Immigration and Reclamation during the Process of Qing Expansion

onumaChina Studies Centre, University of Sydney

Takahiro Onuma, Tohoku Gakuin University

1.00pm – 2.30pm, Thursday 17 March 2016
The China Studies Centre, Room 310, Old Teachers College (A22), University of Sydney

Although it is in an arid region, a string of oases fed by rivers flowing from the Qilian Mountains lies along the Hexi Corridor in Gansu. Since ancient times, the people surviving in this harsh natural environment have drawn water into dry land to maintain and expand their oasis habitats. The corridor had also been the most important route connecting the core of China proper and Central Asia, or the “Silk Road.” Innumerable ethnic groups, both large and small, penetrated the region from every direction, resulting in diverse regional characteristics. In the early eighteenth century, while the conflict between the Qing dynasty and Junghars intensified, with the eastern Tianshan area as the major battlefield, the Qing regarded the region as a supply base for the war with Junghars and developed a colonial policy. In 1732, after the two made peace and withdrew their troops from eastern Tianshan, the Qing promoted a project to make the Turkic-speaking Muslims of Turfan, who had cooperated with Qing army, seek refuge in the Qing territory. In the following year, about 10,000 Turfanis led by the chieftain, Emin Khoja, immigrated to Guazhou in western Gansu. From that point until the Qing conquest of the Junghars in 1755, they had made a living in the “diaspora community” formed in Guazhou. During this period, the Qing authorities took for the Turfanis various support measures such as the construction of towns and houses, the supply and loan of food, farming implements, and livestock, and the construction of irrigation channel and reclamation of waste land. This seminar describes the process of the Turfani settlement in Guazhou, the actual social conditions of their community in harsh natural environments, and the target and result of Qing policies on the basis of Turkic-language document on Emin Khoja now kept in the Ethnography Museum in Ankara, Qing archival documents in Beijing and Taipei, and fieldwork in Guazhou.

Takahiro Onuma is Associate Professor of Department of History at Tohoku Gakuin University (Japan), received his PhD in Literature from the University of Tsukuba, and specializes in the history of Xinjiang during the Junghar and Qing periods and the diplomatic relations between Qing and Central Asia. He is author of 250 Years History of Turkic-Muslim Camp in Beijing (Tokyo, 2009) and Shin to Chūō Ajia sōgen [The Qing and the Central Asian Steppe] (Tokyo, 2014). Recent publications include: “An Encounter between the Qing Dynasty and Khoqand in 1759–1760” (with Kawahara Yayoi and Shioya Akifumi, Frontiers of History in China, 9 (3), 2014) and “The Qing Dynasty and Its Central Asian Neighbors” (Saksaha: A Journal of Manchu Studies, 12, 2014).

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