Saifuddin Azizi

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Saifuddin Azizi
سەيپىدىن ئەزىزى
Seypidin Azizi.jpg
Saifuddin Azizi in 1950
Vice Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
In office
Chairman Li Ruihuan
Vice Chairman of the National People's Congress
In office
Chairman Liu ShaoqiZhu DeYe JianyingPeng ZhenWan Li
Communist Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
In office
July 1972 January 1978
Acting: July 1972 – June 1973
Preceded by Long Shujin
Succeeded by Wang Feng
Agency executive of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional People's Committee
In office
July 1972 January 1978
Acting: July 1972 – June 1973
Preceded byLong Shujin
Succeeded byWang Feng
Chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional Revolutionary Committee
In office
October 1955 January 1967
Preceded by Burhan Shahidi (as the Governor of Xinjiang)
Succeeded byLong Shujin
Chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional Political Consultative Conference
In office
February 1955 September 1955
Preceded byBurhan Shahidi
Succeeded byBurhan Shahidi
Minister of Education of the East Turkestan
In office
President Elihan Tore
Personal details
Born(1915-03-12)March 12, 1915
Artux, Xinjiang
DiedNovember 24, 2003(2003-11-24) (aged 88)
Beijing, China
Political party Chinese Communist Party (joined 1949)
Party of the Democratic Revolution (1947–48)
East Turkestan People's Revolutionary Party (1946–47)
Awards Order of Liberation 1st Class.svg Order of Liberation (First Class Medal)
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the Second East Turkestan Republic.svg Second East Turkestan Republic
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  People's Republic of China
Branch/serviceFlag of the Second East Turkestan Republic.svg East Turkestan Army
Ground Force Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  People's Liberation Army Ground Force
Rank Lieutenant General rank insignia (PRC, 1955-1965).jpg Lieutenant General of the PLA
Battles/wars Ili Rebellion
Saifuddin Azizi
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 賽福鼎·艾則孜
Simplified Chinese 赛福鼎·艾则孜
Uyghur name
Uyghur سەيپىدىن ئەزىزى

Saifuddin Azizi (Uighur : سەيپىدىن ئەزىزى; March 12, 1915 – November 24, 2003), also known as Seypidin Azizi, Saif al-Dīn ʿAzīz, Saifuding Aizezi and Saifuding, was the first chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China.


Azizi was born in Tacheng to an influential Uyghur trader family originally from Artux (Artush). [1] [2] He attended school in Xinjiang and then moved to the Soviet Union, joining the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and studying at the Central Asia Political Institute in Tashkent. [3] He returned to Xinjiang as a Soviet agent, instigating the Soviet-backed Ili Rebellion against the Republic of China government in northwest Xinjiang. He served as Minister of Education in the Second East Turkestan Republic and Commissioner of Education in the Zhang Zhizhong Ili Rebel-Kuomintang coalition government from 1945–1948. [1] In September 1949, Saifuddin attended the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference endorsed by the Communist Party of China (CPC), becoming a member of the new Communist government. [4] In October, the 1949 Chinese revolution brought the Communists to power in Xinjiang and in China more generally; at this point, Saifuddin held various posts for Nationalities and Political and Legal Affairs for the new government. [1]

From December 1949 through January 1950, he accompanied Mao Zedong in his trip to Moscow to negotiate the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and it was there on December 27, 1949 where he quit the CPSU and joined the CPC in accordance with recommendation of Mao himself. In 1955, he was given the rank of Lieutenant General of the PLA. In the same year, he registered with Mao his strong objection to proposals to name Xinjiang the "Xinjiang Autonomous Region", arguing that "autonomy is not given to mountains and rivers. It is given to particular nationalities". As a result, the administrative region would be named "Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region". [5]

Uyghur linguist Ibrahim Muti'i opposed the Second East Turkestan Republic and was against the Ili Rebellion because it was backed by the Soviets and Stalin. Saifuddin Azizi later apologized to Ibrahim and admitted that his opposition to the East Turkestan Republic was the correct thing to do. [6]

At the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing, he secured the role of regional Chairman of Xinjiang, a job he kept from 1955 to 1978, with a brief respite during the Cultural Revolution. [7] He was a vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the First through Seventh National People's Congress and an alternate member of the Political Bureau of the 10th and 11th CPC Central Committee. [8] From 1993 to 1998, he served as a vice-chairman of the CPPCC National Committee. [9] He died of illness at the age of 88. [8]

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  1. 1 2 3 McMillen, Donald H. (1979). Chinese Communist Power and Policy in Xinjiang, 1949-1977 . Westview Press. pp.  34–36.
  2. Donald W. Klein, Anne B. Clark. Biographic Dictionary of Chinese Communism, 1921-1965 . 2. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p.  743 via Internet Archive.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  3. Xinjiang: China's Muslim Borderland by S. Frederick Starr
  4. Benson, Linda; Ingvar Svanberg (1998). China's last Nomads: the history and culture of China's Kazaks. M.E. Sharpe. p. 100.
  5. Bovingdon, Gardner (2010). The Uyghurs: Strangers in Their Own Land. Columbia University Press. p. 199.
  6. Clark, William (2011). "Ibrahim's story" (PDF). Asian Ethnicity. Taylor & Francis. 12 (2): 213. doi:10.1080/14631369.2010.510877. ISSN   1463-1369. S2CID   145009760 . Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  7. Dillon, Michael (2004). Xinjiang: China's Muslim far northwest. Routledge. p. 79.
  8. 1 2 "Noted Uygur leader Seypidin Azizi dies". People's Daily. 2003-11-25.
  9. China Vitae Accessed 2010-10-30
Government offices
Preceded by
Post created
Chairman of Xinjiang
Succeeded by
Long Shujin
Preceded by
Long Shujin
Chairman of Xinjiang
Succeeded by
Wang Feng
Party political offices
Preceded by
Long Shujin
Secretary of the CPC Xinjiang Committee
Succeeded by
Wang Feng