Reviews

This work by G. M. Mendikulova, a specialist on the Kazakh diaspora throughout the world, and B. Zh. Atanbaeva, a historian of Kazakh-Chinese relations, introduces primary sources on the issue of migrations between the two countries from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Both authors have in fact worked through much archive material and statistical data in order to reconstruct the population influxes west and east of the Tian Shan. The first part of the work is devoted to a study of the available sources on the subject. The second part of the work is focused on the prerevolutionary period. After having presented the territorial evolutions and border changes between Chinese and Russian Turkistan, the authors examine the diversity of migration movements: Uighurs, Dungans, and Kazakhs fleeing Xinjiang’s instability for seeking refuge in the Russian Empire, then the flows of Central Asian populations moving to the other direction in order to flee the Tsarist repression of the 1916 uprising. The third part of the work is devoted to the Soviet period, involving migration influxes from Kazakhstan to China during the years of settling and collectivisation. The authors also deal with the movements of political staff sent to China in the 1930s-40s, in a period of Soviet support to Xinjiang. They also tackle the massive flux of Muslim populations, mainly Uighurs, in the opposite direction to flee the violence of the People’s Republic in the 1950s-60s. Given the importance taken by questions of migration throughout the whole post-Soviet space, and by the renewed fashion of xenophobic clichés about the ‘yellow peril’ in Central Asia and Russia, this well-documented and sober work sheds a welcome scholarly light on the eminently political and social nature of modern migratory influxes. It provides a key reference for all those with an interest in Sino-Central Asian questions.

Marlène Laruelle, John Hopkins University, Washington, DC
CER: II-3.4.D-303