33. China/Uighurs (1949-present)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (October 1, 1949-March 31, 1950): On October 1, 1949, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established following the liberation of Xinjiang Province and other parts of mainland China by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the military wing of the Communist Part of China (CPC).

Crisis Phase (April 1, 1950-October 30, 1981):  Osman (Batyr) Batur led an ethnic-Uighur rebellion against the PRC government in Xinjiang Province beginning on April 1, 1950.  Osman (Batyr) Batur was captured by government troops in southern Xinjiang Province on February 19, 1951.  Osman (Batyr) Batur and some 25 other rebels were executed by the government in Urumqi on April 19, 1951.  The PRC government suppressed an ethnic-Uighur uprising led by Abdul Imit in Khotan in Hotan region on December 31, 1954 and January 1, 1955, resulting in the deaths of dozens of ethnic-Uighurs and at least twelve government soldiers.  The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) was established by the PRC government on October 1, 1955.  Ethnic-Uighurs rebelled against the local government in Yining (Ghulja) beginning on May 26, 1962.  Government troops fired at ethnic-Uighur demonstrators in Yining (Ghulja) on May 29, 1962, resulting in the deaths of dozens of individuals.  Some 60,000 ethnic-Uighurs fled as refugees into the Soviet Union.  The East Turkestan People’s Revolutionary Party (ETPRP) was established in opposition to the PRC government in April 1967.  Government troops suppressed an attempted uprising by members of the ETPRP near Suhkaz on August 21, 1969.  Ethnic-Uighur separatists attacked a government (People’s Liberation Army-PLA) armory near Kashgar on May 26, 1981, but government troops suppressed an attempted rebellion in June 1981.  Two individuals were killed in ethnic violence in Kashgar on October 30, 1981.

Post-Crisis Phase (October 31, 1981-April 4, 1990):

Crisis Phase (April 5, 1990-present):  Ethnic-Uighurs and government policemen clashed in Baren township near Kashgar on April 5-10, 1990, resulting in the deaths of more than 50 ethnic-Uighurs and six government policemen.  Ethnic-Uighurs rioted in Urumqi, Artush, and other cities following the clashes in Baren township, resulting in the deaths of more than 100 individuals.  One individual was killed in a bombing at a bus terminal in Kuqa on February 28, 1991.  Six individuals were killed in bus bombings in Urumqi on February 5, 1992.  The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) was established by Muhanmmed Tuhit and Abudu Rehmen in 1993.  Two individuals were killed in an office building bombing in Kashi on June 17, 1993.  Nine ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government in Urumqi on May 14, 1996.  Ethnic-Uighur rebels attacked and killed 20 government border guards on July 4, 1996.  Government security forces launched a crackdown on ethnic-Uighur separatists beginning on July 14, 1996.  Ethnic-Uighur separatists killed 16 government policemen in Khotan in November 1996.  Eight ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government in Urumqi on December 3, 1996.  Some 30 ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government in Xinjiang Province on January 30-31, 1997.  Government police suppressed an ethnic-Uighur demonstration for independence in Yining (Ghulja) on February 5-6, 1997, resulting in the deaths of several ethnic-Uighurs and government policemen.  Nine individuals were killed in bus bombings in Urumqi on February 25, 1997, and eight ethnic-Uighurs were arrested for their suspected involvement in the bombings.  Eight ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government on May 29, 1997.  Six ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government in Yining (Ghulja) on July 22, 1997, and three ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government in Urumqi on July 28, 1997.  Some 110 individuals were killed in political violence in September 1997, and some 20 individuals were killed in political violence in October 1997.  Thirteen ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government on December 29, 1997.  Eleven ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government on January 26, 1998.  Government police killed six ethnic-Uighurs near Yining (Ghulja) on April 18, 1998.  Ethnic-Uighurs killed eight government policemen in Kashgar in August 1998.  Two ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government on February 5, 1999.  Eight ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government on March 1, 1999.  Five ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government on May 12, 1999.  One individual was killed in a bus bombing in Chengdu on June 25, 1999.  Nine ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government in Yili and Urumqi on September 20-23, 1999.  Five ethnic-Uighurs were sentenced to death by the government on January 18, 2000.  Eleven ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government in Asku and Baiching on March 10-11, 2000.  Five ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government on June 14, 2000.  Three ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government in Urumqi in July 2000.  Hasan Mahsum, a leader in the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), was killed by Pakistani government soldiers in South Waziristan on October 2, 2003.  Government police raided an East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) training camp in southern Xinjiang Province on January 5, 2007, resulting in the deaths of 18 ethnic-Uighurs and one government security personnel.  Ismail Semed, an ethnic-Uighur activist, was executed by the government in Urumqi on February 9, 2007.  Government police killed five suspected ethnic-Uighur militants in Urumqi on July 9, 2008.  Sixteen government policemen were killed by ethnic-Uighur separatists in Kashgar on August 4, 2008.  Ethnic-Uighurs and government policemen clashed in Kuqa on August 10, 2008, resulting in the deaths of ten ethnic-Uighurs and one government policeman.  Three government security personnel were killed by ethnic-Uighurs in Yamanya on August 12, 2008.  Two government policemen were killed in an attack by ethnic-Uighurs in the town of Qizilboy on August 28, 2008.  On April 9, 2009, two ethnic-Uighurs were executed for their involvement in the August 2008 attacks in Kashgar.  Ethnic-Uighurs clashed with government policemen in Urumqi on July 5-8, 2009, resulting in the deaths of nearly 200 individuals.  More than 1,4000 ethnic-Uighurs were arrested and detained following the clashes.  Five individuals were killed by government police during protests in Urumqi on September 3, 2009.  Li Zhi, chairman of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Urumqi, was dismissed from his position on September 4, 2009.  On October 12-15, 2009, twelve ethnic-Uighurs were sentenced to death for their involvement in the July 2009 clashes in Urumqi.  Nine ethnic-Uighurs were executed by the government on November 9, 2009.  In December 2009, at least ten ethnic-Uighurs were sentenced to death for their involvement in the July 2009 clashes in Urumqi.  At least seven individuals, including five government policemen, were killed in a bombing in Aksu on August 19, 2010.  On February 22, 2011, four ethnic-Uighurs were sentenced to death for the August 2010 bombing in Aksu.  Ethnic-Uighurs clashed with government policemen in Hotan on July 18, 2011.  Seventeen individuals, including 14 ethnic-Uighurs and two government security personnel, were killed in the clashes.  Ethnic-Uighur separatists attacked Han Chinese in Kashgar from July 30 to August 1, 2011, resulting in the deaths of 15 individuals.  On September 14, 2011, four ethnic-Uighurs were sentenced to death for their involvement in the July 2011 clashes in Hotan and Kashgar.  Ethnic-Uighurs and government police clashed in Pishan on December 28, 2011, resulting in the deaths of seven Uighurs and one government policeman.  Twenty individuals, including seven ethnic-Uighur attackers, were killed in riots in Kashgar on February 28, 2012.  Four individuals were killed in an attack in Korla on March 7, 2013.  Ethnic-Uighurs clashed with government policemen in Selibuya township on April 23, 2013, resulting in the deaths of at least 21 individuals.  Ethnic-Uighurs clashed with government policemen in Lukqun township on June 26, 2013, resulting in the deaths of 11 ethnic-Uighur rioters, 22 civilians, and two government policemen.  On August 12, 2013, two ethnic-Uighurs were sentenced to death for their involvement in the April 2013 clashes in Selibuya township.  On September 12, 2013, three ethnic-Uighurs were sentenced to death for their involvement in the June 2013 clashes in Lukqun township.  Five individuals were killed in an ethnic-Uighur attack in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on October 28, 2013.  On November 2, 2013, General Peng Yong, military commander of Xinjiang Province, was dismissed from the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

[Sources: Amnesty International (AI) press release, February 14, 1997, February 4, 1999, April 20, 1999; Amnesty International (AI) report, March 21, 1997, January 1999, April 1999; Associated Press (AP), January 24, 2000; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), January 12, 1998, January 27, 1998, February 5, 1999, March 1, 1999, March 19, 2000, June 16, 2000, July 12, 2000, December 23, 2003, April 12, 2005, January 8, 2007, January 9, 2007, February 9, 2007, July 9, 2008, August 4, 2008, August 10, 2008, August 12, 2008, August 28, 2008, April 9, 2009, July 6, 2009, July 7, 2009, July 11, 2009, July 13, 2009, July 18, 2009, September 4, 2009, October 10, 2009, October 12, 2009, October 15, 2009, November 9, 2009, December 3, 2009, December 24, 2009, January 26, 2010, August 19, 2010, February 23, 2011, July 19, 2011, July 31, 2011, August 1, 2011, August 2, 2011, August 3, 2011, September 15, 2011, February 29, 2012, February 29, 2012, March 27, 2012, August 2, 2012, March 8, 2013, April 24, 2013, April 29, 2013, June 26, 2013, June 28, 2013, June 29, 2013, August 13, 2013, September 12, 2013, October 29, 2013, October 30, 2013, October 31, 2013, November 1, 2013, November 3, 2013; Degenhardt, 1988, 57; Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER), May 3, 1990, 10-11; New York Times (NYT), December 16, 2001, August 10, 2008, August 11, 2008, August 13, 2008, July 7, 2009, November 10, 2009, June 26, 2013; Reuters, July 28, 1997, May 20, 1999; Washington Post (WP), August 4, 2008.]

 

Selected Bibliography

Davis, Elizabeth V. W. 2008.  “Uyghur Muslim Ethnic Separatism in Xinjiang, China.”Asian Affairs, vol. 35 (1), 15-29.

Hyer, Eric. 2006.  “China’s Policy Towards Uighur Nationalism.” Journal of Muslim Minority 26 (April): 75-86.

Millward, James. 2004. Violent Separatism in Xinjiang: A Critical Assessment, Washington DC: East-West Center.