The China-Tajikistan border is 477km (296m) in length and runs from the tripoint with Kyrgyzstan following a roughly north-south line across various mountain ridges and peaks of the Pamir range down to the tripoint with Afghanistan.
The origins of the border date from the mid-19th century, when the Russian empire expanded into Central Asia and was able to establish its control over the Lake Zaysan region. The establishment of the border between the Russian Empire and the Qing Empire, not too different from today's Sino-Kazakh/Kyrgyz/Tajik border was provided for in the Convention of Peking of 1860; the actual border line pursuant to the convention was drawn by the Treaty of Tarbagatai (1864) and the Treaty of Uliassuhai (1870), leaving Lake Zaysan on the Russian side. The Qing Empire's military presence in the Irtysh basin crumbled during the Dungan revolt (1862–77). After the fall of the rebellion and the reconquest of Xinjiang by Zuo Zongtang, the border between the Russian and the Qing empires in the Ili River basin was further slightly readjusted, in Russia's favour, by the Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1881) and a series of later protocols. In 1915 an agreement was signed more precisely delimiting the border the Ili Valley and Dzungarian Alatau region. The southern-most section of the frontier (i.e. roughly the southern half of the modern China-Tajikistan border) remained undemarcated, owing partly to the ongoing rivalry between Britain and Russia for dominance in Central Asia known as the Great Game; eventually the two agreed that Afghanistan would remain an independent buffer state between them, with Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor being created in 1895. China was not a party to these agreement and hence the southern-most section of the China-Russia boundary remained undefined.
When Tajikistan became independent in 1991 it inherited a section of the USSR-China frontier. In 2011, Tajikistan ratified a 1999 deal to cede 1158 square kilometres of land in the Pamir Mountains to the People's Republic of China, ending a 130-year dispute. In the treaty, China also relinquished claims to over 28,000 km2 (11,000 sq mi) of Tajikistani territory.
The Kulma Pass (4,362.7 m (14,313 ft)) is the only modern day border crossing between China and Tajikistan. Historically, two passes further south, Beyik Pass and Nezatash Pass, have also been traversed.
- CIA World Factbook - Tajikistan, 23 September 2018
- Articles 2 and 3 in the Russian text of the treaty
- International Boundary Study No. 64 – China-USSR Boundary (PDF), 13 February 1978, retrieved 23 September 2018
- (See the map)
- The Lost Frontier: the treaty maps that changed Qing's northwestern boundaries
- "Tajikistan cedes land to China". BBC News. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "Tajikistan cedes disputed land to China". Retrieved 23 September 2018.
- Caravanistan - Tajikistan border crossings, retrieved 23 September 2018
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