Chinese Tatars
Tatars (right) featured on a mural depicting the 56 recognized ethnic groups in China
Total population
3,556 (2010)
Regions with significant populations
China (Xinjiang)
Tatar, Mandarin

Chinese Tatars (simplified Chinese: 塔塔尔族; traditional Chinese: 塔塔爾族; pinyin: Tǎtǎ'ěrzú; Tatar: Кытай татарлары, romanized: Qıtay tatarları) form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China.

The number of Chinese Tatars stood at 3,556 as of the year 2010 and they live mainly in the cities of Yining, Tacheng and Ürümqi in Xinjiang. Their titular homeland is the Daquan Tatar Ethnic Township in Qitai County of Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture, which sits on the edge of the Gurbantünggüt Desert.[1]


Tatars traditionally acted as mediators in the relations between Russians and the native Muslim peoples of Xinjiang. The first wave of permanent Tatar settlement in Xinjiang began in 1851, primarily in cities such as Ghulja. Tatars brought progressive ideas and new institutions into Xinjiang, where they cemented themselves in the cultural and political fabric of the region. Jadid schools (including institutions for girls), mosques, and libraries catering to the Tatar community were opened in the second half of the 19th-century and in the first decades of the 20th-century. During this period, many intellectuals were brought from Tatarstan to staff the schools and colleges.[2]

Chinese Tatars speak an archaic variant of the Tatar language, free from 20th-century loanwords and use the Arabic variant of the Tatar alphabet, which declined in the USSR in the 1930s. Being surrounded by speakers of other Turkic languages, Chinese Tatar partially reverses the Tatar high vowel inversion.[3]

Chinese Tatars are Sunni Muslims.[4] Most Tatars can speak Uyghur and often utilize the Uyghur Arabic script for writing.[5]

Notable people

See also



  1. ^ 中国人口较少民族 [Ethnic Minorities in China] (in Chinese). Xinhua Press. 2007. p. 83. ISBN 978-7501181094.
  2. ^ Ondřej Klimeš (8 January 2015). Struggle by the Pen: The Uyghur Discourse of Nation and National Interest, c.1900-1949. BRILL. pp. 80–. ISBN 978-90-04-28809-6.
  3. ^ Minglang Zhou (2003). Multilingualism in China: the politics of writing reforms for minority languages, 1949-2002. Vol. 89 of Contributions to the sociology of language (illustrated ed.). Published Walter de Gruyter. p. 183. ISBN 3-11-017896-6. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  4. ^ "Joshua Project - Tatar of China Ethnic People Profile".
  5. ^ Davis, Edward Lawrence (2005). "Turkic Language Speakers". Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 618. ISBN 978-0-415-77716-2.