Xinjiang Province, Republic of China

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Xinjiang Province
Sinkiang Province (red) in the Republic of China (as claimed)
Sinkiang Province (red) in the Republic of China (as claimed)
StatusProvince of the Republic of China (1912–1992)
• Established
October 13, 1949
• Dissolution of the Sinkiang Provincial Government Office
January 16, 1992
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Xinjiang Province, Qing Empire
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
First East Turkestan Republic

Xinjiang Province (Chinese: 新疆省; pinyin: Xīnjiāng Shěng) or Sinkiang Province was a province of the Republic of China. First set up as a province in 1884 by the Qing dynasty, it was replaced in 1955 by the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. The original provincial government was relocated to Taipei as the Sinkiang Provincial Government Office (新疆省政府辦事處) until its dissolution in 1992.


The province inherited the borders of the Qing dynasty province, bordering Kansu, Tsinghai, the Mongol Area, Tibet Area and the countries Soviet Union, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. The claimed boundaries of the province included all of today's Xinjiang and parts of Mongolia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.[1]


In 1912, the Qing dynasty was replaced by the Republic of China. Yuan Dahua, the last Qing governor of Xinjiang, fled. One of his subordinates, Yang Zengxin, took control of the province and acceded in name to the Republic of China in March of the same year. Through Machiavellian politics and clever balancing of mixed ethnic constituencies, Yang maintained control over Xinjiang until his assassination in 1928 after the Northern Expedition of the Kuomintang.[2]

The Kumul Rebellion and other rebellions arose against his successor Jin Shuren in the early 1930s throughout Xinjiang, involving Uyghurs, other Turkic groups, and Hui (Muslim) Chinese. Jin drafted White Russians to crush the revolt. In the Kashgar region on November 12, 1933, the short-lived self-proclaimed First East Turkistan Republic was declared.[3][4] The Hui Kuomintang 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army) destroyed the army of the First East Turkestan Republic at the Battle of Kashgar (1934), bringing the Republic to an end. The Soviet Union invaded the province in the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang. In the Xinjiang War (1937), the entire province was brought under the control of northeast Manchu warlord Sheng Shicai, who ruled Xinjiang for the next decade with close support from the Soviet Union. In 1944, the President and Premier of China, Chiang Kai-shek, informed by the Soviets of Sheng's intention to join the Soviet Union, decided to shift him out of Xinjiang to Chongqing as the Minister of Agriculture and Forest.[5] More than a decade of Sheng's era had ended. However, a short-lived Soviet-backed Second East Turkestan Republic was established in that year, which lasted until 1949 in what is now Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture (Ili, Tarbagatay and Altay Districts) in northern Xinjiang.

During the Ili Rebellion the Soviet Union backed Uyghur separatists to form the Second East Turkistan Republic (2nd ETR) in Ili region while the majority of Xinjiang was under Republic of China Kuomintang control.[3] The People's Liberation Army entered Xinjiang in 1949 and the Kuomintang commander Tao Zhiyue surrendered the province to them.[4] The original provincial government was relocated to Taipei as the Sinkiang Provincial Government Office (新疆省政府辦事處) to symbolize the ROC's claim of sovereignty over the province; it was eventually dissolved in 1992.


Ethnic group Estimated population
Uyghurs 2,900,173 (77.75%)
Kazakhs 318,716 (8.55%)
Han Chinese 202,239 (5.41%)
Hui 92,146 (2.47%)
Kyrgyz 65,248 (1.75%)
Mongols 63,018 (1.69%)
Taranchis 41,307 (1.11%)
Russians 13,408 (0.36%)
Sibes 9,203 (0.25%)
Tajiks 8,867 (0.24%)
Uzbeks 7,966 (0.21%)
Tatars 4,601 (0.12%)
Solons 2,489 (0.07%)
Manchus 670 (0.02%)
Total 3,730,051

List of governors[edit]

  Non-partisan/ unknown   Warlords   People's Anti-Imperialist Association   Kuomintang (Nationalist)

Chairperson of the Provincial Government (Mainland era)[edit]

No. Portrait Name
Term of office Political Party
1 Yang Tseng-hsin.jpg Yang Zengxin
Yáng Zēngxīn
1912 July 7, 1928 Xinjiang clique
2 Jin Shuren.jpg Jin Shuren
Jīn Shùrén
July 7, 1928 April 12, 1933 Xinjiang clique
Deposed in a coup.
3 Liu Wenlong
Liú Wénlóng
April 14, 1933 September 1933
Removed from office and placed under house arrest by Sheng Shicai.
Zhu Ruichi
Zhū Ruìchí
September 1933 March 5, 1934
Figurehead chairman appointed by Sheng Shicai and not recognized by the Central government. Died in office.
4 Li Rong.jpg Li Rong
Lǐ Róng
October 1934 March 21, 1940
Figurehead chairman. Died in office.
5 Governor Sheng Shicai.jpg Sheng Shicai
Shèng Shìcái
April 4, 1940 August 29, 1944 People's Anti-Imperialist Association
Recognized by the Central government only as a duban (military governor), Sheng was de facto ruler of Sinkiang from 1933. In 1940, the Central government recognized him as Provincial chairman. Removed from office.
6 Wu Zhongxin.jpg Wu Zhongxin
Wú Zhōngxìn
August 29, 1944 March 29, 1946 Kuomintang
7 Zhang Zhizhong.jpg Zhang Zhizhong
Zhāng Zhìzhōng
March 1946 June 1947 Kuomintang
Removed from office.
8 Masʿūd Ṣabrī.jpg Masud Sabri
مەسئۇت سابرى
June 1947 January 1949 Kuomintang
First Uighur governor and first non-Han Governor in China during the twentieth century. Appointed during the Ili Rebellion.
9 Burhan Shahidi6.jpg Burhan Shahidi
بۇرھان شەھىدى
January 1949 September 26, 1949 Kuomintang
Surrendered to the People's Liberation Army.

Xinjiang Provincial Government Office era[edit]

Chairperson of the Provincial Government[edit]

No. Portrait Name
Term of office Political party
1 Yulbars Khan.jpg Yulbars Khan
يۇلبارس خان
April 11, 1950 July 27, 1971 Kuomintang
Died in office.

Director, Xinjiang Provincial Government Office[edit]

No. Portrait Name
Term of office Political party
1 Yao Tao-hung
Yáo Dàohóng
July 27, 1971 ? Kuomintang
Son of Yulbars Khan.
2 Hou Chi-yu
Hóu Jìyù
? January 16, 1992 Kuomintang
Post abolished.


  1. ^ ROC Administrative and Claims.jpg. Wikipedia. Map showing the claims of the ROC.
  2. ^ Governors of Xinjiang: Yang Zengxin (1912–1928), Jin Shuren (1928–33), Sheng Shicai (1933–44); source: "Xinjiang". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Feener, R. Michael (2004). Islam in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives. Religion in Contemporary Cultures. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. 174. ISBN 1-57607-516-8. OCLC 940831123.
  4. ^ a b Bhattacharji, Preeti (May 29, 2012). "Uighurs and China's Xinjiang Region". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  5. ^ Brown, Jeremy (2010). Dilemmas of Victory: The Early Years of the People's Republic of China. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. p. 186. ISBN 9780674033658. OCLC 822561761.
  6. ^ Klimeš, Ondřej. (January 8, 2015). Struggle by the pen : the Uyghur discourse of nation and national interest, c. 1900–1949. Boston. p. 154. ISBN 978-90-04-28809-6. OCLC 900277055.