March 3, 1958
M. Zimianin to the Central Committee of the CPSU and to Comrade Iu. V. Andropov, 'On Manifestations of Local Nationalism in Xinjiang (PRC)'
This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation
To the CC of the CPSU
To Comrade Iu. V. Andropov
Attached we are sending you a report “On Manifestations of Local Nationalism in Xinjiang (PRC),” which has been compiled on the basis of materials from our consulates in Ürümchi and Ghulja.
3 March 1958
22 February 1958
On Manifestations of Local Nationalism in Xinjiang (PRC)
According to communications from our consulates in Ürümchi and Ghulja, in December 1957 the expanded plenum of the party committee of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region commenced work in Ürümchi, at which is being discussed the question of carrying out a campaign to rectify the style of work among cadre workers from the national minorities. In scrutinizing this question, serious errors in the understanding of the CCP’s nationalities policy now being implemented were exposed among certain leading workers of the autonomous region, and were subjected to criticism. We are dealing here with the occurrence of local nationalism.
As the plenum showed, the standpoint of local nationalists in Xinjiang at the present time boils down to the following: They advocate the creation in Xinjiang of either an independent Uyghur republic (“Uyghuristan”), or a republic entering into the make-up of China. They thus consider the currently existing autonomy in Xinjiang only a transitory stage toward the creation of a republic. The nationalists oppose the leading role of the CCP, and oppose socialist construction. Calling for the creation of an independent republic in Xinjiang, the local nationalists declare that in resolving the national question the CCP has supposedly departed from Marxism-Leninism, and that it is defending the interests only of the Chinese. In their opinion, the CCP itself should be built on the basis of nationality.
In their work in the party and state organs the nationalists try to boycott the Chinese, and speak of the necessity for them to leave the autonomous region. Chairman of the Ürümchi People’s Committee Abdurehim Said, for example, stated that it was necessary to expel all the Chinese from Ürümchi, and to remove from Xinjiang the production division of the People’s Liberation Army, which is mainly occupied with work on state farms.
Some nationalists circulate slanders against the Soviet Union, contending that the Soviet Union supposedly previously helped the Uyghurs struggle against the Chinese, but was now helping the Chinese in their struggle against the Uyghurs, and that neither in Xinjiang nor in the Central Asia union republics of the USSR was there genuine independence, etc.
At the afore-mentioned plenum the chairman of the People’s Committee of the Autonomous Region Säypidin Äzizov presented a report on measures to rectify the style of work among cadre workers of the national minorities. Pointing out the significance of the ongoing campaign to rectify the style of work, he stated that the main focus in the course of this campaign should be directed to the struggle with local nationalism.
Alongside plenary sessions, participants in the plenum (a total of 240 people are taking part in the activity of the plenum) are carrying out work in groups (for which the Chinese are organized into a separate group), where they are discussing the report, and subjecting the local nationalists to sharp criticism. In the course of this work it has become clear that local nationalism is particularly evident with the head of the Autonomous Region’s Department of Culture Ziya Sämädi, who is considered the leader of the local nationalists; head of the Department of Internal Affairs Ibrahim Turdi; chairman of the Ürümchi People’s Committee Abdurehim Said; head of the Department of Health Yaqub Beg, deputy head of the Department of Public Security Aliev, deputy chairman of the Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture Abdurehim Äysa and others. Secretary of the Autonomous Region Party Committee Säypullaev, deputy chairmen of the XUAR People’s Committee Patkhan Sugurbaev, Askhat Ishaqov, Iminov, head of the Department of Education Zakirov, special plenipotentiary of the Korla Administrative Prefecture Tursun Israilov, and others have also turned out to be proponents of nationalist views to a greater or lesser degree.
Under the pressure of criticism at the plenum, certain workers (Ishaqov, Säypullaev, Zakirov) have admitted the error of their ways to an extent. Others continue to stubbornly insist on their nationalist positions. According to information from Chinese comrades, Abdurehim Äysa maintained contact with foreign espionage. While he was  in Mecca as part of the Chinese delegation, he met with one Devlet, who was an American spy. In the course of the investigation into his activity at the plenum, Äysa committed suicide.
At the plenum it was revealed that errors of a nationalist character are also to be found among certain local Soviet citizens who are working in Xinjiang institutions. In the opinion of Chinese comrades, the nationalist views of these local Soviet citizens derive from their ignorance of the concrete circumstances in Xinjiang, and are mostly expressed in the mechanical borrowing of the USSR’s experience of national construction into Xinjiang.
Nationalist views also occur among teachers and students in Xinjiang institutions of higher learning. There have been cases when some of these have expressed their dissatisfaction and complaints to members of delegations from capitalist and fraternal countries during visits to Xinjiang.
The plenum of the Party Committee in Ürümchi is continuing its work.
Occurrences of local nationalism in Xinjiang and the necessity to struggle with it were also brought up in the speeches of certain deputies from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region at the 5th session of the All-China Congress of People’s Deputies, which took place in Beijing at the start of February of this year.
Head of the Far-Eastern Department of the MFA of the USSR
During party meetings in Xinjiang, some individuals advocated for the creation of an independent Uyghur republic.
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