Xinjiang should be wary of pan-Turkic history

By Wang Yan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/10/18 21:08:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

A seminar to discuss and approve the final version of the draft Textbook of Common Turkic History till 15th Century, under the auspices of the International Turkic Academy in Kazakhstan, was held on September 27, 2017 in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.

The event indicates that the vision of compiling textbooks on Turkic history has become a reality.

There are six Turkic-speaking countries in the world - Turkey and Azerbaijan in West Asia, and Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan in Central Asia.

What is noteworthy is that the writing group for the draft textbook includes no Russian, Mongolian or Chinese scholars, just experts from Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan where a "pan-Turkism" cultural atmosphere prevails in their academic circles.

Some scholars tend to identify nomadic people in northern China as part of the Turkic cultural circle. On that account, the compilation and promotion of this textbook deserves our attention.

Although "pan-Turkism" is in its death throes, the ideology has never been withdrawn from the political arena. Once it grasps an opportunity, it will emerge again as a threat that endangers the security of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. There are hard lessons concerning the compilation of textbooks used by Uyghur people about Xinjiang which are closely related to "pan-Turkism."

Separatists in Xinjiang have tried every means to introduce "pan-Turkism" into the region's textbooks, placing parochial and wrongful ethnic identities over and above national identity, which does great harm to the younger generation.

So for publications like textbooks, we should be wary of "pan-Turkism" rising to a generally accepted status. Although we have no knowledge of the content of the textbook, as Xinjiang is contiguous with Central Asia and people of the same ethnicity inhabit cross-border regions, the compilation of this book will inevitably strengthen the "Turkic identity" of Central Asian people. That psychological implication will bring potential risks to China's ideology. What should we do?

First, we should pay close attention to how this event develops, and there should be research and discussions about this textbook. We should deeply analyze the authenticity of the content of the textbook and make a comprehensive and objective evaluation. At the same time, close attention should be paid to how the textbook is being promoted so as to make preparations in advance.

Second, we should perfect the view of history, culture and nation formed by some people in Xinjiang. The similarity of language does not indicate the same originality of nations. The ancestors of the Uyghur ethnic group are Uyghur, rather than Turkish people.

Third, we should use the platform of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to enhance the political dialogue with Central Asian countries so as to consolidate the security foundation, tighten the bonds of interests and promote common feelings among the people.

Meanwhile, we should actively use all kinds of channels to translate our official history of Xinjiang and Central Asia into the Turkish, Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Uzbek languages to promote it externally, thus helping the intellectual elite and ordinary people to form a correct understanding of their origins and history to avoid misunderstandings.

Last but not least, we should strengthen research about Marxism concerning the view of country, history, ethnicity and culture. We should have a correct understanding of the history and reality of Xinjiang, adhere to ideology of China as an inseparable unity, set up the right national identity of Xinjiang people, resist against all kinds of risks of ideological corrosion and build up a strong national ideological security.

The author is an assistant research fellow at Xinjiang Normal University.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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