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Clouds over Tianshan
Essays on Social Disturbance in Xinjiang in the 1940s
by David D. Wang

The 1940s saw the outbreak of the so-called Yili rebellion, which in time led to the collapse of Chinese state authority over a wide area of Xinjiang in the chaotic years of the later 1940s. Much of the story of this rebellion has been recounted before but what is especially interesting in this study is Wang's demonstration that the rebellion was not an internal Chinese matter; rather it was very much an international affair. Here he looks not just at the ethnic and religious dimensions, which of course had many international ramifications. But what is not generally  recognised is that, politically, there were three external actors in the affair: the KMT government, the Chinese communists and (especially) the Soviets. The dynamics between these three actors, as World War II came to an end and the Chinese civil war gathered pace, had a major impact on the course of events in Xinjiang between 1944 and 1949. Judging by the scanty details of Uighur unrest that emerged from Xinjiang in early 1997, it would seem that the ethnic, religious and political dynamics behind the events of the 1940s are similar to those behind today's events.

Published by NIAS Press, NIAS Reports # 36
Published 1999, 128 pp., maps & illus.
ISBN 978 87 87062 62 6, paperback, 15.99