Turkestan or Xinjiang? Inducements and Constraints for Political Action

  • Eden Naby


The limited number of studies about the region, called Xinjiang by Beijing and East Turkestan by natives, is an indication of the remoteness of the area and the difficulties of conducting research and disseminating information about its contemporary history.1 The first problem is access — to sources, the locale, the languages, and to research permits. The second problem lies in publishing, then continuing to enjoy access.


Tarim Basin Chinese Communist Party Central Asian Country Central Asian Republic Central Asian State 
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  1. For a chronology of Xinjiang history since the sixteenth century, and those of adjacent Inner Asian regions, see Cyrus E. Black et al., The Modernization of Inner Asia (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1991), pp. 350–355.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    If the advance articles about the DNA analysis of mummified remains from this region are to be credited, then the Indo-European habitation of the area may have been extensive about 3,000 years ago. See Victor Maier, ‘The Mummies of Xinjiang,’ Discovery (April 1994).Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Linda Benson, The Ili Rebellion: The Muslim Challenge to Chinese Authority In Xinjiang 1944–49 (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1990).Google Scholar
  4. 12.
    For an assessment of the cultural divergence of Uzbek and Uighur as officially perceived, see Eden Naby, ‘Uighur Literature: The Antecedents,’ in Shinn Akiner (ed.), Cultural Change and Continuity in Central Asia (London: Kegan Paul International, 1991), pp. 14–27.Google Scholar
  5. 15.
    The lists appear in Linda Benson and Ingvar Svanberg (eds), The Kazaks of China: Essays on an Ethnic Minority (Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1988), pp. 33–34.Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    Taken from Dru C. Gladney, ‘Sedentarization, Socioecology, and State Definition: The Ethnogenesis of the Uighur,’ in Gary Seaman and Daniel Marks (eds), Rulers from The Steppe: State Formation on The Eurasian Periphery, Vol. 2 (Los Angeles, Ethnographies Press-USC, 1989), pp. 310, 324.Google Scholar
  7. 19.
    See June Teufel Dryer on statistics from Xinjiang in ‘The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region at Thirty: A Report Card,’ Asian Survey, Vol. 26, No. 7, July 1986, pp. 738–739.Google Scholar
  8. 25.
    Timur Kocaoglu, ‘Asia — Sino-Soviet Controversy over the History of Central Asian Peoples’ (RLR-PS/N. Munich, December 13, 1984), pp. F603–4.Google Scholar
  9. 33.
    See especially Bruce Vernor and Richard E. Gillespie, ‘China’s Northwest: The Final Oil Frontier,’ The China Business Review, March–April 1990, pp. 13–15.Google Scholar
  10. 37.
    Charles Undeland and Nicholas Platt, The Central Asian Republics: Fragments of Empire, Magnets of Wealth (New York: The Asia Society, 1994), p. 14.Google Scholar

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© Hafeez Malik 1997

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  • Eden Naby

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