Libmonster ID: SE-352
Author(s) of the publication: V. G. GELBRAS


China Keywords:Xinjiang (XUAR)history and politics


Doctor of Historical Sciences

In the 1950s, I had to work in Xinjiang. Those were the best and brightest years of my family's life. Half a century has passed since then, and we remember Xinjiang and Kulju with warmth. I try to keep track of the changes in those parts as much as possible.

In 2009, on the occasion of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Republic and the 30th anniversary of "reform and Opening up", the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China issued the document "Development and Progress of Xinjiang"1. Official press conferences were held on this region, which occupies the 6th part of the territory of the People's Republic of China. However, it is quite difficult to get information directly from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The information sites of the district government and the Command of the People's Liberation Army's Industrial and Construction Corps (PLA) operate irregularly and selectively. They were blocked during the holidays.

Beijing is showing exceptional attention to this region, trying to demonstrate a stable and favorable situation in the XUAR, overshadowed only by the malicious external machinations of the enemies of China and the "Uighur people". The unrest among the Uighur population, particularly in July 2009*, seems to have no real cause, and a series of death sentences against rioters was, according to official reports, the punishment of the initiators of the unrest and the perpetrators.


In the aforementioned document of the State Council of the People's Republic of China on the XUAR, an extensive description of the district's success in all areas is anticipated by a grandiose introduction.

From the very first lines, it is perplexing: "From the first century BC, the Xinjiang region became an important part of China and played an important role in the creation and development of China as a single multinational state." 2

Looking back through the centuries, the authors, under the influence of festive moods, clearly overdid their historical research. The complex, centuries-old process of forming a united China has been forgotten. As if there was no need for centuries to build the Great Wall of China, designed to protect China from the raids of warlike tribes and separating the country's territory from many neighboring peoples, including the Uighurs. The formation of the Uyghur Khaganate, which later became the basis of Xinjiang, also had a long history.

The Great Wall of China was mostly built in the third century B.C., and was completed in the fourth and sixteenth centuries A.D. China took over many areas outside of it, including Xinjiang, in the mid-eighteenth century. Since then, large areas have been settled by the Chinese and have formed an integral part of China.

The fate of the peoples who lived outside the Great Wall of China was different: some now remain part of China, while others have created independent national states.

However, it is not a historical digression that is of the greatest interest in this context. Although it is difficult to understand why for many years the Chinese press has been silent about the complex process of the formation of the PRC and the entry of Xinjiang into its composition. With regard to the annexation of Xinjiang, the definition of "peaceful entry" became mandatory. However, the content and complexity of the actual events of that time remain outside the scope of official Chinese media.

How can we not recall that on October 10, 1947, the command of the People's Liberation Army of China (PLA) issued a declaration containing the program of the Chinese revolution of the People's Liberation War period. Paragraph 7 stated: "Recognize that all national minorities located within China have equal rights and autonomy rights and can freely join the Chinese Federation"3. Contrary to the Declaration, the Chinese Federation was not established. For 60 years, the very existence of this document has been hushed up in the PRC.

In the late 1940s, Xinjiang had two governments. One headed the East Turkestan Republic,

* For more information, see: China. The national question: the difficult search for balance and stability // Asia and Africa Today, 2010, N 2.

page 49

Growth rates of China's GDP and Xinjiang's RVP (2000-2008).

Source: Zhongguo tongji nianjian (Chinese Statistical Yearbook), 2004, e. 56, 60; Zhongguo tongji nianjian, 2009, e. 40, 49.

proclaimed as a result of the popular uprising against the Kuomintang regime in 3 districts of the district. The other was the local Kuomintang government, which retained control of the remaining 7 districts. This government has announced a break with Chiang Kai-shek. Both Governments announced their intention to join the emerging new State and sent delegations to attend meetings of the People's Political Consultative Conference, a consultative body that included other political parties along with the CPC.

Parts of the PLA, led by a major military commander Wang Zhen, advancing into Xinjiang, faced impassable sands. And then, as Deng Liqun, a prominent CCP figure who was working in Xinjiang at the time, wrote, Wang Zhen's units were transferred by Soviet aviation first to the territory of the USSR, and then to Xinjiang.4 So Xinjiang "peacefully entered" the PRC. These facts are also hushed up in the Chinese press. Nor does one recall the positive role of the Soviet Union in the annexation of Xinjiang to China. Of course, we can continue the long-standing discussion on this issue. What is history? History - first of all, facts or understanding and interpretation of facts? In theory, history should be independent, but maybe it can't be independent because it is part of the state's ideology and politics?


Let's return to the first section of the document of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, devoted to the economic development of China over 60 years. The changes that have taken place in the area deserve it.

The document states, in particular, that compared to 1952, Xinjiang's regional gross domestic product (GDP), calculated at comparable prices, increased by 86.4 times by 2008. The average annual growth rate of RVPs for 60 years was 8.3%, in the last 30 years-10.4%.

For the period of implementation of the program "large-scale development of Western China" since 2000, the average annual GDP rate of the PRC was 10.2%, the RVP of the XUAR - 11.5%. This is largely due to the moral and material support of the central government.

However, Xinjiang's economy has been severely affected by the global economic crisis. In January-February 2009, the "excess" industry (enterprises with sales of more than 5 million yuan*) literally collapsed.

It was only in June 2009 that its gradual recovery began. As a result, for 11 months of 2009, the volume of industrial value added reached 91.1 billion rubles. RMB, still an increase of 4.5% over the same period in 2008.5

At the same time, production growth is accompanied by a decrease in economic efficiency. More than 69% of the oil refining and coke production enterprises became unprofitable, their share increased by 34% compared to the first quarter. In the chemical fiber industry, more than 86% of enterprises were included in this category, in the pharmaceutical industry-50%, in the textile industry-34.4%. In a number of industries, all enterprises are unprofitable.

Despite the difficulties, Xinjiang is becoming one of the most important centers of the oil and gas industry, petrochemicals, cotton, wheat and other products. In the near future, the XUAR will also become an important springboard for foreign trade.

Xinjiang's budget revenues have increased significantly. Compared to 2000, they have increased almost 4.6 times. By 2008, the structure of the economy had become quite developed: 16.4% of RVs are created in agriculture, 49.7% in industry and construction, and 33.9% in the service sector.

Xinjiang's economic growth is undeniable. In this regard, it is important to find out the most important growth factors that led to such a dramatic change. In our opinion, the labor resources, their organization and rapid growth, as well as investments in fixed assets of the district deserve special attention.

The beginning of the history of labor resources can be dated to the mid-1950s.

* $1 is equal to approximately 6.8 yuan (approx. ed.).

page 50

Map of the location of the PLA Production and Construction Corps (military units are indicated in dark gray. If you zoom in accordingly, you can read the division or regiment numbers)

Source:, 06.01.2003.

In 1954, the Chinese government decided to raise virgin land and at the same time strengthen the protection of the state border. For this purpose, the Xinjiang Industrial and Construction Corps (PUK) was created in the army. In 1975, the 105,000-strong corps was disbanded, and its soldiers and commanders were demobilized in Xinjiang and remained there. On December 12, 1981, by the decision of the central government, the PUK was re-established.

The corps became a special political, military, economic, social, police and cultural unit of the state.

Its representatives take part in all national meetings along with the delegations of provinces, autonomous regions and cities of central subordination. This fact indicates the high political status of the corps: after all, the local government operates in the district.

In the early 2000s, the corps consisted of 2.5 million people and 933,000 workers and employees. It consisted of 14 divisions and separate units. It consisted of 174 agricultural and livestock regimental farms, about 4.4 thousand industrial, construction, transport and trade enterprises. In addition to the corps as an integral organization, under its auspices there were 17 groups of enterprises, 43 joint-stock enterprises, and 122 joint-stock cooperative enterprises created in the first 10 years after the re-establishment of PUK 6. Information about how the composition changed in 2005-2009 was not published.

UC has research, educational, cultural, medical, financial, insurance and judicial authorities. Its divisions are located in each administrative division of the XUAR, creating an internal demarcation of the district. The book" History and Development of Xinjiang", published in 2003, states: "The Corps, as an important force for stability and strengthening the protection of Xinjiang's borders, combining labor and military service, together with military units, armed police, and the masses, created a system in the border areas that combines 4 components:" army, police (armed police), soldiers (regiments), the people." For nearly 50 years, it has been attacking and suppressing the subversive and destabilizing activities of internal and external schismatic forces, playing an irreplaceable, special role in protecting the stability and security of the borders of the motherland. " 7


In 1955, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region was established-

page 51

new district. It consists of 5 self-governing districts (zizhi) districts, 6 self-governing counties, and 43 national parishes.

Xinjiang's population has grown markedly over the past 60 years. Its national structure has also changed. In 1952 (statistics for earlier years in the PRC are considered inaccurate and very rarely used), the population of Xinjiang numbered almost 4,652 thousand people. Of these, 3.5 million. Uyghurs made up 326,000, Han Chinese made up 326,000, and Kazakhs made up 494,500. The rest of the population was formed by 10 other nationalities, not counting small national groups.8 In total, there are 47 ethnic groups in the district.

By 1978, at the beginning of the "reforms and openness", the population of XUAR reached 12.3 million people, including 5.5 million Uyghurs, 5.1 million Muslims. Chinese and 821 thousand Kazakhs. The number of Uyghurs and Kazakhs in 1952-1976 increased to the same extent - almost 1.6 times, and the number of Chinese - almost 16 times 9.

By 2008, the population of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region exceeded 21.3 million people10. According to the State Council's report, "in addition to Han Chinese, other nationalities number 12,945,000 people, accounting for 60.8% of the entire district's population." 11 In 2007, 9,651,000 Uyghurs, 8,239,000 Chinese, and 1,484,000 Kazakhs lived in XUAR. Thus, the Chinese are gradually becoming the largest part of the XUAR population.

Such a disproportionate increase in the number of Chinese was due to the fact that the PUK PLA, like a magnet, began to attract Chinese people from all over the country. Moreover, its divisions were tasked with carrying out huge construction works. In recent years, according to the above-mentioned document, personnel from Beijing, Zhejiang, Tianjin, Shandong, Liaoning, Jianxi, Shanghai, Henan and 15 leading state-owned enterprises have been sent to XUAR at the "request of the central government" to provide "comprehensive economic, scientific, technical and cultural assistance."

Such serious organizational and demographic changes were the most important factors in the development of Xinjiang, which became one of the basic parts of the strategy of "large-scale development of Western China".

An equally important factor was large investments in the district's economy. Summary data on investments in fixed assets in Xinjiang have not been published.

It is reported that the central government's investment in Xinjiang reached $ 386.2 billion between 1950 and 2008. This represents 25.7% of all investments in the XUAR over the years. Central government support for Xinjiang has increased especially since 2000, reaching $ 68.56 billion in 2008. RMB.

In addition, for construction projects in Xinjiang, the government encouraged investment in the area through loans from international financial organizations and foreign governments. The central government has relocated a number of factories and enterprises from the country's coastal regions to Xinjiang. Training of local personnel was also organized in other centers.

Fixed capital investment in China reached $ 17,282. 8 billion in 2008. RMB 12. Of these, $ 226 billion, or 1.3%, was used in Xinjiang, including $ 90.3 billion. invested in state-owned enterprises, the rest-in limited liability companies, joint-stock companies, etc. 13

Let's pay attention to fixed capital investments in cities and rural areas, especially in 2000-2008. So, in 2008, 197.5 billion rubles. RMB25. 2 billion was invested in cities. in rural areas.

In the specific conditions of the XUAR, this fact deserves special attention, since it is in the cities that the Han people move.

Investment in cities over these years exceeded 1 trillion yuan, in rural areas - 108.3 billion, i.e. 9.4 times less.

Capital investment in cities and rural areas is gradually increasing, especially in the last 3 years. However, the investment gap remains huge. Small investments in rural areas have largely determined the low standard of living of the indigenous population of Xinjiang.

In 2008, we managed to get a good harvest. The RVP created in agriculture reached 69.1 billion rubles. RMB, accounting for 16.4% of Xinjiang's RVP. The grain harvest of 2008 allowed us to meet the needs of the district. More than 40% of the country's cotton crop is also harvested here.

The region has developed oil, coal, metallurgy, chemical, electric power industries, production of building materials, and the textile industry. RVP,

Fixed capital investment in XUAR cities and villages, 2000-2008 (billion yuan)











To cities










To the villages










Urban-rural investment ratio










Source: Zhongguo tongji nianjian, 2009, e. 170-172.

page 52

created in the industry, exceeded 179 billion rubles. The XUAR oil, natural gas and coal deposits are the richest in the country, and the country's reserves are estimated to be almost 4 times higher than in 2000. Having produced 27.4 million tons of oil, the district ranked 2nd in the country. Natural gas production in 2008 ($24 billion) m 3) the district came out on top in the country. A 4,000 km long oil pipeline connecting the south, north and east of Xinjiang is being rapidly built. It is planned to create energy and chemical production facilities on the basis of coal deposits.


XUAR conducts foreign trade with 167 countries and territories: Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, India, etc. In 2008, exports and imports totaled $ 22.2 billion.

Foreign investments of non-financial organizations in the XUAR reached $164 million, ranking 13th in the country.

In the coming years, the scale of foreign trade of the XUAR will increase rapidly. Simultaneously with the rapid construction of oil and gas pipelines, which allow for a rapid increase in the supply of hydrocarbons from Central Asian countries to China, economic ties between these countries are strengthening.

One of the biggest recent events was the launch of the first gas pipeline to China, Xinjiang, on December 14, 2009 in Turkmenistan. Transit countries - Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan-will also supply gas.

The most important factor for future trade growth is the construction of railways connecting Xinjiang with the Central Asian states.

Construction of the routes indicated on the map is planned to be completed by 2012. Their completion will strengthen China's ties with Central Asia and Europe.

According to the Ministry of Transport of Kazakhstan, transportation of goods from China to Europe by sea takes up to 45 days, and by Trans-Siberian Railway-14 days. Along the new corridor from the port of Lianyungang to the borders with European countries, it will be shortened to 10 days. This would make it possible to increase the volume of cargo transportation by 2.5 times by 2020 (from 13 million tons to 33 million tons per year).14


As the economic recovery progresses, the standard of living of the population gradually increases.

In 2008, the annual income per capita of the rural population was 3,503 yuan. But it was 3.3 times less than the income of citizens in Xinjiang and 2 times lower than the national average, i.e. the level officially recognized by the government as extremely low.

The huge gap in living standards between the Chinese, who are mainly concentrated in cities, industry and other non-agricultural sectors, and the indigenous people living in rural areas has become one of the reasons for the Uighurs ' discontent.

In 2000, budget expenditures aimed at improving the standard of living in the XUAR amounted to $ 7 billion. RMB. In 2008 they reached 72.7 billion, and in 2009, possibly influenced by the events related to the Uighur protests in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi in July 2009-91 billion. RMB. 70% of the district's budget is planned to be allocated for disaster relief, construction of rural roads, cleaning of water sources, repair of housing, as well as primary and secondary schools that are in poor condition.

Since 2009, the rates of financial assistance to urban and rural families with low incomes have been increasing. In 2008, 1.3 million rural residents began to enjoy benefits that guarantee "basic living needs". A cooperative medical system has been established in more than 97% of rural localities.15 A cooperative system based on small contributions from its members can only cover part of the cost of treatment. The medical cooperative is not able to pay for operations and treatment of serious diseases, including in hospitals.

At a press conference in Beijing in September 2009 dedicated to Xinjiang, journalists asked questions about the urgent need to overcome the poverty of the Uighurs, about the discontent of the indigenous population, in particular, their discrimination in employment.

Wu Zhengmin, Vice President

Routes of new railway routes in XUAR.

page 53

The Chairman of the State Committee of Nationalities, recognizing the existence of great differences in the situation of Uyghurs and other national minorities, agreed with the need to develop national autonomy. But at the same time, he stated that "national autonomy in China is neither purely national autonomy nor purely territorial autonomy. It is a combination of elements of politics and economics, national and territorial, as well as elements of history and reality. Therefore, in the future, we will be able to further strengthen and improve the system of national-territorial autonomy, taking into account the specific situation and historical experience. " 16

This statement can only be understood in the sense that the official announced a fundamental change in the policy of the party and the state on the national issue. Since 1949, national autonomy has been classified in all documents as an institution of self-government. In 1954, the National People's Congress introduced a provision on the system of national territorial self-government in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China. In the current Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the provision on" self-government of national autonomies " is preserved. Article 116 states:: "The Assemblies of People's Representatives of National autonomies have the power to draw up provisions for the exercise of autonomy and other separate provisions, taking into account the political, economic and cultural characteristics of the nationality or nationalities inhabiting the respective regions." Wu Zhengming's interpretation of the nature of national autonomy authorities proposed at a press conference does not even mention the principles of self-government, as well as the construction of policies that take into account the characteristics of the peoples inhabiting the XUAR.

Another senior member of the press conference was more specific. Yang Jing, chairman of the State Committee of Nationalities, said bluntly that there are few Uighur workers: "It's a fact." In his opinion, this situation is explained by differences in language, habits and work skills. "The State and local government are currently considering measures to expand the professional training of Uyghur youth." 17

Senior officials said: Uyghurs need to learn Chinese. The State Council report noted that 70% of them do not know Chinese. They will have to overcome this shortcoming as soon as possible. This is further evidence that the data describing the rural population refers to the indigenous population, i.e. Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other peoples. The townspeople are mostly Chinese. Their higher standard of living is explained by the fact that the vast majority of them receive wages and enjoy social benefits established for this category of the population.

Information about the state of education is also indicative. The State Council report states: "At present, compulsory 9-year education is mostly widespread, and illiteracy among young people has been eliminated, adult education and vocational education have begun to develop." Free education has been introduced in rural secondary and primary schools. In 2004, the Government adopted a decision "on the full implementation of teaching youth of national minorities 'two languages'".


A Chinese official at a press conference in September 2009, in response to a reporter's comment that Sinicization leads to the loss of the language and culture of Uyghurs and other nationalities, replied: it is established that 60 to 70 languages disappear in the world every year. National languages are supported in China, but national minorities will have to learn Chinese. This is the only way to preserve national minorities.

However, the Uyghurs themselves have concerns that they may lose their original culture and history. This factor causes their dissatisfaction, along with the influx of Chinese to the XUAR, which persists despite the increase in financial injections, the gap in the economic situation between the indigenous population and the Han, the lack of any attributes of national autonomy, except for the right to study in their own language.

The situation in XUAR remains difficult.

Prominent sinologist Vila Gdalivich Gelbras turned 80 years old. The editors of the magazine congratulate him on his anniversary and wish him good health and great creative success.

1 Xinjiang de fazhan yu jinbu (Development and Progress of Xinjiang). Zhonghua renmin gongheguo gouyan xinwen bangunshi. 2009 nian 9 yue. Beijing -

2 Ibid.

Efimov G. 3 Essays on the new and recent history of China. Moscow, Gospolitizdat, 1951, pp. 464,465.

Deng Liqun. 4 Zhong Su guansi Heping jefang Xinjiang qian hou // Jindai shi ianju, 1989, N 5,e. 143 - 150.

5 Xinjiiang qion xan jidu gongye shengchande huisheng zoushi zhubu xianghao (In the first three quarters, Xinjiang's industrial production gradually increases, there is a gradual turn for the better) - 402597949.htm

6 Bingtuan gaikuuang jieshao (Introduction to the building environment) -

7 Xinjiande lishi yu fazhan (History and Development of Xinjiang) -

8 Xinjiang tongji nianjian, 1995 (Statistical Yearbook of Xinjiang), e. 43, 45.

9 Xinjiang tongji nianjian, 1998, e. 57.

10 Zhongguo tongji nianjian, 2009, e. 91.

11 Xinjiang de fazhan yu jinbu. Edict op.

12 Zhongguo tongji nianjian, 2009, e. 170.

13 Ibid., pp. 171-172.

Rodenkova V. 14 The crisis has increased the interest of investors - http://kapital.rz/econom/4860-krizis-interes-investorov.htm

15 Xinjiang 2009 nian 910 yu yuan gaishan minsheng bi 08 nian jenjia si feng zi yi (B 2009 91 billion rubles are allocated to Xinjiang to improve life). RMB, one quarter more than in 2008) - - 16/content_1489240.htm

16 Xinwenban fabuhui jieshao Zhongguo 60 nianlai minju zhengqe he minju gongjuo chengju (Information Department called a press conference to review progress in national politics and national work in China over 60 years) -

17 Ibid.


Permanent link to this publication:

Similar publications: LSweden LWorld Y G


Alex HirshmanContacts and other materials (articles, photo, files etc)

Author's official page at Libmonster:

Find other author's materials at: Libmonster (all the World)GoogleYandex

Permanent link for scientific papers (for citations):

V. G. GELBRAS, China. WHAT ARE THE UYGHURS DISSATISFIED WITH // Stockholm: Swedish Digital Library (LIBRARY.SE). Updated: 13.08.2023. URL: (date of access: 22.05.2024).

Found source (search robot):

Publication author(s) - V. G. GELBRAS:

V. G. GELBRAS → other publications, search: Libmonster SwedenLibmonster WorldGoogleYandex


Reviews of professional authors
Order by: 
Per page: 
  • There are no comments yet
Related topics
Alex Hirshman
Geteborg, Sweden
326 views rating
13.08.2023 (283 days ago)
0 subscribers
0 votes
Related Articles
Catalog: Military science 
181 days ago · From Alex Hirshman
Catalog: Cultural studies 
188 days ago · From Alex Hirshman
Catalog: Economics 
258 days ago · From Alex Hirshman
Catalog: Economics 
258 days ago · From Alex Hirshman
Catalog: Theology 
283 days ago · From Alex Hirshman
Catalog: Political science 
283 days ago · From Alex Hirshman
Catalog: Science 
283 days ago · From Alex Hirshman
Catalog: Literature study 
283 days ago · From Alex Hirshman
Catalog: Literature study 
283 days ago · From Alex Hirshman
Catalog: Economics 
283 days ago · From Alex Hirshman

New publications:

Popular with readers:

News from other countries:

LIBRARY.SE - Swedish Digital Library

Create your author's collection of articles, books, author's works, biographies, photographic documents, files. Save forever your author's legacy in digital form. Click here to register as an author.
Library Partners


Editorial Contacts
Chat for Authors: SE LIVE: We are in social networks:

About · News · For Advertisers

Swedish Digital Library ® All rights reserved.
2014-2024, LIBRARY.SE is a part of Libmonster, international library network (open map)
Keeping the heritage of Serbia


US-Great Britain Sweden Serbia
Russia Belarus Ukraine Kazakhstan Moldova Tajikistan Estonia Russia-2 Belarus-2

Create and store your author's collection at Libmonster: articles, books, studies. Libmonster will spread your heritage all over the world (through a network of affiliates, partner libraries, search engines, social networks). You will be able to share a link to your profile with colleagues, students, readers and other interested parties, in order to acquaint them with your copyright heritage. Once you register, you have more than 100 tools at your disposal to build your own author collection. It's free: it was, it is, and it always will be.

Download app for Android