Coordinates: The town of Shuiding (Chinese: 水定镇; pinyin: Shuǐdìng Zhèn), formerly Suiding (Chinese: 绥定; pinyin: Suídìng) is the county seat of Huocheng County in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China. It is located some 40 km to the northwest of Yining, the main city of the prefecture, and some 10 km north of the Ili River.
Shuiding had the population of 29,277 according to the census of 2000.
The origins of Shuiding are tied to a site on the northern bank of the Ili River, some 8 km to the south of the towns today's location. It was there that during the reign of emperor Qianlong, in 1762, during one of the rebellions of the local Muslim population, the fortress of Huiyuan (Chinese: 惠远城; pinyin: Huìyuǎn Chéng) was built, as the center of the Chinese military power and civilian administration in Xinjiang. It was the seat of the Governor General of the region, the Ili Jiangjun (总统伊犁等处将军).
Huiyuan suffered severe damage during the Muslim Rebellion of the 1860s, the besieged Jiangjun Mingxu blowing himself up in his palace rather than surrendering to the rebels. The fort fell into disuse during the Russian occupation that followed in 1871-81. The Russians left pursuant to Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1881), and two years later, in 1883 the fortress and the military-administrative town that accompanied it were rebuilt at Shuiding's present location, several miles north of the river. The town's then name, Suiding (Chinese: 绥定城; pinyin: Suídìng Chéng), was commonly transcribed in the West as Suidun. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica described "Suidun" as "a military town, with provision stores, an arsenal and an arms workshop. Its walls are armed with steel guns."
Until 1898, Suiding remained the residence of the Governor General of the province; during the later days of the Qing Empire, the Ili Jiangjun resident in Suiding only remained in charge of the local banner troops and the nomadic tribes in the area. After the Xinhai Revolution, the post was altogether abolished.
Unlike the city of Yining, originally known as Ningyuan (Chinese: 宁远城; pinyin: Níngyuǎn Chéng), which has always remained the commercial center of the region, the 19th century Huiyuan/Suiding was mostly a fortress and an administrative town. It was known to the Russians as the New Kuldja, Chinese Kuldja, or Manchu Kuldja, to distinguish it from Yining (the Old Kuldja or the Taranchi Kuldja). This usage is no longer current.
With the creation of the Ili Special Area (Chinese: 伊犁专区; pinyin: Yīlí Zhuānqū) in 1950, the then existing Suiding County was included into the Area, as was the neighboring Huocheng County; in 1955, the Ili Special Area became Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture. In 1965, the name Suiding (Chinese: 绥定; pinyin: Suídìng) was replaced with more politically correct Shuiding (Chinese: 水定; pinyin: Shuǐdìng), with 'shui' ('water') replacing 'sui' ("to pacify"). The next year (1966), Shuiding County was merged into Huocheng County, and the Huocheng County county seat was transferred to Shuiding town. 
The original Huiyuan site is now a separate town of Huiyuan (Chinese: 惠远镇; pinyin: Huìyuǎn Zhèn) within the same Huocheng County as Shuiding. Huiyuan's population was reported as 20,564 by the Year 2000 Census.
Some of the Qing period buildings, including a bell tower and a "Governor General's Pavilion", have been rebuilt at the Huiyuan site as a tourist attraction, often referred to as the "Huiyuan Old Town" (Chinese: 惠远古城; pinyin: Huìyuǎn Gǔchéng).
- Huocheng County information, at the China Administrative Division info site (Chinese)
- Suidun in Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (Russian)
- Suidun in Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1911)
- 伊犁惠远城 (Ili's Huiyuan City) (Chinese)
- Henry Lansdell, "Russian Central Asia: Including Kuldja, Bokhara, Khiva and Merv". Full text available at Google Books; there is also a 2001 facsimile reprint of the 1885 edition, ISBN 1-4021-7762-3. (Chapters XIV-XVII describe Lansdell visit to the area in the early 1880s, soon after the Russian withdrawal. He visited "Suidun" (Suiding), mentioned already ruined "Ili or Manchu Kuldja" (Huiyancheng), and then went to "Taranchi Kuldja" (Yining))