Sino-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact

Last updated

The Sino-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (traditional Chinese :中蘇互不侵犯條約; simplified Chinese :中苏互不侵犯条约; pinyin :Zhōng-sū hù bù qīnfàn tiáoyuē) was signed in Nanjing on August 21, 1937, between the Republic of China and the Soviet Union during the Second Sino-Japanese War. It went into effect on the day it was signed. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on September 8, 1937. [1]

Traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters

Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.

Simplified Chinese characters standardized Chinese characters developed in mainland China

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.

Pinyin Chinese romanization scheme for Mandarin

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.


Polikarpov I-16 with Chinese insignia. I-16 was the main fighter plane used by the Chinese Airforce and Soviet volunteers. Soviet volunteer.jpg
Polikarpov I-16 with Chinese insignia. I-16 was the main fighter plane used by the Chinese Airforce and Soviet volunteers.


At first the treaty led to improving relations between the Kuomintang, Chiang Kai-shek's government and the USSR. Following the signing of the pact, the Soviet Union began sending aircraft to the Chinese national government in Operation Zet, as well as economic aid to help stave off Japanese occupation. Chiang hoped this was a precursor to Soviet intervention into the war, however as time passed he soon realized that the USSR was constricted in what aid it could actually provide, due to not wanting to upset the tacit alliance with Britain, France, and later the United States, who favored China in the war but, would back Japan against the USSR in order to weaken both.

Kuomintang Political party in the Republic of China

The Kuomintang of China, also spelled as Guomindang and often alternatively translated as the Nationalist Party of China (NPC) or the Chinese Nationalist Party (CNP), is a major political party in the Republic of China based in Taipei that was founded in 1911. The KMT is currently an opposition political party in the Legislative Yuan.

Chiang Kai-shek Chinese politician and military leader

Chiang Kai-shek, also known as Generalissimo Chiang or Chiang Chungcheng and romanized as Chiang Chieh-shih or Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese nationalist politician, revolutionary and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and then in Taiwan until his death.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

The treaty also allowed the USSR to focus its attention more on the Western border where Nazi Germany was building up for what appeared to be war with the USSR especially after the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact was signed. The pact contributed to the worsening relationship between China and Nazi Germany, which had already seen the end of German military assistance in China.

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

China Country in East Asia

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Breach of the pact by the Soviet Union

Ironically, in 1937, while the pact was being signed, the Soviets brazenly breached it before and after the signing, conducting the Xinjiang War (1937) from August to October.

The Soviet Army was assisting its puppet Governor Sheng Shicai in Xinjiang. The Kuomintang Muslim General Ma Hushan led the 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army) to resist the invasion.

Sheng Shicai Chinese warlord

Sheng Shicai was a Chinese warlord who ruled Xinjiang from 1933 to 1944. Sheng's rise to power started with a coup d'état in 1933, when he was appointed the duban or Military Governor of Xinjiang. His rule over Xinjiang is marked by close cooperation with the Soviet Union, allowing the Soviets trade monopoly and exploitation of resources, which effectively made Xinjiang a Soviet puppet state. The Soviet era ended in 1942, when Sheng approached the Nationalist Chinese government, but still retained much power over the province. He was dismissed from post in 1944 and named Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. Growing animosity against him led the government to dismiss him again and appoint to a military post. At the end of the Chinese Civil War, Sheng fled the mainland China to Taiwan with the rest of Kuomintang.

Xinjiang Autonomous region

Xinjiang, officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR), is a provincial-level autonomous region of China in the northwest of the country. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and the eighth largest country subdivision in the world, spanning over 1.6 million km2. Xinjiang contains the disputed territory of Aksai Chin, which is administered by China and claimed by India. Xinjiang borders the countries of Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan (Gilgit-Baltistan) and India. The rugged Karakoram, Kunlun and Tian Shan mountain ranges occupy much of Xinjiang's borders, as well as its western and southern regions. Xinjiang also borders the Tibet Autonomous Region and the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai. The most well-known route of the historical Silk Road ran through the territory from the east to its northwestern border. In recent decades, abundant oil and mineral reserves have been found in Xinjiang and it is currently China's largest natural gas-producing region.

The 36th Division was a cavalry division in the National Revolutionary Army. It was created in 1932 by the Kuomintang for General Ma Zhongying, who was also its first commander. It was made almost entirely out of Hui Muslim troops, all of its officers were Hui, with a few thousand Uighurs forced conscripts in the rank and file. It was commonly referred to as the "KMT 36th Division", or "Tungan 36th Division".

Before the invasion, Ma Hushan had communicated with Chiang Kaishek, and he mentioned to Peter Fleming that Chiang was going to send help to fight the Soviets. However, the outbreak of war with Japan led Ma Hushan to face the Soviet Invasion on his own, despite resisting and killing Russian soldiers, Ma Hushan's forces eventually succumbed to Soviet mustard gas bombardment, and Ma Hushan fled to India, where he took a steamer back to China.

Peter Fleming (writer) British writer and soldier

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Peter Fleming was a British adventurer, soldier and travel writer. He was the elder brother of Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond.

Sheng Shicai then invited Soviet forces to garrison in Turfan, right next to Gansu province.

The Republic of China government was fully aware of the Soviet invasion of Xinjiang province, and Soviet troops moving around Xinjiang and Gansu, but was forced to mask these maneuvers to the public as "Japanese propaganda" to avoid an international incident and for continued military supplies from the Soviets. [2]

The Chinese government responded with its own military moves. The Muslim General Ma Buqing was in virtual control of the Gansu corridor at this time. [3] Ma Buqing had earlier fought against the Japanese, but since the Soviet threat was great, Chiang made some arrangements regarding Ma's position. In July 1942 Chiang Kai-shek instructed Ma Buqing to move 30,000 of his troops to the Tsaidam marsh in the Qaidam Basin of Qinghai. [4] [5] Chiang named Ma Reclamation Commissioner, to threaten Sheng Shicai's southern flank in Xinjiang, which bordered Tsaidam.

After Ma evacuated his positions in Gansu, Kuomintang troops from central China flooded the area, and infiltrated Soviet occupied Xinjiang, gradually reclaiming it and forcing Sheng Shicai to break with the Soviets.

The Ili Rebellion broke out in Xinjiang when the Kuomintang Chinese Muslim Officer Liu Bin-Di was killed while fighting Turkic Uyghur Rebels in November 1944. The Soviet Union supported the Turkic rebels against the Kuomintang, and Kuomintang forces were fighting back.

The Kuomintang Chinese government ordered Muslim General Ma Bufang several times to march his troops into Xinjiang to intimidate the pro Soviet Governor Sheng Shicai. This helped provide protection for Chinese settling in Xinjiang. [6] Ma Bufang was sent with his Muslim Cavalry to Urumqi by the Kuomintang in 1945 during the Ili Rebellion to protect it from the Uyghur army from Hi (name for Ili at that time). [7] [8] [9] [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

Second East Turkestan Republic Former state in northern Xinjiang

The Second East Turkestan Republic, commonly referred to simply as the East Turkestan Republic (ETR), was a short-lived Soviet-backed Turkic socialist people's republic. The ETR existed in the mid-1940s in northern Xinjiang. It began as a revolution in three northern districts of Xinjiang Province of the Chinese Republic, resulting in the Ili Rebellion, in 1946 it canceled the independent participation and joined the Xinjiang Provincial Coalition Government, but de facto autonomy. The rest of Xinjiang was under Kuomintang control. This region is now part of the northern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China (PRC). ETR was the first phase of the Three Districts Revolution (1944–1949).

Muhammad Amin Bughra Chinese politician

Muhammad Amin Bughra, also Muḥammad Amīn Bughra (1901–1965), Муххамад Эмин Бугро, Chinese: 穆罕默德·伊敏; pinyin: Mùhǎnmòdé·Yīmǐn, was a Turkic Muslim leader who planned to set up an independent state, the First East Turkestan Republic. Muhammad Amin Bughra was a Jadidist.

Ma clique Hui Chinese Muslim political faction in the Warlord Era

The Ma clique or Ma family warlords is a collective name for a group of Hui warlords in Northwestern China who ruled the Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Ningxia for 10 years from 1919 until 1928. Following the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1911, the region came under Chinese Muslim warlord Ma Qi's control until the Northern Expedition by the Republic of China consolidated central control in 1928. There were three families in the Ma clique, each of them respectively controlled 3 areas, Gansu, Qinghai, and Ningxia. The three most prominent members of the clique were Ma Bufang, Ma Hongkui, and Ma Hongbin, collectively known as the Xibei San Ma. Some contemporary accounts, such as Edgar Snow's, described the clique as the "Four Ma", adding Ma Bufang's brother Ma Buqing to the list of the top warlords. Other prominent Mas included Ma Anliang, Ma Qi, Ma Lin, Ma Hu-shan, and Ma Zhongying.

Ma Bufang Chinese politician

Ma Bufang (1903 – 31 July 1975) (traditional Chinese: 馬步芳; simplified Chinese: 马步芳; pinyin: Mǎ Bùfāng; Wade–Giles: Ma3 Pu4-fang1, Xiao'erjing: ما بوفنگ‎) was a prominent Muslim Ma clique warlord in China during the Republic of China era, ruling the province of Qinghai. His rank was Lieutenant-general.

Ma Hongbin Chinese politician

Ma Hongbin, was a prominent Chinese Muslim warlord active mainly during the Republican era, and was part of the Ma clique. He was the acting Chairman of Gansu and Ningxia Provinces for a short period.

Ma Zhanshan Chinese politician

Ma Zhanshan (Ma Chan-shan; simplified Chinese: 马占山; traditional Chinese: 馬占山; pinyin: Mǎ Zhànshān; Wade–Giles: Ma3 Chan4-shan1; November 30, 1885 – November 29, 1950) was a Chinese general who initially opposed the Imperial Japanese Army in the invasion of Manchuria, briefly defected to Manchukuo, and then rebelled and fought against the Japanese in Manchuria and other parts of China.

Ma Buqing Republic of China Warlord

Ma Buqing (1901–1977) was a prominent Ma clique warlord in China during the Republic of China era, controlling armies in the province of Qinghai.

The Xinjiang clique was a military faction that ruled Xinjiang during China's warlord era. Unlike other cliques, its leaders were from outside the province.

Khoja Niyaz Chinese rebel

Khoja Niyaz, also Khoja Niyaz Haji, was a Uyghur independence movement leader who led several rebellions in Xinjiang against the Kumul Khanate, the Chinese governor Jin Shuren and later the Hui warlord Ma Chung-ying. He is best remembered as the first and only president of the short-lived Islamic Republic of Eastern Turkestan from November 1933 until the republic's defeat in 1934.

The Soviet invasion of Xinjiang was a military campaign of the Soviet Union in the Chinese northwestern region of Xinjiang in 1934. White Russian forces assisted the Soviet Red Army.

The Ili Rebellion was a Soviet-backed revolt against the Kuomintang government of the Republic of China in 1944. Following the rebellion, the rebels established the Provisional Government of the Second East Turkestan Republic in 1944. The Ili Rebellion was the start of the Three Districts Revolution which lasted from 1944 to 1949.

The Second Battle of Ürümqi was a conflict in the winter of 1933–1934 at Ürümqi, between the provincial forces of Sheng Shicai and the alliance of the Chinese Muslim Gen. Ma Zhongying and Han Chinese Gen. Zhang Peiyuan. Zhang seized the road between Tacheng and the capital. Sheng Shicai commanded Manchurian troops and a unit of White Russian soldiers, led by Col. Pappengut. The Kuomintang Republic of China government had secretly incited Zhang and Ma to overthrow Sheng—even as they prepared to swear him in as governor of Xinjiang—because of his ties to the Soviet Union. Chinese Nationalist leader Gen. Chiang Kai-shek sent Luo Wen'gan to Xinjiang, where he met with Ma Zhongying and Zhang Peiyuan and urged them to destroy Sheng.

Islamic rebellion in Xinjiang (1937)

In 1937 an Islamic rebellion broke out in southern Xinjiang. The rebels were 1,500 Turkic (Uighur) Muslims led by Kichik Akhund, tacitly aided by the 36th Division against the pro-Soviet provincial forces of Sheng Shicai.

Kuomintang Islamic insurgency Continuation of Chinese Civil War by Chinese Muslims

The Kuomintang Islamic insurgency refers to a continuation of the Chinese Civil War by Chinese Muslim nationalist Kuomintang Republic of China Army forces in Northwest China, in the provinces of Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Xinjiang, and another insurgency in Yunnan.

The Kumul Rebellion was a rebellion of Kumulik Uyghurs from 1931 to 1934 who conspired with Hui Chinese Muslim Gen. Ma Zhongying to overthrow Jin Shuren, governor of Xinjiang. The Kumul Uyghurs were loyalists of the Kumul Khanate and wanted to restore the heir to the Khanate and overthrow Jin. The Kuomintang wanted Jin removed because of his ties to the Soviet Union, so it approved of the operation while pretending to acknowledge Jin as governor. The rebellion then catapulted into large-scale fighting as Khotanlik Uyghur rebels in southern Xinjiang started a separate rebellion for independence in collusion with Kirghiz rebels. Various groups rebelled, and were not united. The main part of the war was waged by Ma Zhongying against the Xinjiang government. He was supported by Chiang Kai-shek, the Premier of China, who secretly agreed to let Ma seize Xinjiang.

Ma Hushan Chinese warlord

Ma Hu-shan was the brother-in-law and follower of Ma Chung-ying, a Ma Clique warlord. He ruled over an area of southern Xinjiang, nicknamed Tunganistan by westerners, from 1934–37.

Ma Zhongying Chinese Muslim warlord

Ma Zhongying, also Ma Chung-ying was a Hui Chinese Muslim warlord during the Warlord era of China. His birth name was Ma Buying. Ma was a warlord of Gansu province in China during the 1930s. His alliance with the Kuomintang (KMT) brought his predominantly Chinese Muslim troops under the control of the KMT as the 36th Division ; Zhongying was its commander. He was ordered to overthrow Jin Shuren, the governor of Xinjiang. After several victories over provincial and White Russian forces, he attempted to expand his territory into southern Xinjiang by launching campaigns from his power base in Gansu, but was stopped by Xinjiang warlord Sheng Shicai in 1934.

Xinjiang Province, Republic of China Former province of the Republic of China

Xinjiang Province refers to a former province of the Republic of China. First set up in 1884 as a province of the Qing dynasty, it was replaced in 1955 by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. The original provincial government was relocated to Taipei as the Sinkiang Provincial Government Office (新疆省政府辦事處) until its dissolution in 1992.

Tunganistan was an independent administered region in the Southern part of the Chinese Province Xinjiang from 1934 to 1937. The Name Tunganistan was coined by the Austrian Mongolia expert Walther Heissig. The territory included the oases of the southern Tarim Basin, the centre of the region was Khotan.


  1. League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. 181, pp. 102-105.
  2. Hsiao-ting Lin (2010). Modern China's Ethnic Frontiers: A Journey to the West. Taylor & Francis. p. 58. ISBN   0-415-58264-4 . Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  3. Asia, Volume 40. Asia Magazine. 1940. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  4. Hsiao-Ting Lin: War, Leadership and Ethnopolitics: Chiang Kai-shek and China's frontiers, 1941-1945, in: Journal of Contemporary China, Volume 18, 2009, Issue 59, pp. 201-217.
  5. Nationalists, Muslim Warlords, and the “Great Northwestern Development” in Pre-Communist China
  6. Human Relations Area Files, inc (1956). A regional handbook on Northwest China, Volume 1. Printed by the Human Relations Area Files. p. 74. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  7. Paul Preston; Michael Partridge; Antony Best. British documents on foreign affairs: reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print. From 1946 through 1950. Asia, Volume 1. University Publications of America. p. 63. ISBN   1-55655-768-X . Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  8. Paul Preston; Michael Partridge; Antony Best. British documents on foreign affairs: reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print. From 1946 through 1950. Asia, Volume 1. University Publications of America. p. 63. ISBN   1-55655-768-X . Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  9. Paul Preston; Michael Partridge; Antony Best. British documents on foreign affairs: reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print. From 1946 through 1950. Asia, Volume 1. University Publications of America. p. 63. ISBN   1-55655-768-X . Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  10. Paul Preston; Michael Partridge; Antony Best. British documents on foreign affairs: reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print. From 1946 through 1950. Asia, Volume 1. University Publications of America. p. 63. ISBN   1-55655-768-X . Retrieved June 28, 2010.

Further reading