Uyghurs is one of the Turkic ethnic groups living in the northwestern region of the present China. The official Chinese name of the region is Xinjiang (or Sinkyang) Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), but the native Uyghurs have historically called their country or this region either Uyghuristan or Eastern Turkistan or both. In this document, the name Uyghuristan is used to refer to this region.
Located in Central Asia, 1500 miles from Beijing, Uyghuristan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Mongolia to the northeast, and Kirghizstan and Tajikistan to the northwest and west. To the west and southwest lie Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to the south are Tibet and India. To the east lies China.
Eastern Turkistan is a vast land of 640,000 square kilometers---one sixth of the present Chinese territory. Geographically, it is the China's largest province.
The Turkic population of the Uyghuristan which possesses the same blood, language, tradition and religion were artificially divided into Uyghur, Khazak, Kyrgiz, Uzbek and Tatar by the Russian Red Imperialists. The latest census gives the population of the Uyghurs as more than 7 million, the Khazaks 1 million, the Kyrgizs 150 thousand, Uzbeks 15 thousand, and the Tatars 5 thousand. However, some unofficial Uyghur sources give an estimated figure of more than 15 millions of Uyghurs. In addition to these ethnic peoples, there are also Han Chinese, Manchus, Huis and Mongols living in Uyghuristan. At the present the Uyghurs constitute the majority population of Uyghuristan and is the main subject of this document. However, everything stated in this document applies equally well to the other Turkic ethnic peoples mentioned above.
Uyghurs and Han Chinese are not of the same race. Uyghurs is clearly a European race and look primarily like Western Europeans. Uyghuristan is situated beyond the natural boundary of China in a separate geographical site with 96% of its population being Turkic peoples in 1949.
Historical records show that the Uyghurs have a history of more than 4000 years. Throughout the history the Uyghurs developed a unique culture and civilization and made remarkable contribution to the civilization of the world. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, scientific and archeological expeditions to the region of Uyghuristan discovered numerous cave temples, monastery ruins, wall paintings, as well as valuable miniatures, books and documents. Explorers from Europe, America and even Japan were astonished by the art treasures discovered in the region, and soon their reports captured the attention of a lot of interested people around the world. Today these relics of Uyghur culture and civilization constitute major collections in the museums of Berlin, London, Paris, Tokyo, Leningrad and the Museum of Central Asian Antiquities in New Delhi.. These relics together with the manuscripts and documents discovered in Uyghuristan reveal the very high degree of civilization attained by the Uyghurs.
Throughout the centuries Uyghurs have used three different scripts. Confederated with the Kok Turks in the 6th and the 7th centuries, they used the Orkhun script. Later they adopted what became known as the Uyghur script. This script was used for almost 800 years not only by the Uyghurs but also by other Turkic peoples as well as Mongols and by the Manchus in the early stage of their rule in China. After embracing Islam in the 10th century the Uyghurs adapted the Arabic alphabet, and its use became common in the 11th century.
Most of the early Uyghur literary works were translations of Buddhist and Manichean religious texts, but there were also narrative, poetic and epic works. Some of these have been translated into German, English and Russian.
After embracing Islam the Uyghurs continued to preserve their cultural dominance in Central Asia. World renowned Uyghur scholars emerged, and Uyghur literature flourished. Among the hundreds of important works surviving from this era are the Kutat-ku Bilik by Yusuf Has Hajip (1069-70), Divan-i Lugat-it Turk by Mahmud Kashgari, and Atabetul Hakayik by Ahmet Yukneki.
The Uyghurs had an extensive knowledge of medicine and medical practice. Sung Dynasty (906-960) records indicate that and Uyghur physician, Nanto, travelled to China and brought with him many kinds of medicine not known to the Chinese. A total of 103 different herbs used in Uyghur medicine were recorded in a most famous Chinese medical compendium by Shi-zhen Li (1518-1593). It was claimed by western scholars that acupuncture was not a Chinese, but an Uyghur discovery. In recent years the Chinese authority has set up several institutions in Uyghuristan to study the traditional Uyghur medicines.
Uyghurs also possessed high degree of development in fields such as architecture, art, music and printing. According to the work of western scholars, documents discovered in Uyhuristan prove that an Uyghur farmer could write down a contract using legal terminology at a time when no so
many European farmers could have done so. It was reported that the Uyghurs knew how to print books centuries before Gutenberg invented his press. It was also reported that in the Middle ages, Chinese peotry, literature, theater, music adn painting were greatly influenced by the Uyghurs. Yen-de Wang, who served as an ambassador to the Kharahoja Uyghur Kingdom between 981 and 984, wrote in his bibliography the following: "I was impressed with the extensive civilization I found in the Uyghur Kingdom. The beauty of the temples, monasteries, wall paintings, statues, towers, gardens, houses and the palaces built throughout the kingdom cannot be described. The Uyghurs are very skilled in handicrafts of gold and silver, vases and potteries. Some say God has infused this talent into this people only."
Prior to Islam, the Uyghurs believed in religions like Shamanism, Buddhism and Manicheism. Buddhism was introduced into Uyghuristan at the beginning of our era. It quickly spread among the Turkic peoples of Uyghuristan. The ruins of famous monostries known as the Ming Oy or the Thousand Buddhas built by the Uyghurs can still be seen in the cities of Kucha, Turfan and
Dunhuang where the Kanchou Uyghurs lived. In the city of Kucha, there were more than 50 Buddhist temples, libraries and welfare institutions built to support the poor. In the city of Hoten, there were 14 large monasteries without counting the smaller ones. The Uyghurs of Uyghuristan embraced Islam in 934, during the reign of Satuk Bughra Khan, the Kharahanid ruler. Since that time on the Islam continuously served Uyghurs as the only religion in Uyghuristan until today.
The Uyghur power, prestige and culture developed over a long history and dominated Central Asia for more than 1000 years went into a steep decline after the Manchu invasion of Uyghuristan, and during the rule of the nationalist and especially the communist Chinese.
Uyghuristan is an Occupied Country
Uyghuristan has been the home of Uyghurs for at least 2000 years, and remained as a free and independent country during the most period of those 2000 years. However, the Chinese has been claiming that Uyghuristan is an ancient and inseparable part of China. Historical facts clearly show that such a claim by 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.
The invasion of Uyghuristan by Han Chinese started in 104 B.C., and Uyghuristan was occupied several times by Chinese solders, but none of these occupation lasted for long. The following are some historical facts related to Chinese occupation of Uyghuristan:
1) During Wu ti era, General Li Kuang occupied Uyghuristan in 104 B.C, but the people of Uyghuirstan regained their independence in 86 B.C. by defeating the Chinese solders.
2) During the Hsuan Ti era, General Chang Chi attacked Uyghuristan and occupied it in 59 B.C. But in 10 B.C. the Khans of Uyghuristan defeated the Chinese armies and won back their freedom.
3) During the Ming Ti era of the Second Khan Dynasty, General Pan Chao started an internal war attacking Uyghuristan in 73 A.D. This war lasted for 28 years. In 102 A.D. Pan Chao returned to China, and a year later his son, Pan Yung, escaped after having been defeated by the Khans of Uyghuristan. Thus Uyghuristan once again regained her security and independence.
4) During the Topa (Wei) era, the east part of Uyghuristan was obliged to submit tax to the then state from 448 to 460.
5) In 657 Kau Tsung of the Tang Dynasty conquered Uyghuristan, and in 699 the Gok Turk Khans drove out the Chinese from Uyghuristan.
6) In 747 Hsuan Tsung dispatched the Korean General Kao Sien-chi as a commander of a Chinese army to help some of the Uyghur Khans who were fighting among themselves in Uyghuristan. This General, taking advantage of Uyghuristan's internal unrest and playing a very skillful and ruthless role, managed to incite a number of Uyghuristan people to kill each other, and in such a way subjected Uyghuristan to China. But the inhabitants of Uyghuristan, obtaining help from Arabs, destroyed the forces of Kao Sien-chi and won their freedom in 751.
That is, there were a total of 6 invasions from 104 B.C. until 751. But during that period of 855 years the Chinese invaders sustained their control over the Uyghuristan for only 157 years, and even then, as the frequency of invasion suggests, Chinese control over Uyghuristan was temporary and incomplete. During the remaining 698 years of this period Uyghuristan remained as a free and independent country.
During that period (104 BC to 751), there were friendly relations and business connections between the Uyghuristan and China. But certain Chinese historical books and the present Chinese political authorities, portraying these relations and connections in an unjust and untruthful manner, try to use them as signs of Uyghuristan's subjection to China and most Chinese politicians have been using it to legitimize their claim that Uyghuristan has been an inseparable part of China.
After Arab, Turkic and Tibetan forces repulsed the Chinese occupiers in 751 A.D., a long period of 1000 years passed before the conquest of Uyghuristan by the Manchu rulers of China. During this period there was not a single important relation between China and Uyghuristan. For 207 years of this 1000 year period the Uyghurs voluntarily became a part of the Mongol empire, where they maintained their sovereignty and played an important cultural and political role. While the remaining period of approximately 800 years Uyghuristan remained completely independent and attained great progress and prosperity.
It is in 1876 when Manchurians strove to occupy the Uyghuristan, and, after killing about one million inhabitants, succeeded in occupying the country. The Uyghuristan was formerly incorporated into the Manchu empire in 1884 as Xinjiang (or Sinkyang; means "new territory") Province. Since that time on Uyghuristan was under continuous military rule. However, until 1949, the inhabitants of Uyghuristan staged 42 armed revolts against the terrorist rule of the Manchu military governors (that is, one revolt falls for every 4 years of Manchus' rule) with the aim of regaining their independence. The Uyghurs in the southern part of Uyghuristan established an "Eastern Turkistan Islamic Republic" in 1933 and the inhabitants of the whole Uyghuristan together established the second "Eastern Turkistan Republic" in 1944. The former lived for 3 years, and the latter for 5 years.
Uyghuristan was occupied by the communist China in 1949 and its name was changed to the XUAR in 1955. The communist China has been excersizing a colonial rule over the Uyghuristan since then. The Uyghurs have had to undergo unimaginable suffering and been subjugated to inhuman conditions under the repressive alien rule. But despite all the suffering and cultural genocide, the determination spirit of the people in Uyghuristan remains ever strong. According to available information from Chinese sources, despite all the risks involved, demonstrations, protest marches and other underground political activities organized by Uyghurs and aimed at obtaining equality, justice and even independence for Uyghurs have never stopped in Uyghuristan since 1954 and reached to a peak since 1996.