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Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR)

The Uighur (pronounced "WEE-grr" or "wee-gur" in English, "wei-wuer" in Chinese, and "ooi-ghoor" by the locals) are an ethnically Turkic group of Muslims in the formerly independent Republic of East Turkistan, which the Chinese call Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Uighur has generally been replaced in English-language publications in China with Uygur, as this is closer to the spelling of the name in the Uyghur language. It is also the spelling used in the Turkish to refer to the language and people of Xinjiang. However, the spelling Uyghur is the closest to the local pronunciation.

The large Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region makes up one-sixteenth of China's territory and borders three former Soviet central Asian Republics. Uighurs are an inner Asian ethnic group of oasis-dwelling, Turkic-speaking, traditionally Muslim agriculturalists resident largely in northwest China's Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region.

Tensions rose in 2016 with the arrival of a new party secretary to Xinjiang, Chen Quanguo, who pursued the same hard-line policies he had previously used while in Tibet. China put a million Uighurs in detention camps. China said it put Uighurs in "vocational education centers" to stop the spread of religious extremism and to halt a surge in terrorist attacks. Critics of the Chinese policy say the measures are aimed at destroying Uighur identity, which is the crime of genocide.

China's 2010 census put the total population of Uighurs at just over 10 million, less than 1 percent of China's total population. They are the largest ethnic group in the autonomous region of Xinjiang. Another Chinese census gave the present population of the Uighurs as slightly over 6 million. There are also 500,000 Uighurs in Western Turkestan, known as Uzbekistan, Kazakistan, Kirgizistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Almost 150,000 Uighurs have their homes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Western Europe and the United States. In order to transform Eastern Turkestan into a Chinese province millions of Chinese have been settled there.

Before 1949 there were only 300 thousand Chinese settlers in Eastern Turkestan. Xinjiang has experienced a huge demographic shift in the last 70 years. Uighurs made up 75 percent of the region's population in 1945, but make up only about 45 percent today. The population of Han Chinese has grown from 9 percent in 1945 to 40 percent today. China has also deployed a large number of troops who are stationed in the region.

Uighurs are a largely Muslim ethnic minority group based mainly in China's westernmost Xinjiang region. They tend to have more in common culturally and ethnically with people across Central Asian nations than they do with Han Chinese. Their language is related to Turkish and also shares similarities with Uzbek, Mongolian, Kazakh and Kyrgyz. Islam is an important part of their identity. Most practice a moderate form of Sunni Islam, while some are followers of Sufi sects. It is not uncommon for Uighurs to drink alcohol or for women to work. Uighurs tend to have more Mediterranean features and a larger build than their Han Chinese neighbors. China's system of ethnic regional autonomy is not the autonomy enjoyed by one minority, and that the autonomous region is not a place owned by one minority. The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, also called Xin for short, is located in northwestern China. Xinjiang, bordering Central Asia, is strategically positioned as the country's transport hub on the Silk Road Economic Belt -- as part of the Belt and Road Initiative Chinese leadership proposed in 2013.

Largest in area in all the province-level administrative regions of China, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region covers an area of 1.66 million, one sixth of Chinese territory. Situated in the hinterland of Eurasian continent, Xinjiang of China borders eight countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Kirghiziastan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, India and Afghanistan. The geographic position of Xinjiang makes it very important in strategy. In history, Xinjiang served as the key controlling section of the well-known Silk Road, while now it is an unavoidable part of the railway leading to the second Eurasia Continental Bridge.

Xinjiang, called Western Region in ancient times, has intermittently been a part of China from ancient times. In 60 BC, Xinjiang officially became a part of Chinas territory for that year central government of the Western Han Dynasty founded the West Region Frontier Command here. In 1884, the government of the Qing Dynasty established Xinjiang Province. In 1949, Xinjiang was liberated through peaceful means. October 1, 1955 saw the establishment of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Presently, there are 14 prefectures (including prefectures, autonomous prefectures and prefecture-level cities) and 88 counties (including cities and cities at county level) under the government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, including 33 counties (county-level cities) in border areas. The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) is an important component part of Xinjiang and has 174 regimental agricultural and stockbreeding farms under it.

Xinjiang's regional statistics bureau said the latest population census in 2010 showed that there were 8.7 million Han people in Xinjiang, accounting for 40.1 percent of the total, and an increase of 16.77 percent compared to the 2000 survey. Meanwhile, around 13 million minorities live in Xinjiang, an increase of 19.12 percent.

By the end of 2004, the population of Xinjiang had reached 19.6311 million. According to estimates projected from a random sample of the population at the end of 2003, the total population of Xinjiang was some 19,339,500. This was an increase of about 287,600 or 1.5 percent year on year. Urban residents had increased in number by 3.2 percent to some 6,651,100 with the rate of urbanization up 0.6 percentage points at 34.4 percent. There were 12,688,400 rural residents up 0.7 percent. In terms of the gender split, males made up 51.4 percent of the population at 9,942,400 compared with 9,397,100 females. Birth rate was 16.0 per thousand, mortality rate was 5.2 per thousand and the natural growth rate of the population was 10.8 per thousand in 2003.

Xinjiang is one part of the world where people tend to enjoy a relatively longer life expectancy. The third national census showed that of 3,765 centenarians throughout the country as a whole, 865 resided in Xinjiang. The International Society for Natural Medicine has designated Hetian Prefecture as one of the world's long-lived prefectures.

The largest ethnic group comprises some 7,497,700 Han people, accounting for 40.6 percent of the population of Xinjiang. The remaining 10,964,900 people or 59.4 percent, represent no fewer than 47 ethnic minority groups. Thirteen of the ethnic groups have lived in Xinjiang for centuries. These are the Uygur, Han, Kazak, Hui, Mongolian, Kirgiz, Tajik, Xibe, Ozbek, Manchu, Daur, Tartar and Russian peoples.

In 2003, there were some 147,600 undergraduates enrolled in 26 general universities across the region. The number from ethnic minorities had increased 6 percent to 65,100. The overall figure was up 11.6 percent on the year before and included 3.3 percent new entrants at 43,100. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has started implementing a uniform family planning policy for all ethnic groups, a move which experts said will promote ethnic equality. According to a revised regulation on Xinjiang's family planning policy, regional ethnic minorities could no longer enjoy as lenient a family planning policy. It states that starting 28 July 2017, all urban couples in the region have been allowed to have two children, while rural couples can have three.

About 6 million people reside in just three cities: the provincial capital, Urumqi, nearby Turpan, and the northwestern city of Kashgar (Kashi) (2 million in each city). About 95% of XUAR's population are mainly distributed around oases which make up 3.5% of the total area of Xinjiang.

Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR)

Uyghur religion has also played a major part in Uyghur culture and has has evolved through several transitions including Shamanism, Manachaeism, Buddhism and even Christianity before Islam became the predominate religion. The Uyghur language (defined by linguists as Altaic Turkic) has 13 dialects. It has many similarities to the Turkish language and is often mistaken for Arabic in it's spoken form.

There are 68 million hectares of land which can be used for the development of agriculture, forestry, and animal husbandry, accounting for 41.19 percent of Xinjiangs total area. Of which 9.33 million hectares can be reclaimed, over 4 million hectares are cultivated, 48 million hectares are natural grassland which can be utilized, and 666,700 hectares are man-made pasture. Xinjiang is one of the nations five major grazing areas. In addition, there are 4,839,300 hectares of land for forestry (including 1,533,300 hectares of forest with a reserve of 250 million cubic meters of timber).

A total of 122 minerals, including more than 70 non-metal minerals, have been discovered. Xinjiang holds the first place among Chinas provinces and autonomous regions in the deposits of beryllium, muscovite, natron saltpeter, pottery clay, and serpentine. The proved reserve of iron is 730 million tons; that of salt, 318 million tons; that of mirabilite, 170 million tons, and that of natron saltpeter, 2,326,000 tons. Xinjiang is known far and near for its muscovite, gemstone, asbestos, and Hetan jade.

Xinjiang has an annual runoff of 88.4 billion cubic meters of the surface water and 25.2 billion cubic meters of exploitable underground water. Glaciers stretch for 24,000 square kilometers and contain 2,580 billion cubic meters of water. There is a long duration of sunshine and the annual sunshine time lasts from 2,600 to 3,400 hours. The predicted reserve of coal in Xinjiang makes up of 37.7 percent of the nations predicted total while that of petroleum and natural gas was estimated at 30 billion tons, accounting for more than 25 percent of the national total.

The regional government had previously allowed urban Han couples to have one child while urban minority couples could have two. That meant rural minority couples could have three children, one more than rural Han couples.

On 27 August 2018, the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Autonomous Region held a party group (expansion) meeting to convey the spirit of the Standing Committee of the Party Committee of the Autonomous Region (the enlarged meeting) held on 24 August 2018. Xiao Kaiti and Yi Ming, Party Secretary and Director of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Autonomous Region presided over the meeting and delivered a speech.

The meeting stressed that it is necessary to resolutely integrate thoughts and actions into the spirit of the National Propaganda and Ideological Work Conference, profoundly understand and grasp the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important speech, and insist on using Xi Jinping's new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics to arm the mind, guide practice, and promote work.

It is necessary to firmly establish the "four consciousnesses" and continuously enhance the political consciousness, ideological consciousness and action consciousness of implementing the spirit of the conference. In accordance with the work arrangement of the party committee of the autonomous region, we must always adhere to the correct political direction of the propaganda and ideological work of the people's congress, effectively carry out the party's leadership through all aspects and whole processes of the propaganda and ideological work of the people's congress, and ensure that the propaganda and ideological work of the NPC unswervingly adhere to the party's leadership.

The leadership of the party is reflected meticulously to resolutely implement the Party Central Committee's strategy of governing the country with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, and resolutely put the autonomous regional party committee's implementation of the overall goal and lay the focus of the NPC's propaganda and ideological work, and always aim at social stability and long-term stability.

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Page last modified: 10-12-2018 18:37:11 ZULU