Have the local inhabitants of the Tarim Valley become Chinese? : RFA

Understanding the narration

One of the hot topics on Chinese radio, television and media for the past three weeks was the International Scientific Forum held in Kashgar on June 12th. The event, “The History and Future of Xinjiang”, is better described as a play, a “history-making party” rather than a “seminar”. Written by the Chinese government, the play features loyal Chinese government officials, specially trained historians, linguists, cultural scholars and their overseas gossip lovers. The location was the “Kashgar Alim Hotel” in Kashgar, one of the most vibrant cities of the Uighur people.

At the conference, Chinese historians again tried to convince the world community that the Uighur region has always been part of China. Their goal was to convince the general public, not the scientific community, that the Uighurs were immigrants who moved into the Tarim Valley after 840.

Among the 39 “selected” people from inside and outside China who played the role of “experts” in this political game called the conference, two Chinese researchers who played leading roles stood out in particular. They were Yang Shengmin, an expert on ancient Uyghur history at Central National University, and Silla Silla, a professor of ancient Uyghur language at Xinjiang University. Although the two are in different fields of research, both have been engaged in brainwashing Uyghur youth and observing ethnic sentiments as teachers for many years. This time, Yang Shengmin asked “Who were the local people in the Tarim Valley?” and gave a report on the theme of “The History of Xinjiang’s Past Eras.” In his report, he said about the Uyghurs, “Anthropological research on today’s Uyghurs shows that the Uyghurs originated in the Huihe River. They migrated from the Mongolian grasslands to the Tarim River basin around 840 and mixed with other ethnic groups living there to form today’s Uyghurs.” Regarding the Chinese, he said, “Before the 9th century, the people living in the Tarim Basin consisted of the Gir people, who spoke an Indo-European language system, the Qians, who spoke a Tibetan-Chenian language, and the Chinese. The Tarim Basin has always been a place where many ethnic groups, including the Chinese, have coexisted.”

Who are the Uighurs and Turks? What was their relationship with the Huns? Are they really immigrants from the Uighur region? How do historical sources answer Chinese historians like Yang Shengmin? Isn’t it a “cat chasing a cat” when he says that the Uighurs are immigrants and the Chinese are local people?

Yang Shengmin’s report can be considered the culmination of his lifelong sales pitch. He quotes it in his book “Ancient Uighurs,” published in 1991 and used in his lectures at the University of Nationalities. The Turks had very close ties with the Huaxia. Some have therefore written that the Uighurs and the Huaxia have the same ancestor. He states that the Turks and the Huns are eternal rivals with no ethnic ties. When he wrote about the historical Uighurs, he continued the old custom and said that “the 10 Uighurs and 9 isolated tribes of the Turks were in conflict with the Turkic tribes north of the Great Siberian Desert and had close ties with the Central Plains.” In his articles and books, he hides the brotherhood of the Turks and Uighurs, that is, the fact that both are descendants of the Huns. He claims that the Huns and Turks are the ethnic groups that oppressed the Uighurs, and tries to create doubts in his readers that the ancestors of the Turks and the Uighurs are not the same. He uses this conspiracy theory as a way to discredit the myth that the Uighurs are an immigrant people who migrated to what is now Uighur land in 840 AD.

Yang Shengmin writes in the opening of his book: “The ethnic origin of the ancient Uighurs is the Beidi (Dilar). The Beidi people are one of several ancient ethnic groups that first inhabited our country. 2,000 years ago, they were active in northwestern China and neighbored separate tribes of the Huaxia people. Wasn’t the Dilar, the present-day Uighur land he refers to here, one of the ancestors of the Uighurs? The arguments Yang Shengmin uses here to distinguish between the ancestors of the Turks and the Uighurs reveal the fact that the Uighurs lived in their present homeland 4,000 years ago.”

If we examine the oldest historical sources in China, we find that the term “Western Country” does not appear in Chinese chronicles before the famous Chinese spy Zhang Qian came under the control of the Xiongnu. The term does not appear in the travelogue of Zhang Qian, recorded in Chapter 123 of the book by historian Sima Qian. Of the three times the term appears in the Records of the Grand Historian, the first two refer to the country under the control of the Xiongnu in the southern Uyghur region, inhabited by ethnic groups such as Ur Yaochi and Chiang Kai-shek, and ruled by the Xiongnu. In the third instance, the country is used to refer to a vast area including the lands of the scattered Sogdi people under the control of the Xiongnu.

In the description of the 36 countries of the Western Regions in the book “Han Ming Ji” completed by the Chinese historian Bango in 89 AD, there is no record of Chinese people living in these countries. In 630, Xuanzang lived as a monk in the Uighur region for almost a year and recorded in detail what he saw. His biography states that he wept when he saw two of his compatriots in Hamur, but does not mention seeing other Chinese in Turpan, Karamankhal, or Kucha. Isn’t this evidence that there are no Chinese there?!

The chapter “Uighur Tazkirci” in the Yeni Tannamece, one of China’s famous historical books, begins with the sentence “Uighurs are the ancestors of the Huns.” Modern Chinese historians insult their ancestors for admitting that the Uighurs were Huns, writing, “They were wrong.” But they do not answer the question of why such a mistake was repeated by others. Are all Chinese historical sources, such as the History of the Five Dynasties written in 907, the General Treatise on the Classics written in 1307, and even the Continued General Treatise completed in 1783, all typographical errors?

According to the famous Chinese historical sources, Shiji, Chapter 110, “Hongshi” and Han Ming, Chapter 94, “Around the 11th century B.C., there was a pastoral tribe called Xiongnu in the north of our country. They sometimes called themselves ‘Hu.'” Chinese chronicles written at different times give very different descriptions of who the Hu were. The term was originally applied to the Xiongnu, but later to the Indo-European “Sogdians.” According to the records of the monk Xuanzang, who traveled to India through Uighur lands at that time, by the 630s, “Hu” was being used as a name for ethnic groups other than Chinese.

The Uighurs knew very well that they were Turks, because they knew that they were of Hun descent. Therefore, during the Uighur dynasty, it made little difference whether the country was named Uighur or Turkey. They called their language “Turkish”, “Uighur”, “Uighur language”, “Turkic language”, or “Turkish Uighur language”. The famous Uighur translator Sheng Sheri Tutun, who lived in the early 11th century, translated the Chinese phrase “Hyonnu” as “Turkish Yocul Bodun” in his 7th century book “The Legend of Xuanzang”.

Modern Chinese historians, in order to comply with the orders of the Chinese government, try to deny the blood relationship between the Uighurs and the Huns, but it cannot be denied that the Jiuyug are Uighurs. Because this historical fact is recorded not only in the Persian and Arabic sources of the past, but also in Chinese historical sources. For example, the book “Hudul Vasan”, written in 932, states that “The Jiuyuget state is inhabited by Chin, southern Tibet, and parts of Karguk, the west is inhabited by Kyrgyz people, and the north is widely distributed with Kyrgyz people.” Jiudan is the largest Turkic state. It was the state with the largest population of Jiudan in history. In the past, all the rulers of Turkestan were from Jiudan.

The lies of the Chinese authorities that the Uighurs are a migratory ethnic group, the Chinese are the original inhabitants of the Tarim Valley, the Chinese have been living here since the Han Dynasty, and Chinese is the official language are also recorded in the Chinese government’s white paper “History of Xinjiang,” and they tried to use their own judgment for political purposes.

The Chinese government’s strategy of distorting real history and convincing other countries to believe in a contrived history is an absurdity that began in the Tang Dynasty and continues to this day. It is true that the Tarim Valley is the homeland of the Huns, the ancestors of the Uighurs. Trying to deny this truth, which Chinese historical sources cannot deny, is nothing but Chinese politics misusing science, distorting real history, and turning the profession of history into the art of “pluck feathers from eggs.” The Tarim Valley, as described after 840, was the homeland of the Uighurs before 840.


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