Memory of great Uyghur patriot and revolutionist: Muhammad Amin Bughra Section (2)

Memory of great Uyghur patriot and revolutionist: Muhammad Amin Bughra Section (2)

By Abdurehim Gheni Uyghur

Upon arriving in Chongqing, China, Muhammad Imin Bughra founded the “Hometown Association” with fellow Uyghurs Isa Yusuf and Masud Sabiri, aiming to take on the political cause. He wrote numerous articles and published them on Chinese journals and newspapers. In his articles, he described in depth the Kuomintang regime’s brutal policy and appalling actions against peoples in East Turkestan to the general Han public. These articles did create huge uproar and interests among Han people. Two of the articles that stood out and influenced the public the most were “Not Xinjiang, but Turkestan”, and “Turkestan People are Turkish” published on Da Guobao Organ Newspaper in Chongqing on October 12, 1944. The articles clearly posed challenges against Han nationalist historian, Li Dongfang, who in his article claiming “East Turkestan had always been part of China”.

Understandably, these articles by Muhammad Imin Bughra with historical facts and cultural evidences left Li Dongfang in awkward positions and he acknowledged that his arguments had no bases and thus no merits. These open academic debates convinced some parliamentary members, includeing the son of Chiang Kai-Shek, and gained their support for the cause of East Turkistan. The well known Han historians, Mr. Jian Bozhan and the famous Chinese linguist, Guo Moruo even paid a visit to Muhammad Imin Boghra and congratulated him for bringing up the issues to the public with overwhelming, convincing facts and evidences.

Muhammad Imin Bughra delivered a proposal on East Turkestan to the Constitutional Comittee of Kuomintang National Party. The proposal demanded that the name of “Xinjiang” be changed to “East Turkestan” and also the acknowledgment of the ethnicity of Uyghurs as Turkic. The demands of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples triggered protests demanding the government to accept the requirements composed of nine articles. In article 9, it was demanded that the government grant East Turkestan the independence.

On March 29, 1945, Muhammad Imin Bughra, Isa Yusuf and Masud Sabiri prepared a petition that constituted 16 articles. The petition demanded the self-ruling rights of East Turkestan. The negotiations held and results were accepted by both independence fighters in East Turkestan and Kuomintang regime, and parties also agreed to impose sanctions on the East Turkestan local militarist, Sheng Shicai.

The petition was accepted at the Kuomintang General Membership Meeting on April 16, 1945. When the announcement of passing the petitio was made, loud voices was echoed, demanding the execution of Sheng Shicai. However, Sheng Shicai was given the opportunity to defend himself. When Sheng Shicai was speaking, he was constantly interrupted by attendees shouting “you have no rights to speak, death to Sheng Shicai”!

Shoutings were stopped by guards as Sheng Shicai was taken away from the meeting hall.  Chiang Kai-shek accepted all demands except the parts that were relavent to Self-Ruling of East Turkestan. He agreed with the terms of respecting religious, economic and cultural

freedom of Uyghurs, intending to halt the execution of these demands.  Chiang Kai-shek even indorsed Sheng Shicai by portraying him as a hero defending the borders for central government. When Chiang Kai-shek was attempting to pass a law against East Turkestan, the East Turkestan delegates led by Muhammad Imin Bughra left the meeting hall in protest.

Muhammad Imin Bughra returned to East Turkestan in 1945. At the time, Kuomintang was carrying out severe oppression and conflicting double-standard policies in the region. Kuomintang’s local policies were obviously against proposed central policies. All promises by the central government simply remained on papers only and the people in East Turkestan were treated as second-class citizens.  All natural resources were excavated and transported to Chinese provinces. Muhammad Imin Bughra was against the standing policies and he proposed series of initiatives that would jump start a national rejuvenation and educational renaissance in East Turkestan.

He and his companians, Issa Yusuf and Masud Sabiri upon returning from the Chinese province, wrote articles and published on Journal of Altai and Freedom enthusing the Uyghur nation. During this time, he realized the imperative needs of establishing a political party in East Turkestan, and thus the ”East Turkestan Nationalist Party” was soon formed. The main principle of the party was to rely on Kuomintang for diplomatic relations but to establish self-defense and self-ruling East Turkestan. As for other political, cultural and economic issues, the party intended to work towards upgrading its operating functions to the level of independent state over time.

Even though, Kuomintang didn’t recognize East Turkestan Nationalist Party officially, but the name Nationalist Group became quite popular among citizens. Muhammad Imin Bughra was portrayed by General Jiang Zhizhong as Ghadi of East Turkestan and his activities were closely monitored. When he was visiting Kashghar, Yarkent and Hoten in the months of October 4, 1946 to February 2, 1947, a martial law was placed and all Muhammad Imin Bughra’s public speaking engagements were forced to be cancelled.

During a trip to Hoten to supervise an election, a political assassination of Muhammad Imin Bughra was planned by the local police. The plan was exposed in time, however 7 people on their way to meet him in Kerie County were shot dead by the police.

He was elected as a member of provincial government, a part-time editor for “Freedom” newspaper and a member of Uyghur Association in 1947. He also worked as a professor at Urumqi Normal Institute. He presented many reports at academic forums. He gave inspirational speeches as well.  One of the speeches he gave titled “Energy of Atom” at an academic conference was seen as remarkable at the time.

He was elected as vise president of provincial government of East Turkestan on December 28, 1948.

100 Uyghur famous persons
History of East Turkestan
Muhammad Bughra writings
Edited by Abdurehim Gheni Uyghur
Translated by Support Uyghurs Group