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May 4, 1943

Excerpt on Xinjiang from Minutes No. 40 of the VKP(b) CC Politburo Meetings

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[Handwritten:] "From Minutes N 40 of the VKP(b) CC Politburo meetings …Point 166 is in a classified repository…"Politburo decision"


4 May 1943


166. Xinjiang.


Coming to power in 1933 and not having sufficient men and equipment to fight the intrigues of Japanese imperialism in Xinjiang Duban [Governor] Sheng Shicai turned to the Soviet Union with a request to give him aid. Based on the need to ensure the security of the Soviet border with Xinjiang the Soviet government helped the Governor with troops and weapons and helped him defeat the armed forces of Generals Ma Zhongying, Zhang Peiyuan, and other Japanese agents. In addition, during the last decade the Soviet Union has given Xinjiang much and comprehensive economic and cultural assistance, considerably increased deliveries of industrial goods, sent numerous specialists to Xinjiang, etc.


Having defeated the troops of the pro-Japanese generals, the Governor enlisted a number of prominent Uyghur, Kazakh, Kirgiz, and Mongol leaders in the administration of the province and offered them a number of government positions in order to draw the nationalist movement of non-Chinese ethnic minorities directed against the Chinese militarists in Xinjiang to his side.


However, the awakening of the ethnic awareness of the minorities of Xinjiang led to a conflict with the Governor's desire to provide himself and the clique around him with unlimited power in the province. Not wishing to allow a growth in the influence of ethnic cadre on the broad masses of the population, the Governor began to carry out mass arrests and the removal of ethnic minorities from the governing bodies of the province and switched in practice to a policy of colonial repression. Taking into account the growing sympathies of the peoples toward the Soviet Union the Governor began to wage propaganda that he was supposedly pursuing his policy of repression of non-Chinese minorities with the consent of the Soviet Government. At the same time the Governor took a hostile position with respect to the Soviet specialists in Xinjiang.


The Soviet government cannot tolerate such provocative activity of the Governor which is hostile to the Soviet Union and cannot give him aid to pursue his current policy directed at oppressing the ethnic minorities of Xinjiang, and has already been forced to take a number of steps to curtail the work of Soviet organizations in Xinjiang.


Based on this, in addition to the adopted decisions previously, the VPK(b) CC decrees:


1. Support the non-Chinese ethnic minorities of Xinjiang (Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kirgiz, Mongols, and others) in their struggle against the repressive colonialist policy of the Governor and the Xinjiang government:


a) for the equal rights of all ethnic minorities of Xinjiang;


b) for the free development of the culture of each ethnic group, and for primary and secondary education in their native language at government expense;


c) against religious oppression;


d) for the creation of government bodies in districts which are composed of people who enjoy the trust of the local ethnic population.


e) for the creation of a Xinjiang national political [natsional'no-politicheskiy] council organized on the basis of appointment by election of its representatives in proportion to the size of the population of each ethnic group;


f) against combining civil and military authority in the same hands in provincial and district government bodies;


g) for the restoration of ethnic military units;


h) for the release of public figures and tribal authorities arrested by the Governor;


i) for easing the tax burden for the broad strata of the population and a reduction of the bloated military and police budget;


j) for providing merchants with the right to trade freely with the USSR and for the removal of any constraints and prohibitions impeding trade;


k) for the abolition of the setting of prices as a measure not in accordance with the economic system of Xinjiang;


l) for an expansion of the construction of irrigation canals with government assistance;


m) for the abolition of excessive compulsory labor;


n) against the mass resettlement of people to Xinjiang from other Chinese provinces as a measure which worsens the situation of the broad strata of the population of this province.


2. To support the national movement in Xinjiang charge the CP(b) CC of the Uzbek SSR (Cdes. Yusupov and Abdurakhmanov), the CP(b) CC of the Kazakh SSR (Cdes Skvortsov and Undasynov) and the CP(b) CC of the Kirgiz SSR (Cde. Vagov and Kulatov) [with]:


a) creating illegal groups ("National Revival Groups") on the territory of Xinjiang among Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kirgiz, Mongols, and others composed of both local ethnic personnel as well as specially trained personnel from Soviet Central Asian republics;


b) help the "National Revival Groups" train military and political cadre, creating schools in the Uzbek, Kazakh, and Kirgiz SSR's for this purpose and also furnish them with the necessary weapons;


c) organize written communications between scientists and public figures and also scientific institutions of the Uzbek, Kazakh, and Kirgiz SSR's with cultural and educational societies and prominent sociopolitical figures of Xinjiang;


d) organize the printing and distribution in Xinjiang of leaflets, fictional, and political literature in the languages of the peoples of Xinjiang about the economic and ethnic cultural development of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kirgizia, and others;


e) organize the sending of patriotic letters to Soviet émigrés living in Xinjiang from their relatives living in the USSR;


f) organize the publication of a book for distribution in Xinjiang about the status of Muslims in the USSR and the participation of Muslims in the [Great] Patriotic War in the name of the national spiritual directorate of Muslims in the USSR (TsDUM).


3. Organize propaganda in Xinjiang assigning it the following tasks except for those mentioned in 1.:


a) a denunciation of the falsity of the propaganda being waged by the Governor that the above acts of the Governor and the Xinjiang government which are incompatible with Soviet policy are supposedly being carried out with the agreement of the Soviet government;


b) an explanation to the peoples of Xinjiang that the recall of Soviet specialists, the elimination of industrial facilities, and the curtailment of trade with Xinjiang was caused by the completely intolerable conditions created by the Governor for the Soviet specialists, Soviet trade organizations, and industrial enterprises, and also the Governor's attempt to use our organizations and specialists against the interests of the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kirgiz, Mongols, and the other broad strata of the population of Xinjiang.


4. Grant amnesty to Soviet citizens who illegally crossed into Xinjiang, offering them the right to return to the USSR.


5. Grant the right of asylum on Soviet territory to people being persecuted by the Xinjiang government for participation in the struggle against ethnic oppression, giving them the necessary assistance on Soviet territory.


6. Permit Kazakhs, Kirgiz, and Mongols to migrate from Xinjiang to Soviet territory and back, establishing an appropriate favorable procedure for this at the Soviet border;


7. Charge the NKVT [People's Commissariat for Foreign Trade] and the NKVD together with the CP's (b) of the Uzbek, Kazakh, and Kirgiz SSR's

with organizing illegal trade with Xinjiang merchants in the border zone.


8. Charge the USSR NKGB with:


a) using the existing agent network in Xinjiang to help organize the "National Revival Groups" organization carry out illegal oral and printed propaganda and other measures provided by this decree;


b) organize patriotic appeals to the Orthodox population of Xinjiang in the name of the Moscow Patriarchate.


9. Charge the NKID [People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs] and the People's Commissariat of Health with:


a) expanding medical aid posts at Soviet consulates in Xinjiang, permitting treatment of the local population in them;


b) organize a Soviet clinic in Urumqi designed to admit 200 patients a day, if possible.


10. Cde. Malenkov is entrusted with monitoring the fulfillment of this directive.


Excerpts have been sent to:

Cdes. Molotov, Merkulov, Dekanozov, Mikoyan, Vagov, Yusupov, Skvortsov, and Malenkov - everything; Beria - [point] 7.


The CPSU Central Committee announces that it "cannot tolerate such provocative activity" of Xinjiang Governor Sheng Shicai and that it will provide support to rebels "in their struggle against the repressive colonialist policy of the Governor."

Document Information


RGASPI F. 17, Op. 162, D. 37, ll. 76-78. Obtained by Jamil Hasanli and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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