Two Republics of East Turkistan
- History of East Turkistan
Xinjiang government was under Nanjing government nominally, but it was governed by military clique virtually on the establishment of Republic of China.
The dissatisfaction and anger of Turks had been pent up by the Han's great migration, their discriminations and suppressions against Turks as well as the assimilation. With a small motivator, it was ready to explode.
The uprising started from Kumul (Hami). The direct reason of this was the misadministration of Jin Shuren, the President of Xinjiang Province. He took an advantage on the chaos caused by Hui King's death to take his territory and distributed the land giving privileges to Han people without permission.
The uprising in Kumul in March 1931 spilled over to Barkol and Aksu. At this stage Khoja Niyaz, the chief retainer of Hui King in Kumul, required relief to Ma Chung-ying, the Dungan (Hui, Han Muslim) military cliques stayed in Gansu. From this incident, Ma Chung-ying got involved in uprisings of Xinjiang deeply. This time he approached close to Urumqi, the capital, but dismissed and retreated to Gansu.
On April 1933, coup of White Russian made Jin Shuren fall from power and Sheng Shicai was assigned to be captain general and chief of military board. Ma Chung-ying again progressed close to Urumqi in May, same year and January the next year but he was repelled by Sheng Shicai.
During the chaos, the uprising in Hotan in early 1933 converged with the uprisings of Karashar, Kucha and Aksu that occurred at the same time. They came up to the proclamation of independence of 'Islamic Republic of East Turkistan'. The President was Khoja Niyaz and Prime Minister was Sabit Damollah. As it is noticeable from the word Islam in the name of nation, this independence was initiated by the Muslim intellectuals educated in Kazan region in Soviet Union or Istanbul in Ottoman Empire with new Islamic education system and gained pan-Islamic and pan-Turkish colour. However this nation was eliminated in spring 1934, because of the collapse of coalition caused by ethnic conflict, suppression from Kuomintang Party, interference of Soviet Union and invasion of Ma Chung-ying. (In addition, Ma Chung-ying, defected to Soviet Union being chased by Xinjiang government after this, has never been seen).
The pro-Sovietism of Xinjiang was reluctantly progressing from Jin Shuren's time as there was no contemplation that the central government would assist Xinjiang. Though Sheng Shicai was pro-Sovietized initially, he shifted to anti-Sovietised and anticommunistic on the outbreak of Eastern Front, he was taken under the Kuomintang party. By the intensify of ethnic suppression of Sheng Shicai, Uyghur and Kazakh cadremen escaped to Soviet Union and joined military training there. They were the people who would take big parts in independent motion later on.
In August 1944, Sheng Shicai raised coup and this ran the gauntlet of Chang Kai-shek. Sheng Shicai was forced out from the Xinjiang government.
Influence of Soviet Union was disappeared and President was forced out. It was in a chaos when 'National Liberation Organization' occupied Nilka in Ili district and declared the independence of 'Republic of East Turkistan' on 12th November. The President was Elihan Tore and cabinet members were consisted of each ethnic. East Turkistan Army with support of Soviet servicemen took over Ili, Tarbagatai and Altay districts. (Chinese Communist Party calls it Three District Rebellion).
However the secret pact between Kuomintang party and Soviet Union allowed China to govern East Turkistan in exchange of Independence of Outer Mongolia and Soviet getting privileges from Manchuria.
At first, East Turkistan insisted on complete independence but the insist backed down to acquisition of high autonomy in Autumn 1945. With the mediation of Soviet Union, East Turkistan precontracted a peace pact with Kuomintang party of Urumqi in January 1946. In June Xinjiang coalition government consisted of both Kuomintang and East Turkistan was approved and Republic of East Turkistan was eliminated. However this coalition government soon parted and all the East Turkistan cabinet members went back to Ili to form 'Union for the Defense of Peace and Democracy' and declared autonomy.
In 1949, when People's Liberation Army that conquered the Chinese Civil war was reaching East Turkistan, Autonomous government in Ili decided to have a conference with Chinese Communist Party by mediation of Soviet Union. Political leaders departed to attend the conference in Beijing but on the way, they were taken away to Soviet Union and killed there. Until recently, it was informed that their deaths were caused by air accident.
East Turkistan that lost its political leaders was 'released' by People's Liberation Army on December 1949. In 1955 Xinjiang Province became Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and the situation continues up until present.