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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








Ilham Tohti

All about Ilham Tohti

  • Committee to Protect Journalists: Ilham tohti

    Tohti, a Uighur scholar, writer, and blogger, was taken from his home by police on January 15, 2014, and the Uighurbiz website he founded, also known as UighurOnline, was closed. The site, which Tohti started in 2006, was published in Chinese and Uighur, and focused on social issues. Tohti was charged with separatism by Urumqi police on February 20, 2014. He was accused of using his position as a lecturer at Minzu University of China to spread separatist ideas through Uighurbiz. On September 23, 2014, at the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court, Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment. He denied the charges. Several foreign governments and human rights organizations protested the sentence. The European Union released a statement condemning the life sentence as unjustified. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. was concerned by the sentencing and called on Chinese authorities to release him, along with seven of his students. Tohti’s appeal request was rejected at a hearing in a Xinjiang detention center on November 21, 2014, that was scheduled at such short notice that his lawyer was unable to attend. Tohti’s wife told Radio Free Asia in February 2016 that authorities allow family members to visit Tohti for only 30 minutes every three months. Seven of his students–Perhat Halmurat, Shohret Nijat, Luo Yuwei, Mutellip Imin, Abduqeyum Ablimit, Atikem, Rozi and Akbar Imin–were charged with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti’s lawyer Li Fangping. Many were administrators for the site, according to state media. According to the political prisoner database of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an organization set up by the U.S. Congress to monitor human rights and laws in China, Rozi and Mutellip Imin wrote for the site. Imin, who is from Xinjiang and enrolled at Istanbul University in Turkey, also has a blog. He was arrested […]

  • Five facts about Ilham Tohti, award-winning activist jailed in China

    20 October 2016, 16:39 UTC Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti celebrates his birthday on 25 October, shortly after he was awarded the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for human rights. But who is he and why is he in prison in China? Ilham Tohti is a respected economist who has highlighted abuses against China’s Uighur minority. A renowned Uighur intellectual in China, Ilham Tohti was an economics professor at Central University for Nationalities in the capital, Beijing. He has worked for two decades to build understanding between Uighurs and Han Chinese. Rejecting separatism and violence, he tried to reconcile differences between these ethnic groups. Uighurs, a mainly Muslim Turkic ethnic group, have faced widespread discrimination in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China. Ilham Tohti has been put under surveillance and arrested many times for drawing attention to the plight of Uighurs in China.  Through his writing and lectures, Ilham highlighted government policies that limit the use of the Uighur language, severely restrict Uighurs’ ability to practice their own religion, block their chances of getting a job, and encourage Han migration into the region, all fuelling discontent and ethnic tensions. Ilham was the founder and director of the bilingual website “Uighur Online”, which reported on human rights violations suffered not only by Uighurs but also by ethnic Han Chinese. The website had been shut down by the authorities several times: first before the Beijing Olympics in 2008, again in March and April 2009, and now since 2014. When ethnic violence erupted in the XUAR in 2009, Ilham was detained for several weeks after he posted information on the internet about Uighurs who had been detained, killed and had “disappeared” during and after the protests. In the following years, he was placed under house arrest for various periods.The path I have pursued […]

  • The Ilham Tohti Institute

    The Ilham Tohti Institute (ITI) is a non-governmental organisation, that was founded after the unjustly imprisoned Uyghur academic Professor Ilham Tohti. Before Ilham Tohti was imprisoned by the Chinese government, he publicly conducted research and pursued campaigns, including: establishing an open dialogue and peacefully solving the existing conflict between Uyghurs and Han people in the Chinese state; campaigning to eliminating racial discrimination and safeguarding for Uyghurs’ equal citizenship rights before the law; take action and fully implement equal rights for the Uyghurs as equals to the majority Han Chinese; conduct research and publicise these critical issues among the Han Chinese people as well in the international community about how Uyghurs are suffering in the hands of Chinese Government with racial discrimination, injustice before law and with the widespread human rights abuses. Despite the obvious risk to his life, Mr. Ilham Tohti openly submitted his proposals and opinions to the Chinese government. Unfortunately, he was unfairly tried in Chinese court in 2014 and sentenced to life in prison. Our Institute will work to release Professor Ilham Tohti. We will continue working on his research and inform the world of his work on the human rights abuses of the Uyghur people, as well as his tireless effort on finding a method for a peaceful solution for the existing Uyghur issues, and it’s possible implementation. Our institute is actively involved in conducting research, investigations and the disclosing of cases of violations to the international community regarding the human rights abuse of the Uyghur people within the criteria of United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all relevant human rights under the international law.

  • China Change: Ilham Tohti

    On 15 January 2014, Chinese authorities arrested Ilham Tohti, a Uighur economics professor at the prestigious Minzu University in Beijing. Today, February 16, marks the 32nd day of his detention. His family has yet to receive any legal document detailing his whereabouts or the charges against him. For years, Tohti has discussed and commented on not only Chinese policies in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, where the vast majority of this Turkic Muslim population lives, but also the state of Han-Uighur relations. He founded the Chinese-language website 维吾尔在线 (Uighurs Online), which is meant to facilitate communication and understanding between the two peoples. Today, China Change launches an “Ilham Tohti” button on its homepage. A group of concerned scholars and experts will collect, post, and update information regarding Professor Tohti in an effort to raise awareness of his detention and press for his release. We have created a ‘Free Ilham Campaign’ Twitter account. Please consider following @FreeIlham, including our Twitter handle, and using the hashtag #FreeIlham when you post news, comments, or links about Ilham Tohti. Statements by International Human Rights Advocacy Organizations Amnesty International Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights. Our vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards. We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion, and are funded mainly by our membership and public donations. URGENT ACTION: UIGHUR SCHOLAR TAKEN FROM HIS HOME URGENT ACTION: Uighur scholar AT RISK OF DEATH SENTENCE, 26 February 2014 Amnesty International Taiwan 中國|維吾爾學者伊力哈木・土赫提被從家中帶走 Chinese Human Rights Defenders Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) is a network of Chinese and international activists promoting human […]

  • Ilham Tohti Deserves to be a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

  • China: Civil Society Calls on authorities to Immediately Release Uyghur Professor Ilham Tohti Five Years After His Arrest

  • China: Uyghur PEN member, writer and academic Ilham Tohti detained; fears for safety

  • Where has Ilham Tohti been held since 15 January?