Ahmetjan Qasimi (15 April 1914–27 August 1949) was a Uyghur political leader in Uyghuristan. He is a President of the Republic of Uyghuristan.
Ahmetjan was born in Ghulzha (Yining in Chinese) in 1914. He studied at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East, Moscow in 1936 and was a member of Communist Party of Soviet Union. Ehmetjan was described as „Stalin’s man“ and as a „communist-minded progressive“. Ahmetjan Qasimi Russified his surname to „Kasimov“ and became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
He was a member of the governing council of the Second East Turkestan Republic, a Soviet-backed administration founded in three northwestern districts of Uyghuristan during the Ili Rebellion in November 1944. Ahmetjan Qasimi himself was not involved with the planning of the rebellion. The Second ETR was initially led by Elihan Tore, who favored forming a conservative Islamic government. Tore disappeared in the Soviet Union in 1946. Ahmetjan Qasimi was a leader of the pro-Soviet Sinkiang Turkic People’s National Liberation Committee (STPNLC).
In June 1946, Ahmetjan Qasimi reached a political agreement with the Nationalist Chinese leader Zhang Zhizhong to form a coalition provincial government in Urumqi The Second ETR was disbanded in name but the Uyghuristan retained autonomy. As a vice-chairman of the coalition government, Ahmetjan Qasimi called for unity and support for the government. He explained that the people of Ili had risen in rebellion only to secure their rights under the Chinese constitution. He was a member of Uyghuristan’s delegation to the National Assembly in Nanjing.
In the summer of 1949, as Chinese Nationalists were losing the civil war to the Chinese Communists, the Soviet Union planned for ETR leaders to switch sides. On August 22, 1949, Vasiliy Borisov, the Soviet Vice-Consul at Yining, accompanied ETR leadership in auto trip to USSR for urgent talks with Soviet officials about future of ETR, where they were told to cooperate with Communist Party of China. They were invited by Chinese Communist leader, Mao Zedongto attend the First Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing to prepare for the founding of thePeople’s Republic of China. On August 24, 1949 Ahmetjan Ehmetjan, Abdulkerim Abbas, Ishaq Beg Munonov, Dalelkhan Sugirbayev, Luo Zhi and other top ETR representatives (11 men in all) boarded a plane in Almaty, the capital of the Kazakh SSR, for Beijing. On September 3, the Soviet Union informed Saifuddin Azizi, another leader of the ETR, who was not on the flight that the plane had crashed near Lake Baikal en route to Beijing, killing all on board.
Seyfidin Azizi and two other ETR leaders then traveled to Beijing by train where they agreed to incorporate the Three Districts into the newly founded People’s Republic of China and accept important positions within the administration. News of plane crash and death of Ehmetjan was not publicly announced in Uyghuristan until early December, after the People’s Liberation Army had secured the region.
Ehmetjan Qasimi was married in January 1945 to Mahinur Qasim (Maynor Kasim; 玛依努尔•哈斯木), a native of Korgas County in Ili. The couple had a son and a daughter. In 1952, Mahinur Qasim became the mayor of Yining and joined the Chinese Communist Party. She later served as a member of Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and a vice chair of the All-China Women’s Federation. She has been a prominent advocate of women and children’s rights. Her memoir of her husband, Remembering Ehmetijan Kasimi , was published in China in 2011.
In the Uyghuristan, Ehmetjan Qasimi is remembered as a martyr and hero in the struggle against the Nationalist regime. His remains were returned to China in April 1950 and later reburied in a martyr’s memorial cemetery in Yining. The cemetery has a stele with calligraphy by Mao Zedong, praising Qasimi and his fellow martyrs for their contributions to the Chinese people’s revolution and mourning their death en route to the Inaugural Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing.