chapter  4
19 Pages

The Chinese Program of Development and Control, 1978-2001

This chapter analyzes Xinjiang history in the hands of official Chinese historians, on the one hand, and Uyghur nationalist historians on the other. The two sides in the contest command vastly unequal resources. The party-state has long relied on official histories to justify its political and military control over Xinjiang, vindicate Han immigration there, and inspire confidence in its economic policies. The most contested histories in the genre were the Concise History of the Uyghurs. The Uyghur history was surely one of the most protracted projects and most-revised collaborative works ever undertaken in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Faced by a spate of bombings and collective uprisings in various parts of Xinjiang in the late 1990s, the party leadership drew two conclusions: Uyghurs persisted in rejecting the official version of the past, and their aspirations for the future diverged widely from the party's plans for them.