Accepted Paper:

Lasting Impact of Dzungar Genocide  


Jacob Rowe (Northfield High School )

Paper long abstract:

In 1755 the Qing Dynasty under the leadership of Emperor Qianlong destroyed the final great Nomadic Empire the Dzungar Khanate. This was accomplished through pre-mediated genocide that sought to eradicate the Dzungars from Western China clearing the way for greater Han and Manuch migration. This genocide almost completely succeeded in killing The Dzungars who were made up of a coalition of Western Tribes of Mongolians called Oriats. This empire ruled from the 1630s to 1750s but was always at odds with the Qing Dynasty and the ruling Khalka Mongolians of Eastern Mongolia. The two largest groups of Mongolians are the Oriats of the West and the Khalkhas of the East who united under Chinggis. When the Mongolian Empire fell in the late 1300s the Mongolian tribes were plagued with a great deal of infighting leading to a fracturing of groups and the eventual rise of the Dzungar Empire in Western Mongolia and China the early 1600s.

Emperor Qianlong saw the Dzungars as different because they had refused at every chance to agree to be a vassal or tributary state like the Tibetans or the Khalkhas. Although massacres were common in Chinese and Mongolian military history, the planned complete destruction of one group was something unprecedented but Qianlong believed it was necessary for his goal of controlling the West. So Qianlong's armies crushed the Dzungars in battle and killed everyone they could.

Many of the few survivors of the genocide settled in Western Mongolia that was one the most distant outpost of the Qing rule. While this genocide seems very distant the impact lives on today in the memory of the Oriat Mongolians of Western Mongolia. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Western Mongolia, I spent a lot of time hearing stories of the "evil Manchu" that had killed so many Oriats. The hatred of China in Western Mongolia has continued to this day but has its origin from this distant genocide.

This largely forgotten genocide has never been fully reconciled by the Chinese Government. There is no doubt that formal recognition of this genocide by the Chinese Government could go a long way in helping to repair the state of relations between Western Mongolians and China. Although the governments of Mongolia and China work closely together, anyone who has spent time in Mongolia will know the serious mistrust and anger most Mongolians have towards China.

Panel HIS-16
The politics of history in contemporary Eurasia