On September 12, 1955, the Motion on Cancelling Xinjiang Province and Establishing Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was adopted at the 21st meeting of the standing committee of the first National people’s Congress. On September 30, the People’s Committee of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was elected at the second meeting of the first People’s Congress in Xinjiang Province, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China was officially established, and the original Xinjiang Province was cancelled. Sayf-ud-Din Aziz was elected Chairman of the Autonomous Region, three Vice-Chairmen were produced, who were Gao Jinchun (Han), Iminov (Uigur) and Pathan Skulbayev (Kazakh). The 37 members of the People’s Committee(i.e., the People’s Government) came from 11 ethnic groups. On October 1, over 60,000 people from different ethnic groups and social quarters of Urumqi City massed together to celebrate the 6 th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China and the establishment of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, where Sayf-ud_Din Aziz announced the founding of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. By then, Xinjiang had completed the work of establishing regional ethnic autonomous divisions and self-rule bodies at the three levels of region, prefecture and county. Up to now, among the 5 autonomous regions in China, Xinjiang is still the only place where all the three levels of autonomous divisions are present.
Among the other 12 permanent resident ethnic groups in Xinjiang, most of the minority groups set up their own autonomous divisions except the Uzbeks, Tatars, Russ and Manchus, who had too few population and were scattered too much to have their own self-rule units. In 1956, the district-and township-level ethnic autonomous areas were restructured and turned into ethnic townships. By now, Xinjiang have altogether 42 ethnic townships for the 9 ethnic groups of Kazakh, Hui, Kirgiz, Mongol, Tajik, Xibe, Uzbek, Daur and Tatar, which, plus the Uygur, make it 10 ethnic minorities with their own ethnic autonomous units at various levels or ethnic townships in Xinjiang.
- 2. Name of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Given the state of affairs of the Uygur people and other minority groups in Xinjiang, the Uygurs should build a provinciallevel ethnic autonomous division in Xinjiang. In February 1955, t he preparatory committee for regional ethnic autonomy in Xinjiang Province was set up, and preparations for setting up provinciallevel autonomous region officially began. People of all ethnic groups in the province had extensive discussions on the establishment of the provincial autonomous region and endorsed the founding Rincon tibet of a Uygur provincial autonomous region in Xinjiang. However, they were divided on the name of the autonomous region, and the focus of contention was whether the words of “Xinjiang” and “Uygur”should appear in the name.
In the following one year’s time, people from different ethnic groups and social quarters discussed repeatedly the name for the autonomous region at people’s congresses and political
consultative conferences at different levels as well as other special meetings, and gradually achieved the following consensus:
The autonomous prefectures and counties that had already been built were addressed by both the name of place and the name of ethnic group. As the Uygurs we