On March 11, 2023, the Center for Uyghur Studies and Taklamakan Uyghur Publishing House organized a conference in Istanbul, Turkiye to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the “Hotan Islamic Government”. The conference was moderated by Dr. Erkin Emet and attended by more than 70 people including Uyghur academics and representatives from Uyghur organizations in Istanbul. Abdulhakim Idris, Executive Director of Center for Uyghur Studies, and Abdulcelil Turan, CEO of Taklamakan Uyghur Publishing House delivered opening remarks.
The conference discussed the historic significance, political and social backgrounds of the “Hotan Islamic Government” and the leaders such as Muhammed Emin Bughra who played crucial roles in the foundation of this government.
Dr. Eset Sulayman delivered a presentation titled “Three points that are not discussed on Muhammad Emin Bughra’s History of East Turkistan National Revolution”, where he highlighted some important historical facts about the history of East Turkistan revolution. Also, Dr. Alimcan Inayet delivered a presentation on the “Personality of Muhammed Emin Bughra”, where he introduced the political, military, and literary works of Bughra. Dr. Nurehmet Qurban, Abdullah Oguz, and Mevlan Tengrikut also delivered presentations on “Hotan Islamic Government”.
During the conference, the brochure “East Turkistan & the Uyghurs” was introduced. The book “Hotan Islamic Government”, published by Center for Uyghur Studies this month was presented to the academics that delivered presentations at the conference.
In his remarks, Executive Director of Center for Uyghur Studies Abdulhakim Idris said, “Learning the history of East Turkistan is our responsibility. We have to liberate our minds, thoughts, and let the world know that the Uyghurs are talented and capable people”.
The Hotan Islamic Government was founded on April 10, 1933 in Hotan, East Turkistan after an uprising broke out in the city and defeated the Chinese soldiers under the leadership of Muhammed Emin Bughra. The Hotan government played an important role in the establishment and maintenance of the Islamic Republic of East Turkistan in November 1933. It was dissolved in June 1934 after the Soviet-Chinese led sabotage of the new republic.
Muhammed Emin Bughra is a religious scholar, historian, military commander, politician, and diplomat who has dedicated his life for the freedom of East Turkistan. Bughra brought together religious scholars and elites of Hotan in early 1930, and led an uprising in the city in February 1933. Despite their lack of modern military equipment and training, the small army was able to bring an end to the Chinese rule in Hotan. After the establishment of the Hotan Islamic Government, Muhammed Niyaz Elem Ahunum was elected as the head of the new government, Bughra was appointed the Commander-in-Chief, and Damolla Sabit Abdulbaqi became the advisor in charge of education, justice, and religious affairs. Damolla Sabit Abdulbaqi later went to Kashgar and opened a representative office of the Hotan government, which paved the way for the establishment of the Islamic Republic of East Turkistan. The Hotan Islamic Government was an embodiment of the Uyghur people’s struggle and dedication for liberty and freedom from Chinese oppression. It ruled from Cherchen in the East to Yarkand in the West. During the Hotan government period, the people of this geography enjoyed peace, social stability, and prosperity.
To commemorate this important history, the Center for Uyghur Studies started a research project in 2022 and prepared “Hotan Islamic Government”, which includes several first-ever uncovered historic documents, articles on Hotan history, and biographies of Uyghur figures who lived in Hotan.