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Accepted Paper:

Han Chinese migrants in Soviet Central Asia   
Ablet Kamalov (University Turan)


The paper will examine the history of a small community of ethnic Chinese (Han) in Soviet Central Asia, who started settling on this territory during the imperial period, in the end of the XIX c. as laborers and traders. Chinese migrants settled primarily in the Russian Far East and Siberia, which were economically developed regions of Russia. During the WWI, Chinese workers were used by the Russian authorities for the ground works at the European front. The numbers in Chinese in Central Asia were not significant for some reasons, including the later incorporation of this territory into the Russian Empire and its historical and cultural traits as part of the Muslim world, as well as remoteness from China. The colonial policy of the Qing Empire at the turn of the twentieth century was concentrated exclusively in the neighboring province of Xinjiang. The growth of the Chinese population in Russia in the early twentieth century did not affect the Chinese population in Central Asia. According to the 1926 census, there were only 108 Chinese in the Uzbek SSR, while by the end of the Soviet period Chinese population of the republic reached 816 people. Quite similar situation was in Kazakhstan. During the period of Stalin's repressions, the Chinese living in the USSR have been persecuted and in the 1937-1939 were almost completely evicted from the Far East; some of them were relocated to Kazakhstan, through which sent back to Xinjiang. During the repatriation of Soviet citizens from China in 1950-1960, a small number of Chinese entered the territory of the USSR. The study of Han migrants in Soviet Central Asia will be put in the context of Soviet-Chinese relations, which evolved from 'eternal' friendship in the 1950s to the confrontation of the 1960-1980s.

Panel T42POL
Migration factor in the China-Kazakhstan relations: historical frame and current developments
  Session 1 Friday 7 June, 2024, -