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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









  • 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 […]

  • China ‘Responsible’ for Riots [Archive]

    RFA News 2009-08-06 With trials planned in connection with deadly riots in Urumqi, exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer calls for leniency. HONG KONG—Exiled Uyghur dissident Rebiya Kadeer has called on the Chinese government to take responsibility for last month’s deadly race riots in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), as the authorities released an ethnic breakdown of the official death toll. Of the 197 people who died in the riots, 156 were “innocent civilians,” the official Xinhua news agency reported. Of those, 134 were majority Han Chinese, 10 were Uyghurs, and 10 Kazakhs, it said. “If we take the numbers announced by Chinese government as true, the Chinese government is still responsible  for the incident,” said U.S.-based Kadeer, a former businesswoman who served six years in jail for alleged subversion. Authorities have formally arrested 83 people in connection with the two-way ethnic violence, sparked July 5 after a student demonstration clashed with police, sending armed mobs from both ethnic groups out onto the city’s streets. They will be charged with murder, intentional injury, arson, and robbery, according to city prosecutor Utiku’er Abudrehman. A lawyer based in Urumqi who asked to be identified by his surname, Zhang, meanwhile said several thousand prosecutions were planned in connection with the July 5 clashes.  “The trials will be conducted in the Uyghur language by Uyghur prosecutors, and lawyers for the defendants are supposed to be Uyghur too,” Zhang said in an interview Thursday.  “There are several thousand suspects to be tried.” “I think the government is too rushed at this point in processing these cases. You need time to get a clear understanding of each case, such as who are the culprits and manipulators and who are the followers,” he said. Kadeer, 62, called on Beijing to treat those found responsible for the […]

  • The restoration of the “Uyghur Online” Website of Ilham Tohti

    The Uyghur Online website, which was created by Professor Ilham Tohti in Beijing 2006, was an important advisory platform for Ilham Tohti and other Uyghur intellectuals’ struggle to make heard the voices of the Uyghurs to Chinese people, as well as the world. He campaigned for the rights of Uyghur people despite limited resources. He was at the forefront of this struggle conducting research and writing for the website about the injustices that his people were facing in China. This website soon became a focus point of learning about Uyghur’s situation at home and internationally. This website was closely watched by the authorities and subsequently was closed down and reopened several times before Mr. Ilham Tohti was arrested in January 2014 where he was given life imprisonment. His website was a beacon of truth for Uyghur people under Chinese strict Internet censorship. Published were many controversial topics that were written fearlessly, predominantly by a group of intellectuals who were headed by Ilham Tohti. There were many valuable articles about the Uyghur people, including research on political, socio-economic and cultural aspects of Uyghur lives. To share this valuable legacy of Mr. Ilham Tohti, to provide this for the Uyghur people and researchers, the Ilham Tohti Institute decided to work on the restoration of his website. The institute organised a group of young volunteers led by a computer expert Mr.Abliz Mehsud who lives in the United States. After a year and a half of our efforts, we successfully completed restoration work on valuable articles from an old website that existed on the Wayback Machine Internet Archive. We restore a total of 3553 articles which were published on the old website between the year 2006 and 2013. The restoration is based on the materials of the Internet Archive, as well as preserved articles found on […]

  • Uyghur Scholar’s Release Sought [Archive]

    RFA 2009-07-14 A Chinese writer petitions for the release of a prominent Uyghur economist detained after riots in China’s ethnically divided northwest. WASHINGTON—Chinese writer Wang Lixiong and his wife, the Tibetan writer Woeser, have launched an online campaign calling for the release of Uyghur economist Ilham Tohti. Tohti, a professor at Beijing’s Central Nationalities University, went missing after he reported police had summoned him from his Beijing home following July 5 riots in Urumqi, capital of China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Beijing-based Wang Lixiong is best known for his novel Tian Zang (Sky Burial), in which he explores the issue of Tibet from a perspective different from that officially espoused by the Chinese government. Wang published his petition for Ilham Tohti on the Internet July 12, and within 24 hours had collected 158 cyber signatures endorsing his appeal, most of them from Han Chinese. By Tuesday, the number of supporters had reached more than 250. Blog targeted Tohti, an outspoken economist from China’s largely Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority, was targeted by police after his blog, Uyghur Online, was cited for allegedly instigating deadly ethnic clashes in Xinjiang. Tohti told RFA’s Uyghur service that police had been surveying his home in a telephone interview on July 7, two days after deadly clashes in the northwestern city of Urumqi killed at least 184 people. “They are calling me now, and I have to go. I may be out of touch for some time,” he said. “I wasn’t involved in anything, but I am not safe. The police are calling me,” Tohti said before hanging up. Subsequent phone calls rang unanswered. On July 6, he told RFA’s Cantonese service that he had gathered information on the clashes but wouldn’t release it because the timing was sensitive. Tohti’s blog, Uyghur Online, publishes in Chinese and Uyghur […]

  • Outspoken Economist Presumed Held [Archive]

  • Economist Speaks Out Again [Archive]

  • Uyghur Economist Silenced [Archive]

  • Uyghur Scholar Calls for Jobs [Archive]