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December 29, 1949

Report of Cde. Peng Dehuai about the Situation in Xinjiang

This document was made possible with support from Blavatnik Family Foundation



Chairman Mao!


I arrived in Peking on 28 December together with Cde. Jia Tuofu. The same evening I made a report at a CC meeting about the situation in Xinjiang. According to a CC instruction I am reporting to you about the situation in Xinjiang and request you give instructions.


1. The military and political situation in Xinjiang.


After the troops of Tao Zhiyue were reorganized into the 22nd Army Group, a military district was created and measures were outlined for a vigorous reeducation of these forces, and the provincial government was also reorganized on national democratic principles – the overall situation in the province began to stabilize. In our opinion, there will be no large-scale betrayal in the units of Tao Zhiyue, however the possibility of insignificant disturbances is not excluded. The arrival of Zhang Zhizhong in Xinjiang has played a certain role in the reorganization and reeducation of the units of Tao Zhiyue.


2. National and religious questions in Xinjiang.


Special attention ought to be devoted to these questions. These questions cover the class contradictions inside the national minorities themselves in a certain sense. In Xinjiang, although the concentration of land is quite significant and the exploitation is harsher compared to China proper, nevertheless agrarian reform there should be carried out more slowly and this should be done on the basis of increasing the class consciousness of the main masses of the national minorities, cultivating national cadre and close contact with the People’s Liberation Army. Only then can mistakes be avoided. At the present time among the cadre there is such a tendency, which promotes the commission of leftist mistakes and haste; attention ought to be paid to this.


3. The most serious question in Xinjiang at the present time is financial and economic. The reasons for this are as follows:


a) the number of our troops who have entered Xinjiang, along with the national troops and the units of Tao Zhiyue with the administrative apparatuses, comes to more than 240,000 men. The province of Xinjiang itself can meet their financial and economic needs by only 30%, but more than 70% needs to made up from aid from headquarters [Tsentr];


b) the territory of Xinjiang is vast, but the matter of transportation and communications doesn’t look good. It is hard to give Xinjiang aid not only from China itself, but it is also difficult to ship food from the more fertile region of south Xinjiang to the region of grainless northern Xinjiang, for it is necessary to negotiate a road of over 2,000 kilometers to do this. in order to ship a centner of grain from south to north it is necessary to spend a value of over 10 centners to ship. At the present time food for the troops, whose strength is over 100,000 men (two divisions of the 6th Army, two divisions of Tao Zhiyue, part of the national troops, and also the apparatus of the provincial government, schools, etc.) deployed in the region of Urumchi-Tulufan [Turpan]-Qitai, enough only for two months.


c) Trade with the Soviet Union was halted for more than five years after Sheng Shicai embarked on an anti-Soviet path, which put the production of furs, wool, cotton, and silk yarn in a tough condition. In an overall assessment the production has dropped by half and more. The very great distance and the difficult railroads slow the development of the internal trade of the province of Xinjiang. The acute shortage in consumer goods in the market and the sharp decline in the economy are exerting a negative influence on the population’s standard of living;


d) As a consequence of the above causes a serious financial and monetary fluctuation occurred from the moment of the liberation of Xinjiang. The prices for goods have risen by 100 times and more during this time. If we do not take steps in finances and trade, then it will be impossible to maintain the monetary exchange rate in Xinjiang, and it will also be impossible to solve the question of supplying the army units with the instruments of production [orudiya proizvodstva] next year.


e) I very deeply realize that if we do not apply enormous effort to solve the financial and economic questions in Xinjiang then it will not only influence the fate of our troops which have arrived here, but also the national question in Xinjiang, and the relations between our troops and the national troops and the reeducation of the units of Tao Zhiyue. At the present time a production campaign has been launched in combat units, but it will partially assist the resolution of the food question only in 1951, but the other challenging questions might be gradually solved as late as another three to five years.


4. Based on the foregoing I consider it necessary for great assistance to be given from the Soviet Union to overcome the difficulties at the present time and the construction in Xinjiang in the future. This is specifically expressed in the following:


a) questions about the supply of the troops in Xinjiang with clothing, engineering materials, means of transport, etc. need to be solved with the aid of the Soviet Union;


b) normal trade ought to be immediately established between Xinjiang and the Soviet Union so that Xinjiang can exchange the necessary Soviet-made consumer goods for its own local products;


c) implement local economic cooperation between Xinjiang and the Soviet Union in order to thereby gradually mobilize and boost its material resources. In the past, when Zhang Zhizhong was in Xinjiang, talks were held with the Soviet Union about the creation of a Chinese-Soviet oil company and a company to mine rare and non-ferrous metals; a draft agreement was already drawn up. Right now it would be quite desirable to come to agreement with the Soviet union with respect to the functioning of these two companies;


d) the great expanse in the Northwest and the annoyance in the railroads are exerting a great influence on the guidance in work. As a consequence of this it is necessary to hold talks with the Soviet Union about extending the Alma Ata-Urumchi-Hami civil airline route further to Lanzhou, Xi’an, and Peking, as provided in the agreement.


Please give instructions as soon as possible whether the questions I have raised above are correct. I will be in Peking about a week, after which I have to return to Xi’an to hold a conference of the Military Political Committee.


Peng Dehuai


29 December 1949




Peng reports on the situation in Xinjiang following the takeover of Xinjiang by the People's Liberation Army.


Document Information


RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 334, l. 4-7. Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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