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Seminar honors martyrs who saved Xinjiang

Updated: 2014-08-28 07:05
By Cui Jia in Urumqi (China Daily)

Sixty-five years after their deaths, five martyrs who foiled an attempt to separate part of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region from China were honored on Wednesday.

Although times change, the goal to firmly safeguard the unity of China never changes in Xinjiang, said Zhang Chunxian, Party chief of the region, during a memorial seminar in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital.

In August 1944, under the influence of the Communist Party of China and the international communist movement, people in northern Xinjiang's Ili, Tacheng and Altay areas fomented a rebellion against Kuomintang rule.

At the early stage of the Three Districts Revolution, some leaders of the revolution unfurled the banner of the "East Turkestan Republic" and plotted to separate the three areas from China. The move was strongly opposed by the five key members of the revolution, including Ahmetjan Kasmu, who stood firmly against those who wanted to separate, Zhang said.

Ahmetjan later became the top leader of the revolution. He dispersed the separatist forces and banned people from using the term "East Turkestan Republic". He brought the revolution back on track, which led to the liberation of Xinjiang, Zhang said.

Zhang added that Ahmetjan once said Xinjiang is a part of China, and the Three Districts are parts of Xinjiang.

The revolution created an army formed by people from different ethnic groups, including Uygur, Kazak and Kyrgyz, which made an important contribution to the liberation of Xinjiang and China, Zhang said, quoting Chairman Mao Zedong.

On Aug 19, 1949, Mao invited Ahmetjan and four other Three Districts leaders who fought alongside him to attend the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing. On Aug 22, they boarded a plane for Beijing, but it crashed, killing all aboard. The five were later honored as martyrs.

Ahmetjan's son, Adiljan Kasmu, said on Wednesday that some people's attempts to separate Xinjiang from China have never stopped.

"Separatists, extremists and terrorists have been continuously carrying out terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and other parts of China. They don't see the idea of establishing a so-called East Turkestan Republic as a mistake and even called the Three Districts Revolution an independent movement. Such a distortion is unacceptable," Adiljan said.


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