The author Burhan Shahidi (1894-1989) was born in a poor Uygur or Tatar family in the Russian Kazan Governorate and moved as a young boy to China, where he received a Chinese citizenship in 1914. He spent his first years as an interpreter from Uyghur, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Turkish and basic Arabic for the leader of Xinjiang, Yang Zengxin.
In 1929, Shahidi moved to Germany for studies and after that to the Soviet Union to serve as a consular official in the district of Zaysan. Only a year later, in 1938, he was arrested as a supporter of Trotsky. During the next six years in prison Burhan Shahidi wrote this dictionary.
After his release from prison, Shahidi became a prominent Chinese politician and co-founder and the first chairman of the Islamic Association of China.
Worldcat lists three or four institutional examples (National Library of Israel, The British Library with one or two examples, Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden).