AAS Annual Meeting

China and Inner Asia Session 713

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Session 713: Local Knowledge and Central Power in the Making of Chinese Inner Asia

Organizer: David J. Brophy, Harvard University, USA

Chair: Hodong Kim, , South Korea

Discussant: Hodong Kim, , South Korea

The Qing and Republican Chinese governments relied on a patchwork of formal and informal structures of authority to rule their frontier zones. This panel explores the meeting place between local knowledge(s) and central authority in the extension of Qing rule into Inner Asia. We ask how these relationships were conducted in different periods, looking for key points of transition, from early- to mid-Qing, and towards the Republic. To explore these questions, the panelists present four studies exploring aspects of the framing and implementation of policies towards the northwest. Andreas Siegl looks at contests over the recognition of the fifth Dalai-Lama during the Kangxi reign, analysing the interaction of Tibetan, Mongolian, and Manchu actors; Onuma Takahiro provides a case-study of the creation of a Muslim nobility in Xinjiang in the course of the Qianlong conquest, focusing on the crossroads oasis of Turfan; Matthew Mosca considers the extent to which the continental and coastal policy zones were divided by regional expertises, or were linked in the formation of a comprehensive view of the Qing empire and its place in the world; finally, David Brophy introduces a previously unknown episode in Beijing’s policy towards its Turkic-speaking Muslim subjects—the creation of an aqsaqal network in Russian Turkistan, and its role in the politics of the Kashgari diaspora there.

Contested legitimacy – Dialogue, power, and the successor(s) of the 5th Dalai Lama
Andreas Siegl, University of Munich, Germany

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Qing dynasty entitled or acknowledged three Dalai Lamas in short time. At least at some point, all of them were adressed as the 6th Dalai Lama by the Qing. To show the Qing’s motivation for this, together with the actions and reactions of Tibetans and Mongols is the main point of my paper. Mainly using Manchu and Mongolian documents from the “Court of the outer dependencies”, I will take a look at the dialogue surrounding the dispute about what makes a legitimate Dalai Lama and how the topics concerning this Lama’s legitimacy were framed. The Qing court and its plenipotentaries, high Lamas of Tibet and Mongols in Tibet and Kokonor all participated in this discussion. How did those actors try to devalue the candidates of opposing factions, while elevating their own? I will try to show that a delicate process of contest lay at the base of the exchanges. This paper also aims to trace closely changes in the role of the participants, and more importantly, of the topic of the “true” Dalai Lama himself. Exploring these questions on basis of a close reading of the letters circulating at that time should provide a better understanding on how Mongols, Tibetans and the Qing saw themselves and acted in relation to each other.

Promoting Power: the Rise of Emin Khoja on the Eve of the Qing Conquest of Kashgaria
Takahiro Onuma, Tohoku Gakuin University, Japan

The Qing conquest of Kashgaria (Eastern Turkistan) in the mid-eighteenth century led to the expulsion of the “Kashgari Khwajas” (Makhdūm-zāda), who had held political and spiritual power there, and the creation of a new Muslim aristocracy. A leading representative of the latter was Emin Khoja, the founder of the line of Turfan Kings (Ch. junwang). Emin Khoja’s successors ruled their territory in the Turfan basin and held the position of hākim beg of Kashgar, the main oasis city in Kashgaria (southern Xinjiang). It can be say that they were in an important position as a “joint” between the Imperial power and the local Muslim society. Their preeminence in Kashgaria under the Qing has been pointed out in past studies. However, the founder Emin Khoja was not initially a prominent or influential man. It is noteworthy that the rapid extension of his authority took place on the eve of the Qing’s conquest of Kashgaria (1755–1757). In this study, mainly using Qing archival sources, I intend to clarify not only the process by which Emin Khoja came to be regarded as “model” (Ma. durun) of Muslim rule under the Qing, but also his relations with the pro-Junghar group in Turfan and the Makhdūm-zāda khojas. Moreover, every episode analyzed in this study took place during the period of transition in political power in Central Eurasia: from the nomadic Junghars to the Qing dynasty. My aim is therefore to use a micro-historical approach to illuminate this macro-historical process.

Awkward Angles: Multi-Frontier Coordination in Mid-Qing Foreign Relations
Matthew W. Mosca, College of William & Mary, USA

The Qing state preferred to manage its foreign relations in discrete units, and historians have naturally tended to approach the subject within these regional segments by separating Inner Asia from China (especially the maritime frontier), or concentrating on even narrower zones. This approach, despite its utility, sidesteps the question of how, and in what contexts, it is useful to consider the Qing empire an integrated entity that functioned as more than the sum of its diverse parts. This paper takes a step toward addressing this topic by examining episodes in Qing foreign relations that transcended regional boundaries, specifically policy debates concerning the military campaigns against Burma (1765-1770) and the Gurkhas (1788-1792), and the arrival of Russian ships at Canton (1805-1806). For Qing rulers, these were awkward cases that cut across normal administrative hierarchies. To manage them, it was necessary to use the full intelligence-gathering and policy-making resources of the empire. Studying the reaction of the Qing government in these cases is useful for two reasons. First, determining how resources from different corners of the empire were drawn together to solve geographic and strategic puzzles reveals intellectual and political ties connecting different frontiers of the empire that often remained hidden. Second, the rise of European imperialism in Asia forged links between Qing frontiers that had long been considered separate. Investigating the early stage of the Qing adaptation to this new reality sheds light on the empire’s policy choices and intelligence gathering later in the nineteenth century.

Governing the Uyghur huaqiao: Kashgari Aqsaqals in Russian Turkistan
David J. Brophy, Harvard University, USA

This paper looks at new policies towards China’s non-Chinese subjects residing beyond the northwestern border in the late Qing and early Republic. It examines the institutional structures governing movement across China and Russia’s new imperial boundaries at this time, focusing on the creation of Chinese-appointed aqsaqals in the Ferghana Valley and Semireche. A hybrid institution by any standards, this new aqsaqal system emerged from the formalization of existing trade and pilgrimage networks among Kashgaris, which blended into the Russian system of native self-governance based on locally elected aqsaqals, and was legitimized by a new Chinese discourse on reciprocity in foreign relations. Such negotiations were typical of Xinjiang, where the implementation of China’s early twentieth-century reform initiatives was of necessity shaped by the interests of the local mercantile elite, and influenced by administrative models drawn from Russian Turkistan. The ambiguous status of the aqsaqals, as both quasi-consular service-providers, and supervisors and intelligence gatherers among the émigré community, makes them controversial figures in later Soviet Uyghur history. Control over the institution became a key issue in the politicization which took place among Turkic-speaking émigrés from Xinjiang in the early years of the Soviet Union. Studying the aqsaqals as the link which tied émigré Kashgaris to Xinjiang, and to China, therefore allows me to connect the disparate fields of late-Qing institutional history with Soviet Uyghur social history.