The “Barin Uprising” In East Turkestan
By Abdugheni Sabit ( written 2013 )
On April 4, 1990, “Barin Uprising” broke out in Barin Township. The purpose of the uprising was to fight against the Chinese occupation of East Turkestan, suppressive Chinese regime and Chinese government’s ethnic cleansing policy towards the Uyghur people. Since the occupation, Chinese government has carried out brutal and inhumane policy in East Turkestan such as arbitrary arrests/torture and execution, violating human rights of the Uyghur people, implementing assimilation policy towards Uyghur people and forbidding practice of Islam, which led Uyghur people to organize the “Barin Uprising.”
Located on southwest of Aktu County in Kasghar Prefecture, Barin township is 17 km away from Aktu city centre. Barin means “old Fort.” Barin with 1,087 square kilometers in size is home to 19,650 Uyghur people, who comprised majority of total population in 1990. Barin township consisted of 74 villages in total and they were governed by 18 government organizations and one police station. Barin was originally a part of Yengisar County, in Kashgar until 1954.
Barin is rich in natural resources, however, farmers have access to only 24% of total natural resources and the remaining 74% are in the hands of the Chinese government and corrupted government officials. According to the Chinese statistics, average income of Barin farmers was 184 Yuan (27 US dollars) per capita in 1984.
Since the Chinese occupation of East Turkestan in 1949, the Barin people have never given up their fights with the oppressive Chinese Communist Party (CCP). For instance, Aziz Osman and Muhammed Aysa led an uprising on August 16, 1969 against the so – called “Cultural Revolution” of the CCP.
Background of the “Barin Uprising”
In beginning of 1990, there was a widespread resentment among Uyghur people in Barin Township against the oppressive Chinese regime. A number of local Uyghur men such as Zaydin Yusup, Abdugheni Tursun and Jamal Mammet had planned organizing a demonstration against the CCP. However, their plan was discovered by the local Chinese police. On April 4, 1990, approximately 60 police raided into Uyghur homes and interrogated Uyghur people about whereabouts of Zaydun Yusup and Jamal Mammet. On the same day, the police arrested Zaydun and Jamal Mammet.
On April 5, 1990, the Barin people protested in front of the government office and demanded the release of the two prisoners. During the protest, the protestors raised the following issues and demanded the government for answers:
“The government executes murderers. The government aborted 250 babies in our township (per 1989 Chinese census). Isn’t it considered a murder? Why does not the government punish those murderers who killed babies? A train full of thousands of illegal Chinese migrants arrive at East Turkestan in every 15 minutes from inner land of China. Why does not Chinese government stop pouring Chinese into East Turkestan instead of carrying out forced “Family Planning” policy against the Uyghur people? We demand Chinese government to halt forced “Family Planning” in East Turkestan and illegal Chinese migrants into East Turkestan. We also demand Chinese government to halt persecuting Uyghur people and eliminate heavy handed political and tax burdens on Uyghur people and Chinese nationalist sentiments. We want democracy and freedom and we oppose oppression, persecution and assimilation!”
Chinese government responded the protestors by bringing additional 60 police and 130 soldiers from Kasghar City and arresting 19 protestors. On the same day, the police took Zaydun Yusup and Jamal Mammet to Aktu County police. The rest of the protestors were disappointed by the government actions and they were forced to fight with the police and soldiers. The protestors were able to take away some weapons from the police and soldiers and defend themselves. Four Chinese commanders (Xu Xinjian, Wang Jingping, Guo Xuewen and Liu Janhui) commanded the police and soldiers to fire at the protestors killing hundreds of the protestors. Later on that day, another 500 soldiers arrived and started firing at the protestors. Nevertheless, the protestors surrendered to the local government office and demanded for a face to face dialogue with the government official. However, the government sent another 4,000 soldiers on April 6 and fired at the protestors at 4:36pm. At 5pm, over 18,000 soldiers and paramilitary police from Southwest Xinjiang Military Division arrived at Barin. The government also sent a handful of Air force soldiers with planes. At 9pm, the police and soldiers were ordered to surrender entire the Barin Township. The police and soldiers fired at the protestors and civilians indiscriminately killing over 180 people and injuring over 200 innocent people. At the same time, the police and soldiers raided into Uyghur homes and arrested over 500 Uyghur people arbitrarily. The “Barin Uprising” ended on April 10, 1990. During the uprising, approximately 200 police and soldiers died. On May 26, 1990, “Xinjiang Newspaper” printed speeches given by former Xinjiang governor Tomur Dawamet. Tomur Dawamet said police and soldiers fought with the Barin people for seven days.
After the uprising, Chinese government utilizes all quasi- armies in “Bingtuan” (Xinjiang Construction and Production Corporation) in all over East Turkestan and arrested any one in Barin and Aktu regions who were accused of having links with “Barin Terrorism.” Meanwhile, Chinese government cut off East Turkestan from the rest of the world and persecuted Uyghur people by arresting over 2,000 innocent Uyghur people from 10 cities and counties located in Kashgar Prefecture. Those prisoners were accused of participating and funding “Barin Terrorism”, advocating the uprising or having sympathy towards the protestors and hiding protestors. Of the prisoners, over 200 people were executed.
In late August, 1990, Chinese government held sham trails four times for those prisoners and over 103 Uyghur people were sentenced to death, life time and long term prison terms. Their names are as follows:
Sulayman Supi, Kurban Muhammed, Ghopur Awal, Amet Muhammed, Turghun Hoja, Mahat Hassan, Ibrahim Amat, Rozi Hashim, Nur Sabir, Jamal Muhammed, Turghun Saki, Turghun Muhammed, Sulayman Aysa, Turghun Abdulkerim, Tohti Islam, Rahmet Amat, Muhammed Rozi, Kasim Hassan, Muhammed Kurban, Ismayil Juma, Yar Muhammed, Muhammed Imin Omar, Aziz Rozi, Ahat Allabardi, Musa Islam, Abdurusul Islam, Rozi Kasim, Sidik Haji, Ahad Imin, Tursun Ismayil, Aziz Kurban, Turahun Turghun, Mahat Koshmak, Hoshur Eli, Obul Yoldash.
Later in the year, the Chinese government published some articles about the “Barin Uprising” saying that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Beijing was in charge of handling the Uprising. Sun Hanliang, a former Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region said that the Chinese central government, party members and PLA had closely supported each and every step that Xinjiang government took against the ‘Barin Terrorism.” He also said that Chinese President Jiang Zimen, Prime Minister Li Peng and commander of the Chinese Liberation Army, Li Huaqing played very crucial roles in terms of defeating the “terrorists” and they sent telegrams to compliment their good work.