Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 3 No. 1
Published by Eastern Turkestan Union in Europe
Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin Vol. 3 No. 1 (February 1993)
IS EASTERN TURKESTAN A CHINESE TERRITORY?
Ancient Chinese emperors regarded themselves as "sons of Heaven," and as such considered all countries of the world as their actual or potential domain. This disdain for boundaries has persisted in later Chinese leaders and has been reflected in claims to lands which have lain historically outside China and which have nurtured non-Chinese peoples.
In order to justify their domination of Eastern Turkestan, the Chinese claim that it has been a part of China since the Stone Age, and that Chinese habitation
there established Eastern Turkestan as an indivisible part of China. This argument, however, distorts historical facts with the aim of protecting Chinese interests.
Until the mid-l8th century Chinese attempts to control Eastern Turkestan were sporadic and never resulted in the establishment of permanent Chinese authority there.
Between 104 B.C. and 751 A.D. China staged six different invasions of Eastern Turkestan resulting in periods of occupation lasting between seven and 49 years. The total period of Chinese occupation during these 855 years was only 157 years and even then, as the frequency of invasions suggests, Chinese control over Eastern Turkestan was temporary and incomplete. During the remaining 698 years of this period Eastern Turkestan remained an independent country.
After Arab, Turkic and Tibetan forces repulsed the Chinese occupiers in 751 A.D. a period of a thousand years passed before the conquest of Eastern Turkestan by the Manchu rulers of China.
During this period the Uighurs voluntarily became a part the Mongol empire where they maintained their sovereignty and played an important cultural and political role. The Chinese, on the other hand, suffered under the Mongol rule from a racial policy which treated them as an inferior caste and deprived them of most of their rights.
The Manchu occupation of Eastern Turkestan between 1759 and 1863 cannot be viewed as an assertion of Chinese dominion because the Manchus were not Chinese. Having established their control over China the Manchus then proceeded to subdue Eastern Turkestan which became a part of a Manchu, and not a Chinese, empire.
During this period the people of Eastern Turkestan rose up 42 times against Manchu rule with the aim of regaining their independence. In 1863 they were successful in expelling the Manchus from their motherland where they founded an independent state under the leadership of Yakup Beg Badavlat. This state was recognized by the Ottoman Empire, Tsarist Russia and Great Britain.
Fearing Tsarist Russian expansion into Eastern Turkestan the Manchu rulers of China in 1876 dispatched a large force, under the overall command of General Zho Zhung Tang, to attack Eastern Turkestan. After this invasion, Eastern Turkestan was given the name Xinjiang (meaning "new territory") and was annexed to the Manchu Empire on 18 November 1884.
The Manchus were foreigners not only to the Eastern Turkestanis but also to the Chinese. The overthrow of Manchu rule in China ought to have disengaged the fate of China from that of Eastern Turkestan, but the Chinese then raised claims on Eastern Turkestan even though the link between the two countries was merely that of a common set of masters -- the Manchus.
The fact of an earlier historical invasion is not alone sufficient to establish a territorial claim in the present. Long before the Chinese both Iranians and Greeks had invaded Eastern Turkestan and twice, in the seventh and eighth centuries, Tibetans had invaded. If past invasion justified today's territorial claims not only would China have many competitors for Eastern Turkestan but Tibetans and Mongols of today would be justified in claiming vast territories of China, itself.
Nor do historical periods of subjugation invalidate a people's claim to sovereignty in their own land.
It is known that early dynasties such as the Shang (1450-1050 B.C.), Chou (1050-247 B.C.) and Chin (247- 206 B.C) were founded by non-Chinese proto-Turk, proto-Tibetan and proto-Mongol peoples. This means that in ancient times, China was ruled by non-Chinese peoples for 1203 years.
Turkic, Mongol and Tunguz peoples ruled China for 740 of the more than one thousand years between 220 A.D. and 1280. During only 540 years of this period were the Chinese able to rule their own country and even then internal rebellions and wars with other non-Chinese made control of the entire Chinese territory impossible.
Chinese ruled their own country for only 276 of the 631 years between 1280 and 1911. While non-Chinese peoples ruled China during the remaining 355 years.
Thus we see that Chinese ruled their own country for only 1,242 of 3,3611 years of Chinese history and the remaining 2,119 years China was ruled by non-Chinese peoples.
During the reign of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.) the Chinese were able to rule themselves, but even then they were constantly threatened by the Hsing-nu (Huns) against whom the Chinese erected the Great Wall. The Great Wall for the first time delineated the boundary between the settled Chinese and the nomadic non-Chinese. The Great Wall is the clearest proof that Eastern Turkestan was always outside Chinese territory.
One of the western gates of the Great Wall facing Eastern Turkestan is called Yu Min Guang ("Jade Gate"). Eastern Turkestan is famous for its Jade. The New China Atlas , published in Shanghai in 1939, clearly states that during the Ch'in, Han and Tang dynasties the Jade Gate was accepted by the Chinese as their westernmost border.
Eastern Turkestan and China were separated by more than a wall or political authority. Separate geography, history and culture were recognized from early times.
Pan Ku, the great historian of the Han Dynasty wrote: "As for clothing, costume, food and language, the barbarians are entirely different from the Middle Kingdom... Mountains, valleys and the great desert separate them from us. This barrier which lies between the interior and the alien was made by heaven and earth. Therefore, the sage rulers considered them as beasts and neither established contact with them nor subjugated them... the land is impossible to cultivate and the people are impossible to rule as subjects. Therefore, they are always to be considered as outsiders and never as citizens... Our administration and teaching have never reached their people...
Not only do these words show that during the Han Dynasty, Eastern Turkestan was not under Chinese 'administration', but the people of Eastern Turkestan were always regarded as outsiders, not as citizens and the Chinese "teaching" never reached those with different clothing, costume, food and language.
Until the Manchu conquest of Eastern Turkestan few Chinese had settled in that country.
One of the first Chinese travelers, Fa Ssien, visited the cities of Turfan, Karashehir, Kucha, Hoten and Charkalik in 399 A.D. and wrote in his memoirs that he met no Chinese there. Another traveler, Hsuan Chang followed the same route in 629 A.D. confirmed Fa Hajen's observations writing that during his trip to Eastern Turkestan he met only three Chinese monks.
Even had there had been settlements it would not have justified China's territorial claims on Eastern Turkestan. Today's millions of Chinese living in the United States, Europe and South East Asian countries do not provide China a legitimate claim to these countries. Chinese have recently asserted that it was the Chinese who first discovered America. Does that mean the Chinese will soon raise claims on America?
China's claim that Eastern Turkestan is an ancient and inseparable part of China is based on a false interpretation of history and grounded in the hope that suppression and assimilation will eventually establish this distortion as legitimate in the eyes of the world.
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TURKIC LEADERS IN ISTANBUL
Three Turkic leaders, seeking international recognition met in Istanbul to discuss their common problems.
Isa Yusuf Alptekin, the Eastern Turkestani leader, Mustafa
Djemilov, the President of Crimean Tartar National Assembly and Stephan Topal, the President of the Gagauz National Assembly met in Istanbul on February 18, 1993 to discuss their common problems.
All three Turkic leaders told a press conference that the situations in their areas were deteriorating, yet the world was not paying enough attention to their problems. They asked the Turkish government to do its utmost to prevent conflicts before it was too late.
Eastern Turkestan, under Chinese Communist rule since 1949, the Crimean Tartars, deported from their historical homeland in 1944, and the Turkic speaking Orthodox Christian Gagaut in Moldavia are all struggling for self determination.
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U.N.P.O. MEETS IN HOLLAND
The Third General Assembly of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) was held in The Hague, Holland on 19-24 December. Over sixty delegations attended the General Assembly -- almost twice last year's number. Increased interest was shown by the UN, several national governments and non-government organizations who were all represented by a growing body of observers.
Among the guest speakers H.S.H Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, Lord Ennals, member of the House of Lords and Miss M. Corrigan Maquire, 1976 Nobel Peace Price Laureate, were also present.
During the five-day meeting the 26 current members voted on the admission of 13 new members, heard reports of member's problems and passed resolutions on future UNPO actions.
This year's General Assembly also included a special two-day session on the right of self-determination, human rights and environmental protection.
The UNPO was founded in February 1991 and has become known as the "Alternative U.N.". Today its members represent almost 130 million people. UNPO acts as a forum for nations and peoples that are inadequately represented in international organizations such as the United Nations. The UNPO supports its members in their struggle for democracy, human rights and self-determination according to their specific aims.
Erkin Alptekin, an Uighur from Eastern Turkestan living abroad was elected Chairman of the UNPO.
Kehriman Gojamberdiyev, Amin Kashgari and Enver Can participated in the UNPO Third General Assembly representing Eastern Turkestan.
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UNPO NEWS PUBLISHED
The second edition of Unrepresented Nations and Peoples News Bulletin was published in January 1993.
In the second edition of the UNPO News included two articles on Eastern Turkestan. The first article covered general information on Eastern Turkestan and brief information on the history, geography, size, ethnic make-up, population, language and religion of Eastern Turkestan. The second article dealt with Amnesty International's report on Chinese human rights abuses in Eastern Turkestan, which was published in September 1992.
The first issue of UNPO News was published in September 1992. UNPO News is the official quarterly publication of the two. The newsletter is distributed free of cost for members and supporters. Its aim is to contribute to the mission of UNPO by improving communication and information exchange within the Organization and by informing public and the community about its the situation on of the general international activities and its members.
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SECOND EDITION OF COMMON VOICE
The second issue of Common Voice, the official organ of the Allied Committee of the .the Peoples of Eastern Turkestan, Tibet and Inner Mongolia' has recently appeared. The Allied Committee was officially founded after a meeting of representatives from Eastern Turkestan, Tibet and Inner Mongolia, in Turbenthal, Switzerland, on July 14, 1985.
H.H. The Dalai Lama is the overall leader and the guide of the Allied Committee.
Common Voice deals with the history, culture and the current problems of the peoples of Eastern Turkestan, Tibet and Inner Mongolia.
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A new Turkish language monthly newspaper entitled For the Independence of Eastern Turkestan has begun publication in Ankara, Turkey.
The editor-in-chief of the newspaper is Shekur Turan, an Uighur from Eastern Turkestan. Turan, who is a graduate of Urumchi University, emigrated to Turkey after the Chinese occupation of Eastern Turkestan in 1949. He worked for a long time at the National Library in Ankara. Until his retirement he was an advisor on Central Asian Affairs to the Turkish Ministry of Culture.
The eight page newspaper is intended to enhance the patriotic aspirations of the Eastern Turkestani people living in Turkey.
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UIGHUR PAINTER SHOWS WORK
Ablett, a well known Uighur painter from Eastern Turkestan has exhibited his paintings in Munich, Germany, between February 5 and February 28.
Art lovers have finally had an opportunity to see some wonderful Uighur paintings. Among the 56 paintings exhibited were scenes from Eastern Turkestan, the daily life of its people, portraits of well known Uighur heroines, and abstract pictures reminiscent of ancient Uighur wall paintings, miniatures and frescoes.
Ablett, during an interview with German TV, said that Uighur painting, which had a long historical tradition, had fallen into sharp decline under Chinese Communist rule as had other areas of Uighur culture. He said that during the peak of the Cultural Revolution thousands of Uighur paintings were destroyed as "remnants of the past." According to Ablett, Uighur painters were forced to conform to "Socialist Reality." Those who opposed were persecuted he said.
Ablett was born in Lopur, Eastern Turkestan, in 1945 and is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Urumchi and the University for Theatre and Art in Beijing.
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FOREIGNERS TO PROSPECT FOR OIL
Wang Tao, President of China's National Petroleum Corp., told a news conference in Peking on February 16 that foreigners could try their luck in 12 new areas including Eastern Turkestan.
The Tarim Basin in Eastern Turkestan has been estimated to hold as much oil as the whole North Sea and perhaps even more. but it's remote location and underdeveloped infrastructure has kept it from realizing even a fraction of its potential.
Peking estimates total potential reserves in the 410,790 square kilometers opened on February 17 to be 8.2 billion tons of oil and
2.5 trillion cubic metres of gas.
Wang said the first bidding would be held in March for five sectors within the southeast part of Tarim Basin, an area of particular interest to foreign companies.
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ONLY THE RICH CAN STUDY
At every opportunity Chinese Communist authorities claim that since the "peaceful liberar2on ft importance has been given to education in Eastern Turkestan. But after more than 40 years of Chinese Communist rule illiteracy is estimated to be more than 60 percent among the adult population in this country. It seems that it will remain like that for another 40 years. A countrymen who has requested anonymity wrote the following to ETI:
Our kids are going through a hell of a time in order to receive some kind of a education. The Chinese authorities started to charge 200 Yuan education fee annually from students attending the elementary, Middle and High Schools. In our school there are almost 1,000 students. Most of them are very poor. They are not in a position to pay this money. Those kid who wants to eat at the school canteens are charged extra. Only 300 of them can afford this. The rest have to take their meals with them. The meal consists of only dry bread. Twice a day they eat only dry bread. Because the 5 Yuan weekly pocket money that they are receiving from their parents is spent for the transportation. The situation in higher educational institutions has changed dramatically. Those students who want to attend a higher educational institution are forced to pay between one thousand and four thousand Yuan annually, according the quality of the educational institution.
"In a country were per capita income is 350 Yuan annually how can we afford this money to send our kids to a higher educational institution? Don't the Chinese authorities want our kid to go to school? Our country is very rich'.. Eastern Turkestan's natural resources are richer than Saudi Arabia. How long are the Chinese going to exploit us? Is there a way that you could inform the world press on this subject, so the Chinese, if there is a little bit of embarrassing feeling left, should be ashamed and change their policy."
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PURGE CALLED IN TIBET
Chen Kuiyuan, the newly appointed Communist Party leader in Tibet has removed a large number of Tibetan officials because they sympathized with the exiled religious leader, H.H. the Dalai Lama. They reportedly had the Dalai Lama's picture in their homes and would not take tough enough measures against separatists, according to the text of a secret speech obtained by the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet.
'We must absolutely clean up those places where a small number of
separatists have long been active," Party leader Chen declared in the speech. "We must sweep out those hostile elements hidden among us."
Chen complained in his 11-page speech that in Lhasa and some other parts of Tibet "separatist activities are rampant."
"Some local cadres can't tell right from wrong, and they are blind to hostile elements who use the cloak of religion to engage in counter-revolutionary activities," Chen said. " Some party members do not fully reveal their roles in the struggle against separatism, They stand against the Party and the people. While purporting to be Party members and cadres, they act as internal agents for the Dalai Lama Clique. They harm our nation's unity and betray the people. Enemy forces will unceasingly infiltrate and attack us, using the Dalai Lama as a banner of separatism and as a banner of anti-communism and anti socialism," Chen warned. We can't avoid this reality. We can only respond blow for blow. If we relax then separatism will spread like a malignant tumor."
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TOURIST BOOM REPORTED
Eastern Turkestan has reported a tourist boom since the opening of its border areas to the outside world.
According to statistics Eastern Turkestan received a total of 230,000 businessmen, one hundred thousand more than the previous year, and obtained $US 35 million from tourism, an increase of 60 percent.
An official in charge of tourism said that 90 percent of the additional tourists and business people last year had come from neighboring countries.
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BORDER TRADE CLIMBS
It has been reported that border trade in Eastern Turkestan has developed rapidly in 1992.
By the end of November 1992, the border import and export value had reached $115 220 million, or 3.59 times greater than the same period last year.
Li Donghui, vice chairman of the region, said that in 1993 the proportion of border trade volume to the total volume of foreign trade was expected to be 50 percent.
According to the information, border trade has expanded the scope of Eastern Turkestan's market. In 1991, Eastern Turkestan had business relations with 40 companies in neighboring countries, but now it has relations with 260 companies in several countries.
At present, Eastern Turkestan has set up nine frontier markets. Statistics show that between January and October 116,000 people from the Commonwealth of Independent States visited frontier markets, buying articles worth 441 million Yuan.
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The aim of the Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin is to disseminate objective current information on the people, culture and civilization of Eastern Turkestan and to provide a forum for discussion on a wide range of topics and complex issues. ETIB is published bi-monthly by the Eastern Turkestani Union in Europe(ETUE), established January 11, 1991 in Munich, Germany. Neither ETIB nor ETUE claim or accept responsibility for views otherwise identified within our pages. We hope that those using information from our publication in published works will be courteous enough to cite its source. All inquiries and contributions should be addressed to Eastern Turkestan Information Bulletin, Asgar Can, Editor, St. Blasien Str. 2, D-80809 Munich, Germany.
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Last updated 06/29/99