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Etimology of the Name “Xinjiang”?

May 5 | 86 Comments

The name Xinjiang, which directly translated means “New Frontier”, has always struck me as an odd name. To me it’s almost like giving Texas a name like “Wild West”.

Did you know that parts of Yunan and Sichuan used to be called “Xinjiang”?

According to the Chinese history article I’ve translated below, the Xinjiang region is one of 5 regions that have used the name “New Frontier”.  This short article was written as a propaganda piece following the Urumqi riots, which make it an even more interesting read:

"Xinjiang" in Chinese characters

During the Qin Dynasty, Xinjiang was a land called the ‘Western Region’ which occupied a much larger area than it does now.  Over the past 2,000 years the geographical boundaries of this region were constantly changed…

During the Qing Dynasty there were a total of 5 regions referred to as “Xinjiang”, including:

  • Two in Yunnan (RongJiang and ZhaoTong areas);
  • One in Guizhou (AnShun);
  • One in Sichan (DaShao JinChuan) as well as…
  • Present-day Xinjiang.

These five places generally known as Xinjiang shared three common characteristics:

  1. All were inseparable parts of the motherland;
  2. All were minority regions and;
  3. All were practicing the new system of governance set out by the Qing government, following the proverb “Change the soil, restore the flow”.

Because of the differences in the 5 regions mentioned above, the latter “Xinjiang” had to create its own local names, such as when the Western Region was called “Xinjiang Western Region”.

As time went on the word “Xinjiang” gradually began to specifically address this largest area until eventually the two names “Western Region” and “Xinjiang” were used interchangeably.

In 1821, Emperor DaoGuang (1821-1850) ordered a record of the affairs of the “Xinjiang Western Region” to be written.  The authorized account was named “The Xinjiang Knowledge Brief” paving the way for the name “Xinjiang” to replace the antiquated name “Western Region”.

In the second half of the 19th century, Qing troops drove out foreign invaders who had been occupying Xinjiang for over 10 years.  With “Change the soil, restore the flow” as their motto, they formally established the Xinjiang province in 1884.

Presently there is a divisive ideology which is deliberately portraying Xinjiang as its own separate nation, but such thoughts are entirely untrue.

There you have it. Xinjiang history through Chinese eyes.

Interesting, is it not?

About Josh Summers

Josh is the author of Xinjiang | A Traveler's Guide to Far West China, the most highly-reviewed and comprehensive travel guide on China's western region of Xinjiang. He lived, studied and run a business in Xinjiang, China for more than 10 years, earning recognition for his work from CCTV, BBC, Lonely Planet and many others.

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  1. The name Xinjiang certainly begs the question as to for whom this ‘dominion’ is ‘new’. But at least its better than “Protectorate of the Pacified West” as used in the Tang dynasty… Now that would have been truly insulting.

  2. 1884?

    Majority of American Indians were still alive that year.

    Were they not?

    Unfortunately, Uhgurs do not realized that they were so lucky to be under Chinese rulein 1884. Otherwise, they would be like American Indians.

    kahraman on May 6th, 2010 at 4:09 am

    I hate to break it to you, but the Qing were Manchu and not Chinese.

    Akihiro on May 6th, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    No kahraman

    Manchu are CHINESE…

    The so-call “Chinese” which you were just trying to mention is actually refering to Han…

    In the olden dynasties period of China… no one was being address as a “Chinese” but only Han, Manchu, Mongol, Tibetan, Uyghur, Miao, Monba… and many more…

    When the Mongol and the Manchu controlled as the central government during Yuan and Qing Dynasty… they didn’t change and name the whole land as a “Big Mongolian” or a “Big Manchuria”… but it’s still China… and the people living in this China had being naturally being address as Chinese…

    So of course now a days they are all still Chinese… whether they are under whatever ethnic groups of Chinese.

    Get it?

    kahraman on May 7th, 2010 at 4:58 am

    If they weren’t addressed as Chinese then, how could they be Chinese? The Manchus were certainly Sinified like most of the current PRC. But you can’t take the modern appellation of “Chinese” (and its connotations) and apply it retroactively when you think it suits your purposes. If you told Genghis Khan that he was Chinese, he probably would have made a cup out your skull.

    Porfiriy on May 7th, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Lol, this guy seriously thinks the Manchu can be shoved under the “China” rubric. That’s hilariously awesome.

    joyce on May 8th, 2010 at 2:03 am


    It is more hilarious that people like you insist on “Chinese = Han”.

    It is true that Chinese scripts are Han’s and majorities of Chinese identified themselves as Han which is a cultural identity instead of ethnic one. Han have quite a few dialects and some are facing extinction too because the government has been pushing Mandarin in schools. While, if the government pays, it is inevitable that the government wants to influence in its way. The increased mobility and interregional marriages are definitely “culturally genocidal” even among Han.

    I agree that Chinese meant Han in Han dynasty, but Han dynasty was two thousand years ago. Back then Han had strong control over not only the Silk Road Xinjiang region but most of central Asia. Uyghur were not even in the region. If PRC claims the region since Han dynasty, it should use the old name Xijiang instead of Xinjiang and take away nonsense adjectives like Uyghur and “autonomous” because there are quite a few other ethnicities there. Han now are not exactly the Han two thousand years ago because of the assimilation from “Han expansion”.

    Now, is Manchu Chinese? They were sinified long ago; they speak Han’s dialect and write in Chinese scripts. From online comments, they seem upset about the concept that they are not Chinese because that will take away their contributions to China. They believe that they are Chinese first and Manchu second, just like most Han identified themselves as Chinese first and Han second. Machu was not exactly single ethnicity and more of regional identity.

    Is Hui Chinese? Some of them might have distant Arabic, Persia and central Asian blood, but now genetically pretty much Han. Hui is more of religious than ethnic category. Bottom line, nothing has been static and everything has been dynamic.

    Anyway, the reality is reality and no amount of debate can change that.

    Akihiro on May 7th, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Come on kahraman…

    Sorry again for being rude to you but I really hate to break it with you…
    The Manchus were being address as Chinese (中国人) also…
    Please be more informed…

    It’s only how language is being translate from into English.

    kahraman on May 7th, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    You are correct they would have been called ’people of the middle kingdom‘ (中国人). But that had a very different connotation then than it does now. Ethnically, culturally, and historically (and linguistically, although the language is almost dead) Manchus are not Chinese. They are citizens of China now. The adjective ‘chinese’ carries a strong Han connotation in English, but China is not homogeneous in any of categories mentioned above as readers of this blog undoubtedly know.

    Porfiriy on May 8th, 2010 at 2:42 pm


    “China” is a modern conceptual model, that could only exist in the post-WW2 environment in a world organized by nation-state principles. “Zhonghua Minzu” and the idea of China as a “multi-cultural” political entity is a new and novel concept, informed by the national/state based ideologies that arose in 18th and 19th century Europe WAY MORE than ANYTHING that could be characterized as “Chinese” from the fall of the Qing dynasty, onwards. Almost every single Chinese founding father who can be credited for providing significant contributions to the founding of the PRC – Sun Yatsen, Jiang Kaishek, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, EVERY SINGLE ONE had DIRECT education from EUROPEAN institutes in EUROPEAN ideologies, and if not Europe directly, then educations in Japan that were adopted from European military/ideological schools.

    The story of China from 1911 through the Communist revolution and particularly throughout the DECADES of the cultural revolution is a *clear, stated, and unambiguous effort* to utterly DESTROY in an ORGY of unrestrained violence anything and everything that was “old” or “feudalist” China.

    Not that this is a moral shortcoming. We live in a postmodern world and so it’s perfectly fine for countries to run on postmodern organizing principles. Like “nation states” and “ideological coalitions” such as the SCO.

    What’s at fault is when the Chinese government, and people like YOU educated under the Chinese system, try to hold up this totally bunk, totally false, and totally disengenous HISTORCAL CONTINUITY between the PRC as it is today and some ancient unbroken Chinese social superstructure. It’s simply INCORRECT. The way that these discussion are ended is that: it actually doesn’t MATTER what Han Chinese or Manchu or Uyghurs called themselves or each other in ANY period before 1911, because what the Chinese people have done the past century and CONTINUE to do with their active or implicit endorsement of the current government was to REJECT the “imperial Chinese identity.”

    But now since the CCP is an entirely ideologically bankrupt oligarchy, and it pays only lip service to “socialism” and knows that prosperity is its only source of legtimacy, of course it’s grasping, REALLY grasping for straws to find some sort of ideological foundation. And this whole “we represent the Chinese people” Confucius institute BS is part of that effort. But it’s all so disengenous and fake, and nothing represents it better than all those roly-poly balding corrupt communist party cadres you see at Confucian or Buddhist temples lighting incense in front of some statue and piously bowing before it without sensing any cognitive dissonance over the fact that he’s wearing a 5000 dollar watch and bribed his way into his position.

    So, yes, hook line and sinker, you were educated in a Chinese school and bought this bunk historical narrative aimed to do nothing more than ensure that the party has a bunch of braindead supporters who believe the government is protecting some sort intangible cultural heritage that your parents’ generation actively tried to DESTROY. You swallowed it whole and then said “Yes sir may I have another.”

    kahraman on May 9th, 2010 at 3:45 am

    Please let us bury the disingenuous eternal and homogeneous China narratives in a deep grave. These stories, in fact, do the real (and very interesting) China no justice.

    joyce on May 10th, 2010 at 6:17 pm


    I never claimed that China was homogeneous. I just tried to debunk the myth of Han as dominant ethnicity because Han are obviously multi-ethnic.

    Josh on May 6th, 2010 at 4:23 am

    I don’t think anybody was lucky to be living in Xinjiang during that time in the province’s history. It doesn’t matter whether it was Chinese rulers, Uyghur khans, or some other nationality…murder and revolt were common.

    Also, I made no mention of what has happened to the American Indians in this article…are you feeling guilty about something?

  3. If XJ is a strange name, what about New Mexico?

    Josh on May 6th, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Ha! Totally escaped my thoughts. I guess the same goes for the “New England” area up north as well.

    I think the only difference is that names like “New Mexico” weren’t generic names applied to many different areas. Xinjiang seems to be a Chinese catch-all name that somehow stuck to the present-day location.

    Porfiriy on May 7th, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Uh, what about New Mexico? Last time I checked the United States didn’t have a museum in Alberquerque with exhibits insecurely trying to establish that NEW MEXICO HAS BEEN, IS, AND ALWAYS BE A PART OF THE UNITED STATES! and NEW MEXICO IS AN INSEPARABLE PART OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    Disingenuous observation. The name of New Mexico is not some sort of embarrassing secret whose origin we try to obfuscate with bunk history. The history of New Mexico as part of the Spanish colonial/Latino cultural sphere is not something that conflicts with some “harmonious family of American peoples” narrative that is shoved down the throats of elementary students in Santa Fe. And when the government tries to pass and implement racist policies in the American Southwest (like racial profiling for illegal immigrants) Mexicans and Mexican-Americans alike are allowed to go to the streets and protest unjust policies without worrying that the New Mexico national guard will crack down and completely cut off the state’s internet.

    Jesus Christ. I’m so tired of this “Durr what about America’s dirty laundry” BS.

    anon on May 7th, 2010 at 3:26 am

    The New Mexico thing must have hit some people’s soft belly? Look at the jittering reaction, even Jesus Christ is giving a hand.

    Porfiriy on May 7th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Anon? Where did you run of to after I confronted you with Beijing Law University’s official translation of the REAL?

    You must have had the jitters:

    jitters, nervousness; a feeling of fright or uneasiness (usually prec. by the): Every time I have to make a speech, I get the jitters.

    “Jittering reaction,” lol. What?

  4. Jesus Christ. I’m so tired of this “Durr what about America’s dirty laundry” BS.


    So going through other people’s dirty laundry is much better. Right?

    Do you ever use mirror?

    kahraman on May 7th, 2010 at 4:32 am

    This blog is not about the history of the United States. There are plenty of blogs that cover that subject; I’m sure many are quite critical. Trying to change the topic under discussion is the first bullet point in the 五毛党 handbook.

    Josh on May 7th, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I’m amused that you call this “airing dirty laundry”. I’m simply translating a history article that I read in Xinjiang. If anything you should accuse me of selling state secrets, but then you’d have to point your finger at a whole slew of people who translate Chinese material into English, including Porfiriy above.

    Porfiriy on May 7th, 2010 at 7:27 am


    1. I’m not the United States of America
    2. This is a blog about Xinjiang

  5. I know sooner or later somebody is going to use this 50-cent weapon. Kahraman, that’s rather childish and pathetic I’m afraid.

    kahraman on May 8th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Your comment was completly unrelated to Xinjiang and/or the topic under discussion. You sound like your accustomed to this wu mao dang accusation…

  6. Porfiriy,

    I think that you may need a bit anger management. Too much hatred inside.

  7. Porfiriy,

    In addtion, it seems that you are quite obsessed with “winning” instead of discussing any issue. That’s childish.

    kahraman on May 9th, 2010 at 3:24 am

    The ‘winner’ is that person whose views align most thoroughly with the truth regarding Xinjiang. If you are not playing this game then you are a loser. If Porfiriy’s view hews more closely to the truth, then, yes, he is the ‘winner’. Given his dedication to learning about Xinjiang on its own terms, I deem him the winner.

    Porfiriy on May 8th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Yeah, well, I have no qualms admitting I have a low tolerance for self-important morons who drop the “Yeah I’m a lawyer card” but then disappear into the mist when confronted with evidence that completely disproves the assertions they were making.

    Running away when you’re proven wrong, is that supposed to be a model for “discussing any issue?”

    Of course I’m angry. I’ve lived in Xinjiang extensively and I’ve not only spoke with Uyghurs (in their freaking language) about the cringe-inducing discrimination they face every day, but I’ve seen it first hand. And it’s self-important, insecure Chinese-Westerners like you that perpetuate the myth that nothing’s going on and I’m just a liberal hippy with the “Free Tibet” human rights stick up my ass.

  8. Porfiriy,

    I am sick of people like you calling people disagree with you, “brainwashed” or “brain-dead”. You are brainwashed by western liberal ranting of “self determination”. There are thousands of ethnicities world wide and 200 or so nations, so the situation of Uyghur is not uncommon. Throughout history, assimilation, and sometime outright genocide, has been going on all the time. In modern era, population growth, hi tech communication and transportation will speed up the process. Self determination is only possible when you have the power. I believe that Uyghur are Turkic and their scripts are Arabic (?) and they were converted to Muslim by force. I don’t see self determination there.

    It is petty to argue whether China is a modern concept or not. Chinese civilization (written language) is recognized as one of few surviving ancient civilizations. Like it or not, history in the region has been written in Chinese (Han script) regardless of the actual territory, the number of the states or rulers. There is real historical continuity from that point of view.

    It is laughable that you think that “China as a “multi-cultural” political entity is a new and novel concept”, because some leaders were foreign educated. For over two thousand years, China, or whatever you call it, has been ruled as an empire (multi-cultural, if you prefer) most of time. Yes, the empire fells and you got wars for decades because some men fought to be the ultimate alpha male.

    “…the Chinese people have done the past century and CONTINUE to do with their active or implicit endorsement of the current government was to REJECT the “imperial Chinese identity.” That is truly a wacky thought. Most people just want peace and prosperity and can not care less about “imperial” or not. As I stated in previous post, Han are made of multiple ethnicities sharing the same written language. The cultural identity was nurtured in Han dynasty. Yes, you can say it was imperial too, but it did provide peace and prosperity and so much so that “Han chauvinism” still exists. After all, the written language is still called “Han zi”. Do you know “warring states”? A lot of smaller nations did not have peace.

    Corruption is not Chinese, but human nature. In Chinese old saying, “birds might die for the food and people might die for the money”. India, “the largest democracy “, is more corrupted than China from the study of international research. It is obvious that democracy needs certain foundation to really work. In America, you have CEOs getting tens of millions as bonus while tax payers have to bill them out. A fair Utopia is not possible because of flawed human natures.

    The ultimate empire building goes to the Europeans (British). America was built by people from Europe through genocide of the Native and African slaves. Some Chinese were slaughtered after they built American railways. A black woman had to give her seat to a white man in 1960s. By comparison, PRC has been liberal about ethnicities. Han Chinese have been genocided by “One Child” policy and massacred by Uyghur in hundreds and maimed by Uyghur in thousands. No wonder some Han are hoping a Han fundamentalism government.

    Anon on June 5th, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Just because China restricts any negative information especially in regards to it’s human right violation in the Uighur and Tibetans doesn’t mean it has a liberal ethnicity policies.

    At least America has free media and we are free to make our own judgment. Try living in China and criticize it’s policy, I will watch how long you last.

    an lushan on November 22nd, 2010 at 7:21 am

    lol uyghurs converted to islam by force. Your mad joyce, stark bonkers, probably a bible basher.

    Islam entered central asia around the 7th century with a few bands of arabs, and gradually the turkic tribes became muslims , mainly through sufism. This was accelerated during the migration of turkic tribes from mongolia, and xinjiang in the face of mongol expansion. And eventually that islam spread back to the turkic tribes, who like the mongols are the early inhabitors of inner mongolia, mongolia, xinjiang

    and no they are not part of the chinese mother land, they are a seperate people, a nomadic people with entirely non han, manchurian or whatever beleifs way of life.
    China is what is south of the great chinese wall. Everything else was annexed

  9. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

    I’m not brainwashed by Western liberal “self-determination” (gotta love those quotes – as if that’s something that’s not merited even though the modern Chinese nation state rose out of a desire to self-determination in light of a decaying Qing polity and Western incursions). I’m brainwashed by the legal provisions built into the PRC system for dealing with “minzu.” It’s Xinjiang UYGHUR AUTONOMOUS Region so don’t blame me for holding the poor Chinese to their own god damn standards, not this imaginary “Western liberalism” strawman. I didn’t name it the Xinjiang UYGHUR AUTONOMOUS Region. Pigtailed hippies in Hollywood didn’t name it Xinjiang UYGHUR AUTONOMOUS Region. The freaking PRC government did when it brokered the Uyghurs’ entry into the newly minted Chinese nation state.

    “Self determination is only possible when you have the power.”

    Yeah, sure, that’s right, in an arbitrary, corrupt, morally bankrupt regime like the PRC. Sue me for believing in a world where a fundamental respect for human rights overrules a twisted Social Darwinism.

    This is such a bullshit statement on so many levels. Where do you live? In the United States? What if the local police chief suddenly decided he didn’t like you or your family? So he swept into your house, beat the hell out of you, and threw you into jail? Oh, he can do that right? Because as a police chief he has MORE POWER than you.

    Oh, but if you live in a decent country, the police can’t do that. They don’t have the right to that because you’re protected by legal conventions and constitutional standards which put limits on police actions.

    So the fact that you can live without fear of police or thugs or angry spurned lovers coming INTO YOUR HOUSE AND KILLING YOU is that in SOME places the social system has evolved beyond this bunk, retarded Ayn Randian “Might is right” system that you hypocritically believe in. I can’t even begin to describe how juvenile and sophomoric this view is, particularly in light of how your OWN PERSONAL DAILY SAFETY is ensured by social systems that explicitly DENY the validity of this “Power = self-determination” B.S.

    So yeah, I’ll call you braindead because you think like a freaking third grader.

    “Chinese civilization (written language) is recognized as one of few surviving ancient civilizations.”

    What? Really? By whom? Who cares? What does “surviving” mean? What does ancient? More piles of utter bollocks. Again, I call you braindead because this type of WORD FOR WORD phrasing is what they cram down your throat in those schools. This entire sentence is filled with self-referentially socially constructed BS that has absolutely no meaning in the social contracts that define international and interethnic relations today. It’s completely meaningless. Respecting the right to autonomy in Uyghurs is about seeing a country that has a huge amount of economic, military, and cultural power play the part it’s supposed to play in a shared system of values, laws, and standards that is the best we as humans can come up with to ensure some semblance of shared progress, stability, and mutual respect. The only role this “ancient unbroken China” bullshit plays is when the government rallies mindnumbed zombies like you to chant it over and over again in the hopes that China will be given some sort of “Free Pass” on the world state because it’s so god damn “special.” If the world kicks America in the gonads for doing stupid things like invading Iraq and destroying the financial system, GOOD, because that’s what the system is supposed to do and if anyone bucks the system they should be put in their place. And then you have China persecuting its minorities and then BOO-HOOing when they get called out for it because they’re special or “ancient” or something. That’s bullshit. Totally irrelevant. We’re not playing by the 18th century mercantalist empires world order anymore, thought China like some petulant little brat thinks it’s entitled to do all the things that were done in the 19th century like pollute everything, promote the mother-ethnicity at the expense of others, etc., etc. The whole problem is here is a completely disjointed and entitle misunderstanding of which century we’re supposed to be in.

    “It is laughable that you think that “China as a “multi-cultural” political entity is a new and novel concept””

    How many imperial dynasties had cartoon pictures of their FIFTY SIX minzu posted in the palace? How many dynasties had bespectacled technocrat leaders that piloted the nation on sloganized policies like “Three Represents” and “Scientific Progress?” I mean, for Christ’s sake, which Chinese dynasties had BORDERS? Hm, Joyce? Which Chinese dynasty can you point to and say, “Look. They had borders.”

    NONE, up until when the Qing dynasty was forced to sign treaties with the expanding Russian Empire when it was confronted, for the first time with an armed and dangerous imperial entity that didn’t fit into the “increasing stages of barbarism” model of the Chinese world. There were no BORDERS. The empire just faded into decreasing levels of “civilized-ness” until it reached the barbarian wildernesses to the north, south, and west. Yes, the Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo is a new and novel concept for ten and a half million reasons, from the European imported officially ideology of Marxism to the categorization of peoples into distinct “minzu” to stuff as mundane as BORDERS. To say the PRC is a new entity running on modern and postmodern national principles isn’t signaling it out. New and “old” nations alike, from East Timor to Egypt to Italy to the United States to the UK are all participating in the new nation-state world order. Even the hated and despised JAPAN is more self-aware of this new set of things than China is and they STILL HAVE THEIR EMPEROR for Christ’s sakes.It’s only China and a bunch of other rogue crybabies who have their thumb in their mouth and are still pissing their diapers because they didn’t to get to have their time in the 19th century sun. WAAAH.

    “Han are made of multiple ethnicities sharing the same written language. The cultural identity was nurtured in Han dynasty.”

    Bull. Total BS. The whole monolithic oneness of the “Han minzu” is new, invented, and novel. Historically MANY peoples who are now lumped under the “Han” considered themselves COMPLETELY different from the northern Chinese “Han” people. Hokkien people, Cantonese people, Hakkas, you can find thousands of instances in history where these people chose or wanted to be considerd COMPLETELY separate from the people who occupied the central plains of Hebei, Shandong, and Shanxi.

    Today, these people will trip over themselves silly to make sure everyone knows they are “Han.” Why? Well, durr, because the whole minzu system is brand new and it’s pretty well drilled into everyone’s minds that every single other non-han Minzu is a silly, backwards, adorable, colorful singing and dancing group of monkeys. If all Mexicans and Africans in the US were depicted as silly goofy adorable dancing and singing novelties (and they sure were in our history – like, over half a century ago), I, as an arriving, swarthy Italian would trip over myself to join the WASP Europeans from Germany and England. All artifical, all fake, and you buy into it, like the good little girl you’re supposed to be.

    “Corruption is not Chinese, but human nature. In Chinese old saying, “birds might die for the food and people might die for the money”. India, “the largest democracy “, is more corrupted than China from the study of international research. It is obvious that democracy needs certain foundation to really work. In America, you have CEOs getting tens of millions as bonus while tax payers have to bill them out. A fair Utopia is not possible because of flawed human natures.”

    More total BS red herring. The issue is not who commits more crime, or who is more corrupted, India, China, or the US – thought again your brainwashing SHINES through because this tired, cliche argument is what all good wumaodang daughters of the Benevolent Party default to when their words are revealed to be the mushy piles of donkey dung they are. Irrelevant. I don’t care if every single government official in India rapes little boys between the drug smuggling operations and their prostitute ring reports. 100% irrelevant. The issue at hand is whether or not the countries and communities in question are erecting systems in which these lapses in human good will are identified and corrected as rapidly as possible.

    Whenever zombies like you bring up the whole “LOOK AT THE US FINANCIAL COLLAPSE” “LOOK AT HOW CORRUPT INDIA” eye-rolling sack-o-crap, you’re merely underscoring my point. Thank you SO much! The fact that these issues are DISCUSSED AND DEBATED in the first place means that they’re going through a PROCESS. The financial collapse? It’ll be covered on the front page of the freaking NEW YORK TIMES published down the freaking street. Because of benevolent Chinaland and its insecure information control regime, things LIKE injustices towards the Uyghurs HAVE to be aired by foreign commentators because the Chinese themselves sure as hell aren’t doing crap about it, what with you and your buddies plugging your eyes and go “nah nah nah the party is good.”

    “The ultimate empire building goes to the Europeans (British). America was built by people from Europe through genocide of the Native and African slaves. Some Chinese were slaughtered after they built American railways. A black woman had to give her seat to a white man in 1960s. By comparison, PRC has been liberal about ethnicities.”

    More non sequitor crap. You people always are oriented to the wrong century, the wrong decade. British inhumanity at the rise of the British empire? Sure! It’s in our history books. We don’t hide it. Rosa Parks? Where did I learn about Rosa Parks? In my GRADE SCHOOL. Why do we honor her? Because she’s part of the process. You miss the point, go figure. How much about the great leap forward is taught in grade schools in China?

    “Han Chinese have been genocided by “One Child” policy and massacred by Uyghur in hundreds and maimed by Uyghur in thousands. No wonder some Han are hoping a Han fundamentalism government.”

    You guys already had that, it kind of sucked, it’s called the “cultural revolution,” you should wiki it sometime.

  10. @ Porfiriy
    Thanks for taking your time for arguing for the cause of Uyghurs.
    ” How much about the great leap forward is taught in grade schools in China?” – this is a great point, a true, transparent history record never exist in China, anything negative about government we know is a leakage from the filters.
    Chinese people do not dare to ask for the truth, they do not care the truth if it has no benefit for them, they cover the truth if it likely to cause any damage for them.
    I wonder and appreciate the effort and sympathy of westerns pour upon the misfortune of unknown/unrelated peoples to them. I do not remember any discussion or debate started or actively joined by a Han-Chinese person regarding the problems/misfortune of peoples other than Han-Chinese.

    By the way, I am an Uyghur unfortunately living in China. I hate to tell my nationality is “Chinese” whenever asked by a foreigner.

    kahraman on May 10th, 2010 at 7:07 am

    While I too am largely in sympathy with Porfiriy, though I don’t think you should generalize too broadly about Han Chinese. Like Porfiriy mentions, they are not a monolithic bloc. There are plently of Han who both oppose the current system and prejudge eachother (dongbeiren are drunks, shanghairen are misers, nongmin are backwards etc.). Very casual prejudice and racism are unfortunate facts of life in China. I do agree that the government does nothing to change this and foster any meaningful inter ethnic dialogue though.

    I can think of one minority group many Han nationalists try to defend….American Indians. But most defenses don’t involve learning about them or interacting with them. For some reason, I just can’t picture fenqing (angry youth) learning Navahoe, doing field work on a reservation or somehow organizing.

    To get around your nationality problem, you can always say you are Uyghur or a Uyghur citizen of China. In this way you separate your nationality from the state you live in, implicitly debunking the notion of zhonghua minzu. This will also probably make many foreigners more interested in you anyway….’Chinese’ is such a vague, catch all term. ishlaring ongushluk bolsun!

    joyce on May 10th, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Prejudice is neither Chinese nor Han, but the dark side of humans.

    African Americans and Native Americans are still far behind according to the social statistics. I am talking about now, in one of richest countries, USA.

    Annu (? minority in Japan), the more indigeous people, are still facing discriminations. I read somewhere about a story that a Japanese tried to choke his boss when he found out the boss was Annu.

    kahraman on May 11th, 2010 at 1:22 am

    I agree with you regarding the universality of prejudice. Overcoming bias is of no small importance when discussing Xinjiang.

    joyce on May 12th, 2010 at 12:58 pm


    The prejudices are mutual. I am far away from Xinjiang, but my perception is that Uyghur are not less racism than rednecks. “The mother of Uyghur”, gave an interesting interview in Italy. She preened like a teenage, “look at me”; she meant that she was not Asian. Then she said, “You are European, do you want yellow-skinned communists oppress you?” She is so not 21st century and quite repulsive. Her own skin is so yellow that her mentality makes her a good cartoon character. RFA interviewed a Uyghur after the riot; he said he was so happy that he did not see Han in the street.

    kahraman on May 13th, 2010 at 5:34 am

    I agree there are mutual prejudices. But at some point you have to move beyond your perceptions and only acknowledge facts. Unfortunately the government does not allow objective studies of this phenomenon. It would great if there were econometric studies quantifying economic discrimination against Uyghurs, or independent surveys and interviews with Han and Uyghurs themselves to give a more solid foundation for our assertions, but it isn’t to be. Xinjiang seems especially off limits to this activity. Until this changes we are largely stuck in a ‘he said she said’ type argument. Although Kadir has some legitimate reasons for her stance, she also largely avoids hard facts and perpetuates this game.

    joyce on May 10th, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I don’t know much about Uyghur personally, but they seem stereotyped as “thieves” and now savage rioters. I grew up in the Northeastern. We do drink more and kick butts more too. There is at least some truth in stereotype though.

    It is funny how fast the regional stereotype evolved. The region became highly populated in last century and people are almost 90% Shandong stock. From the online bickering, most Chinese don’t even know, but we can count Shandong people on our side. I have no doubt that increasing mobility will gradually reduce the regional stereotypes.

    It is unfair to blame everything on the government. There is no “Han chauvinism” in education and media. I had Korean and Manchurian friends in college and we all got along fine. Marriages between Han and Manchu are not uncommon. But the traditional story telling, especially in countryside, might be different. “Great Han” this and “Great Han” that, “Han chauvinism” is unapologetic, too backward and not progressive.

    kahraman on May 11th, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Even if there may be some sliver of truth in a stereotype, it is still a generalization and doesn’t do justice to those members of the group who think and act otherwise (like possibly Uyghur Christians or teetotaling dongbeiren). You always need to back up such assertions with facts. Once you look at the facts you should find that the overwhelming majority of Uyghurs are neither theives nor rioters (nor are dongbeiren drunks). They go about their business like most everyone else in china, even if incidence of petty crime is higher in Xinjiang.

    joyce on May 12th, 2010 at 1:42 pm


    Petty crime aside, the damage the riot did will last a long time, especially ethnic strife was rare in China and never up to Uyghur level. No matter how hard the government tries to cover it up, people know and people do not trust the government. The western media could whine about “crack down”; in the end the people sacked the officials with kid gloves.

    It is much easier to change the policy than people’s mindset. Next riot can be triggered by a thin hair and it will be bloodier, unfortunately.

    tez on May 17th, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    “I don’t know much about Uyghur personally” You make a lot of comments about them then Joyce for some one who doesn’t know much about them, wouldn’t you think?

    Porfiriy on May 11th, 2010 at 12:05 am


    It’s definitely very important to add perspective on Uyghur social issues by asking questions such as: is this unique to the Uyghurs, or is this something that’s experienced throughout China? Frequently, it indeed is the latter case, textbook stuff like collapsing social safety nets or local corruption.

    As for the racism thing, it is perfectly true that Chinese from different parts of the country always wail on each other. Occasionally it erupts into a savage fight on a bus or something like that.

    While acknowledging this, however, I still insist there is something tangibly different between Han racism towards Uyghurs and inter-Han ethnic rivalry.

    First, I’d argue that there’s a hierarchy within the “racist food chain.” Yes, a Southern will make fun of a Northener for this and that, and visa versa. But the Southerner and the Northerner will ALWAYS agree on their evaluations of minorities as either amusing and colorful or dangerous and in need of control. A northener may make a joke about a southerer’s accents or eating habits, but BOTH of them will nod over a cup of baijiu about how Uyghurs are poor because they’re lazy, ungrateful for the benevolent Party’s “preferential policies,” and radicalism Islamists who just “don’t get” the wonderful benefits of the new Chinese order under the People’s Party. So while acknowledging inter-regional conflicts, it’s also important seek out the different layers (as in a cake!) if you will, within the hierarchy.

    Let me through an example out there, just for perspective’s sake. I’m from the US South. Some (not all, of course) Southerners I know who are very, shall we say, “racially opinionated” well tell a pretty raucous joke or too about a “Yank” or a “New Yorker.” And if a New Yorker walked into a bar and said something stupid, there may be a bar fight over the insults that are traded.

    But Southern attitudes towards blacks, and, increasingly, Hispanics are of a WHOLE different caliber. Perceptions that jobs are “being stolen,” that blacks and Hispanics have a one-to-one correlation with impoverished neighborhoods, higher crime rates, etc., deeply influence how such individuals interact with not only blacks and Hispanics themselves, but with the government as voting citizens – nothing dramatic like an amendment banning gay marriage, but subtle things like voting where money goes for schools, or rezoning districts in ways that let privileged while people vote as a bloc.

    The way Han people from different parts of China banter with each other is like a Yank and a redneck trading insults. The way Han people interact with Uyghurs is more of the sneering, “I hope the government does something to kick some sense into ‘these people'” variety.

    Second, there’s far more that is and can be influenced by policy in the situation with the Uyghurs. A Han Chinese mayor may be annoyed that so many Cantonese people are coming to his city and getting into street fights. But because in the government’s eyes there’s no categorical difference between them and people from Guangdong there’s little that can be done policy wise to manifest an institutional response to “unwelcome Cantonese.” With Uyghurs, it’s far different. Several things can be targeted or threatened, like education, neighborhoods, language, religion. These things in fact ARE being targeted and threatened. Secondly, by being categorically different in the PRC minzu system, there is a rationale for different treatment. So they can do this really insiduous bartering with the devil where they give Uyghurs an extra baby or 50 points in the gaokao (which Han people LOVE to complain about. I’m serious. They literally get pleasure from complaining about this) while on less public channels they ban Uyghurs from mosques, deny them passports, and tear down their neighborhoods.

    So the fact that there are far more tangible policy retaliations against Uyghurs, combined with point one, that racism against Uyghurs is of a higher level and is aligned with the ethnic group with more political power; this combination produces the *real* policy oppression we see today. So, as long as I’m an “acitivst” (hate how that’s a dirty word now) for the Uyghur cause, for all intents and purposes I do see Han “influence” in the XUAR as relatively monolithic, not as different if the Party Secretary is from Shandong or Hunan. If I were working in a human rights sphere somewhere inland then the distinction would be much more important.

    Regards for your observations, though! I’m not trying to “contradict” what you’re saying, per se, just adding some perspectives on it. :)

    kahraman on May 11th, 2010 at 7:11 am

    I do agree that Han prejudice toward Uyghurs (and other minorities) is of another level. I should have specified. Han of various stripes have more in common with one another than with Uyghurs, who are largely the product of a different civilization. Its too bad that these things cannot be studied objectively and systematically in China though, or we could base that on more sound footing.

    Likewise, I agree that policy can be influential in the case of the Uyghurs due to the for the reasons you mentioned in addition to the disproportionate amount of economic control exerted by the state in xinjiang. I suppose I wouldn’t consider Han influence monolithic in xinjiang, but that will require some further thinking on my part.

    Porfiriy on May 11th, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Hey Nadira,

    Thanks for coming. I think it’s really important for the discussion on Uyghurs that’s occurring in the West (or online, in Western languages) has to have more perspectives and input from actual Uyghurs themselves.

    As I’ve said before, one of the reasons Westeners tend to take up the cause for Uyghurs is because they simply can’t do it within the country themselves. And unlike the Tibetans, there isn’t a solid community outside of China that is a base for Uyghur activity; the Tibetans have Dharamsala, a sympathetic country hosting an entire community just across the border from Tibet. Uyghurs, on the other hand, though they have cultural cousins in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan tend to be stifled by those governments since they’re interested in PRC aid. The closest thing Uyghurs have to Dharamsala is, funnily enough, Munich, Germany. But that’s too far.

    The biggest downside of Western advocates for human rights is that it will always, without exception, elicit the “stop imposing your Western rights” on us from the Han, the government, and their sympathizers. It’s a BS argument, but it’s one they hold quite near and dear to their heart.

    The best and obvious solution to this is to add more Uyghur voices to the discussion. I would love nothing more than that. Unfortunately, the PRC knows this and goes out of its way to stifle Uyghurs who “don’t know their place.” We see things like the closing of, jailing of dissidents like Ilham Tohti, writers like Nurmemet Yasin. We see banning of books like Almas Turghun’s Uyghurlar. And, delightfully, we see things like shutting down the entire Internet in Xinjiang for 8 months.

    So bizning muzakirimizge qimmetlik gepliringizni qoshqanliqingizgha kop kop kop rehmet! Yene kelip biz bilen sohbetlishinigizni umid qilimen. :)

  11. Porfiriy,

    You are right that it is the commie’s fault to add “UYGHUR AUTONOMOUS” to Xinjiang. The commies are more PC than western liberals. “Han chauvinism” has been oppressed and the goal is to harmonize the society. I can not say it is not right.

    But they went too far sometimes. “Qiang” are more related to Tibetans and they were hurt a lot in Sichuan earthquake. They were illiterate tribal people. Villages called villages living higher in the mountain “barbarians”. The commies wrote their history according to their folklores and whatever about them in Chinese literatures. The commies gave Tibetan script to them. What bleeding heart liberals! For God’s sake, just teach them Chinese if you want to educate them.

    Porfiriy on May 10th, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    This is a rambling, completely incoherent pile of dog crap. There is no single logical, understandable statement in this entire comment. You win ten dollars.

    joyce on May 11th, 2010 at 1:19 am

    You are too mad to reason with. I simply gave you an example of the commie’s antics

    Nadira on May 10th, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    [You are right that it is the commie’s fault to add “UYGHUR AUTONOMOUS” to Xinjiang.]

    You are wrong, it is not fault, it is a trap/trick to pacify Xinjiang until government migrate enough Han-Chinese people, kill enough Uyghurs to be able to rule it as they want.

    joyce on May 11th, 2010 at 1:05 am

    Do you believe Uyghur were that easy to trick? Was there not enough man power to fight? States like Xinjiang were numerous every time the empire fell.

    Anon on June 5th, 2010 at 3:45 am

    Joyce, Commies gave Tibetan scrip to them? haha! It’s a joke right? You have no idea.

    Tibetan script was mastered by Thummi Samboda of the mid 7tgh century, a minister of Songsten Gampo ( 569-649). He was sent along with other ministers, many of whom died because of Indian heat. They were sent to India to study the art of writing and upon his return introduced the Tibetan script. India at the time was under Gupta Dynasty. You will see the resemblance between the two scripts if you studied it.

    So, if you don’t know – don’t spread false information. This isn’t a propaganda board.

  12. @Porfiriy,

    You do need anger management. It will not help a bit by all the name calling, stucking your head in the sand, kicking and screaming.

    You will not be able to create “Eastern Turkistn” inside China no matter how loud you are. Neither you nor I can change the reality. At least, I am humble enough to admit that.

    Porfiriy on May 10th, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    The “anger management” response is one of the tried and true cop-outs of the Internet. The use of shouting “too much rage!” or “look at this troll!” for people with indefensible arguments is, in fact, so widespread that at this point it can be pretty much taken as a signal flare for someone who has absolutely nothing to say.

    In addition to that, it in and of itself is a disingenuous thing to say. It assumes some sort of equivalence between “keeping your cool” and “being right” on the one hand and “being angry” and “being wrong” on the other. That equivalence is false. If you think you’re great for “keeping your cool,” great, but what you really look like with such idiotic arguments is a cool-headed moron.

    Finally, the cry of “anger management” is completely wrong in a discussion of social or activist issues. What can I say? The student activists who established the foundation for your freaking nation state in 1911 “needed anger management” too. It’s only dolts like you who think anger has no place in the social issues discourse, because you’re *afraid* of it.

    Lastly, nowhere have I ever advocated an establishment of a separate nation in Xinjiang. My own social views of the area do not see that as a viable endgame. But it’s quite “Joyce” of you to 1) hurl a desperate accusation at an argument that doesn’t exist, a tactic we call “straw man” and 2) end with this gem of calling yourself “humble” in such a pious and self-advancing way that it ironically itself is completely void of any humility. If you can’t change reality, then why are you commenting on a blog? Anyone can read my posts and see that I’m interested in discussing *issues.* Legal provisions, policies, etc. If your view on the subject is so weak and unexamined that you have to stick to vague concepts like “utopianism” and “you can’t change reality” and one-liners from “The Idiots Guide to CCP Revisionist History,” then what you REALLY need to do is find a bunch of 14 year-old smoking put and discussion the philosophy of The Matrix because that’d be more suited to your (lack of) critical thinking and your vocabulary.

    tez on May 17th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I dont see anywhere in Porfiry’s posts where he tried to create an East Turkestan Joyce. As I’ve commented to you on other threads some of your statements are totally ill-founded and irresponsible.

    The East Turkestan thing is just your fear it seems as you rave on about it all over the place. Do look into how the East Turkestan Republic leaders met their deaths in 1949 if you are so fixated on this idea. Also look at what was promised the “Uyghur” at the time and what they have now as a means of understanding their present dissatisfaction

  13. @ Porfiriy,

    You are like a terrible two throwing tamper tantrum. The difference is that you are a mouth-foaming bull and the two-year-old is still cute.

    Porfiriy on May 11th, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Joyce, your responses are getting shorter. I’m not going to say they are getting less coherent or meaningful because that would imply that what you’ve already written had some sort of coherency and meaning, which would be false.

    Instead, you’ve taken to focusing on how angry I am. Unfortunately, that’s irrelevant. I’ve laid down a lot of facts, a lot of analogies, and a lot of observations. You have yet to provide a meaningful or incisive report to anything I’ve said. Everything that I’ve offered has been met with words that are vague (utopia?!), unclear (commies?), or wrong (everything). I repeat I know I’m angry. You don’t have to tell me. You’re not defending your assertions or making any valid statements. To put it lightly, you’re an idiot.

    A tip: if you’re going to try to insult me, first of all, use better English. When you’re insulting someone in their native language either do it right or don’t do it at all. When you say I am “like a terrible two [sic] (year-old?) throwing [sic] (a?) temper tantrum” any sting you think you’re making is completely canceled out by the fact that you sound like a moron. You’ve learned some English? Good for you, but if you’re going to leap into arguments over social issues you better make sure you damn well know what you’re talking about.

    Joyce, you have demonstrated, disappointingly, and for all readers who come and look, that even educated Chinese individuals with proficiency in English are still woefully and entirely unaware of the way ideology, culture, and history conspiracy to shape an individuals outlook on political and social issues. You have a blithe, naive unawareness of what political contexts a government in power manipulates history and the education of its youth to secure legitimacy in a non-democratic power-setting. You have repeated, word-for-word, common, incorrect tropes about China, Xinjiang, and the Uyghurs, which you not only have apparently not examined critically, but also don’t bother to examine them when they are torn wide open, a phenomenon known as closed-mindedness. Believe you me, I am no more special than you. The difference, however, is that I strive to be more aware of what cultural, political, and historical factors have shaped my ideology, and I approach that context critically. Oh, that, and I bother to learn the Uyghur language and talk to actual Uyghur people before making value judgments about their place in PRC society. That’s why I have things to say, and you don’t.

    So its funny that you have accused me of “sticking my head in the sand” when, look!, it’s actually you who are doing that. As long as you have nothing critical, insightful, or thoughtful to say, indeed, all that is left for you is to comment on how angry I am, which is both irrelevant AND quite obvious to me, thank you very much, and to try, laughably, to insult me in broken English. I’d rather be a mouth-foaming bull than a complete dolt and a lackey.

  14. @Porfiriy,

    I am no politician and I will say it again; self determination is only possible when you have the power. That is the truth, right or wrong. The idealists of all eras have been outraged by the ill of the society, but the paradise is unattainable because of human nature and limited resources. I do not see empty ranting of “human rights” or “self determination” the pressing issues for mankind. Ever exploding population and dwindling resources are the culprits for all out chaos and miseries. Only the naïve believe 21st century is special and time to build a utopia.

    For last two hundred years, human population has grown to 7 billions from 1 billion. It is amazing that most of the world is relatively peaceful. In this over-populated world, it is important to promote tolerance among people. It is unacceptable for Uyghur to massacre non Uyghur in Urumqi just because they thought it were theirs. Did you see the picture of South gate in 1910? It had nothing to do with Uyghur and it had nothing to do with PRC. Wait until going gets tougher, what kind of savage will Uyghur commit? Uyghur are all over China, why can’t non Uyghur “flood” Xijiang? With all the problems of PRC, I can tell you that half of Indian population is malnourished.

    Your head has been screwed by something and you can deny all you want. You can deny Chinese civilization; the world knows China but Xinjiang only exists in your delusional mind. I am not seeing any country waging World War III with China to redraw the border, not anytime soon. Something has screwed your brain. You see no history or only the brief history you want to see. Border is not new and only nomads see no border. Why was Great Wall built over two thousand years ago? To prevent northern nomads from raiding the settlements.

    Something is wrong with your brain. I tried to explain that Han is not ethnic; then you tried to make Han northern Chinese (central plain, origin of Hua Xia). You can check map of Han dynasty. Hello?! How many thousand years do you want go back to define Chinese now? From DNAs, the fraternal are related for the Northern and the Southern, but the maternal are different. It is interesting; especially they speak in different tongues.

    You do need anger management.

    Porfiriy on May 10th, 2010 at 8:25 pm


    I have systematically and entirely dismantled your assertions that injustices and human rights violations in Xinjiang are acceptable due to some philosophical and airy “unattainability” of “utopia.” You have yet to respond to the fact that your own daily safety and protection from crime and abusive authorities, your access to amenities like electricity, power, and the Internet, all these things are due to an “idealistic” social contract between yourself and the authorities who manager the area you live, a social contract that you seem blithely ignorant of and go on yammering about this might is right bullcrap right as you enjoy amenities and protection that you didn’t earn yourself through “power.”

    Second, your argumentation belies a laughably juvenile inability to see any sort of nuance between “utopia” (your word, not mine. I never said utopia in any of my posts) and a head-nodding acceptance of human rights abuses in places like Xinjiang. Since when is supporting human decency some sort of utopiaism? It’s not. Rather, you find it advantageous to apply outrageous labels to the words of people who disagree with you. It’s an argumentative strategy (though it hardly deserves the word “strategy”) that many of us discovered on the playgrounds of our elementary school. That live in such an elementary world and use such elementary approaches to justify atrocity is, of course, to be expected of someone as small-minded as you.

    “You see no history or only the brief history you want to see. Border is not new and only nomads see no border. Why was Great Wall built over two thousand years ago? To prevent northern nomads from raiding the settlements.”

    Unfortunately, you “see no history” [sic]. The “Great Wall” wasn’t built “over two thousand years ago.” It was built over a period of centuries, was extremely piecemeal, served multiple political and social purposes at different times, and famously was continuously incapable of serving as a border for whatever Sinic empire existed at the time either because Chinese individuals would build settlements on the north side of the wall-chunks to trade with nomads, or, more obviously throughout history, the quote “nomads” unquote would walk around it, bribe the so-called “Han-Chinese” general that manned it since he sympathized with the “nomads” more, or go over it with surprising ease. The “Wall”, which of course was a disjointed, fractured, and inconsistent project no more monolithic or united than “Han identity” itself (Han identity truly being the new “Great Wall of China”). Again, it is entirely and wonderfully illustrative if your stupidity that you would use a historical analogy that serves my point more than it does yours.

    “I tried to explain that Han is not ethnic; then you tried to make Han northern Chinese (central plain, origin of Hua Xia). You can check map of Han dynasty.”

    Hun, the Han dynasty broke up. It broke up spectacularly and violently and the southern kingdom that filled the void below the Yangzi afterward, the Wu, are still famously admired today by Southern “Han” Chinese people for their fierce cultural and linguistic independence from the north. My God, they were like their own Xinjiang, jeepers! That they are now loyal Han-zoids like you is less a tribute to the true reality of some unified Han identity and more a tribute to the real, consistent, and persistent educational system and cultural environment created and maintained by the government, one that is spectularly successful in creating an artificial identity that serves the interest of the state.

    Denied. Again. This whole comment threat is littered with the hollow, smoking ruins of your recycled “The Party is Good” yammering.

    joyce on May 13th, 2010 at 2:06 am

    Yap all you want. Who said Han did not fall and Wu never existed? I have Shanghai and Guangdong friends here and none of us living in thousands of years ago, we are simply Chinese now.

    Education has been in Hanzi since Han dynasty. Yes, Wu used Hanzi too and Manchu had to speak Chinese and write Chinese themselves to hold on the power. PRC did not do anything about the “Hanese” and I don’t get what you are barking at. When Han were losers, the history in the region was still written in Hanzi. Actually, Japanese and Korean got into it too.

    You can hate Han all you want, we are here to stay and 1 billion plus. It is not wise to hate one fifth of the humanity. That will be too much hate and might cause you heart attack.

    I don’t really read your posts anymore and just happened to see that paragraph. Better to stay away from a mad bull infected with mad cow.

    kahraman on May 13th, 2010 at 5:44 am

    I don’t think he hates the Han. Discussion is just not possible on this topic without a firm factual basis.

    Just because Han Chinese are numerous does not mean a) their views are monolithic or b)they are necessarily correct because of their great number. Those are basic logical fallacies.

    Porfiriy on May 13th, 2010 at 7:36 am

    “Yap all you want. Who said Han did not fall and Wu never existed? I have Shanghai and Guangdong friends here and none of us living in thousands of years ago, we are simply Chinese now. ”

    You did, you retard, when you described a continuous and unbroken Chinese polity. On one hand, you make an argument about the unbroken nature of Han identity and then on the other hand you say that you are not “living in thousands of years ago [sic].” My very point was the contemporaneous and artificial nature of Han identity. Thank you for once again verifying my point, you idiot. The fact that you and your Guangdong friends consider yourselves “Chinese” NOW demonstrates how it’s a modern construct, that because of its artificiality shouldn’t be used as some sort of ancient cultural club justified for use against the somehow less-ancient Uyghurs, and that if a unified “Han identity” didn’t exist before there’s no reason it’s definitely going to exist forever.

    “Better to stay away from a mad bull infected with mad cow.”

    What an idiot. Your posts speak for themselves.

  15. joyce,

    leave Porf and his/her buddy alone. I won’t be surprised that these guys are paid to write racial hatred trash on a daily basis. Cheap as they are.

    joyce on May 14th, 2010 at 4:46 am


    You are right. Porf is a nutcase if not paid. If he wants to help Uyghur, it is fine. But his approach seems to deny China ever exists. The word China originated from Persia referring Chi dynasty.

    Han has been a long standing cultural identity and it has nothing to do with PRC brainwash. If anything, PRC has been repressing “Han Chauvinism”.

    The most bizarre of all, he thought that modern Chinese learned the concept of “multi-cultural Nation” from European or Japanese. Hell, Japanese learned how to write from Chinese.

    Porfiriy on May 16th, 2010 at 6:39 am

    More wrongness from Joyce.

    1. Nope, the People’s Republic of China does not have any continuity beyond an ambiguous, non-sanctioned cultural and loosely historical one with the dynasties that preceded it.

    2. The supposed “ancientness” of a name says nothing about a country or nation-state’s political ideology today.

    3. The Han in the current minzu system is unambiguously the standard bearer for the modernist PRC ideology.

    4. The Chinese minzu concept was imported from German volk and Russian narodnost, which grew out of German and Russian Marxist-Leninism. Today’s China is 共和国. Is that a concept that was imported from the West or is that some sort of ancient Chinese system? How many Chinese dynasties were REPUBLICS? China is ruled by a Communist Party. How long has the idea of Communism been in China? How long has the idea of the Party been in China? Almost every political ideology and approach that China uses today is importated? National People’s Congress – not a Chinese concept. Chairman of the Communist Party – not a Chinese concept. Consultative People’s Political Conference. Not a Chinese concept. the National Reform and Development Commission. Not a Chinese concept. Owned.

    5. The Japanese imported their writing system from Japan? What does that have to do with where the PRC today imported its political system.

    Joyce, don’t be an idiot.

    Josh on May 14th, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Notice: Comments from “anon” or “anonymous” will no longer be accepted on this site. You can fake your name and email for all I care, but it’s not that hard to just put up a name. Call it a pet-peeve, but I hate digging these things out of my spam folder.

    Thank you,
    Josh (site moderator)

  16. She met EU human right commission.

    How could she become the richest woman in China if Uyghur were institutionally discriminated? She popped out 11 kids under the draconian “One Child” policy. She was born in 1951 and she spoke fluently in her own language. “cultural genocide” seemed weak too. There were quite a few ethnicities living in Xinjiang, so Uyghur should not claim the land “Uyghur only”.

    How about EU’s conclusion? It makes sense to me. You guys will probably say that EU does not want to upset the dragon. I checked “CIA Fact” two years ago, Korean Chinese were doing the best and Manchurian Chinese the second. That dismisses the claim that “Han Chauvinism” is prevalent in China.

  17. Wow. How’d this thread slip under my radar. What an amazing string of comments, opinions and insights. And what a fiery topic.

    Kahraman surely you know Chingiz Kaghan was also Chinese!!!!!!!

    Joyce I think you need to study History a little more deeply.

    Its anachronistic to say that Han – had a strong hold on the present Xinjiang during the Han dynasty. There were these troublesome guys running around called the Xiongnu. Not to mention Kushan control over the southern Tarim basin. Your ‘stronghold’ perception is exactly the product of present Han nationalist Historiography that some of the learned minds you challenge here have pointed to. Its also a mythic concept tied to such early Imperialists like Ban Chao- who if we have a close look at the records we can see wasnt such a nice guy, nor was his son. Professor Millward’s latest book gives a breakdown of the actual years both Han and Xiongnu ruled Xinjiang (see Eurasian Crossroads).

    The Kushan control and the ethnic, linguistic linkages between them in Toharistan/ Bactria and back across the Tarim basin to the old Toharian lands in Gansu- yes Gansu – also represented a distinct cultural area at the time- there wasnt a border with PRC written over it near Tashkurgan.

    To say Uighur werent around at the time is true but their descendants were, both as nomadic peoples and as sedentary Oasis Dwellers. Modern Uighur claim all of these as their ancestors, not just the Uighurs of the Orkhon Khanate. Many historical works written in Xinjiang by Uyghur are moreso centred on a history of place rather than ethnicity; and in fact the old Indo-European speaking oases dwellers are also ancestors of the modern Uyghur.

    This argument befuddles Chinese and western academics as they little understand present Uyghur historical consciousness and try and tie the present Uyghur to the origin of their eponym in the Orkhon region of Mongolia. Rudelson and Gladney misled us with their discourses they created in this area; this idea also suits Chinese nationalist academics.

    One should distinguish between the older ‘Uighur” and the present ‘Uyghur”. The Uighur were a confederacy – ” The Union” so to speak of Nine tribes and the leader of a larger confederacy of allied confederacies that also had inner confederate tribes. ‘Uighur’ – the “Union” was a general name for all under that greater Confederacy the central Uighur confederacy controlled. Many, many Turkic tribes were confederates of that group including Karluk Yaghma, Basmil etc.

    The ToqquzOghuz and Toqquz Uighur are areas you should research Joyce before saying the Uighur werent in the area- they were all over it particularly the Zhungar depression and Turfan depression in the form of their ancestors- Turk and Xiongnu tribes; and there is also the fact that the latter were not solely Mongol-Turk in their ethnic composition.

    The Uyghur can do something the Han can never do in Xinjiang that is claim a history of place, of residence by virtue of their many ethnic roots. Something the Han cannot do and would be loathe to do in Xinjiang as it would counter their myths of Chineseness.

    I love it when Yakob Beg is pitched as a foreigner in Chinese historiography because he came from the Ferghana Valley 5 days away over the Tian Shan on horseback from Kashgar, while the Qing who had to march several thousand kilometres from their Imperial centre were somehow not foreigners.

    By 1759 the Kashgarians had experienced an 800 year history of Islamic interaction with Ferghana and the oases of western Turkestan, commencing with the Karakhanids and the conversion of Satuk Bughra Khan ca. 926. Their realm as a ‘family possession’ included Kashgar and Ferghana and Bukhara and Tokmak and Issik Kul and Ili Valley, and Aksu and Kucha, and Yarkand and Samarkand, and Tashkent and…and…there was no sign on the passes leading out of Kashgar saying “PRC Border”.

    In fact it wasnt until 1759 that the Qing arrived any where near there and yes they were Manchus though its doubtful their armies were. Han were under their control, and their governance was based moreso on their old Turco-Mongol system than previous Han ways of governance.

    Qing possession after the so called 70 year ‘Pax Manjurica,’ beloved by sino-centric western and Chinese historians alike, was totally contested during the nineteenth century until the great Hunan Han Zou Zang Tang rocked onto the scene. He was an adherent of that Han chauvinist school that is still with us whether China presently denies it or not.

    Yes China is a modern state and a modern idea and the so called “New Frontier Uyghur Autonomous Region” is ‘part’ of it, but please spare us all this crap about continuity and integrity of the borders of the sacred motherland that have existed as long as camels have farted in the Taklamakan.

    I forgot to mention the seriously contested Tang era when Tibet also controlled the southern Tarim basin for roughly a 100 years. The Tang “Four Garrisons”- were exactly that- foreign outposts of an old Imperial power that spasmodically since the Han attempted to try and control non-Han regions outside of it own territory. A good comparative study is that of Vietnam and what is now Xinjiang. If the same logic is applied to Vietnam as to Xinjiang, then Vietnam too has always been an inseparable part of the Chinese Motherland. China was withstood in what is now northern Vietnam; in the eastern fringes of the old borderland historically known as Turkestan (see Frank Imart) it was luckier.

    kahraman on May 21st, 2010 at 2:54 am

    You were being facetious about Genghis Khan, right ? I am actually reading Empire of the Steppes right now.

    Impressive historical overview on your part. It is much appreciated.

  18. @ porfiry. Your energy in argument is appreciated, thats a pretty good run down on nationalism and its permutations you give. Re: the gainsayers, I dont sense any anger in your statements!

  19. Joyce I missed this:

    ‘I checked “CIA Fact” two years ago, Korean Chinese were doing the best and Manchurian Chinese the second. That dismisses the claim that “Han Chauvinism” is prevalent in China.’

    Q. Do you understand why that is?

    A. Because they are the most thoroughly sinicized of the etnic nationalities.

    Dont you understand this?

    Thus they are a bad example for the point you are trying to make/ convince us with.

    Uyghurs and Tibetans are extremly difficult to shape in this way because their cultural and religious identities are so strong.

    In particular the Islamic roots of the Uyghurs set them against infidels of all nationalities.

    This should be understood; nor are they Chinese speaking like the Hui.

    Uyghur should be understood in their own specific and unique category in China and not compared to the other minorities.

    This is also a western academic approach which bears little real fruit other than creating endless labrynthine discourses about ethnicity and identity that academics earn a living from. The latter are esteemed as knowledgeable and insightful when in fact they really understand very little of the Uyghur mindset or refuse to accept how Uyghur feel about themselves and who they are as Muslims.

  20. I correct what i wrote above:

    “To say Uighur werent around at the time is true but their descendants were..”

    should read “their ancestors were”.

  21. Joyce I admire your energy. But again your R’s”popped out” children you once agin display your ignorance and are perhaps basing everything on your Notheast paradigm:

    “How could she become the richest woman in China if Uyghur were institutionally discriminated? She popped out 11 kids under the draconian “One Child” policy. She was born in 1951 and she spoke fluently in her own language. “cultural genocide” seemed weak too. There were quite a few ethnicities living in Xinjiang, so Uyghur should not claim the land “Uyghur only”

    1951 was 1951- 2010 is 2010.

    When she birthed her children the One Child Policy was not in place in Xinjiang when it came to minorities. In early 1990’s

    policy cahnged when minorities they were allowed 3 chidren in the countryside and two in the cities. She has also been married a few times . Da!

    The older child policy was fair on the minorities and I believe implemented in the understanding of the overwhelming numbers of Han in the multi-national nation. This has all been jettisoned and the Uyghur are now forced away from their traditional large families and facing massive unchecked Han in-migration to their Autonomous Region, feel swamped and faced with being totally pushed to the corners of a “Han Xinjinag”- this is cultural genocide if you care to consult the UN definition. You do respect such international conventions I would trust?

  22. First of all, I think the “Xinjiang has been inseparable part of China since Han dynasty” argument is the most worthless and stupid crap a nation ever came up to prove its right over a land. You don’t have to backtrack 2000 years to prove your sovereignty! Most of the nation states of the world formed during the past 300 years!

    In my mind, Xinjiang region was formally incorporated into contemporary China during Qing dynasty in 1700’s. This region has been recognized by all other nations and international organizations as part of China since then. It doesn’t matter if Uyghur people have been in Xinjiang for 1000 years or 1 million years. Xinjiang is part of China!

    You want to talk about assimilation? Let’s do it. 10 million Uyghur among 1.3 billion Han speaking people and you go figure. That’s the nature’s law. Don’t like it? Go find a universe where a drop of ink won’t dissipate in a cup of water and live in it! Just remember, Chinese people have the right to move around in China! CCP needs to stop limiting people’s right to move around!

    Chinese communist government is bad? Please shake hands with me. These guys need to give power back to the people. But why does it have anything to do with China’s sovereignty over Xinjiang? When does bad behavior of a government determine the boundary of a nation? I don’t remember segregated United States got broken into pieces.

    All in all, if you don’t like living in China, get the $*&@ out of here!

    TheMongol on May 25th, 2012 at 2:16 am

    I agree with the Chinese Nationalist. Moreover, I’ve seen many westerners in the Karaoke bars/hotels. They didn’t complain much about CCP/CPC when they’re in there. Bunch of hypocrites. Go live in the US if you like it that much.

  23. I agree with you Chinese Nationalist. Xinjiang was just a frontier before assimilation during the Qing. Xinjiang will become sinicized whether the Uyghurs like it or not. The heavy military presence Xinjiang insures that it will not break way.

  24. Yes, by force!

    After all that I read about Islam, nobody can convince me (bring a real document) that Uyghurs, or Turks in general, or any other nation on Earth, including most of Arabs, converted into Islam by will. All the books I read on the subject refer to the (bloody) history of Arabs/Muslims.

  25. Manchus directly referred to themselves as 中國之人 (dulimbai gurun i niyalma), in MANCHU during the Qing dynasty. Manchus translated 中國 as “Dulimbai Gurun” in their own language. They considered themselves people of 中國. Its hilarious how Porfiriy and Kahraman think they are experts in what Manchus called themselves when they don’t speak a word of Manchu. Manchus treated 中國 as a multi ethnic entity and used it to refer to the Qing dynasty. They regarded Xinjiang as part of 中國.

    Xinjiang is also made out of two separate areas. Dzungaria and the Tarim Basin. Uyghurs are not native to Dzungaria. Only Dzungar Oirat Buddhists are native there.

  26. @Tez

    There was no independent Uyghur state conquered in 1759.

    The Chagatai Muslim Khaganate in the Tarim Basin was conquered by Buddhist Oirat Dzungars from Dzungaria in 1680.

    the Uyghurs like Emin Khoja from the former Chagatai khanate then started begging the Qing to liberate them from Dzungar rule.

    The Qing defeated the Dzungars and conquered the entire Tarim Basin and Dzungaria from them by 1759.

    The Manchu Qing Emperor deliberately mass settled Han and Hui in Dzungaria, directly Han settlement to former Dzungar areas like Urumqi and the rest of Dzungaria immediately after 1759.

    Uyghurs are also aliens and settlers in Dzungaria and not native there. “Urumqi” is a name from the Dzungar language. There are no Uyghur Mosques or Bazaars in Dzungaria which are older than Qing rule there because they aren’t native there. Name any Uyghur Mosque or Bazaar in Urumqi before 1759. Oops you can’t.

    The Uyghur Muslims of the Tarim Basin are descendatns of Karluk speaking Kara Khanid Muslims who conquered the Tarim Basin from the Buddhist Sakas through Jihad. They wrote poems about destroying Buddhist status and defecating on them as they completed their conquests and still celebrate at the tombs of the Imams and Khans who initiated the Jihads.

    Southern China was mass settled by Han people and modern Southern Chinese speech is closer to Old Chinese than northern Chinese. The indigenous peoples of Southern China were the Baiyue who today are minorities like the Zhuang, Miao, and Yao. Modern Han don’t even care about the Wu Kingdom (and the Kings of Wu originated from northern China). Its hilarious how Porfiriy doesn’t know jack about either Dzungars, Southern Han or Manchus yet seems to presume to speak on their behalf.

    The idea of “Zhongguo” as a multi ethnic state was invented by the MANCHU Qing. The MANCHU qing invented the term “中國之人” Zhōngguó zhī rén to refer to ALL ethnicities of China including themselves, before the idea of “Zhonghua Minzu” and the importation of European ideas. The Qing said that Xinjiang, Tibet and Mongolia were all part of 中國 and the Qing directly referred to their own state including the Manchu homeland as 中國 (Dulimbai Gurun) in the 1689 Treaty of Nerchinsk with Russia.

    The only thing that was importated from the outside is “Porfiriy”‘s arrogance in trying to speak on behalf of Manchus.

  27. “Change the soil, restore the flow”

    This is a mistranslation of 改土归流. 土 does not mean soil but is rather stands for 土司, or local chiefs. 流 does not mean flow but stands for 流官, or civil servants (literally it means “flowing officials”, because civil servants are not hereditary, making them “flowing”). So 改土归流 should be translated as “replacing local chiefs with civil servants”. It is not a proverb, but used exclusively for that policy.

    Josh Summers on July 23rd, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for the clarification!