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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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The Yi-ta Incident, 1962

During the “Yi-Ta Incident” (the Yili-Tacheng Incident or Ili-Qoqek Incident) of spring 1962, 60,000 Kazakhs and Uyghurs fled from Xinjiang in China's northwest into the Soviet Union. The incident both revealed and exacerbated tensions between China and the Soviet Union, leading to angry accusations on both sides. In the wake of the incident, China waged a fierce struggle against Soviet "revisionism" within Xinjiang and expelled all Soviet diplomats from the Uyghur Autonomous Region. This collection mostly consists of translated Chinese records from the Foreign Ministry Archives in Beijing (PRC FMA). See also the Digital Archive collection "China and the Soviet Union in Xinjiang, 1934-1949." Image: Mao Zedong greets representatives of various ethnic groups from Xinjiang, "Chairman Mao Is the Red Sun in Our Hearts," Gong Jianxin, 1964.

  • March 22, 1962

    Cable from Yili District Party Committee, 'Provisions on Making Proper Arrangements for the Livelihoods of People Living in Border Areas'

    The District Party Committee of Yili, Xinjiang, distributes regulations on improving the livelihoods of citizens living near the Sino-Soviet border.

  • April 21, 1962

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Handling the Issue of Border Residents Fleeing from Yili and Tacheng to the Soviet Union'

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry directs border guards in Xinjiang to interface with Soviet counterparts.

  • April 21, 1962

    Cable from the Department of Consular Affairs, Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'On the Flight of Border Residents from Yili and Tacheng'

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry asks why individuals in Xinjiang are crossing the border into the Soviet Union.

  • April 21, 1962

    Telephone Reporting Points from Comrade Xu Huang, Deputy Director of the Department of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Chinese official Xu Huang reports possible reasons for the exodus of Uyghurs and Kazakhs from Xinjiang.

  • April 21, 1962

    Cable from the Xinjiang Foreign Affairs Office, 'Report on the Flight of Border Residents from the Yili and Tacheng Areas to the Soviet Union'

    The Xinjiang Foreign Affairs Office offers one of the first accounts of the cross-border flight of Uyghurs and Kazakhs.

  • April 24, 1962

    Memorandum Given to Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu by the Soviet Ambassador (Translation)

    The Soviet Union states that, as of April 24, at least 10,000 individuals from Xinjiang have crossed into the USSR.

  • April 24, 1962

    Memorandum Given to the Soviet Ambassador by Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry protests the cross border flight from Xinjiang.

  • April 24, 1962

    Minutes of Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu’s Talk with the Soviet Ambassador to China Stepan Chervonenko

    Zhang Hanfu and Stepan Chervonenko spar over the flight of Uyghurs and Kazakhs from Xinjiang to the Soviet Union.

  • April 25, 1962

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Representations between China and Soviet Union on the Flight of Ethnic Minority Residents from Xinjiang’s Border Areas to the Soviet Union'

    The Foreign Ministry alerts Xu Huang and other officials in Xinjiang as to the status of the talks between Zhang Hanfu and Ambassador Chervonenko.

  • April 25, 1962

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Representations between China and Soviet Union on the Flight of Ethnic Minority Residents from Xinjiang’s Border Area to the Soviet Union'

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry alerts Ambassador Liu Xiao to ongoing talks between China and the Soviet Union over the mass flight from Xinjiang.

  • April 26, 1962

    Reporting the Contents of Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu’s Discussion with the Soviet Ambassador on 24 April 1962

    The Foreign Ministry alerts the Xinjiang Foreign Affairs Department and Party Committee of ongoing talks with the Soviet Union.

  • April 27, 1962

    Cable from Mao Zedong to Zhou Enlai, 'Comments on Whether or Not Säypiddin Äzizi should Return to Xinjiang for Work'

    Mao instructs Zhou to determine whether long-time Uyghur official, Saypiddin Azizi, can return to Xinjiang in the wake of the Yi-Ta Incident.

  • April 27, 1962

    Data on the Citizenship Problem in the Conflict between the Xinjiang Region and the Soviet Union

    A detailed Chinese reports on the history of Soviet citizens in Xinjiang.

  • April 29, 1962

    Cable from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Xinjiang Foreign Affairs Department

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry requests that Xu Huang gather evidence against the Soviet Union.

  • April 29, 1962

    Response to the Soviet Side’s Memorandum of 29 April on the Mass Exodus of Xinjiang Chinese Residents to the Soviet Union

    The Chinese Government rejects the Soviet position on the flight of 60,000 Uyghurs and Kazakhs from Xinjiang to the USSR.

  • April 29, 1962

    Minutes of Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu’s Discussion with Soviet Ambassador to China Chervonenko

    Zhang Hanfu and Ambassador Chervonenko continue the debate over the Yi-Ta incident.

  • April 30, 1962

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Representations concerning the Flight of Ethnic Minority Residents from Xinjiang’s Border Areas to the Soviet Union'

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry alerts authorities in Xinjiang to the status of the Zhang Hanfu-Chervonenko talks.

  • April 30, 1962

    The Soviet Document which the Soviet Ambassador Personally Presented to Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu (Translation)

    A Soviet account, presented to the Chinese Foreign Ministry of the cross border exodus in Xinjiang.

  • May 13, 1962

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'On Ceasing to Process Applications to Visit to Xinjiang from Soviet People'

    The Chinese Government forbids citizens in Xinjiang from traveling to the Soviet Union.

  • May 18, 1962

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry and Public Security Ministry, 'The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Public Security Send a Work Team to Xinjiang to Collect Materials'

    The Chinese Government is collecting evidence against the Soviet Union in light of the Yi-Ta incident.