On 5 April every year, Uyghurs and their supporters around the world commemorate the anniversary of the Barin Township Uprising, which occurred in 1990 in Aqtu county, near Kashgar city. The uprising was a remarkable example of Uyghur resistance to Chinese Communist Party (CCP)- enforced Sinicisation in occupied East Turkestan. 
The CCP had restricted Islamic worship, forced abortions of Uyghur women, and encouraged Han-Chinese inward migration to alter the demographic balance.  Hundreds of Uyghur youth, farmers, and ordinary men fighting for the honour and dignity of their families mobilised in protest against this oppression, initially expressing their grievances peacefully.
Peaceful protest turned into violent Chinese response
The leader of the revolt, Zeydin Yusuf, reportedly wrote a letter to the CCP to convey the protesters’ concerns. 
This peaceful overture was reportedly met by heightened oppression by the CCP, prompting the protesters to revolt and occupy several government buildings.
The CCP securitised the protesters and labelled them “terrorists”, while deploying a huge military arsenal to quell the uprising.  Uyghur reports estimate that 18,000 military and police officials, Bingtuan, and the air force, were sent to recapture the government buildings from roughly 500 protesters.  After a stand-off lasting between 3 to 5 days, the majority of protesters were martyred.
The CCP’s violent suppression of the uprising did not stop with the killing of the protesters. They also conducted mass arrests. Roughly 3,000 Uyghurs were detained while circa 200 were subsequently sentenced to death.  Uyghur relatives insist that the arrests and trials were surrounded in opacity. It was not clear whether everyone who was arrested had actually participated in the uprising.
The injustices of the Barin Township trials are illustrated in the case of Mahat Hasan, who was arrested on 15 April 1990, held in detention for two years, and then sentenced to life imprisonment.  His relatives told the media that they were not permitted to attend the trial, nor were they told what crime Mahat supposedly committed. He died in prison in 2011.
Those who support Uyghur freedom must not forget the struggles of the Barin Township protesters.
The early blueprint for the ongoing genocide was laid in Barin Township. Its traces resonate to this very day in the measures implemented across East Turkestan to control the Uyghur population and remove their Islamic and Turkestani cultural identities.
While Muslim governments have largely failed the Uyghurs , Muslim civil society stands in solidarity with the oppressed.
Thousands of miles away in Bangladesh in 2022, hundreds of Muslim ulama and activists held a series of protests to remember the martyrs of Barin Township and other Uyghurs who lost their lives in the ongoing genocide. 
May Muslims around the world continue to remember the legacy of Barin Township, this year and beyond.
 Center for Uyghur Studies, ‘East Turkestan and the Uyghurs’: https://uyghurstudy.org/east-turkistan-and-the-uyghurs/
 Sean R. Roberts, ‘The War on the Uyghurs’: https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691202181/the-war-on-the-uyghurs
 Bangladesh Live News, ‘Protests Against China on the Occasion of the Baren Revolution’, https://www.bangladeshlivenews.com/en/bangladesh/details/uighur-protest-against-china-on-the-occasion-of-baren-revolution