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Related to Uigurs: Xinjiang, East Turkestan






(all: wē`go͝orz), Turkic-speaking people of Asia who live mainly in W China. They were the Yue-che of ancient Chinese records and first rose to prominence in the 7th cent. when they supported the T'angT'ang
, dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907. It was founded by Li Yuan and his son Li Shih-min, with the aid of Turkish allies. The early strength of the T'ang was built directly upon the excellent system of communications and administration established by the Sui.
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 Chinese in central Asia. In 744 the Uigurs seized control of Mongolia and established their capital on the OrkhonOrkhon
, river, c.300 mi (480 km) long, rising in the Khangai Mts., N central Republic of Mongolia, and flowing east, then north, past the site of ancient Karakorum, and then northeast to join the Selenga River just S of the Russian border.
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 River, near the site of later KarakorumKarakorum
, ruined city, central Republic of Mongolia, near the Orkhon River, SW of Ulaanbaatar. The area around Karakorum had been inhabited by nomadic Turkic tribes from the 1st cent. A.D., but the city itself was not laid out until c.
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. Ousted (840) from Mongolia by the Kyrgyz, they moved to TurpanTurpan
or Turfan
, town and oasis (1994 est. pop. 64,300), in the Turpan depression (c.5,000 sq mi/12,950 sq km), E Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. It is an agricultural center producing cotton and cotton textiles, silk, wheat, grapes, dried fruit, and wine;
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, in XinjiangXinjiang
or Sinkiang
[Chinese,=new frontier], officially Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (Mandarin Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu), autonomous region (2010 pop. 21,813,334), c.637,000 sq mi (1,650,257 sq km), NW China.
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, where they founded an empire that lasted until the Mongol onslaught of the 13th cent. Unlike other peoples of central Asia, the Uigurs were not exclusively nomadic but practiced some agriculture and trade. They were converted to ManichaeismManichaeism
or Manichaeanism
, religion founded by Mani (c.216–c.276). Mani's Life

Mani (called Manes by the Greeks and Romans) was born near Baghdad, probably of Persian parents; his father may have been a member of the Mandaeans.
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 but later became Sunni Muslims. The Uigurs transmitted their script to the Mongols.

A movement promoting Uigur independence has existed for many years, and there were attempts to establish an East Turkestan Republic in Xinjiang in the 1930s and 40s. Since the Chinese Communist victory in 1949 there have been sporadic antigovernment protests and violence and government antiseparatist crackdowns; in 1954 there was a Uigur uprising in Hotan. In 2009, in the worst recent incident, there was deadly street fighting between Uigurs and Chinese in Ürümqi. Uigur unrest has been aggravated in recent years by resentment over the increasing number of Han Chinese in Xinjiang and government restrictions on Islamic practices. A government crackdown in response led, by 2017, to the establishment of large internment camps in Xinjiang; the government has also instituted a coercive birth-control program for Muslim minorities in Xinjiang that has slowed Uigur population growth. Today half of the population of Xinjiang (reorganized as the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in 1955) is of Uigur descent; there they number about 8 million. Another 1 million Uigurs live in Central Asia and elsewhere.


See C. Mackerras, ed., The Uighur Empire (1968, repr. 1973).

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References in periodicals archive ?
The ''International Bazar'' in the capital of the Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region is a huge three-story shopping mall.
Another successful businessman from an ethnic minority, with whom interviews were arranged by the autonomous region government, is Aikelam Aishaufu, a 44-year-old ethnic Uigur who is chairman of Xinjiang Hops Co., which sells popular the beer Xinjiang Hops.
Uigurs and Kazakhs fled China and could not perform their usual informal role as shuttle traders.
Mirahmat Omarjan, an Uighur and chief of the same district, asserts that, ''Most residents yearn for peace, but an extremely small number of people in the independence movement are committing terrorist acts.'' About 70% of the population in his district are ethnic Uigurs.
Nadzhip's Modern Uigur (Moscow: "Nauka" Publishing House, 1971), 157 pages (not listed in the bibliography of Spoken Uyghur), explains the grammar of the written language with quite a few examples in transliteration and gives one-half page as a specimen of the Arabic script employed then, before the official return to Arabic for most Uyghur publishing.