From Kazakhstan Encyclopedia

Uyghurlar (in English: The Uyghurs) is a book by poet Turghun Almas on the history of the "6,000 year history" of the Uyghur ethnic group of the Xinjiang region of China.[1] It was published in the 1989 in the People's Republic of China, at a high point of liberalization of academic freedom and ethnic minority policy in China. The book uses a stylized wolf on its cover that is a widely recognized symbol of Pan-Turkism.[1] It was one of the books of the period that presented an "alternative Uyghur history", based on Soviet historiography during the Sino-Soviet split, that advanced the thesis that the Uyghurs were "indigenous" to Xinjiang and should have an independent state.[2] It was also one of the first books to publicize the term East Turkestan, which suggests a kinship to a "West Turkestan" in the independent Central Asian states.[2] In contrast to the official Chinese history of Xinjiang, which states that the region was an integral part of China since the Han Dynasty,[3] the book takes a nationalist view, saying that many "Uyghur" states throughout history were independent of, or even dominant over, China.[4]

The book makes a number of non-orthodox theories about history, including that the Tarim mummies indicate that the Uyghurs were "older than Chinese civilization itself", and that the Uyghurs invented the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, and printing. It concluded, "If the Jews could reclaim their homeland after 3,000 years, the Uyghurs should be able to reclaim their homeland after 3,000 to 6,000 years".[5]


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