Today marks the 32nd Anniversary of the Baren Uprising, which took place in Akto County, Kizilsu Kirghiz Prefecture, near Kashgar in East Turkistan, from 5th to 10th April 1990. This Uprising saw the loss of up to 3000 lives which subsequently resulted in the deterioration of human rights of the Uyghurs in their own country.
According to Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress, “The Baren Uprising is still fresh in our collective memory. The police brutality against peaceful protestors then was witnessed again decades later”. The exiled Uyghur leader further added, “The Baren Uprising should have alarmed the international community, but the silence then only contributed to the brutal repression that followed.”
On 5th April 1990, the first day of the Baren Uprising, local leader Zeydin Yusup led a group of around 200 Uyghur men and marched to the local government office in Akto County, demanding greater representation and speaking out against the significant influx of Chinese migrants into East Turkistan as well as the wider discriminatory policies and religious and cultural restrictions on the Uyghur people. By the end of 6th April, over 18,000 China’s PLA troops had been reportedly dispatched to the region to crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations. The population of Baren at the time was only about 19,000. Four days later, the demonstrations had been brutally dispersed, leading to the deaths of countless Uyghurs.
London-based Uyghur activist Rahima Mahmut, Executive Director of the Stop Uyghur Genocide, said, “The international community must recognise that the Chinese government will continue to terrorise the Uyghur population if they feel they can do so with impunity. We call on governments, institutions and corporations around the world to disentangle themselves from the atrocities being carried out in my homeland, and to hold the Chinese government accountable for the history of repression that has culminated in the genocide currently being perpetrated against my people.”
Tsering Passang, Chairman of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, who monitors China’s policies in its occupied countries, said, “Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Tsetung sent PLA troops to invade East Turkistan and Tibet in 1949 and 1950 respectively. People in these occupied countries continue to endure severe crackdowns under the Chinese rule. On this poignant 32nd anniversary of the Baren Uprising, we at the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities stand in solidarity with our friends in East Turkistan. We condemn China’s ongoing persecutions. We also call on the international community to exert maximum pressure on the Chinese regime to respect the fundamental rights of the China’s persecuted communities.”