|Part of Xinjiang Wars|
|Kumul Khanate loyalists||
Anti-Kemalist Young Turks
|Commanders and leaders|
|Kamal Kaya Efendi (secret Soviet agent)||Joseph Stalin||Mahmud Nadim Bay|
|Several thousand White Russian soldiers and Provincial Chinese troops, Some Chinese Muslim troops||Thousands of Turkic Khotanlik Uyghur and Kirghiz Rebels
|Casualties and losses|
|Thousands dead||Thousands dead|
The Kumul Rebellion (Chinese: 哈密暴動 Hāmì bàodòng, "Hami Uprising") was a rebellion of Kumulik Uyghurs who conspired with Hui Chinese Muslim Gen. Ma Zhongying to overthrow Jin Shuren, governor of Xinjiang. The Kumul Uyghurs were loyalists of the Kumul Khanate and wanted to restore the heir to the Khanate and overthrow Jin. The Kuomintang wanted Jin removed because of his ties to the Soviet Union, so it approved of the operation while pretending to acknowledge Jin as governor. The rebellion then catapulted into large-scale fighting as Khotanlik Uyghur rebels in southern Xinjiang started a separate rebellion for independence in collusion with Kirghiz rebels. Various groups rebelled, and were not united; some even fought against each other. The main part of the war was waged by Ma Zhongying against the Xinjiang government. He was supported by Chiang Kai-shek, the Premier of China, who secretly agreed to let Ma seize Xinjiang.
- 1 Background
- 2 Soviet aid to Xinjiang Provincial Government
- 3 Separate Uyghur uprising
- 4 Mass Defections
- 5 Ma Zhongying returns
- 6 Destruction of the First East Turkestan Republic
- 7 Japanese attempt to set up a puppet state
- 8 Major battles
- 9 Misinformation
- 10 See also
- 11 References
Gov. Jin Shuren (Chin Shu-jen) came to power shortly after the assassination of Xinjiang (Sinkiang) Gov. Yang Zengxin (Yang Tseng-sin), in 1928. Jin was notoriously intolerant of Turkic peoples and openly antagonized them. Such acts of discrimination included restrictions on travel, increased taxation, seizure of property without due process and frequent executions for suspected espionage or disloyalty. Jin had Chinese Muslims in his provincial army like Ma Shaowu.
In 1930 Jin annexed the Kumul Khanate, a small semi-autonomous state lying within the borders of Xinjiang. The newly subjected Kumulliks' land was expropriated by the government and given to Chinese settlers. As a result, rebellion broke out on February 20, 1931, and many Chinese were massacred by the local population. The uprising threatened to spread throughout the entire province. Yulbars Khan, advisor at the Kumul court, appealed for help to Ma Zhongying, a Muslim warlord in Gansu Province, to overthrow Jin and restore the Khanate.
Ma's troops marched to Kumul and laid siege to the government forces in the garrison there. Although he was victorious elsewhere in the area, Ma was unable to capture the city. After being wounded that October in a battle where Jin's force included 250 White Russian troops whom he had recruited from the Ili valley (where they had settled after the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War), Ma withdrew his forces back to Gansu (where he was nursed by Mildred Cable and the sisters Francesca and Eva French, whom he kept captive until he had recovered). This would temporarily leave the Xinjiang Muslims to fight Jin alone.
Ma Zhongying had a secret agreement with the Kuomintang--if he won Xinjiang, he would be recognized by the Kuomintang.
Ma's forces committed atrocities against both Han and Uyghur civilians in Xinjiang during the fighting. He conscripted Han and Uyghurs into his army to use as cannon fodder, while all the officers were Hui. The Soviet Union and Sheng Shicai claimed that Ma Zhongying was being supported by the Japanese and also claimed to have captured Japanese officers serving with his army. Despite this, Ma officially proclaimed his alleigance to the Chinese government in Nanjing.
Soviet aid to Xinjiang Provincial Government
Jin bought two biplanes from the Soviet union in September 1931 at 40,000 Mexican silver dollars each. They were equipped with machine guns and bombs and flown by Russian pilots. Jin Shuren signed a secret treaty with the Soviet Union in October 1931 that quickly led to suppression of the Kumul Rebellion and deblockading of Kumul by provincial troops on November 30, 1931. Jin Shuren received large gold credit from the Soviet government for acquiring arms and weapons from the Soviet army and opening Soviet trade agencies in eight provincial towns: Ghulja, Chuguchak, Altai, Urumqi, Karashahr, Kucha, Aksu, Kashgar, Yarkand, Khotan. The Kuomintang found out about this the following year and decided to openly back Ma Zhongying in his war against Jin Shuren.
Ma was officially appointed Commanding Officer of the 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army) by the Kuomintang government in Nanjing. Asked to intervene against Jin on behalf of the Turkic population, Ma readily agreed.
Separate Uyghur uprising
A separate Uyghur uprising at Khotan in southern Xinjiang occurred. These Uyghurs were not like the Kumul Uyghurs, who only wanted the Kumul Khanate restored and Jin Shuren to be overthrown. They were led by Muhammad Amin Bughra and his brothers Abdullah Bughra and Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra. These rebels wanted total independence and hated both Han Chinese and Chinese Muslims. Their leader, Sabit Damulla Abdulbaki, called for the expulsion of Chinese Muslims (Tungans) in a proclamation:
The Tungans, more than Han, are the enemy of our people. Today our people are already free from the oppression of the Han, but still continue live under Tungan subjugation. We must still fear the Han, but cannot not fear the Tungans also. The reason, we must be careful to guard against the Tungans, we must intensively oppose them, cannot afford to be polite, since the Tungans have compelled us to follow this way. Yellow Han people have not the slightest thing to do with Eastern Turkestan. Black Tungans also do not have this connection. Eastern Turkestan belongs to the people of Eastern Turkestan. There is no need for foreigners to come be our fathers and mothers...From now on we do not need to use foreigner's language or their names, their customs, habits, attitudes, written languages and etc. We must also overthrow and drive foreigners from our boundaries forever. The colours yellow and black are foul...They have dirtied our Land for too long. So now it's absolutely necessary to clean out this filth. Take down the yellow and black barbarians! Live long Eastern Turkestan!
This rebellion became entangled with the Kumul rebellion, when a Chinese Muslim and Uyghur army under Ma Zhancang and Timur Beg marched on Kashgar against the Chinese Muslim Daotai Ma Shaowu and his garrison of Han Chinese troops. Ma Shaowu began to panic and started raising Kirghiz levies under Osman Ali under the city. The Kirghiz were not amused at how their rebellion was crushed the previous year by Ma Shaowu, and now he wanted them to defend the city. They defected en masse to the enemy. However, Ma Zhancang also entered into secret negotiations with Ma Shaowu; he and his troops defected to the Han Chinese garrison in the city.
During the Battle of Kashgar (1933) the city changed hands multiple times as the confused factions battled each other. The Kirghiz began to murder any Han Chinese and Chinese Muslim they could get their hands on, and fighting broke out in the streets. Timur Beg became sympathetic to the pro-independence rebels of Muhammad Amin Bughra and Sabit Damulla Abdulbaki, while Ma Zhancang proclaimed his alleigance to the Chinese Kuomintang government and notified everyone that all former Chinese officials would keep their posts.
Mass defections occurred on all three sides during the rebellion. Ma Zhancang and his Chinese Muslim army were originally allied to Timur Beg and his Uyghur army while marching on Kashgar. Ma Zhancang and his army, however, defected to Muslim commander Ma Shaowu and his Han army and fought against Timur Beg and the Uyghurs. The Kyrgyz levies under Osman Ali were originally allied to Chinese Muslim commander Ma Shaowu and his Han army, but they defectd to Timur Beg's Uyghurs at the same time Ma Zhancang defected to Ma Shaowu. Han Gen. Zhang Peiyuan and his Han Xhinese Ili army originally fought for the provincial government under Jin Shuren against Ma Zhongying. However, Zhang Peiyuan and his Han army defected to Ma Zhongying and his Muslim army in 1933 and joined him in fighting the provincial government under Sheng Shicai and the Soviets and White Russians. Khoja Niyaz and his Kumulik Uyghur army defected from Ma Zhongying's side to the provincial government and the Soviets and received weapons from the Soviets.
Ma Zhongying returns
Ma used Kuomintang Blue Sky with a White Sun banners in his army and Kuomintang Blue Sky with a White Sun armbands. He himself wore a Kuomintang armband and a 36th Division uniform to show that he was the legitimate representative of the Chinese government.
Due to his severe abuse and brutality, both the Turkis (Uyghurs) and Han Chinese hated the Hui officer who was in charge of Barkul- Ma Ying-piao, whom Ma Zhongying had put in place.
Kumul was easily taken, as were other towns en route to the provincial capital. Sheng Shicai's forces retreated to Urumchi. Ground was alternately gained and lost by both sides. During this time Ma's forces acquired notoriety for their cruelty to both the Turkic and Chinese inhabitants, destroying the economy and engaging in wholesale looting and burning of villages. Once seen as a liberator by the Turkic population, which had suffered greatly under Jin Shuren, many Turkic inhabitants of the region now ardently hoped for Ma's expulsion by Sheng Shicai, and an end to the seesaw military campaigns by both sides. Ma also forcibly conscripted Uyghurs into his army, turning them into infantry while only Chinese Muslims were allowed to be officers. This led to outrage among the Uyghurs at Kumul. Meanwhile, the Han Chinese commander of Ili, Zhang Peiyuan, entered into secret negotiations with Ma Zhongying, and the two joined their armies together against Jin Shuren and the Russians.
Huang Mu-sung, native of Kumul and a "Pacification Commissioner" from the Kuomintang government, soon arrived in Urumchi on an ostensible peace mission. Sheng Shicai suspected him of conspiring with some of his opponents to overthrow him. Sheng turned out to be correct, since the Kuomintang secretly ordered Ma Zhongying and Zhang Peiyuan to attack Sheng's regime in Urumchi. As a result, he executed three leaders of the provincial government, accusing them of plotting his overthrow with Huang. At the same time Sheng Shicai also forced Huang to wire Nanjing with a recommendation that he be recognized as the official Tupan of Xinjiang.
Ma Zhongying and Zhang Peiyuan then began a joint attack on Sheng's Manchurian and White Russian force during the Second Battle of Urumqi (1933–34). Zhang seized the road between Tacheng and the capital. Sheng Shicai commanded Manchurian and White Russian troops commanded by Colonel Pappengut.
Ma and Zhang's Han Chinese and Chinese Muslim forces were on the verge of defeating Sheng when he requested help from the Soviet Union. This led to the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang and Ma Zhongying's retreat after the Battle of Tutung. Kamal Kaya Efendi, a former Ottoman Turkish military officer who was Ma Zhongying's chief of staff, was captured by Soviet agents in Kumul in 1934, but instead of being executed he was made Commissar for Road Construction in Xinjiang, possibly because he was a Soviet agent himself.
In January 1934 Soviet troops crossed the border and attacked rebel positions in the Ili area in the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang. Zhang Peiyuan's forces were defeated and he committed suicide. Despite valiant resistance, Ma Zhongying's troops were forced to retreat from the Soviet military machine's aerial bombing and were pushed back from Urumchi during the Battle of Tutung. Soviet assistance resulted in a rare White Russian and Soviet temporary military alliance against Ma. Ma wiped out a Soviet armored car column at the Battle of Dawan Cheng.
Ma's retreating forces began advancing down to southern Xinjiang, to destroy the First East Turkestan Republic. He sent out an advance guard under Ma Fuyuan to attack the Khotanlik Uyghurs and Kirghiz at Kashgar. At this point Chiang Kai-shek was ready to send Huang Shaohong and his expeditionary force of 15,000 troops to assist Ma Zhongying against Sheng, but when Chiang heard about the Soviet invasion he decided to withdraw to avoid an international incident if his troops directly engaged the Soviets.
Destruction of the First East Turkestan Republic
The Khotanlik Uyghurs and Kirghiz had conspired to form an independent regime.
On February 20, 1933, the Committee for National Revolution set up a provisional Khotan government with Sabit as prime minister and Muhammad Amin Bughra as head of the armed forces. It favored the establishment of an Islamic theocracy.
Afghan King Mohammad Zahir Shah provided weapons and support to the East Turkestan Republic. Sheng Shicai and the Soviet Union accused Ma Zhongying, a Muslim and ardently anti-Soviet, of being used by the Japanese to set up a puppet regime in Xinjiang, as they had done with Manchukuo. Sheng claimed that he captured two Japanese officers on Ma's staff. However, not a single claim of Sheng's could be proven, and he did not provide any evidence for his allegations that Ma was colluding with the Japanese. Ma Zhongying publicly declared his allegiance to the Kuomintang at Nanjing. Ma himself was given permission by the Kuomintang to invade Xinjiang.
The Chinese Muslim forces retreating from the north linked up with Ma Zhancang's forces in Kashgar, allied themselves with the Kuomintang in Nanjing and attacked the TIRET, forcing Niyaz, Sabit Damolla and the rest of the government to flee on February 6, 1934, to Yengi Hissar, south of the city. The Hui army crushed the Uighur and Kirghiz armies of the East Turkestan Republic at the Battle of Kashgar (1934), Battle of Yarkand and Battle of Yangi Hissar.
Japanese attempt to set up a puppet state
The Japanese invited an Ottoman prince, Abdulkerim, and several anti-Atatürk Young Turk exiles from Turkey to assist them in setting up a puppet state in Xinjiang with the Ottoman Prince as Sultan. All of the Turkish exiles were enemies of Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Mustafa Ali, the Turkish advisor to the Uyghurs in the First East Turkestan Republic, was anti-Atatürk. Muhsin Çapanolu was also anti-Atatürk, and they both had Pan-Turanist views. Mahmud Nadim Bey, another of their colleagues, was also an advisor to the Uyghur separatists.
The Turkish government under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk reacted angrily at this plot and the Turkish embassy in Japan denounced the Japanese plan to create a puppet state, labeling it a "Muslim Manchukuo". Atatürk referred was not interested in Pan-Turanism due to the numerous problems the young Turkish Republic was dealing with and did not want the Ottoman royal family to try to create a new monarchist state to undermine the Republic of Turkey. TASS claimed the Uyghur Sabit Damulla invited "Turkish emigrants in India and Japan, with their anti-Kemalist organizations, to organize his military forces."
Uighur and Kirghiz Turkic fighters broke their agreement not to attack a column of retreating Han Chinese and Chinese Muslim soldiers from Yarkand New City. The Turkic Muslim fighters massacred 800 Chinese Muslims and Chinese civilians.
Battle of Aksu
Battle of Sekes Tash
Battle of Kashgar
Uighur and Kirghiz forces, led by the Bughra brothers and Tawfiq Bay, attempted to take the New City of Kashgar from Chinese Muslim troops under Gen. Ma Zhancang. They were defeated. Tawfiq Bey, a Syrian Arab traveler who held the title Sayyid (descendant of prophet Muhammed) and arrived at Kashgar on August 26, 1933, was shot in the stomach by Chinese Muslim troops in September. Previously Ma Zhancang arranged to have the Uighur leader Timur Beg killed and beheaded on August 9, 1933, displaying his head outside of Id Kah Mosque.
Han chinese troops commanded by Brig. Yang were absorbed into Ma Zhancang's army. A number of Han Chinese officers were spotted wearing the green uniforms of Ma Zhancang's unit of the 36th Division; presumably they had converted to Islam.
During the battle the Kirghiz prevented the Uyghur from looting the city, because they wanted to loot it themselves. They started murdering any Chinese and Chinese Muslim they could get their hands on, as well as any Turkic people who were wives or mistresses of Chinese. They then looted their property.
First Battle of Urumqi (1933)
Chinese Muslim and Uyghur forces under Ma Shih-ming and Khoja Niyas attempted to take Urumqi from a force of provincial White Russian troops under Col. Pappengut and the Northeast Salvation Army under Sheng Shicai. They were driven back after fierce fighting. During the battle, Han Chinese Gen. Zhang Peiyuan, of Ili, refused to help Jin Shuren repulse the attack, a sign that relations between the two were becoming strained.
Battle of Toksun
The Battle of Toksun occurred in July 1933 after Khoja Niyas Hajji, a Uighur leader, defected with his forces to Gov. Sheng Shicai. He was appointed by Shicai through agreement to be in charge for the whole Southern Xinjiang ( Tarim Basin) and also Turpan Basin; satisfied with this agreement, he marched away from Urumchi south across Dawan Ch'eng of Tengritagh Mountains and occupied Toksun in Turpan Basin, but was badly defeated by the Chinese Muslim forces of Gen. Ma Shih-ming, who forced him to retreat to Karashar in eastern Kashgaria, where he held his headquarters during July, August and September 1933, defending mountain passes and roads that led from Turpan Basin to Kashgaria in a fruitless attempt to stop the advancement of Tungan armies to the south.
Second Battle of Urumqi (1933–34)
Ma Zhongying conducted secret negotiations with Han Chinese Gen. Zhang Peiyuan for a joint attack against Sheng Shicai's provincial Manchurian and White Russian troops in Urumqi. They joined their armies together and began the attack. Zhang seized the road between Tacheng and the capital. The Kuomintang secretly encouraged Zhang and Ma through Huang Mu-sung to attack Sheng's forces, because of his Soviet connections and to regain the province. Their forces almost defeated Sheng, but then Sheng cabled the Soviet Union for help, which led to the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang.
Battle of Kashgar
36th Division Gen. Ma Fuyuan led a Chinese Muslim army to storm Kashgar on February 6, 1934, and attacked the Uighur and Kirghiz rebels of the First East Turkestan Republic. He freed another 36th Division general, Ma Zhancang, who had been trapped with his Chinese Muslim and Han Chinese troops in Kashgar New City by the Uighurs and Kirghizs since May 22, 1933. In January 1934 Ma Zhancang's Chinese Muslim troops repulsed six Uighur attacks launched by Khoja Niyaz, who arrived at the city on January 13, 1934, inflicting massive casualties on the Uighur forces. From 2,000-8,000 Uighur civilians in Kashgar Old City were massacred by Tungans in February 1934, in revenge for the Kizil massacre, after the retreat of Uighur forces from the city to Yengi Hisar. The Chinese Muslim and 36th Division Chief Gen. Ma Zhongying, who arrived at Kashgar on April 7, 1934, gave a speech at Idgah mosque in April, reminding the Uighurs to be loyal to the Republic of China government at Nanjing. Several British citizens at the British consulate were killed by 36th Division troops. Ma Zhongying effectively destroyed the First East Turkestan Republic (TIRET).
Battle of Yangi Hissar
Ma Zhancang led the 36th Division to attack Uyghur forces at Yangi Hissar, wiping out the entire force and killing their leader, Emir Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra. The siege of Yangi Hissar citadel continued for about a week, during which 500 Uyghur defenders, armed only with rifles, inflicted several hundred casualties on Tungan forces more heavily armed with cannons and machine guns. Quickly depleted of ammunition, Uyghur defenders employed tree trunks, large stones and oil fire bombs to defend the citadel. On April 16, 1934, Tungans managed to breach the walls of the citadel by successful sapping and put all the surviving defenders to the sword. It was reported by Ahmad Kamal in his book "Land Without Laughter" on page 130-131, that Nur Ahmad Jan's head was cut off by Chinese Muslim troops and sent to the local parade ground to be used as a ball in soccer (football) games.
Battle of Yarkand
Ma Zhancang and Ma Fuyuan's Chinese Muslim troops defeated Uighur and Afghan volunteers sent by Afghan King Mohammed Zahir Shah and exterminated them all. The emir Abdullah Bughra was killed and beheaded, his head put on display at Idgah mosque.
The 36th Division under Gen. Ma Hushan crushed a revolt by Uighurs in the Charkliq oasis in 1935. More than 100 uighurs were executed, and the family of the Uighur leader was taken as hostage.
Some misinformation had been spread by contemporaneous accounts of the Kumul Rebellion. Swiss writer Ella K. Maillart reported, inaccurately, that the Kizil massacre was an attack of Chinese Muslims and Uyghurs on a group of Kirghiz and Han Chinese. More recent sources prove that it was an attack of Kirghiz and Uyghurs on a group of Han Chinese and Chinese Muslims. She also falsely reported that during the battle of Kashgar the Chinese Muslim and Turkic (Uyghur) troops first took the city from the Han Chinese and Kirghiz and then fought among themselves. In reality, the Kirghiz defected from Ma Shaowu and formed their own army, and the Chinese Muslim force under Ma Zhancang joined Ma Shaowu.
- Amur Military Flotilla
- Manchouli Incident
- Sino-Soviet conflict (1929)
- Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang
- Islamic rebellion in Xinjiang (1937)
- Ili Rebellion
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