Ili Rebellion

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Ili Rebellion
Date7 November 1944 – 1 October 1949


  • Coalition government established
Eventual incorporation of Xinjiang into the People's Republic of China

Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Republic of China

Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg National Revolutionary Army
Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg  Soviet Union
Flag of the Second East Turkestan Republic.svg  Second East Turkestan Republic
Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg White Russians
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Chiang Kai-shek
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Bai Chongxi
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Ma Bufang
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Zhang Zhizhong
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Ma Chengxiang
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Ma Xizhen
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Han Youwen
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Liu Bin-Di  
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Ospan Batyr (1946-1951)
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Yulbars Khan
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Masud Sabri
Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg Joseph Stalin
Flag of the Second East Turkestan Republic.svg Ehmetjan Qasim
Flag of the Second East Turkestan Republic.svg Abdulkerim Abbas
Flag of the Second East Turkestan Republic.svgFlag of the Soviet Union.svg Ishaq Beg
Flag of the Second East Turkestan Republic.svgFlag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg A. Polinov
Flag of the Second East Turkestan Republic.svgFlag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg F. Leskin
Flag of the Second East Turkestan Republic.svg Ospan Batyr (1944–1946)

National Revolutionary Army

Flag of the Republic of China.svg 100,000 Han Chinese and Hui Chinese (also known as Hui or Tungan) infantry and cavalry [1]
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Han Chinese 2nd Army (4 divisions)
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Hui Chinese Muslim 5th Cavalry Army
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Hui Chinese Muslim 42nd Cavalry Army
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Hui Chinese Muslim 14th Cavalry regiment [2]
Flag of the Republic of China.svg Pau-an-dui (保安隊, Pacification troops made up of Kazaks, Mongols and White Russians loyal to the Chinese regime)

Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg  Soviet Union Thousands of Soviet Red Army troops

Flag of the Second East Turkestan Republic.svg Ili National Army (Kazakh, Uyghur, Hui, Mongol, Xibo)
Casualties and losses
Total casualties unknown, many Chinese civilians killed in Ili Total casualties unknown; heavy losses among Russian settlers fighting for the Second East Turkestan Republic

The Ili Rebellion (simplified Chinese :伊宁事变; traditional Chinese :伊寧事變; pinyin :Yīníng Shìbiàn) (Üch Wiläyt inqilawi [3] ) was a Soviet-backed revolt against the Kuomintang government of the Republic of China in 1944. Following the rebellion, the rebels established the Provisional Government of the Second East Turkestan Republic in 1944. The Ili Rebellion was the start of the Three Districts Revolution (simplified Chinese :三区革命; traditional Chinese :三區革命; pinyin :Sān-qū Gémìng) which lasted from 1944 to 1949.

Simplified Chinese characters standardized Chinese characters developed in mainland China

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.

Traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters

Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.

Pinyin Chinese romanization scheme for Mandarin

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.



The Soviet Union installed Sheng Shicai as its puppet ruler in Xinjiang in the 1934 Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang and later further entrenched its position in the Islamic rebellion in Xinjiang (1937). Soviet Red Army forces were stationed in Xinjiang oases, such as the Soviet "Eighth Regiment" in Hami, and Soviet technicians and engineers flooded the province. During World War II the Kuomintang government of the Republic of China sought to undermine the Soviet presence in Xinjiang and retake the province from Soviet control. The Kuomintang worked with the Hui Muslim Ma Clique warlord of Qinghai, Gen. Ma Bufang, to build up its military forces around Xinjiang and increase the pressure on Sheng Shicai and the Soviets.

Sheng Shicai Chinese warlord

Sheng Shicai was a Chinese warlord who ruled Xinjiang from 1933 to 1944. Sheng's rise to power started with a coup d'état in 1933, when he was appointed the duban or Military Governor of Xinjiang. His rule over Xinjiang is marked by close cooperation with the Soviet Union, allowing the Soviets trade monopoly and exploitation of resources, which effectively made Xinjiang a Soviet puppet state. The Soviet era ended in 1942, when Sheng approached the Nationalist Chinese government, but still retained much power over the province. He was dismissed from post in 1944 and named Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. Growing animosity against him led the government to dismiss him again and appoint to a military post. At the end of the Chinese Civil War, Sheng fled the mainland China to Taiwan with the rest of Kuomintang.

Islamic rebellion in Xinjiang (1937)

In 1937 an Islamic rebellion broke out in southern Xinjiang. The rebels were 1,500 Turkic (Uighur) Muslims led by Kichik Akhund, tacitly aided by the 36th Division against the pro-Soviet provincial forces of Sheng Shicai.

Red Army 1917–1946 ground and air warfare branch of the Soviet Unions military

The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991. The former official name Red Army continued to be used as a nickname by both sides throughout the Cold War.

In 1942 Sheng Shicai switched his allegiance to the Kuomintang after major Soviet defeats at the hands of the Germans in World War II; all Soviet Red Army military forces and technicians residing in the province were expelled, [4] [5] and the Republic of China National Revolutionary Army units and soldiers belonging to Ma Bufang moved into Xinjiang to take control of the province. Ma Bufang helped the Kuomintang build roadways linking Qinghai and Xinjiang, which helped both of them bring Xinjiang under their influence. [6] In 1944 the Soviets took advantage of discontent among the Turkic peoples of the Ili region in northern Xinjiang to support a rebellion against Kuomintang rule in the province in order to reassert Soviet influence in the region.

National Revolutionary Army Nationalist Army of the Republic of China

The National Revolutionary Army (NRA), sometimes shortened to Revolutionary Army (革命軍) before 1928, and as National Army (國軍) after 1928, was the military arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947 in the Republic of China. It also became the regular army of the ROC during the KMT's period of party rule beginning in 1928. It was renamed the Republic of China Armed Forces after the 1947 Constitution, which instituted civilian control of the military.


Kulja revolt

Many of the Turkic peoples of the Ili region of Xinjiang had close cultural, political and economic ties with Russia and then the Soviet Union. Many of them were educated in the Soviet Union and a community of Russian settlers lived in the region. As a result, many of the Turkic rebels fled to the Soviet Union and obtained Soviet assistance in creating the Sinkiang Turkic People's Liberation Committee (STPNLC) in 1943 to revolt against Chinese Kuomintang rule in Ili. [7] The pro-Soviet Uyghur who later became leader of the revolt, Ehmetjan Qasim, was Soviet-educated and described as "Stalin's man" and as a "Communist-minded progressive". [8]

Yining County County in Xinjiang, Peoples Republic of China

Yining County as the official romanized name, also transliterated from Uyghur as Gulja County, is a county within the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. The county seat is in the town of Jélilyüzi.

Ehmetjan Qasim Soviet politician

Ehmetjan Qasim(Uyghur: ئەخمەتجان قاسىمى; April 15, 1914 – August 27, 1949) was the 2nd and last head of the Second East Turkestan Republic. He was a Uyghur political leader in East Turkistan. Ehmetjan was born in Ghulja in 1914. He studied at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East, Moscow in 1936 and was a member of Communist Party of Soviet Union. Ehmetjan was described as "Stalin's man" and as a "communist-minded progressive". Qasim Russified his surname to "Kasimov" and became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Liu Bin-Di was a Hui Muslim Kuomintang (KMT) officer sent by officials in Ürümqi to subdue the Hi area and crush the Turkic Muslims, who were prepared to overthrow Chinese rule. His mission failed because his troops arrived too late. [9] Several Turkic cavalry units armed by the Soviets crossed into China in the direction of Kuldja. In November 1944 Liu was killed by Turkic Uyghur and Kazakh rebels backed by the Soviet Union. This started the Ili Rebellion, with the Uyghur Ili rebel army fighting against Republic of China forces.

Liu Bin-Di was a Hui Muslim KMT officer in Xinjiang, working for the Republic of China government and was sent by Ürümqi to subdue the Hui area. Turkic Muslim rebels backed by the Soviet Union were revolting against the Republic of China. His mission failed due to being long overdue. Liu was killed by Turkic Muslim rebels in Ghulja in November 1944, which started the Ili Rebellion.

Hui people Ethnic group in China

The Hui people are an East Asian ethnoreligious group predominantly composed of ethnically Sinitic adherents of the Muslim faith found throughout China, mainly in the northwestern provinces of the country and the Zhongyuan region. According to the 2011 census, China is home to approximately 10.5 million Hui people, the majority of whom are Chinese-speaking practitioners of Islam, though some may practise other religions. The 110,000 Dungan people of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are also considered part of the Hui ethnicity.

Ürümqi Prefecture-level city in Xinjiang, Peoples Republic of China

Ürümqi, abbreviated Wushi, formerly known as Tihwa, is the capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the far northwest of the People's Republic of China. Ürümqi was a major hub on the Silk Road during China's Tang dynasty, and developed its reputation as a leading cultural and commercial center during the Qing dynasty in the 19th century.

The rebels assaulted Kulja on 7 November 1944 and rapidly took over parts of the city, massacring KMT troops. However, the rebels encountered fierce resistance from KMT forces holed up in the power and central police stations and did not take them until the 13th. The creation of the "East Turkestan Republic" (ETR) was declared on the 15th. [10] The Soviet Army assisted the Ili Uyghur army in capturing several towns and airbases. Non-communist Russians like White Russians and Russian settlers who had lived in Xinjiang since the 19th century also helped the Soviet Red Army and the Ili Army rebels. They suffered heavy losses. [11] Many leaders of the East Turkestan Republic were Soviet agents or affiliated with the Soviet Union, like Abdulkerim Abbas, Ishaq Beg, Saifuddin Azizi and the White Russians F. Leskin, A. Polinov and Glimkin. [12] When the rebels ran into trouble taking the vital Airambek airfield from the Chinese, Soviet military forces directly intervened to help mortar Airambek and reduce the Chinese stronghold. [13]


The rebels engaged in massacres of Han Chinese civilians, especially targeting people affiliated with the KMT and Sheng Shicai. [14] In the "Kulja Declaration" issued on 5 January 1945, the East Turkestan Republic proclaimed that it would "sweep away the Han Chinese", threatening to extract a "blood debt" from the Han. The declaration also declared that the Republic would seek to especially establish cordial ties with the Soviets. [15] The ETR later de-emphasized the anti-Han tone in its official proclamations after they were done massacring most of the Han civilians in their area. [16] The massacres against the Han occurred mostly during 1944-45, with the KMT responding in kind by torturing, killing and mutilating ETR prisoners. [13] In territory controlled by the ETR, like Kulja, various repressive measures were carried out, such as establishing a Soviet-style secret police organization, barring Han from owning weapons and making Russian and Turkic languages official and not Chinese. [17] While the non-Muslim Tungusic peoples like the Xibe played a large role in helping the rebels by supplying them with crops, the local Muslim Tungan (Hui) in Ili gave either an insignificant and negligible contribution to the rebels or did not assist them at all. [16]

Formation of the Ili National Army

The Ili National Army (INA), which was established on 8 April 1945 as the military arm of the ETR, was led by the Kirghiz Ishaq Beg and the White Russians Polinov and Leskin; all three were pro-Soviet and had a history of military service with Soviet-associated forces. [18] The Soviets supplied the INA with ammunition and Russian-style uniforms, and Soviet troops directly helped INA troops fight against the Chinese forces. [19] The INA uniforms and flags all had insignia with the Russian acronym for "East Turkestan Republic", ВТР in Cyrillic (Восточная Туркестанская Республика). The Soviets admitted their support of the rebels decades later when they transmitted a radio broadcast in Uyghur from Radio Tashkent into Xinjiang on 14 May 1967, boasting of the fact that the Soviets had trained and armed the East Turkestan Republic forces against China. [20] Thousands of Soviet troops assisted Turkic rebels in fighting the Chinese army. [21] In October 1945 suspected Soviet planes attacked Chinese positions. [22]

As the Soviet Red Army and Turkic Uyghur Ili Army advanced with Soviet air support against poorly prepared Chinese forces, they almost succeeded in reaching Ürümqi; however, the Chinese military threw up rings of defenses around the area, sending Chinese Muslim cavalry to halt the advance of the Turkic Muslim rebels. Thousands of Chinese Muslim troops under Gen. Ma Bufang and his nephew Gen. Ma Chengxiang poured into Xinjiang from Qinghai to combat the Soviet and Turkic Uyghur forces.

Much of the Ili army and equipment originated from the Soviet Union. The Ili rebel army pushed Chinese forces across the plains and reached Kashgar, Kaghlik and Yarkand. However, the Uyghurs in the oases gave no support to the Soviet-backed rebels and, as a result, the Chinese army was able to expel them. The Ili rebels then butchered livestock belonging to Kirghiz and Tajiks of Xinjiang. [23] The Soviet-backed insurgents destroyed Tajik and Kirghiz crops and moved aggressively against the Tajiks and Kirghiz of China. [24] The Chinese beat back the Soviet-supported rebellion in Sarikol from August 1945-46, defeating the siege of the "tribesman" around Yarkand when they had rose up in rebellion in Nanchiang around Sarikol, and killing Red Army officers. [25]

The Chinese Muslim Ma Clique warlord of Qinghai, Ma Bufang, was sent with his cavalry to Ürümqi by the Kuomintang in 1945 to protect it from the Uyghur rebels of Ili. [22] [26] [27] [28] [29] In 1945 the Tungan (Hui) 5th and 42nd Cavalry were sent from Qinghai to Xinjiang, where they reinforced the KMT 2nd Army, made up of four divisions. Their combined forces totaled 100,000 Hui and Han troops serving under KMT command in 1945. [30] It was reported the Soviets was eager to "liquidate" Ma Bufang. [31] Gen. Ma Chengxiang, another Hui Ma Clique officer and nephew of Ma Bufang, commanded the 1st Cavalry Division in Xinjiang under the KMT, which was formerly the Gansu 5th Cavalry Army. [32] [33] [34] A cease-fire was declared in 1946, with the Second East Turkestan Republic in control of Ili and the Chinese in control of the rest of Xinjiang, including Ürümqi.

1947 unrest

Unpopular Gov. Wu Zhongxin was replaced after the cease-fire with Zhang Zhizhong, who implemented pro-minority policies to placate the Uyghur population. Bai Chongxi, the Defense Minister of China and a Muslim, was considered for appointment in 1947 as Governor of Xinjiang, [35] but the position was given instead to Masud Sabri, a pro-Kuomintang Uyghur who was anti-Soviet. [36] Sabri was close to conservatives in the CC Clique of the Kuomintang and undid all of Zhang Zhizhong's pro-minority reforms, which set off revolts and riots among the Uyghurs in oases like Turfan.

The Turkic (Uyghurs) were being subjected to Soviet propaganda. [25]

In Ürümqi (Uyghur) Muslim women who married Han Chinese men were assaulted by hordes of (Uyghur) Muslims on 11 July 1947, and the women were seized and kidnapped by the hordes. Old (Uyghur) Muslim men forcibly married the women. In response to the chaos a curfew was placed at 11:00 p.m. [37] The marriages between Muslim (Uyghur) women and Han Chinese men infuriated Uyghur leader Isa Yusuf Alptekin. [38]

Ma Chengxiang, a Kuomintang Chinese Muslim general and the nephew of Ma Bufang, allegedly used his Chinese Muslim cavalry to butcher Uyghurs during an uprising in 1948 in Turfan. [39] Ma Chengxiang was the commander of the 5th Cavalry Unit, which was stationed in Xinjiang. Over 60,000 soldiers were in the Ili army according to Gen. Sung. [40] Achmad (Ehmetjan Qasim) was strongly against Masud Sabri becoming governor. [41] Ehmetjan Qasim (Achmad-Jan), the Uyghur Ili leader, demanded that Sabri be sacked as governor as one of the conditions for his agreeing to visit Nanjing. [42] All races in the Ili region were forcibly conscripted into the Uyghur Ili army except the Han. The Uyghurs and Soviets massacred Han living in Ili and drove them from the region.

Salar Muslim Gen. Han Youwen, who served under Ma Bufang, commanded the Pau-an-dui (保安隊; pacification soldiers), composed of three 340-man battalions. They were composed of men of many groups, including Kazakhs, Mongols and White Russians serving the Chinese regime. He served with Osman Batur and his Kazakh forces in fighting the ETR Ili Uyghur and Soviet forces. [43] The ETR forces in the Ashan zone were attacked, defeated and killed by Osman's Kazakh forces during an offensive in September 1947, supported by the Chinese. [44] Osman's Kazakhs seized most of the towns in the Ashan zone from the ETR. [45] The acting Soviet consul at Chenghua, Dipshatoff, directed the Red Army in aiding ETR Ili forces against Osman's Kazakhs. [46]

The KMT CC Clique employed countermeasures in Xinjiang to prevent the conservative, traditionalist religious Uyghurs in the oases in southern Xinjiang from defecting to the pro-Soviet, pro-Russian ETR Uyghurs in Ili in northern Xinjiang. The KMT allowed three anti-Soviet, Pan-Turkic nationalist Uyghurs--Masud Sabri, Muhammad Amin Bughra and Isa Yusuf Alptekin--to write and publish pan-Turkic nationalist propaganda in order to incite the Turkic peoples against the Soviets, and the Soviets were greatly angered by this. [47] [48] Anti-Soviet sentiment was espoused by Isa while pro-Soviet sentiment was espoused by Burhan. The Soviets were angered by Isa. [49]

Uyghur linguist Ibrahim Muti'i opposed the Second East Turkestan Republic and was against the Ili Rebellion because it was backed by the Soviets and Stalin. [50] Former ETR leader Saifuddin Azizi later apologized to Ibrahim and admitted that his opposition to the East Turkestan Republic was the correct thing to do.

American telegrams reported that the Soviet secret police threatened to assassinate Muslim leaders from Ining and put pressure on them to flee to "inner China" via Tihwa (Ürümqi). White Russians grew fearful of Muslim mobs as they chanted, "We freed ourselves from the yellow men, now we must destroy the white." [51]

"Pei-ta-shan Incident"

The Mongolian People's Republic became involved in a border dispute with the Republic of China, as a result of which a Chinese Muslim Hui cavalry regiment was sent in response by the Chinese government to attack Mongol and Soviet positions. As commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, Maj. Gen. Han Youwen was sent by the Kuomintang military command to Beitashan with a company of troops to reinforce Ma Xizhen. They arrived approximately three months before the fighting broke out. [52] At Pei-ta-shan, Gen. Han was in command of all the Muslim cavalry defending against Soviet and Mongol forces. [53] Han said to A. Doak Barnet, an American reporter, that he "believed the border should be about 40 miles to the north of the mountains". [2]

Chinese Muslim and Turkic Kazakh forces working for the Chinese Kuomintang fought Soviet Russian and Mongol troops. In June 1947 the Mongols and the Soviets launched an attack against the Kazakhs, driving them back to the Chinese side. However, fighting continued for another year, with 13 clashes taking place between 5 June 1947 and July 1948. [2] Elite Qinghai Chinese Muslim cavalry were sent by the Kuomintang to destroy the Mongols and the Russians in 1947. [54]

Salar Muslim Gen. Han Youwen's 1st Division received at Beitashan Osman's forces after he retreated in battle. Qitai County was where Han Youwen's 1st Division of the 5th Army was headquartered in 1946, the following year, at the Beitashan incident Ma Xizhen battled the Mongols. [55]

During the war against the Ili separatists, Han Youwen performed a prayer on the snow-covered ground after parking his car on the road after a defeat inflicted upon the Ili National Army. [56]

Political accession of Xinjiang to Chinese communist rule

The conflict ended with the arrival of the Chinese Communists in the region in 1949. On 19 August 1949, Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese Communists, invited the leaders of the Three Districts to attend the Inaugural Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference to be held in Beijing. [57] Mao Zedong telegrammed"You did a great contribution to liberation of Xinjiang and China" [58] On 22 August five leaders of the Three Districts—Ehmetjan Qasimi, Abdulkerim Abbas, Ishaq Beg, Luo Zhi and Delilhan Sugurbayev—boarded a Soviet plane in Almaty and were headed for Chita but were said to have perished in a mysterious plane accident near Lake Baikal. [59] On 3 September three other former ETR leaders, including Saifuddin Azizi, arrived in Beijing by train and agreed to join the People’s Republic of China, which was founded on 1 October. The deaths of the other former ETR leaders were not announced until December, after the Chinese Communists' People's Liberation Army (PLA) had control of northern Xinjiang and had reorganized the military forces of the Three Districts into the PLA. [60] Several former ETR commanders joined the PLA.

On 25 September Nationalist leaders in Dihua, Tao Zhiyue and Burhan Shahidi, announced the formal surrender of the Nationalist forces in Xinjiang to the Chinese Communists. On 12 October the Communist People's Liberation Army entered Xinjiang. Many other Kuomintang generals in Xinjiang like the Salar Muslim Gen. Han Youwen joined in the defection to the PLA. They continued to serve in the PLA as officers in Xinjiang. Other Nationalist leaders who refused to submit fled to Taiwan or Turkey. Ma Chengxiang fled via India to Taiwan. Muhammad Amin Bughra and Isa Yusuf Alptekin fled to Turkey. Masud Sabri was arrested by the Chinese Communists and died in prison in 1952.

The only organized resistance the PLA encountered was from Osman Batur's Kazakh militia and from Yulbars Khan's White Russian and Hui troops, who served the Republic of China. Batur pledged his allegiance to the Kuomintang and was killed in 1951. Yulbars Khan battled PLA forces at the Battle of Yiwu and fled through Tibet, evading the harassing forces of the Dalai Lama, and escaped via India to Taiwan to join the Republic of China, which appointed him the governor of Xinjiang Province in exile. [61] The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the PRC was established on 1 October 1955, replacing the Xinjiang Province (1884–1955).

American telegrams

Multiple telegrams were exchanged among the Chinese government, the Mongolians, the American government, the Uyghur Ili regime and the Soviet Union. These were preserved by American agents and sent to Washington, DC. [51]

The Soviet Union set up a similar puppet state in Pahlavi dynasty Iran in the form of the Azerbaijan People's Government and Republic of Mahabad [62] The Soviet Union used comparable methods and tactics in both Xinjiang and Iran when they established the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad and Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan. [63] The American Ambassador to the Soviet Union sent a telegram back to Washington DC in which he said that the situation in Iranian Azerbaijan and in Xinjiang were similar. [64]

In the Xinjiang conflict, the Soviet Union was involved in funding and support the East Turkestan People's Revolutionary Party (ETPRP) to start a separatist uprising against China in 1968. In the 1970s the Soviets also supported the United Revolutionary Front of East Turkestan (URFET) to fight against the Chinese.

According to her autobiography, Dragon Fighter: One Woman's Epic Struggle for Peace with China, Rebiya Kadeer's father served with pro-Soviet Uyghur rebels under the Second East Turkestan Republic in the Ili Rebellion (Three Province Rebellion) in 1944-46, using Soviet assistance and aid to fight the Republic of China government under Chiang Kai-shek. [65] Kadeer and her family were close friends with White Russian exiles living in Xinjiang and Kadeer recalled that many Uyghurs thought Russian culture was "more advanced" than that of the Uyghurs and they "respected" the Russians a lot. [66]

There was a split in the East Turkestan Independence Movement, between two branches- one of them in favors of the Soviets, supported by the Soviet Union- the other was anti-Soviet, pan-Turkic and its members were based in Turkey and western countries. The Pan-Turkist ones were the 3 Effendis, (ئۈچ ئەپەندى; Üch Äpändi) Aisa Alptekin, Memtimin Bughra, and Masud Sabri. [67] [68] The Second East Turkestan Republic attacked them as Kuomintang "puppets". [69] [70] Anti Soviet sentiment was espoused by Isa while Pro Soviet sentiment was espoused by Burhan. The Soviets were angered by Isa. Violence broke out between supporters of the Soviets and supporters of Turkey because of a film on the Russo Turkish wars in 1949 at Xinjiang College according to Abdurahim Amin in Dihua (Ürümqi). [49]

The Soviet Union encouraged former East Turkestan Republic members and Uighurs in general to migrate into the Soviet Union from China and used to broadcast pro-independence separatist propaganda at the Uyghurs which led to the creation of the "Eastern Turkistan People's Revolutionary Party". [71]

The Ili Rebellion is mentioned and praised in an Arabic language Islamist pamphlet about China and the Soviet Union's Muslims, which was picked up and translated in 1960 into English in Tehran by American government agents, originally written by Mohammed Aziz Ismail and Mohammed Sa'id Ismail. [72]

The transfer of Xinjiang to the People's Republic of China is bemoaned by Al-Qaeda ideologue Mustafa Setmariam Nasar [73] by an article from Al-Qaeda branch Al-Nusra Front's English language "Al-Risalah magazine" (مجلة الرسالة), second issue (العدد الثاني), translated from English into Turkish by the "Doğu Türkistan Haber Ajansı" (East Turkestan News Agency) and titled Al Risale: "Türkistan Dağları" 1. Bölüm (The Message : "Turkistan Mountains" Part 2.) [74] [75] and by "Resurgence", a magazine run by Al-Qaeda. [76]

See also

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The 36th Division was a cavalry division in the National Revolutionary Army. It was created in 1932 by the Kuomintang for General Ma Zhongying, who was also its first commander. It was made almost entirely out of Hui Muslim troops, all of its officers were Hui, with a few thousand Uighurs forced conscripts in the rank and file. It was commonly referred to as the "KMT 36th Division", or "Tungan 36th Division".

Nur Ahmadjan Bughra Uighur Emir of the First East Turkestan Republic

Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra, نور احمد جان بغرا, was an Uighur Emir of the First East Turkestan Republic. He was the younger brother of Muhammad Amin Bughra and Abdullah Bughra. He commanded Uighur and Kirghiz forces during the Battle of Kashgar (1934) against the Chinese Muslim 36th Division. The Chinese Muslims were loyal to the Republic of China government, and wanted to crush the Turkic Muslim Uighurs and Kirghiz in revenge for the Kizil massacre, in which Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra had taken part. He was killed on April 16, 1934 at Yangi Hissar by Chinese Muslim troops under generals Ma Zhancang and Ma Fuyuan. All of Nur Ahmad Jan's 2,500 Uighur and Kirghiz fighters were exterminated by the 10,000 strong Chinese Muslim army.

Yulbars Khan National Revolutionary general

Yulbars Khan, courtesy name Jingfu (景福), was a Uighur warlord and Kuomintang general during the Chinese Civil War. He entered the service in the Kumul Khanate of Muhammad Khan of Kumul and later his son Maksud Shah. He served as an advisor at the court, until when Maksud died in March 1930, governor Jin Shuren abolished the khanate. Yulbars then conspired with Khoja Niyaz and Ma Zhongying to overthrow Jin in the Kumul Rebellion. According to some people, Ma restrained Yulbars from traveling to Nanking to ask the Kuomintang for help, Ma earlier had an agreement with the Kuomintang that if he seized Xinjiang, he would be recognized by the Kuomintang as its leader.

In the 1933 Battle of Kashgar, Gen. Ma Zhancang signed a secret agreement with the daotai of Kashgar, Ma Shaowu, and his Chinese Muslim troops joined the Han Chinese garrison inside the yamen in Kashgar and helped them repulse Uighur and Kirghiz attacks led by Abdullah Bughra. Turkic Uighur and Kirghiz forces led by the Uighur Timur Beg had been attacking Chinese Muslim villages and pillaging them. During the fighting Timur Beg was shot and then beheaded by Ma Zhancang's forces, his head being put on display at the Idgah mosque. When more Chinese Muslim troops arrived, they reinforced the Chinese garrison inside Kashgar. Osman Ali, the Kirghiz rebel, attempted to attack the yamen, but was driven back with heavy losses. He then proceeded to loot the city.

Ma Chengxiang (1914–1991) was a Chinese Muslim general in the National Revolutionary Army. He was the son of Ma Qing (馬慶) and nephew of generals Ma Buqing and Ma Bufang. A daughter of Ma Buqing was married to him. He commanded Hui cavalry in Xinjiang, the 5th cavalry army. Ma was a member of the Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang party and a hardliner. Ma Chengxiang commanded the Xinjiang First Cavalry Division, which was formerly stationed in Gansu where it was known as the Fifth Cavalry Army.

Kuomintang Islamic insurgency Continuation of Chinese Civil War by Chinese Muslims

The Kuomintang Islamic insurgency refers to a continuation of the Chinese Civil War by Chinese Muslim nationalist Kuomintang Republic of China Army forces in Northwest China, in the provinces of Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Xinjiang, and another insurgency in Yunnan.

Battle of Baitag Bogd

The Battle of Baitag Bogd Mountain or Beitashan Incident was a border conflict between China, Mongolia, and the Soviet Union. The Mongolian People's Republic became involved in a border dispute with the Republic of China, as a Chinese Muslim Hui cavalry regiment was sent by the Chinese government to attack Mongol and Soviet positions.

The Kumul Rebellion was a rebellion of Kumulik Uyghurs from 1931 to 1934 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. 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.

Ma Zhongying Chinese Muslim warlord

Ma Zhongying, also Ma Chung-ying was a Hui Chinese Muslim warlord during the Warlord era of China. His birth name was Ma Buying. Ma was a warlord of Gansu province in China during the 1930s. His alliance with the Kuomintang (KMT) brought his predominantly Chinese Muslim troops under the control of the KMT as the 36th Division ; Zhongying was its commander. He was ordered to overthrow Jin Shuren, the governor of Xinjiang. After several victories over provincial and White Russian forces, he attempted to expand his territory into southern Xinjiang by launching campaigns from his power base in Gansu, but was stopped by Xinjiang warlord Sheng Shicai in 1934.

Masud Sabri Chinese general

Masud Sabri (1886–1952), also known as Masʿūd Ṣabrī, ,, was a Uyghur political leader in Xinjiang and Governor of Xinjiang during the Ili Rebellion. He received education at Kulja and Istanbul and was a Pan-Turkist.

Han Youwen Chinese general

Han Youwen was an ethnic Salar Muslim General in the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China, born in Hualong Hui Autonomous County, Qinghai. His Muslim name was Muhammad Habibullah 穆罕默德海比不拉海.

Mahmut Muhiti Chinese military officer

Mahmut Muhiti nicknamed Shizhang was an Uyghur warlord from Xinjiang. He was a commander of the insurgents led by Hoja-Niyaz during the Kumul Rebellion against the Xinjiang provincial authorities. After Hoya-Niyaz and Sheng Shicai, the newly appointed ruler of Xinjiang, formed peace, Muhiti was briefly appointed by Sheng a Military Commander of the Kashgar region in 1934, but was soon demoted and appointed commander of the 6th Division, composed of Turkic Muslims, and named Deputy Military Commander of the Kashgar region. Muhiti opposed Sheng's close ties with the Soviet Union forming opposition to his regime in Kashgar. He organised the Islamic rebellion against Sheng in 1937 and fled to British India.

Xinjiang Province, Republic of China Former province of the Republic of China

Xinjiang Province refers to a former province of the Republic of China. First set up in 1884 as a province of the Qing dynasty, it was replaced in 1955 by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. The original provincial government was relocated to Taipei as the Sinkiang Provincial Government Office (新疆省政府辦事處) until its dissolution in 1992.



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