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My ideals and the career path

I was born in 1969 into a Uighur family in Atush City, Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). I grew up in a government employee residential compound where Uighurs and Hans lived together. My grandfather’s generation was illiterate, but ...[Full text]

A Conference on Uyghur crisis and professor Ilham Tohti

Two days before announce the European “Václav Havel Human Rights Prize” 2019,  a “Conference on Uyghur crisis and professor Ilham Tohti” held in Utrich, Netherland, organised by Ilham Tohti Institute … [Full]

Interview With Ilham Tohti by Tsering Woeser on 1st Nov 2009









News about Ilham Tohti

  • Uyghur Economist Freed, Warned [Archive]

    RFA 2009-08-24 Chinese authorities release and warn a prominent Uyghur economist they accuse of inciting deadly riots in Urumqi. HONG KONG—A prominent Beijing-based economist and member of China’s Uyghur ethnic minority has been released without charge after he was detained for allegedly promoting separatism, but he said police then visited his home to warn him he could still be tried and executed. Ilham Tohti, a professor at Beijing’s Central Nationalities University, said his cell phone resumed service Saturday and he was released after more than one month in custody. But he said police knocked on his door late Monday to warn him against speaking out against the government’s handling of deadly July 5 riots that pitted mainly Muslim Uyghurs against majority Han Chinese in Urumqi, capital of China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. “They told me I could soon be sentenced—be sentenced to death, be ‘dealt with,’” Tohti said. Tohti said that one police officer remained in his home and stood by his side as he spoke with RFA in a telephone interview. “I did not want to see what happened in Xinjiang on July 5. Ordinary citizens must be left alone to go on with their lives…I do not harbor any conspiracies, but I want to firmly defend the legal rights of the Uyghur people,” he said. Detention Tohti said he had been detained partly in his home and in a hotel “somewhere near Beijing” for two weeks, during which time three or four policemen “chatted with me endlessly” both day and night. “I was unable to tell day from night. My head was spinning [from the questioning]…I spent more than 20 hours a day with them,” Tohti said. Tohti said he was never treated inhumanely during his detention, calling his captors “courteous” and “civilized,” even while he knew […]

  • Thousands of Articles Restored From Downed Website of Jailed Uyghur Scholar Ilham Tohti

    RFA 2020-10-08 The former website of jailed Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti containing thousands of articles has been restored seven years after it was shut down by authorities in China ahead of his 2014 arrest and sentencing to life in prison for “separatism,” according to a group that advocates for his release. The Uyghur Online website, formerly at, was established by Tohti in in 2006 as an advisory platform for him and other Uyghur intellectuals to promote voices from within their community to the people of China and the wider world. The website was used to draw attention to the discrimination facing Uyghurs in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) under Beijing’s rule—restrictions on practice of religion and use of native language, and other curbs on cultural practices—as authorities sought to assimilate the ethnic group. China’s policies toward Uyghurs’ in the XUAR have gotten progressively more harsh in the six years since Tohti’s jailing, with a re-education program launched in 2017 putting as many as 1.8 million people through a vast network of internment camps, and many inmates now pressed into forced labor. Uyghur Online was closely monitored by the government, which shut it down several times prior to Tohti’s arrest on Jan. 15, 2014, citing the politically sensitive nature of the content posted there. The former professor of economics at the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing was sentenced to life in prison for “separatism” by the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court in the XUAR on Sept. 23, 2014, despite having worked for more than two decades to foster dialogue and understanding between Uyghurs and Han Chinese. In a statement posted to Facebook on Monday, the Germany-based Ilham Tohti Institute (ITI) said that after a year and a half of work by a group of young volunteers, it had […]

  • Uyghur Scholar Ilham Tohti’s Daughter Calls For His Release on Sixth Anniversary of His Jailing

    RFA 2020-09-23 The daughter of jailed Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti called on Wednesday for his immediate release from a Chinese prison, speaking on the sixth anniversary of his sentencing to a life term in prison for “separatism” for his advocacy for greater rights for the Uyghur people. Tohti, a former professor of economics at the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing, was sentenced by the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court in northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) on Sept. 23, 2014, despite having worked for more than two decades to foster dialogue and understanding between Uyghurs and Han Chinese. “For the past six years, I’ve tried my best—everything I can—to fight for his release. [Now], we need to see what we can all do together to get my father out,” Tohti’s daughter Jewher Ilham said, speaking in a panel discussion hosted by the Ilham Tohti Institute.   “We need to find some sort of way to ask the [Chinese] government to review my father’s case, and to ask for a change in his verdict. The best circumstance would be releasing my father immediately,” she said. Ilham said she recently learned that Chinese authorities had played a video for students at Tohti’s former university presenting “evidence” that he was guilty of the offenses for which he was jailed. That video has not yet been publicly released, though, Ilham said, and may have been edited to “brainwash” students to believe that Tohti is now where he deserves to be. “If that so-called evidence is not fabricated, and not just used for brainwashing, I would like to be ‘brainwashed’ too, so I don’t have to have these sleepless nights and figure out why my innocent father is still locked up after six years,” Ilham said.‘World is waking up’ Also speaking on the panel, […]

  • Daughter of imprisoned Uighur scholar speaks out 7 years after he was arrested boarding flight to US

    By Yael Halon | Fox News 23 July 2020 Jewhar Ilham and her father were preparing board their flight to the US when her father was arrested and later sentenced to life on separatism charges Watch the latest video at The daughter of an imprisoned Uighur scholar is on a mission to shed light on China’s human rights abuses after her father was arrested in Beijing’s International Airport and sentenced to a life behind bars on separatism charges. Jewhar Ilham told “Bill Hemmer Reports” Wednesday that her father Ilham Tohti was invited in February 2013 as a visiting scholar to Indiana University. Jewhar and her father were preparing to board their flight to the U.S. when her father was arrested. “2013, Feb. 2, was last time I saw my father at the Beijing International Airport,” Jewhar said. “He was invited by Indiana University as a visiting scholar and I was only planning to accompany him and spent three weeks as a vacation, but as a teenager, I appeared to have no threats to the government officials. I was allowed to leave the country, but my father was arrested at the airport.” US SPEAKS UP FOR MINORITY MUSLIM UIGHURS IN CHINA After being placed on house arrest for 11 months, Tohti, a well-known economics professor in Beijing, was given an unprecedented life sentence based on the writings on his website, Uyghur Online, that promoted peaceful coexistence between the Uyghur people and Han Chinese. “There are hundreds of thousands of daughters and sons just like me that can’t see their parents, cannot call their parents and cannot communicate. They don’t even know, just like me, if their parents are alive or not.” —  Jewhar Ilham, ‘Bill Hemmer Reports’ “He was well-known for his peaceful suggestions and his website,” Jewhar said. “My father wanted to use this website to create understanding and to promote peaceful dialogue or coexistence between the Uighurs people and the Han Chinese.” Because many social media outlets and search engines […]

  • Trump Signs Uyghur Rights Act Into Law, Authorizing Sanctions For Abuses in Xinjiang

  • Ilham Tohti, Uighur imprisoned for life by China, wins major human rights prize

  • USCIRF Welcomes Appointment by Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Nury Turkel to U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

  • Cancel China’s Appointment to UNHRC’s Consultative Group