Why didn't Xinjiang also rebel during the Xinhai Revolution of 1911-1912?

Futurist

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In 1911-1912, China experienced the Xinhai Revolution--a revolution that resulted in the end of the Qing Dynasty in China and in China becoming a republic. As a result of this revolution, Mongolia (permanently) and Tibet (temporarily) were able to rebel and secede from China and become independent. However, Xinjiang never actually experienced any rebellion during the Xinhai Revolution. Why exactly was this the case? After all, Xinjiang was already Uyghur-majority even back in 1911-1912, no? If so, why didn't the people of Xinjiang rebel against Chinese rule in 1911-1912 like the people of Mongolia and Tibet did?

Any thoughts on this?
 
Sep 2012
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Taiwan
They tried. The region soon came under the heel of a hardline, if effective warlord though, who pledged to the new Republic. Separatist movements in Xinjiang had more success, albeit temporarily, in the 1930s.
 
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Futurist

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They tried. The region soon came under the heel of a hardline, if effective warlord though, who pledged to the new Republic. Separatist movements in Xinjiang had more success, albeit temporarily, in the 1930s.
Why were Mongolia and Tibet more successful?
 

Futurist

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I wonder if @Maki knows more information about this. He seems to be pretty knowledgeable about China--especially for someone who literally lives half a world away from China.
 
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Why were Mongolia and Tibet more successful?
It's been a few years since I last studied it, and modern history has never been my strongsuit either. I guess Mongolia and Tibet had more ethnically homogeneous populations, with stronger administrative foundations for establishing a new government. They also had potential sovereigns ready to be installed. Xinjiang was rather different; more backwater, more interethnic division, and no strong/legitimate leader to rally around.
 
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heavenlykaghan

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Mar 2012
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Unlike Mongolia and Tibet, Xinjiang was made into an actual province in 1884 with administration similar to the rest of China. Unlike the Tibetans or Mongols, there was also no single Uighur identity before the 20th century (the name Uighur is a Soviet-era construct named after the historical Uighurs), but rather identities by different city-states (kashgarian etc.), none of which had enough power to challenge the Chinese warlords. The people were very broadly speaking known as "Turki" in some muslim sources (Chinese sources just call them Muslims or Hui), but that identity is as general as saying "slavic" or "germanic". Lastly, the population of Han in Xinjiang was already significant very early on. As early as Jiaqing's period in the turn of the 19th century, Qing census showed that the Han civilian population in Xinjiang was already over 200,000; add the Qing military and we are talking about a quarter of a million Chinese (Manchu, Xibo, and Han). The "Uighur population" at the time was not much larger and made up around a similar percentage of the total population as they do now. There are also Mongols, Hui, and Kazakhs there, and none of them had a common objective. Lastly, the Qing army was quite large in Xinjiang, with around 80,000 by the end of the Qing, much larger than the forces in Tibet (Zhao Erfeng only occupied Lhasa and stationed an army there a year before the Qing collapsed)
 
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Futurist

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It's been a few years since I last studied it, and modern history has never been my strongsuit either. I guess Mongolia and Tibet had more ethnically homogeneous populations, with stronger administrative foundations for establishing a new government. They also had potential sovereigns ready to be installed. Xinjiang was rather different; more backwater, more interethnic division, and no strong/legitimate leader to rally around.
I know that Xinjiang was made a Chiense province in 1884. I wonder what its demographics were in 1911. I read that Xinjiang was 30% Han Chinese in 1800 but that this significantly decreased during the 19th century as a result of Yakub Beg's rebellion. I wonder if a lot of Chinese returned to Xinjiang after the Chinese government reconquered it in the 1870s.

Unlike Mongolia and Tibet, Xinjiang was made into an actual province in 1884 with administration similar to the rest of China. Unlike the Tibetans or Mongols, there was also no single Uighur identity before the 20th century (the name Uighur is a Soviet-era construct named after the historical Uighurs), but rather identities by different city-states (kashgarian etc.), none of which had enough power to challenge the Chinese warlords.
What motivated the Muslims in Xinjiang to rebel against the Chinese in the late 19th century and why were they initially more successful then?

The people were very broadly speaking known as "Turki" in some muslim sources (Chinese sources just call them Muslims or Hui), but that identity is as general as saying "slavic" or "germanic".
So, they didn't view themselves as being ethnically different from the Turks in Turkey back then?

Lastly, the population of Han in Xinjiang was already significant very early on. As early as Jiaqing's period in the turn of the 19th century, Qing census showed that the Han civilian population in Xinjiang was already over 200,000; add the Qing military and we are talking about a quarter of a million Chinese (Manchu, Xibo, and Han).
What percent was this out of Xinjiang's total population?

The "Uighur population" at the time was not much larger and made up around a similar percentage of the total population as they do now.
Were they a majority anywhere back then--such as in the Kashgar Valley? I know that the Kashgar Valley is heavily Uyghur right now and that it is going to be where any future Uyghur state is actually going to be located in if there will ever actually be a future Uyghur state.

Anyway, the Kashgar Valley could have rebelled by itself in 1911-1912 even without the rest of Xinjiang.

There are also Mongols, Hui, and Kazakhs there, and none of them had a common objective. Lastly, the Qing army was quite large in Xinjiang, with around 80,000 by the end of the Qing, much larger than the forces in Tibet (Zhao Erfeng only occupied Lhasa and stationed an army there a year before the Qing collapsed)
Did the Qing military maintain its internal cohesion and stability even after the Xinhai Revolution?
 

heavenlykaghan

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Mar 2012
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The earlier Muslim troubles of Xinjiang were much more than just a local rebellion, but more the result of the infiltration of foreigners, first by Sadic Beg of the Khirgiz, who entered Kashgar after local rebels called for help (after Dungan rebellion undermined Qing rule in the region). Then they were followed by those from Tashkent and Kokhand such as Burzug Khan and Yaqub beg. They were called in to support Sadic Beg and eventually started to expand from Kashgar and captured other parts of Xinjiang. Many of the other cities had no love of Yaqub beg and even supported the Chinese armies.
So, they didn't view themselves as being ethnically different from the Turks in Turkey back then?
Ethnicity is a complicated definition, just because they had similar-sounding names doesn't mean they are exactly the same. Are all Germanic people or all Slavic people the same ethnic group? Are the Mughals in India the same as the Mongols from Mongolia?

The Uighur population in the 19th century is similar to the layout of their population today, as I already said. Most late Qing armies, after modernizing into the New Army, were already starting to form regional authorities somewhat detached from the central government, and that's why there were warlords after the collapse of the Qing government.
 
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Futurist

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Thanks for all of this information! BTW, in regards to the Muslim rebellion in Xinjiang in the 1860s and 1870s, could it be compared with the Donbass War in the sense that it was in large part triggered by foreigners and foreign influence?