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941-I942 and the Anti-Fascist War met with difficulties, Sheng Shicai revealed his true nature by going over to the Kuomintang reactionaries. Time and again he fabricated "conspiracies" casting all communists and their families in Xinjiang
into prison or putting them under house arrest, as well as arresting many local progressive persons. Chen Tanqiu, Mao Zemin and Lin Jilu were murdered in the autumn of 1943, giving their lives for the emancipation of all nationalities in Xinjiang. Back in 1939 Sheng Shicai had a premonition of the shakiness of his rule, so when he drove the communists into rural areas, he gave orders for all firearms.to be collected from civilians. This directly affected the work and life of the herdsmen, and in the
following February, the Kazak herdsmen in Altay waged an open struggle against the confiscation of their rifles. In 1944 Sheng Shicai ordered the requisition of 10,000 army horses, arousing even greater opposition among the herdsmen. As a result, most of his troops in northern Xinjiang were drawn into the Altay area.
In September that year Chiang Kai-shek transferred Sheng Shicai to Chongqing to take up the post of Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. He abolished the military governorship of the frontier and appointed his trusted follower Wu Zhongxin as chairman of Xinjiang
Province. By now revolts against the requisition of horses had broken out in Ill and other places, and rebels attacked and took the important frontier city of Yining, with Wu Zhongxin failing to suppress or pacify the rebellion. In the autumn of 1945, the Ili Interim Government was founded to unify the anti-Kuomintang struggle in the three administrative areas of Iii, Tacheng and Altayo In the seven remaining administrative areas under Kuomintang rule, revolts rose one after another in succession, dealing a heavy blow to the reactionaries. The revolution in the Ili-Tacheng-Altay area was aimed at overthrowing the rule of the KMT reactionaries. It was launched and
led by progressive circles, who were influenced by the Chinese Communist Party and helped by the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, some reactionary feudal landlords and herd-owners as well as religious leaders succeeded in sneaking into the revolutionary ranks, and as a result, some serious errors were committed. The Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party kept a keen eye on the people's struggles in Xinjiang, and in his political report to Lhe Party's Seventh Congress held in April 1945, Chairman Mao Zedong condemned the KMT's bloody suppression of the people in Xinjiang. After Japan surrendered in August, ending
the eight-year War of Resistance, Chairman Mao flew to Chongqing to negotiate with the KMT for peace in China and signed the "October 10th Agreement." The KMT-Communist negotiations promoted peace in Xinjiang,
and Chiang Kai-shek broadcasted a speech on the peaceful
settlement of the Xinjiang issue. In October he sent Zhang Zhizhong to Urumqi to negotiate peace with Ahmetjan, representative of the three revolutionary areas. The two negotiating parties signed the "Eleven Articles for Peace" and two appended documents in January and June 1946. In the meantime the KMT Xinjiang government released all political prisoners. More than a hundred communists and their families, who had been imprisoned .over the years,
regained their freedom and returned to Yan'an. A coalition
provincial government consisting of various groups was founded in Xinjiang on July 1. Zhang Zhizhong was appointed chairman of the provincial government, and Ahmetjan and Burhan Shahidi vice chairmen.In the summer of that year, however, the KMT reactionaries, supported by U.S. imperialism, attacked the liberated areas under
the Communist Party and provoked nationwide civil War. To fool the nation, Chiang Kai-shek called the puppet National Assembly in November. Taking advantage of his trip to Nanjing to attend the National Assembly, Abasov, deputy secretary-general of the Xinjiang provincial government and delegate from the three revolutionary areas, secretly called on Dong Biwu, representative of the Communist Party, and listened to his istructions as to Party
work in Xinjiang. The Party sent a radio operator to accompany Abasov back to Xinjiang. As the KMT launched national civil war, the political situation in
Xinjiang worsened. In February 1947, the reactionaries engineered the bloody February 25th Incident in Urumqi, and then in May they unilaterally appointed Mes'ud, a notorious "Great Turkey" chauvinist, as chairman of Xinjiang Province, undermining the coalition government. Officials of the three revolutionary areas were obliged to withdraw to Ili. After returning to Iii, the leaders of the three revolutionary areas established a mass organization called the "Xinjiang League for the Protection of Democracy and Peace" to increase the progressive forces in the three areas. They also adopted many measures to continue the revolutionary struggle until Xinjiang was peacefully liberated. The people of all nationalities in China were opposed to Chiang Kai-shek's counter-revolutionary civil war. By January 1949, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) led by the Chinese Communist Party had destroyed the main strength of the KMT army in the Liaoning-Shenyang, Huai-Hai and Beiping-Tianjin campaigns. Soon thereafter, the puppet KMT government moved to Guangzhou, and the total collapse of the reactionary KMT rule was just round the corner. In such circumstances, the isolated KMT
reactionaries in Xinjiang had no strength to attack the three revolutionary areas, which stood opposite them across the Manas River. The KMT was obliged to replace Mes'ud with Burhan Shahidi as chairman of the province. In the rest of China, the Chinese People's Liberation Army won victory after victory. The news spread to Xinjiang and inspired the people of all nationalities. After Lanzhou was liberated in August I949, the military and political circles in Xinjiang, apart from a handful of diehards, pushed'for an uprising for peaceful liberation.
At this juncture, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party sent Deng Liqun to Yining by way of the Soviet Union. He brought the leaders of the three revolutionary areas a letter from Chairman Mao which said that the revolution of the three areas was part of the Chinese People's Democratic Revolution and invited
their representatives to the Preparatory Conference for a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference to be held in Beijing.Ahmetjan and Abasov set out for Beijing by way of the Soviet Union, but unfortunately they died in a plane crash. Later the three revolutionary areas sent Seypidin Aze to Beijing to join in the discussion about founding a new China. As a Liaison Officer of the Party Central Committee, Deng Liqun arrived under cover in Urumqi and passed on the Party's instructions to Tao Zhiyue and Burhan Shahidi, who were military and political
leaders appointed by the KMT in Xinjiang. Tao Zhiyue and Burhan Shahidi published open telegrams on September 25 and 26 respectively, declaring that they had broken off relations with the Guangzhou KMT regime and gone over to the people. On September 28 they received a reply from' Chairman Mao and Commander-in-Chief Zhu De welcoming their patriotic action. Soon after the peaceful liberation of Xinjiang, the People's Republic of China was founded on October 1, 1949. On October 20 the same year, a motorized regiment of the PLA drove into Urumqi, and this was followed by PLA units moving into Xinjiang to be
stationed in various places. The National Army of the three revolutionary areas garrisoning the west bank of the Manas River also marched to Urumqi and joined forces with the PLA. Wherever they went, the PLA troops were warmly welcomed by the civilians. On December 9 the various sections of the PLA formally marched into Urumqi, and PLA Deputy Commander-in-Chief Peng Dehuai reviewed the procession. Eight days later, on December 17 the
Xinjiang Provincial People's Government made up of delegates from all circles and nationalities in the region was established, and amidst music and rejoicing, the Xinjiang people celebrated the occasion of
taking the broad road to socialism.