China – Kazakh Uygur Turks

Turkic ǀ Central Asian

Mukhtar Qui-Mukhammed, State Secretary of Kazakhstan, born in Chuguchak, China

The Kazakhs (also spelled Qazaqs or Kazakh) are a Turkic ethnic group who mainly inhabit the northern parts of Central Asia, chiefly Kazakhstan, but also parts of Uzbekistan and Russia, as well as China (Northern Xinjiang) and Mongolia (Bayan-Ölgii Province) in Eurasia. They are  among the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People’s Republic of China. The Kazakhs likely began using that name during the 15th century. There are many theories on the origin of the word Kazakh or Qazaq. Some speculate that it comes from the Turkic verb qaz (“wanderer, vagabond, warrior, free, independent”) or that it derives from the Proto-Turkic word *khasaq (a wheeled cart used by the Kazakhs to transport their yurts and belongings).

The Kazakhs had settled in the Dzungaria area of Xinjiang after the Dzungar genocide by the Manchus in 1755-1758 wiped out most of the native Dzungar Oirats. They also fled from Soviet engineered famines against the Kazakhs like the Kazakh famine of 1919–1922 and Kazakhstan famine of 1932–1933. The Kazakhs had defected to the Republic of China and fought against the Soviet Communist backed Uyghur Second East Turkestan Republic in the Ili Rebellion.

Today, some Kazakhs are nomadic herders and raise sheep, goats, cattle and horses. These nomadic Kazakhs migrate seasonally in search of pasture for their animals. During the summer, the Kazakhs live in yurts while in winter, they are settled and live in modest houses made from adobe or cement blocks. Others live in the urban areas and tend to be highly educated and hold much influence in integrated communities. The Islam practiced by the Kazakhs in China contains many elements of shamanism, ancestor worship and other traditional beliefs and practices.

China – Kazakh Uygur Turks represents 456 individuals living in the Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture of Northwestern China

Source publication: Genetic Polymorphisms, forensic efficiency, and phylogenetic analysis of 15 autosomal STR Loci in the Kazak population of Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture of Northwestern China, Annals of Human Biology pp 160-165, 2018

[Population 489]