Baren Township riot

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The Baren Township riot was an uprising and armed conflict that took place between Uyghur militants and Chinese government forces in April 1990.[1][2][3] It is unclear what happened during the armed conflict because reports of the incident vary greatly.[1]

Chinese account[edit]

Chinese sources state that the uprising was initiated by 200 Uyghur militants armed with advanced weaponry who attacked Chinese paramilitary forces throughout the township of Baren.[1] These reports indicate that Afghani militia forces may have been directly involved. Reportedly, Afghan-trained Islamists set up loudspeakers in mosques of Baren Township urging the local Uyghur population to "rise up against Chinese oppression and work toward establishing an independent Uyghur Islamic state" while praising jihad.[4] In response, Chinese government forces crushed the uprising by force over the course of three days.[1]

Uyghur account[edit]

On April 5, 1990, in Kizilsu's Akto County and in the township of Baren, Zeydin Yusup, the leader of the East Turkistan Islamic Party,[5] led a protest with around 200 men. They marched to the local government office and demanded an end to the mass immigration of Han Chinese into Xinjiang. One source states that the protests were the result of 250 forced abortions imposed upon local Uyghur women by the Chinese government.[6] Another source states that the protests were the result of local Uyghurs not being allowed to build a mosque.[7]

The Chinese government initially sent in a detachment of armed police to the site of the disturbance.[6] The Uyghur forces and the authorities started fighting, and the violence spread through the town.[6] The uprising, which lasted for several days, ended when the Chinese government sent hundreds of heavily armed police and soldiers to quell the riots.[5][8]

The Turkistan Islamic Party mentioned the Baren Township riot in issue 1 of its magazine, Islamic Turkistan, in an article about the region's history.[9] The third issue of its magazine commemorated the death of Zeydin Yusup (Dia al din bin Yusuf), the TIP member involved in the Baren Township riot.[10] Khalid Turkistani wrote an article in Issue 13 of the "Islamic Turkistan" magazine, saying he was a participant in the "jihad" in Baren and was jailed for it by the Chinese government in 1990.[11]

Doğu Türkistan Bülteni Haber Ajansı mentioned a brief history of the Turkistan Islamic Party, from Zeyiddin Yusuf founding it in 1988 in "East Turkestan", to its participation in the riots and insurgency, its "jihad in the path of Allah", its migration in 1996 under Hasan Mahsum to the Taliban controlled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and its war since 2001 against the "Crusaders" for 15 years in the "Afghan jihad", to 2012, when it entered the Syrian Civil War.[12]


One source states that the conflict ended on April 10, 1990, with 23 dead total and 21 injured, and that 232 Uyghur fighters were captured.[6] In July 1990 the Chinese government in Xinjiang announced the arrest of 7,900 people citing the "criminal activities of ethnic splittists and other criminal offenders" as the reason.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Patrick, MAJ Shawn M (2010). Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited The Uyghur Movement China’s Insurgency in Xinjiang (PDF). School of Advanced Military Studies United States Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. p. 27.
  3. ^ VAN WIE DAVIS, ELIZABETH. "Uyghur Muslim Ethnic Separatism in Xinjiang, China". Asian Affairs 35, no. 1 (2008): 15-29.
  4. ^ Guo, Rongxing (15 July 2015). "China's Spatial (Dis)integration: Political Economy of the Interethnic Unrest in Xinjiang". Chandos Publishing. Retrieved 18 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ a b "The 1990s: the turn towards repression". Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d Guo, Rongxing (15 July 2015). China's Spatial (Dis)integration: Political Economy of the Interethnic Unrest in Xinjiang. Chandos Publishing. ISBN 9780081004036.
  7. ^ a b "Uighur Developments in the 1990s". Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  8. ^ Pike, John. "Uighur Insurgency". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  9. ^ "ماذا تعرف عن تركستان الشرقية". تركستان الإسلامية. No. العددالأول. July 2008. p. ١٨.
  10. ^ عبد الله منصور (June–July 2009). "الشهيد ضياء الدين بن يوسف" (PDF). تركستان الإسلامية. No. السنة الأولى العدد الرابع. pp. 33–34.
  11. ^ خالد تركستاني (June–July 2013). "ذكريات من خلف القضبان ِ" (PDF). تركستان الإسلامية. No. العدد الثالث عشر. p. ٥٣-٥٤.
  12. ^ "Türkistan İslam Cemati'nin Suriye'de ki Büyük Fetihleri – VİDEO HABER". Doğu Türkistan Bülteni Haber Ajansı. 18 October 2016. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017.