Baren Township conflict
Part of the Xinjiang conflict

Location of Akto (pink) in Kizilsu (yellow), in Xinjiang (light gray) and in China (dark gray)
DateApril 1990
Location39°05′52″N 75°47′14″E / 39.0978663295°N 75.7872937794°E / 39.0978663295; 75.7872937794Coordinates: 39°05′52″N 75°47′14″E / 39.0978663295°N 75.7872937794°E / 39.0978663295; 75.7872937794
Result Uprising suppressed
Chinese government regains control of Barin (Baren) township
Turkistan Islamic Party

People's Republic of China

Commanders and leaders
Zeydin Yusup  Jiang Zemin
Casualties and losses
15 dead (official Chinese media)[1] 7 dead (official Chinese media)[1]

The Baren Township conflict was an armed conflict that took place between Uyghur militants and Chinese government forces in April 1990.[2][3][4][5] It is unclear what happened during the armed conflict because reports of the incident vary greatly.[3]

Chinese account

According to Chinese records, four major planning meetings were held in the run up to the terrorist attack, one of which was devoted to the procuring of supplies, including weapons and white uniforms. Toward the end of March 1990, the terrorists ran a training camp to prepare for the fight ahead. Stolen money was used to buy weapons and vehicles. According to Chinese records, the Uyghur terrorists were forced to move more quickly than they had intended because their plot was on the verge of being discovered. Hundreds of homemade bombs were made in a blacksmith shop in Kashgar and transported to Barin before the rebellion.[6]

Chinese sources state that the attack was initiated by 200 Uyghur terrorists armed with advanced weaponry who attacked Chinese paramilitary and local police forces throughout the township of Barin (Baren).[3] These reports indicate that Afghani militia forces may have been directly involved. Reportedly, Afghan-trained Islamists set up loudspeakers in mosques of Barin Township urging the local Uyghur population to "rise up against Chinese oppression and work toward establishing an independent Uyghur Islamic state" while praising jihad.[7] A large group of terrorists reportedly attacked and burned a police bus, beheading the police officers with knives and taking their weapons.[6] In response, Chinese government forces crushed the riot by force over the course of three days.[3]

Uyghur account

On April 5, 1990, in Kizilsu's Akto County and in the township of Barin (Baren), Zeydin Yusup, the leader of the East Turkistan Islamic Party,[8] 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.[9] Another source states that the protests were the result of local Uyghurs not being allowed to build a mosque.[10]

The Chinese government initially sent in a detachment of armed police to the site of the disturbance.[9] The Uyghur forces and the authorities started fighting, and the violence spread through the town.[9] The uprising, which lasted for several days, ended when the Chinese government sent hundreds of heavily armed police and soldiers to quell the riots.[8][11]

The Turkistan Islamic Party mentioned the Barin (Baren) Township riot in issue 1 of its magazine, Islamic Turkistan, in an article about the region's history.[12] The third issue of its magazine commemorated the death of Zeydin Yusup (Dia al din bin Yusuf), the TIP member involved in the Barin Township riot.[13] Khalid Turkistani wrote an article in Issue 13 of the "Islamic Turkistan" magazine, saying he was a participant in the "jihad" in Barin and was jailed for it by the Chinese government in 1990.[14]

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.[15]


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.[9] 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.[10][16]

Persons reportedly killed in association with this event include: Abdugeni Tursun, 22, Isakkary Bayhan, 30, Yolwas Tohti, 28, Ablimit Palty, 18, and Ababekir Turghun, 20. Persons arrested in conjunction with this event include: Mahat Hasan, Urayim Amet, Abaydulla Marop Damola, Abdul Kadir, Abdurahim Turdi, Ahad Allahverdi (Allawardy), Aysa Yoldash, Aziz Kurban, Husein Kurban, Hasim Yusuf, Ibrahim Ahmed, Ismail Haji, Jelil Aval, Jamal Muhammed, Kerim Kari, Kurban Juma, Mehmut (Memet) Rozi, Muhammad Amin Yapkan, Muhammed Emin Omer, Mukaram Haji Nenim (Henim), Rahmanjan Ahmed, Rozi Hashim, Rozi Juma, Sulayman Eysa (Isa), Tohti Islam, Turdi Obul, Turgan Abdulkarim, Turgunjan Muhammed, Yasin Turdi.[17]

In 2020, the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile commemorated the thirtieth anniversary of the event in its official journal.[18]

In April 2021, the Chinese ambassador to Turkey was summoned after responding to statements by Turkish politicians Meral Akşener and Mansur Yavaş in commemoration of those killed in the event.[19]


  1. ^ a b David Holley (12 November 1990). "COLUMN ONE : An Islamic Challenge to China : Officials fear the spread of fundamentalism in the westernmost region. They toughen controls on religious life and suppress secessionist activities". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  2. ^ "Beijing Reports 22 Deaths In Revolt in Western Region". The New York Times. April 23, 1990. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Xinjiang provincial television said in a broadcast from Urumqi, the regional capital, that a revolt by a "small number of ruffians" was put down in the town of Baren in the Kizilsu Kirghiz autonomous prefecture on April 5 and 6.
  3. ^ 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.
  5. ^ VAN WIE DAVIS, ELIZABETH. "Uyghur Muslim Ethnic Separatism in Xinjiang, China". Asian Affairs 35, no. 1 (2008): 15-29.
  6. ^ a b Justin V. Hastings (December 2011). "Charting the Course of Uyghur Unrest". The China Quarterly (208): 900. JSTOR 41447781 – via JSTOR. (Sourced to the Xinjiang Public Security Gazette (新疆通志·公安志), pages 790-795)
  7. ^ Guo, Rongxing (15 July 2015). China's Spatial (Dis)integration: Political Economy of the Interethnic Unrest in Xinjiang. Chandos Publishing. ISBN 9780081004036. Retrieved 18 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ a b "The 1990s: the turn towards repression". Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ a b "Uighur Developments in the 1990s". Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  11. ^ Pike, John. "Uighur Insurgency". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  12. ^ "ماذا تعرف عن تركستان الشرقية". تركستان الإسلامية. No. العددالأول. July 2008. p. ١٨.
  13. ^ عبد الله منصور (June–July 2009). "الشهيد ضياء الدين بن يوسف" (PDF). تركستان الإسلامية. No. السنة الأولى العدد الرابع. pp. 33–34. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-09-14.
  14. ^ خالد تركستاني (June–July 2013). "ذكريات من خلف القضبان ِ" (PDF). تركستان الإسلامية. No. العدد الثالث عشر. p. ٥٣-٥٤. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-10-12.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ Eset Sulaiman, Roseanne Gerin (12 April 2017). "Authorities Urge Kyrgyz Herdsmen to Spy on Uyghurs in China's Xinjiang". Radio Free Asia. Translated by Mamatjan Juma. Retrieved 4 September 2020. A police officer in Barin township, who declined to give his name, said officers have recently been watching the station around the clock lately because the situation in the area, which is the most sensitive part of the Kizilsu Kirghiz prefecture, remains tense.
    The township is where an uprising and armed revolt occurred between Uyghur militants and Chinese government forces in April 1990. Reports of the incident vary, but Uyghurs maintain that security forces killed and arrested hundreds of Uyghur fighters.
    Authorities also arrested more than 7,900 Uyghurs following an ensuing crackdown on “criminal activities of ethnic splittists [separatists] and other criminal offenders,” according to reports at the time.
  17. ^ "PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE XINJIANG UIGHUR AUTONOMOUS REGION" (PDF). Amnesty International. 21 April 1999. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 November 2020. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  18. ^ "30th Anniversary of the Baren Revolution". The Voice of East Turkistan. 1 (3): 17. April 5, 2020 – via Internet Archive. The East Turkistan Government in Exile and the overwhelming majority of East Turkistanis across our global diaspora commemorated the 30th Anniversary of the Baren Revolution, also known as the Baren Uprising, or the Baren Massacre, which erupted on April 5, 1990 in East Turkistan's Akto County.
  19. ^ "Turkey summons Chinese ambassador over response to Uighur claims". Reuters. 2021-04-07. Retrieved 2021-04-08.