Theme 12. Political changes in Xinjiang during the1940s
Changes in the policy of Sheng Shicai after 1942. End of Soviet-Xinjiang friendship and Soviet withdrwal from Xinjiang in 1942-1943. Restoration of the Guomindang power in Xinjiang. Xinjinag in the wartime. American-Chinese relations. Establishing American Consulte the second British Consulate in Urumchi (Dihua), administrative center of Xinjiang. Wallace’ visit of Soviet Central Asia and Xinjiang in 1944. Xinjiang problem in international relations: Tehran, Yalta conferences.
While this was transpiring, in the nearby southern Tarim Basin city of Khotan, three brothers of rich Bughra family, Muhammad Amin Bughra, Abdullah Bughra and Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra, educated in the jadidist tradition, had led a rebellion of gold miners who worked in Surghak mines near Keriya city, also in Yurunkash and Karakash mountain rivers, and established themselves as emirs of the city, having declared the Khotan Emirate and independence from China on March 16, 1933.
Leader of Karakash gold miners Ismail Khan Khoja sent message to Governor Jin Shuren: "Foolish infidels like you are not fit to rule. ... You infidels think that because you have rifles, guns ... and money, you can depend on them, but we depend of God in whose hands are our lives."
Local provincial authorities and troops were annihilated by the miners throughout Khotan vilayet, rare Chinese population in most cases saved their lives and property, but was forced to accept Islam under the threat of execution. During successful storming of Khotan New City on March 16, 1933 both the Treasury and Arsenal were captured by rebels, delivering to their hands several thousands of rifles and more than a ton of gold. The Khotan Emirate dispatched one of the three brothers, Shahmansur, known also as Emir Abdullah, and a former publisher named Sabit Damolla to Kashgar, where they established the Kashgar Affairs Office of the Khotan Government, led by Muhammad Amin Bughra, in July 1933. By the fall of that year, the office had shed many of its links to the Khotan government and reformed itself into the multi-ethnic, quasi-nationalist East Turkestan Independence Association, which drew heavily on ideas of Islamic reformism, nationalism and jadidism.
In November 1933, Sabit Damolla declared the establishment of the East Turkistan Republic with Hoja-Niyaz as its president — despite the fact that the respected commander was engaged in fighting in northern Xinjiang and had actually allied his forces with those of Sheng Shicai. Original proclamation was extremely anti-Tungan and anti-Han and contained such words:
The Tungans, more than Han, are the enemy of our people. Today our people are already free from the oppression of the Han, but still continue live under Tungan subjugation. We must still fear the Han, but cannot not fear the Tungans as well. The reason, we must be careful to guard against the Tungans, we must intensively oppose them, cannot afford to be polite, since the Tungans have compelled us to follow this way. Yellow Han people have not the slightest thing to do with Eastern Turkestan. Black Tungans also do not have this connection. Eastern Turkestan belongs to the people of Eastern Turkestan. There is no need for foreigners to come be our fathers and mothers. ... From now on we do not need to use foreigner's language or their names, their customs, habits, attitudes, written languages and etc. We must also overthrow and drive foreigners from our boundaries forever. The colours yellow and black are foul. ... They have dirtied our Land for too long. So now it's absolutely necessary to clean out this filth. Take down the yellow and black barbarians! Live long Eastern Turkestan!
On November 12, 1933, an independent republic (Turkish Islamic Republic of Eastern Turkestan (TIRET) or Republic of Uyghurstan, both names were used at the same time) was proclaimed. This event was organized on Sunday morning in a mass rally on the shore of Tuman River outside of Kashgar with participating of about 7,000 troops and 13,000 civilians, including teachers and students of schools, who delivered speeches alongside with appointed "Ministers" of the independent republic. On noon cannon fired 41 times and crowd proceeded to the Old City of Kashgar, waving blue banners of Independence, where rally continued on the square in front of Idgah Mosque and more speeches were delivered from Mosque's front, where Sabit Damulla appeared as a main speaker.
Established distinct from the Khotan Emirate, the ETR claimed authority over territory stretching from Aksu along the northern rim of the Tarim Basin to Khotan in the south. Actually, Hoja Niyaz didn't join Republic in November 1933 and kept a separate administration in Aksu, that was involved in negotiations with USSR. In fact, the government in Kashgar was strapped for resources, plagued by rapid inflation, and surrounded by hostile powers — including the Hui forces under Ma Zhancang. Although established as a multiethnic republic, as reflected in the choice of the "East Turkestan" name used in its founding constitution, the first coins of the new government were initially minted under the name "Republic of Uyghurstan" (Uyghurstan Jumhuriyiti). In some sources, it is known as the "East Turkestan Islamic Republic", suggesting a greater role for Islam in its founding character. The extent of Islam's influence in the foundation of the ETR is disputed; while the constitution endorses sharia as the guiding law, the jadidist modernizing tradition places much greater emphases on reform and development, which is reflected in subsequent passages of the constitution that focus on health, education, and economic reforms. The Turkestan Declaration of Independence put political platform of the self-proclaimed Republic based on nine main principles:
1. End the Chinese dictatorial rule in the Land of Eastern Turkestan.
2. Establish a free and independent Eastern Turkestan Republic, based on equality of all nationalities.
3. In order to fully develop the economy of Eastern Turkestan, promote industry, agriculture and animal husbandry as well as private businesses. Increase people's living standards.
4. Since the majority of people of Eastern Turkestan believe in Islam, so the Government particularly advocates this religion. At the same time it promotes religious freedom for other religions.
5. Develop education, culture and health standards in Eastern Turkestan.
6. Establish friendly relations with all democratic countries in the World and neighbouring countries, especially with the United Kingdom, Soviet Russia, Turkey and China.
7. In order to protect peace in Eastern Turkestan, recruit people of all nationalities to establish a strong Army.
8. The Bank, Post Service, Telephone and Telegraph, Forestry and all underground wealth belong to the nation.
9. Eliminate individualism, bureaucracy idea, nationalism and corruption among Government officials.
The efforts of the Turkish Islamic Republic of Eastern Turkestan to receive international recognition had failed despite the dispatching of numerous envoys by Prime Minister Sabit Damolla to the USSR (Tashkent, Moscow), Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and British India. The Soviet Union rejected all offers of dealing with Islamists. In Kabul, Kashgar representatives met the newly proclaimed King of Afghanistan Mohammad Zahir Shah and Prime Minister Sardar Mohammad Hashim Khan, asking for aid and a supply of arms. But both preferred to keep neutrality and not interfere in Chinese affairs. Other countries reacted the same way, refusing to recognize the envoys as representatives of an independent country. None of the regional powers wanted to make a challenge to the Soviet Union and China in their politics and to become engaged in bloody fighting in Xinjiang, which had already claimed the lives of around 100,000 of its inhabitants. This left the fledgling Republic, which was surrounded on almost all sides by hostile powers (Tungans, Soviets, and Chinese), with very little chance to survive.