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The Hero Coming to the East----Wobaxi

Wobaxi is the commander of Mongolian Torgut tribe in Weilate in Qing dynasty. When he could not bear the rule of tsarist Russia, and led his armies back to the east and returned to their motherland.

In 1630 (the 3rd year of Chongzhen's reign in Ming dynasty), in order to avoid the threats of the increasingly powerful Junggar tribe, Heerleke, the commander of Mongolian Torguttribe in Weilate of western desert, led most of the Torgut and some of the Shuote, Duerbote troops, about 50, 000 people altogether, to the drainage area of Eqile River (Volga River, today) and made their living on nomadism. Though they had escaped from the threats of the Junggar tribe, the good times did not last long, they soon fell into the control of the tsarist Russia. Especially after Ayuqi Khan and Celundunluobo Khan died, the life of the Torgut became more difficult. The tsarist Russia not only forced them to acknowledge their allegiance, but also directly intervened in their internal affairs, like the succession of the throne, etc., which arose great anger among them. In 1761, Dunluobolashi, the commander of Torgut tribe, died, and his 17-year-old son Wobaxi succeeded him. During Wobaxi's reign, the tsarist Russia intensified their enslavement and control over the Torgut people, decreased their field, and called up a great number of Torgut soldiers to fight against the Osmanli. They were forced to die for Russia, and thousands of them lost their lives in the battlefields. The deeply distressed Torgut people were looking forward to one day that they could get rid of the control of the tsarist Russia. In such situation, Wobaxi consulted other commanders like Cebokeduoerqi and Sheling, and was determined to go back to their native land and make the Torgut people's long-cherished dream come true.

At the end of the year 1770 (the 35th year of Qianlong's reign), Wobaxi successfully made the Russians lower their guard, and he gathered his people and prepared for the return. In January 1, 1771 (November 20, in the 35th year of Qianlong's reign), Wobaxi attacked the enemies when they were not on the alert, and sent his elite troops to assault the Russian garrison. Then, he led 33,000 families, 170,000 people, to take three different routes and set out for the east. They traversed through the icebound Ural River rapidly and entered into the Kazakstan Grassland covered by heavy snow, and broke away from the chase and attack of the Russian cavalry. Half a year later, having trudged such a long and difficult way with bitter sacrifices, the Torgut people finally arrived at Ili, in Xinjiang province, and returned to their motherland. The Qing government sent officials to Ili to welcome Wobaxi and his people, and settled them near Ili, and relieved them. Afterwards, the government also designated them some fields for rehabilitation. In order to praise and honor Wobaxi for his return, Emperor Qianlong meet Wobaxi in Summer Mountain Resort in Chengde in September and conferred the title of Zhuoliketu Khan on him, taking charge of the original Mongolian Torgut's 4 Qi of south Wunaensuzhuketu Allegiance inYuledusi (today's Bayinguoleng Mongol autonomous prefecture in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region). Wobaxi became the leader of the alliance. In January 9, 1775 (December 8, the 39th year of Qianlong's reign), Wobaxi died of illness, at the age of 33. His eldest son Celingnamuzale succeeded him.

The heroic feat of Wobaxi's return shocked China and the western world of the time. As Irish writor Denisai said in his book the Rebellion of Tartars: "Even dated back to the earliest history, no other great achievement can be compared to the deed that the whole Tartar nationality crossed the Asian Grassland and moved eastward in the second half of last century. It was so shocking, and so exiting."

The return of Wobaxi and the Torgut people have made a great contribution to the development of our multinational country. Such an epic feat and the patriotism, volition and perseverance which are shown in the feat will be recorded in the history for ever, and will inspire us, from time to time, to make great efforts in study and work for the prosperity of our country!


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