“Two years after the Chinese authorities sentenced the prominent Uighur
intellectual Ilham Tohti to life imprisonment for promoting separatism
and violence, a Swiss-based foundation awarded him a prestigious human
rights prize on Tuesday for his efforts to foster dialogue and
For more, see Nick Cumming-Bruce, “Ilham Tohti, Uighur Scholar in Chinese Prison, Is Given Human Rights Award,” The New York Times (11 October 2016)
Gilles Sabrie / The New York Times
“Last month, a Chinese government think tank bashed history professors
from Harvard, Georgetown and other leading American universities
regarding things they wrote — at least 15 years ago — about events that
occurred more than two centuries ago. ‘This was a uniquely
vitriolic attack,’ says Georgetown’s Jim Millward. The article calls him
as ‘arrogant,’ ‘overbearing’ and an ‘imperialist,’ and dismisses
Millward’s and his colleagues’ scholarship as ‘academically absurd.’
In all the article, published on the website of the Chinese Academy of
Social Sciences had 88 exclamation points. ‘It was written in the style
of a Cultural Revolution denunciation,’ says the professor, who teaches
Chinese and Central Asian history.“
For more, see Frank Langfitt “Why a Chinese Government Think Tank Attacked American Scholars,” NPR (21 May 2015)
Image: Rafiq Maqbool / AP
"In other words, Tohti was actually guilty of running what readers around the world would instantly recognize as a blog. To be more precise, it was what Internet scholars like Ethan Zuckerman call a ‘bridge blog,’ one devoted, in the words of Zuckerman, to ‘building connections between people from different cultures via … online work.’”
The punishment? A sentence of life in prison.
For more on the recent story of Ilham Tohti, and its implications, see David Wertime, “An Internet Where Nobody Says Anything: Ilham Tohti’s Sentence Shows a Dark Vision for the Web of the Future,” Tea Leaf Nation / China File (25 Sept 2014)
Image: Goh Chai Hin / AFP / Getty Images
Indiana University released a strong statement on Sept. 24th protesting the conviction and life sentence given to Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti. Tohti was first arrested in Beijing on his way to to Indiana University, Bloomington, in 2013, where he was to serve as a visiting scholar. His daughter, Jewher Ilham, also currently attends Indiana University.
For the full statement, see “Statement from Indiana University on the Arrest and Conviction of Uighur Scholar Ilham Tohti,” Indiana University Newsroom (24 Sept 2014).
"A university professor who has become the most visible symbol of peaceful resistance by ethnic Uighurs to Chinese policies was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday after being found guilty of separatism by court officials in the western region of Xinjiang, which Uighurs consider their homeland."
For more, see Edward Wong, “China Court Sentences Uighur Scholar to Life in Separatism Case,” The New York Times (23 Sept 2014). More can also be found in coverage at The Wall Street Journal , the BBC, and the South China Morning Post.
Image: Andy Wong / Associated Press
"The LSA [Linguistic Society of America] has learned from news reports published this week that Abduweli Ayup has been ordered to pay a large fine and continue his detention in a Chinese prison for the next six months. The LSA had sent a letter earlier this year to government officials in China and the U.S., seeking details about Abduweli’s alleged crimes, and legal intervention on his behalf, consistent with international covenants on human rights. Friends of Abduweli’s have established a fundraising page on the YouCaring website to assist in raising a portion of the $13,000 (USD) fine imposed by the Chinese government.”
For more, see “Uyghur Linguist Sentenced to 18-Month Prison Term in China" Linguistic Society of America.org. (28 August 2014)
"BEIJING HAS TWO PROBLEMS with the Uyghurs, the Turkic-speaking, Central Asian people from China’s northwestern Xinjiang region. One problem is terrorism — as was brought to the world’s attention by the horrific bombing and vehicular attack last week (22 May) in North Park Street (Gongyuan Bei Jie) market in Xinjiang’s capital city, Urumqi.
The other problem is civil rights, as demonstrated by another incident last week (20 May) that has received much less world notice. According to a news report confirmed by local officials, police in Alaqagha township in Aksu district, Xinjiang, shot into an unarmed crowd, striking five and killing at least two women. The women were demonstrating because their middle-school girls had been arrested, and some in the crowd had thrown stones and roughed up a school principal. Why were the girls detained? For violating dress code and wearing headscarves to school.”
For more, see James Millward, “China’s Two Problems with the Uyghurs,” Los Angeles Review of Books (28 May 2014)
Image: Lisa Ross
The last time I saw my father was on Feb. 2, 2013. We were at the international airport in Beijing, about to board a flight to America for him to spend a year as a visiting scholar at Indiana University. I was 18, and was coming along for a few weeks to help him settle in.
We had checked in and were waiting as our passports were inspected. The guards closely examined my father’s documents, then typed information into their computers. Suddenly, security agents arrived and pulled us out of the line. We were put into a small room, without food or a bathroom. The security officers forbade my father from boarding the plane, but they let me go. I cried, but my father insisted that I go.
- For more, see “A Uighur Father’s Brave Fight,” by Jewher Ilham, NYT Op-Ed (4 May 2014)