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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.

  • May 29, 1962

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Notes for Comrade Xu Huang'

    Xu Huang is tasked with collecting evidence against the Soviet Union and keeping an eye out on the Soviet Consul General in Urumqi.

  • May 29, 1962

    Report on the Operations of the Work Team of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Public Security over the Past Week

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Public Security Ministry report on political developments in Xinjiang since the mass exodus of citizens to the Soviet Union.

  • June, 1962

    Report on the Collection of Evidence

    A report on the work of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and Public Security Ministry in collecting evidence of Soviet wrongdoing in Xinjiang.

  • June 08, 1962

    Memorandum Submitted by the Ambassador of the Soviet Union to Zhang Hanfu on 8 June 1962

    The Soviet Government presents its views on developments along the Xinjiang-USSR border.

  • June 08, 1962

    Minutes of the Meeting between Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu and the Ambassador of the Soviet Union to China Chervonenko

    Zhang Hanfu and Ambassador Chervonenko debate the massive flight of Chinese nationals from Xinjiang to Soviet Kazakhstan.

  • June 14, 1962

    Reply from the State Council on Additional Allocations of Commodities for Xinjiang

    The State Council increases rations for ethnic minorities in Xinjiang in the wake of the Yi-Ta incident.

  • June 21, 1962

    Cable from the Work Team of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Public Security to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Party Committee and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Public Security

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Public Security Ministry claim success in uncovering evidence of illegal Soviet activities in Xinjiang.

  • June 25, 1962

    Reply to the Soviet Government Memorandum of 7 June and the Oral Supplementary Statement of 11 June (Draft)

    The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs the Soviet government that its accusations against China of illegal migration are groundless.

  • June 26, 1962

    Transcript of a Meeting between Vice Minister Ji Pengfei and the Ambassador of the Soviet Union to China Stepan V. Chervonenko

    Ji Pengfei and Stepan Chervonenko spar over the Soviet Union's handling of the peoples who crossed into the USSR from Xinjiang.

  • June 28, 1962

    Cable from Foreign Ministry to Xinjiang Foreign Affairs Office

    Chervonenko denies Soviet responsibility for illegal border crossings, and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs responds by referring to a previous memorandum.

  • July 07, 1962

    Investigation of the Automobile of the Soviet Consulate

    Consulate personnel are barred from leaving downtown Yining, leading to a violation of local government rules and an investigation of a Soviet official.

  • July 09, 1962

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Please Report on the Situation of the Investigation of the Automobiles of the Soviet Consulates'

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry asks for information on the movements of Soviet owned automobiles in Xinjiang.

  • July 11, 1962

    Cable from the Xinjiang Foreign Affairs Office, 'Re: Situation of the Investigation of the Automobiles of the Soviet Consulates'

    The Xinjiang Foreign Affairs Office follows up on an order to monitor the movements of Soviet automobiles.

  • August, 1962

    Draft Response to the Memorandum from the Soviet Union dated 9 August

    Premier Zhou requests a response to a Soviet memorandum regarding a blockade of the border, removing Soviet business representatives in Xinjiang, and allowing White Russians to leave Xinjiang.

  • August 03, 1962

    Yili District Party Committee, 'Outline of the Investigation on Several Issues in Pastoral Area Work'

  • August 09, 1962

    Minutes of Vice Minister Huang Zhen’s Talk with Nikolai Mesyatse, Chargé d’affaires Ad Interim of the Soviet Embassy in Beijing

    Huang Zhen, Mesyastev, and Xu discuss the flight of Xinjiang residents to the Soviet Union and controversy surrounding the Soviet government's inconsistencies in dealing with illegal border crossings.

  • August 10, 1962

    Statement of the Soviet Government concerning the Flight of Xinjiang Residents to the Soviet Union as Delivered to Comrade Huang Zhen by Mesyatsev, Chargé d’affaires Ad Interim of the Soviet Embassy in China (Translation)

    The situation on the Xinjiang border has stabilized due to Soviet and Chinese actions, and the Soviet Union demands that China recognize the imbalance in efforts to halt the border crossings.

  • August 11, 1962

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Text of the Memorandum from the Soviet Union dated 9 August and Request for Proposals'

    The Chinese government informs the Soviet Union that it intends to reply to a recent cable regarding illegal border crossings.

  • August 15, 1962

    Orders from the People’s Committee of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and the Party Committee of the Autonomous Region’s Propaganda Points

  • August 22, 1962

    Certain Materials about Xinjiang Carried in Soviet Newspapers (Issue I)

    A Chinese propaganda source reports on Uyghur culture in Kazakhstan, a recent publication in Kazakhstan about a Xinjiang worker, and a letter from Xinjiang appearning in a literary journal.