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May 10, 1942

Letter from Governor Shicai Sheng to Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov

This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation

[Translator's note: It has not been possible to verify many of the Chinese names in this document and to determine the appropriate identity and spelling of the individuals mentioned.]










Herewith I attach the statements of the four who were arrested. I wouldn't like to take up your time, knowing very well that at the present time when the USSR is waging a holy war against Germany you are very busy with work and every minute is dear to you. But this letter of mine and the attached materials are of a quite serious nature and therefore please devote your attention to this. If you do not have enough time to familiarize yourself with this letter and all the attached materials then at least devote attention to this letter. If you will not have time to personally familiarize yourself with the attached materials then please appoint a commission of reliable and experienced specialists who will inform you of the state of affairs after studying the materials in detail.


On the 19th of March 1942 at 7 P. M. SHENG SHIQI (N. PETROV), the Commander of the Mechanized Brigade of Xinjiang, was sitting in [his] mother's room talking with his brother, Sheng Shiji. About 8 they left to their place to sleep. Six or seven minutes later Chen Xiuying, the wife of the Brigade Commander, Sheng Shiqi, fled from her room to the mother and said that Sheng had fired a shot from the revolver by mistake. All the relatives came right away to see what was the matter. Sheng could not say a word. Hu-ru-bi [sic], the Chief of the Medical Department of the Governor's staff, and senior instructor Lepin were quickly summoned to give first aid. During examination it was noticed that: the entry wound of the bullet was behind the earflap and the exit wound was to the left of the frontal part of the brow. The bullet lodged in the ceiling. After the examination Sheng was brought to a hospital, where he soon died.


An investigation established that four people were in Sheng Shiqi's room besides Sheng at the moment of the incident. Two of them were Sheng's children, a son and a daughter. The son is four years old, and he was sick in bed. The daughter is six. The children could not have fired the shot, of course. Sheng Shiqi himself was in an elevated mood all the time after [his] return from the Soviet Union, having received an appointment as Commander of the Mechanized Brigade. There is absolutely no basis to assume suicide. He could have accidentally wounded himself in the lower parts of the body or other people by an accidental shot, but not himself in the head, so there can be no discussion of this. The entry wound of the bullet is behind the earflap hence it could not an accidental shot from himself. Hence it is evident that a discussion about an accidental shot is unlikely. Besides these people only Sheng Shiqi's wife, Chen Xiuying, was in the room. The investigation established that there was no trace of the entry of an outside bullet on the doors or windows of this room. This says that Sheng Shiqi was killed by Chen Xiuying. There is no doubt of this.


On the basis of the results of the investigation Chen Xiuying was arrested on 21 March. During the investigation Chen Xiuying admitted that she killed Sheng Shiqi. According to her statements, the reason for the murder was as follows.


Being a member of the VKP(b), Sheng Shiqi had very good relations with Military Advisor General-Lieutenant Ratov, who had been sent to Xinjiang from the Soviet Union. Chen Xiuying became acquainted with Ratov in August 1941, when she arrived in Xinjiang with him from the USSR. After arrival in Xinjiang Chen Xiuying often walked to Ratov in order to ask about news from Sheng Shiqi, who was in Moscow at this time. Taking advantage of this situation, Ratov sparked Chen Xiuying's jealousy with his provocative discussions, saying that Sheng Shiqi supposedly had found himself a young beautiful woman in Moscow and had completely forgotten Chen Xiuying. He worsened the relations between Chen Xiuying and Sheng Shiqi with such discussions. Ratov did not stop with this, achieving a physical bond with Chen Xiuying, which continued for some time.


Chen Xiuying graduated a six-year school and has no solid education. After Ratov's enticing conversations she vacillated. Ratov continued to agitate her. Ratov said to Chen Xiuying:


"…The Governor is arresting many people, like the Soviet Union. Now the USSR has been fighting with Germany for several months and it appears it cannot end.  It's turning out this way because there are few people. If there were more people the war would have ended long ago. It's the same situation in Xinjiang, too. If rebels suddenly appear then I am afraid that there won't be enough people to fight. Sheng-lu-jan [sic] will be powerless against them alone and the government will collapse. But you are a member of their family, and the fate of their family is connected with the government. Sheng-lu-jan is not a person like the others. He has close ties with the USSR. He is a member of the VKP(b) and is the first mainstay of the Governor. Then they will look at you as an enemy and your fate will be bitter".


Ratov scared Chen Xiuying with such words and suggested that she needed to think of something for the future. Chen Xiuying said that she would divorce [her] husband, Sheng Shiqi. Ratov said that this was not an appropriate thing, that Sheng Shiqi's death needed to be achieved and it was best to do this before the April Revolution holiday. Then Ratov gave Chen Xiuying a promise to help her.


In discussions Ratov told Chen Xiuying that he wanted to invite Sheng Shiqi to hunt and, with a convenient occasion, to kill him there. Ratov asked Chen Xiuying to say nothing about this plot, moreover he promised Chen Xiuying that he would always help her.


Ratov told Chen Xiuying that during the troop parade on April Revolution day he would be around the Governor and would be able to act.


Chen Xiuying had five conversations with Ratov. During the last conversation before her departure Ratov asked to see her again. Ratov said, "If we kill one, it means that the Governor will have one less assistant". According to Chen Xiuying's statements she intended to meet with Ratov at the designated time but the meeting didn't occur because of the illness of her child. At this time Xiao Zuoxin, the assistant to the Director of the Urumqi office of the Native Corporation [Tuchan gongsi], came to Sheng's apartment and pestered Chen Xiuying to yield to him. When he was doing this Xiao told Chen Xiuying that if she refused him he would tell Sheng Shiqi about her physical bond with a driver, [Ju] Hongshang. Under Xiao Zuoxin's threat Chen Xiuying agreed and gave herself to him.


Soon the personal driver of Sheng, [Ju] Hongshang, was arrested and put in the prison of the People's Court for squeezing [pridavil] a person while during a drive. Making use of this, in order to frighten Chen Xiuying, Xiao Zuoxin said: once the Governor had found out about her secret ties with [Ju] Hongshang, then Sheng Shiqi already knew about this. But if Sheng Shiqi already knew about it, then her life would be in danger. He agitated Chen Xiuying that it was necessary to kill Sheng Shiqi before the April Revolution holiday at any cost to safeguard her own life. He said that, as a military person, Sheng Shiqi had a revolver. It was necessary to shoot him in the head, only once, not twice, and that would be all. Right after the shot it would be necessary to declare that Sheng Shiqi had wounded himself with an accidental shot. Consequently, on 19 March, when Sheng Shiqi had returned from study and was sitting in the evening at his mother's for over an hour Chen Xiuying remembered Ratov's and Xiao Zuoxin's words which had agitated her. She immediately acquired the determination: she took a revolver from under a pillow, loaded it, and hid it under a blanket. Sheng Shiqi returned home to the room and sat on a chair. After sitting for a while he stood up. At that moment Chen Xiuying took out the revolver and shot Sheng Shiqi in the head (to the right of the earflap). After this Chen Xiuying fled to [his] mother in the room and shouted that Sheng Shiqi had fired an accidental shot. Sheng Shiqi was brought to the hospital, where he soon died.


It can be concluded from the above that Sheng Shiqi was killed by his wife, Chen Xiuying, who was agitated, frightened, and directed to murder by Ratov and Xiao Zuoxin.


Xiao Zuoxin was arrested on the basis of Chen Xiuying's statements. In the investigation Xiao Zuoxin admitted that he had actually had a physical bond with Chen Xiuying and set her to murdering Sheng Shiqi. He stated that this entire plot occurred at the instructions of Soviet citizen Kruglov, a Native Corporation adviser. Xiao Zuoxin reported about each meeting with Chen Xiuying to adviser Kruglov, from whom he received instructions. The entire plot, to threaten Chen Xiuying, get into a physical bond with her, and through this to set her to killing Sheng Shiqi, was done at Kruglov's instructions.


Xiao Zuoxin, the assistant to the director of Native Corporation, studied in Moscow, and worked in the Chinese consulate in Andizhan as an administrator. According to his statements, in 1939, when he returned to Xinjiang, Major Inter' of the NKVD Mission recruited him for secret work, giving him the codename "Sasha". After arrival in Xinjiang he was introduced to Karpunichev, the adviser to the Provincial Directorate of Finance by the Soviet Consulate in Urumqi. Working as an interpreter in the Directorate of Finance, he performed secret work under the supervision of adviser Karpunichev. Before leaving for the USSR adviser Karpunichev introduced him to the new financial adviser, Pakhomov. Later, in connection with his appointment by the government as assistant to the director of Native Corporation, Pakhomov introduced him to Kruglov, adviser for trade matters.


Xiao Zuoxin said that in August 1941 adviser for trade matters Kruglov gave him an order to find out the biography of Cang Gufeng, Chairman of the Provincial Directorate of Finance. When he found out [the information] Xiao Zuoxin informed adviser Kruglov of his biography and his dissatisfaction with the government.


According to Xiao Zuoxin's statements, in September of the same year Kruglov told him, "The Soviet Government is dissatisfied with the current government of Xinjiang. The Xinjiang government has a bad attitude toward the Soviet Union and the Soviet people. The current government in Xinjiang is bad, and therefore the Soviet government is dissatisfied with it and wants to overthrow it. But, as before, the Soviet Government loves the Xinjiang people and will help them. Based on these considerations Consul General Bakulin is giving me instructions to launch work to overthrow the current government of Xinjiang. Consul General Bakulin is supervising the work through political channels, military adviser Ratov, through military channels, and commercial agent Veselov, through economic channels. Now we need to choose a candidate, we can help him overthrow the current government, and after the victory of the coup we'll set him up as the leader". Having received this order from adviser for trade matters Kruglov, Xiao Zuoxin told Cang Gufeng about this. Since this time Kruglov and Pakhomov have begun to meet with Cang Gufeng in the Directorate of Finance and have pushed the latter in work. At the beginning of October Cang Gufeng had a conversation with Pakhomov through a Consulate interpreter in Pakhomov's apartment, and since this time Cang Gufeng has taken his part in the plot.


Beginning from these times, adviser for trade matters Kruglov, finance adviser Pakhomov, Xiao Zuoxin, and Cang Gufeng have met secretly many times at Pakhomov's apartment and at commercial agent Veselov's. Soon Native Corporation director Ma Jiao was also enlisted in the organization, and Ma Jiao has started to attend the meetings since this time. They have met several times at Native Corporation, concealing this as official work.


Their plan came down to the following. Do not release goods from all offices of Sovsin'torg and thereby cause a crisis on the market. Failing this, sell the goods only not necessities, with a temporary cessation of the import of goods to Xinjiang from the Soviet Union. This way, create a crisis in goods in order to make the material life of the people difficult and cause dissatisfaction with the government among the population. Militarily, under the responsibility of Ratov get in touch with the 8th Regiment (the Soviet Red Army Regiment of Usenko in Kumul [Hami]), and secretly transfer the hunting rifles in Sovsin'torg Offices in the south of Xinjiang to Urumqi. Halt the delivery of automobiles to Urumqi from the south of Xinjiang so that the Mechanized Brigade has no opportunity to receive [Translator's note: SIC; the object of the verb seems to have been omitted] in a timely manner. It has also been provided that cash be prepared in the Commerce Bank (the Chairman of the Finance Directorate and the Director of the Commerce Bank [is] Cang Gufeng) for necessities to ensure communications. Prepare an uprising for the celebrations of the April Revolution and create a new government.


Adviser for trade matters Kruglov passed on Ratov's orders at a meeting at the apartment of adviser Pakhomov: 1) The main thing is to get in touch with people close to the Governor, who should play a decisive role at the banquet [in/at] West Building of the Governor's Headquarters. 2) In order to overthrow the current government of Xinjiang first of all remove Sheng Shiqi, the Commander of the Mechanized Brigade, since he is the Governor's right hand; he graduated the Red Army Military Academy in the Soviet Union and knows military matters better than all the Soviet instructors in Urumqi. This matter is best done before the April Revolution holiday. 3) Besides Sheng Shiqi, remove Wang-hun-zo[sic], the Chief of the Training Unit of the Military School, Deputy Chief Bian-u-chu [sic], Sheng Shiji, and all the Governor's relatives at any cost. 4) Get in touch with the population and all senior officials of the Provincial Directorates and all the districts so that they all come to our defense after the overthrow of the government.


Trade adviser Kruglov distributed specific tasks to individuals on the basis of the instructions of Military Adviser Ratov and the results of the meetings:


1. Xiao Zuoxin, the assistant to the director of [Native Corporation], was to organize the murder of Sheng Shiqi.


2. Ma Jiao, the Director of [Native Corporation], was to organize the murder of Chyu-zun-jiong, Executive Secretary of the Provincial Government, and to get in touch with military units.


3. Cang Gufeng, the Chairman [SIC] of the Provincial Finance Directorate was to get in touch with people close to the Governor, prepare cash, get in touch with the population, etc.


Adviser for trade matters Kruglov especially stressed that of the work listed the most important was to accomplish the murder of Sheng Shiqi since Sheng Shiqi graduated the Red Army Military Academy in the Soviet Union, studied modern military equipment, was armed with advanced political knowledge, and played an important role both in strengthening the authority of the Six Great Principles and the strengthening and training the anti-imperialist army. If he were killed, the Xinjiang army would be deprived of the ability to be reinforced and the Governor would be deprived of [a source] of strong support. It was stipulated that after the murder of Sheng Shiqi at a banquet at the Governor's Headquarters or at a ceremonial rally on the day of the [anniversary of the] April Revolution under the responsibility of Kruglov and Bian-u-chu's instructor, Malanichev, to kill the Governor and Sheng Shiqi, the deputy of Bian-u-chu. Then the situation would be different. Summon the 8th Regiment (the Soviet Red Army Regiment of Usenko in Hami) under the responsibility of Adviser Ratov to maintain order here and create a new government. Cang Gufeng would be the chief leader in political terms and Ma Jiao and Xiao Zuoxin, in military and diplomatic terms.


Adviser for trade matters Kruglov arranged a meeting for these people with Consul General Bakulin at a sink in order to increase the activity of Xiao Zuoxin, Ma Jiao, and Cang Gufeng in the work on the plot and to increase their confidence in success. By this he was trying to achieve their plan for the plot more rapidly. In the first days of February adviser Kruglov arranged a meeting between Xiao Zuoxin and Ma Jiao and Military Adviser Ratov. After this Kruglov and Pakhomov twice went to the Consulate together with Xiao Zuoxin to discuss their work.


Their conspiracy against Sheng Shiqi was carried out. Sheng Shiqi was killed on the evening of the 19th. On the morning of the next day, when this news reached Native Corporation, adviser for trade matters Kruglov said, "An accident has occurred!". After these words he went to his office. Xiao Zuoxin followed him. Xiao told him, "Don't make the appearance that you don't know!". Adviser Kruglov said, "Now it's good! The plan will be accomplished". This clearly showed that Kruglov and Ratov were the organizers and the leaders of the murder of Sheng Shiqi. There is no doubt of this.


After the death of Sheng Shiqi adviser for trade matters Kruglov suggested that the Governor definitely go to say goodbye to the deceased. He wanted to use this opportunity for the murder of the Governor. Twice he sent Xiao Zuoxin, Ma Jiao, and Cang Gufeng to the location of Sheng Shiqi's body to accomplish the murder, giving each of them a revolver. This plot was not carried out since the Governor was not there. These are the facts which Xiao Zuoxin gave.


These facts show that initially Xiao Zuoxin performed secret work for Soviet citizens assigned to Xinjiang, former financial adviser Karpunichev, his successor Pakhomov, and adviser for trade matters Kruglov, and then at their very instructions enlisted Cang Gufeng, the Chairman [SIC] of the Provincial Finance Directorate, in an anti-government conspiratorial organization. Under the leadership of financial adviser Pakhomov, adviser for trade matters Kruglov, [and] commercial agent Veselov and at the instruction of Soviet Consul General Bakulin and Military Adviser Ratov, Xiao Zuoxin stirred up Chen Xiuying to kill Sheng Shiqi. He pursued the work for the murder of the Governor and the overthrow of the government. All these are established and evident facts.


The investigation caused the interrogation of Ma Jiao on the basis of the statements of Xiao Zuoxin. In the investigation Ma Jiao confessed to his participation in the plot. He stated that a complaint against him for extortion had come to the government when he was in Ili. He was interrogated about this issue by the Police Directorate. He was very concerned about this and feared for [his] [skoe - SIC] welfare. Adviser for trade matters Kruglov found out about this. Knowing of his fears, Kruglov supported his anti-government sentiments with his conversations. Kruglov told Ma Jiao that every young person should understand the international situation and chose a path for himself. At that time Ma Jiao just wanted to find protection for himself. Kruglov's words appealed to him. After this Kruglov told him about this anti-government organization. He told him that this organization in Xinjiang was headed by Consul General Bakulin and this was also known to the Soviet Government. He told Ma Jiao that it was necessary to join this organization in order to secure himself a future. Ma Jiao trusted him, put his seal on a receipt, and formalized his entry into the conspiratorial organization.


After he joined this anti-government organization Ma Jiao began to attend anti-government meetings at the apartment of financial adviser Pakhomov and commercial agent Veselov, and began to pursue conspiratorial work both politically and economically with the goal of overthrowing the current government of Xinjiang. Adviser for trade matters Kruglov introduced him to Military Adviser Ratov in order to strengthen Ma Jiao's confidence in the success of the anti-government plot. After Ratov's agitation Ma Jiao began to work for the counterrevolutionary organization more actively.


After his arrival from the South, in the beginning of January 1942 Ma Jiao discussed work about the plot in [Native Corporation] together with Xiao Zuoxin and Cang Gufeng. Adviser for trade matters Kruglov distributed assignments among them: the murder of Sheng Shiqi was under the responsibility of Xiao Zuoxin, the implementation of communications and bribing of the escorts of the Governor to kill the Governor was under the responsibility of Cang Gufeng, and getting in touch with the officers of military units and organizing the murders of Chyu-zun-jiong [sic], Chyu-yu-xiong [sic], Wang-hun-zo, and other important personnel was under the responsibility of Ma Jiao. The plan provided for raising a rebellion before the April Revolution holiday, for which Military Adviser Ratov was to summon the 8th Regiment to Urumqi from Hami in order to disarm the government troops and create a new government under the pretext of maintaining order in the city of Urumqi. Work through political channels would be conducted under the responsibility of Cang Gufeng, and through diplomatic and military channels under the responsibility of Xiao Zuoxin and Ma Jiao.


Having received the anti-government assignment, Ma Jiao began to establish close relations with the second wife of Chyu-zun-jiong, Io-dzhi-zhong, with an attempt to carry out a plot to murder Chyu-zun-jiong. The second wife of Chyu-zun-jiong, Io-dzhi-zhong [sic], did not have good relations with other family members, and therefore this served as a reason for the husband living apart from the sons. Since Chyu-zun-jiong was already old, Io-dzhi-zhong was afraid about the uncertainty of her future if Chyu-zun-jiong died suddenly. Io-dzhi-zhong often told Ma Jiao of her feelings. Ma Jiao made use of the inner feelings and dissatisfaction of Io-dzhi-zhong. He consoled Io-dzhi-zhong and began a physical bond with her. After this he told her about the anti-government organization. He told Io-dzhi-zhong that this organization was very powerful and if she wanted to avoid grief for herself and ensure herself a bright future she would need to somehow achieve the death of Chyu-zun-jiong, Chyu-yu-xiong, and Wang-hun-zo, or poison them. Then it was necessary to bribe the escorts and kill the Governor on a convenient occasion. If this was done we would be in power and we will live well. Being deceived by these words and rather wishing to be spared grief, Io-dzhi-zhong agreed with Ma Jiao. Right there Ma Jiao gave Io-dzhi-zhong a bottle with poison and explained to her how it needed to be used. Io-dzhi-zhong hid the poison and sought a convenient occasion to poison these people.


Ma Jiao stated that when adviser Kruglov found out about the murder of Sheng Shiqi he gave Xiao Zuoxin, Cang Gufeng, and him each one revolver and send them to where Sheng Shiqi's body was located in order to meet the Governor there and kill him. They went there twice, but the Governor was not there. Kruglov's murder assignment was not carried out.


Io-dzhi-zhong was interrogated on the basis of Ma Jiao's statements. During the investigation Io-dzhi-zhong admitted that she actually had a physical bond with Ma Jiao and that Ma Jiao had talked to her about the anti-government organization. Ma Jiao exaggerated the strength of this organization and gave her the assignment to poison Chyu-zun-jiong, Chyu-yu-xiong, and Wang-hun-zo, and to bribe the escorts for the murder of the Governor. Ma Jiao gave Io-dzhi-zhong a bottle with poison and explained to her the method of use. Io-dzhi-zhong did not carry out the assignments concerning poisoning and murder since there was no suitable occasion and everyone was on guard in connection with the murder of Sheng Shiqi. She prepared Be-zi-diang [sic], Liu-be-dya [sic], and several escorts as murderers for the murder of the Governor at the first convenient opportunity. But, she soon found out about the arrest of Ma Jiao. In order to conceal the traces she destroyed the bottle with the poison which Ma Jiao had given her the same day, throwing it in a furnace.


The following conclusion can be drawn on the basis of the statements of Chen Xiuying, Xiao Zuoxin, Ma Jiao, and Io-dzhi-zhong. This counterrevolutionary organization has as its goal the disruption of the rear area of the defensive war of China and the overthrow of the government of Xinjiang though a plot, and was organized by financial adviser Pakhomov, adviser for trade matters Kruglov, commercial agent Veselov, and instructor [Bian]-u-chu at the orders of and under the leadership of Soviet Consul General Bakulin and Military Adviser Ratov. They pursued conspiratorial activity in Xinjiang to organize murders, carried out work with the subversive goal of organizing an uprising, etc. Their main goal was to disrupt the rear area of the defensive war of China, to overthrow the existing government of Xinjiang, and create a counterrevolutionary government. They dared to cover themselves with the name of the Soviet Government, enlisting Xiao Zuoxin, Ma Jiao, Cang Gufeng, and other counterrevolutionary elements who, agitated by them, secretly pursued subversive political and economic work in order to make life for the people harder and to provoke dissatisfaction with the government among the popular masses. They did not stop at either murder or other reckless measures. They prepared a plot against the Governor and senior military and administrative officials of Xinjiang, pursued work to establish contact the 8th Regiment (the Soviet Red Army regiment of Usenko in Kumul), and prepared an uprising before the April Revolution holiday (the 12th of April). The murder of Sheng Shiqi was the accomplishment of only part of the plan of their plot.


At the present time, when China is waging an anti-Japanese war in a very difficult situation, when the USSR is waging a holy war against Germany, Xinjiang is not only the rear area of China's defensive war, but also a strong barrier [pregrazhdenie] for the Soviet Union. The vigorous activity of these counterrevolutionaries is causing enormous damage to the armed resistance of China and the cause of peace in Xinjiang. As a precaution I personally interrogated those who were arrested, who have all confirmed their statements. From the statements of these four who were arrested their entire plan of the plot to murder Sheng Shiqi, the organization of the attempt on the Governor, and the overthrow of the government remains completely evident. The investigation into this matter continues. The important statements concerning this case of those who have been arrested have already been translated into Russian and are attached here. Please appoint investigators to take part in the investigation so that the truth of this case can be finally ascertained. Please do not delay in calling to account the Soviet citizens mixed up in this case.


I sincerely wish you good health.


ATTACHMENT: Four copies of the statements of those arrested and a copy of an excerpt from the operations log of the Urumqi Military Hospital.


10 May 1942 Bian-fon [sic] Governor and Zhuxi [Chairman] of

Urumqi Xinjiang



Authenticated: [illegible woman's name]



Governor Sheng describes the investigation into Sheng Shiqi's (the Commander of the Mechanized Brigade of Xinjiang) death, which revealed that Chen Xiuying (his wife) murdered him under pressure from Xiao Zuoxin, the assistant to the Director of the Urumqi office of the Native Corporation. He also reports that Kruglov, Soviet advisor for trade matters, intentionally disrupted trade between the Soviet Union and Xinjiang because of the Xinjiang government's alleged anti-Soviet attitude.


Document Information


RGASPI, f.558, op. 11, d. 323, l. 42-52. Contributed by Jamil Hasanli and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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