Maoist Campaigns and Uyghur Elites in Xinjiang, 1957-1966

by Joshua L. Freeman, Princeton University

Date & Time

Mar 29, 2021 05:00 PM Prague Bratislava


Trainee Centre Online


When the People’s Liberation Army marched into Xinjiang in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party had little expertise and no local operatives in the vast, Muslim-majority region. In order to effectively govern, the party swiftly formed alliances with groups of Uyghur intellectuals and elites, a united front that proved indispensible to early Maoist rule in Xinjiang. In the late 1950s, this alliance began to fracture, as the party-state sought to purify its ranks through a series of campaigns. Yet the Maoist state in Xinjiang proved unable to fully divest itself of its local allies; their skills were simply too valuable in administering this majority-minority region. This talk will focus on the Chinese party-state’s troubled relationship with Uyghur elites in the period 1957-1966, the decade beginning with the Anti-Rightist Campaign and ending on the eve of the Cultural Revolution. 


Joshua L. Freeman is a historian of China and Inner Asia at Princeton University. His research focuses on national culture in the socialist periphery, and particularly on the transborder Uyghur nation. He is also a translator of Uyghur poetry, with translations published in over a dozen literary journals.