FREE ILHAM TOHTI

 

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

 

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  • Mr. Uerkesh Davlet’s election as the Honorary President of the Board of Directors of the Ilham Tohti Institute

                                          PRESS RELEASE Ilham Tohti Institute For immediate Release CET  17 June 2020  Subject:  Mr. Uerkesh Davlet’s election as the Honorary President of the Board of Directors of the Ilham Tohti Institute We are pleased to announce the recent election of Mr. Uerkesh Davlet as the honorary President of the Board of Directors of the Ilham Tohti Institute. Mr. Davlet, also known as Wu’er Kaixi in the world Media in 1989 as the former student leader of the “Beijing Tiananmen Student Movement“ is a well known human rights activist and a brave freedom fighter. We welcome Mr. Davlet on the Board whom we will be benefiting from his sound judgement, political experience and wisdom. He was one of the founders of the former Ilham Tohti Initiative in Munich, Germany in 2016. Mr. Davlet, in his capacity as a student leader of the “Beijing Tiananmen Student Movement“ in an open letter sent to the members of the European Parliament, where he called them to choose imprisoned Uyghur academic Ilham Tohti for the Sakharov Award for “Freedom of Thought“ in 2016. Finally, Ilham Tohti was awarded the Sakharov Prize in 2019. The Ilham Tohti Initiative was also instrumental in proposing Ilham Tohti for the Sakharov, Vaclav Havel and some other international human rights Awards.  “This courageous and brave, young Uyghur man was my inspiration and pride“ says Mr. Enver Can, President of the newly renamed Ilham Tohti Institute, recalling his memory of three decades ago: “I was working for the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as a journalist when I first saw Mr. Davlet’s photo with the former CCP Leader Li Peng and reported about the demands of the pro Democracy students in Beijing 31 years ago“. When the Ilham Tohti Initiative was renamed to become Ilham Tohti Institute, Mr. Davlet was invited to be a […]

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

    Tom Phillips in Beijing The Guardian Tue 11 Oct 2016 10.27 BST First published on Tue 11 Oct 2016 07.15 BST  The man known as ‘China’s Mandela’ announced as the winner of the annual Martin Ennals award for human rights defenders A moderate Uighur intellectual, who was jailed for life after opposing China’s draconian policies in its violence-stricken west, has been named the winner of a prestigious award known as the “human rights Nobel” in a move likely to infuriate Beijing. Ilham Tohti, who has been called China’s Mandela, was announced as the winner of the annual Martin Ennals award for human rights defenders on Tuesday. The honour comes two years after the 46-year-old scholar was convicted of separatism and condemned to a life behind bars by a court in Xinjiang, a vast region of western China where there have been repeated outbreaks of ethnic unrest and violence.  In a statement, the Martin Ennals foundation said Ilham Tohti had spent two decades trying “to foster dialogue and understanding” between China’s Han majority and members of Xinjiang’s largely Muslim Uighur ethnic minority, of which he is a member. Advertisement “He has rejected separatism and violence, and sought reconciliation based on a respect for Uighur culture, which has been subject to religious, cultural and political repression,” it added.  Beijing has painted Ilham Tohti – whom western governments and rights groups universally view as a voice of moderation – as a dangerous separatist and “scholar-turned-criminal” who preached “hatred and killing”.  “His case has nothing to do with human rights,” Geng Shuang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, told reporters on Tuesday, accusing the scholar of promoting and taking part in separatist activities.  But Dick Oosting, the chair of the Martin Ennals foundation, rejected that depiction and accused Beijing of silencing a peaceful advocate of Uighur rights.  “The real shame of this situation […]

     
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  • My acceptance speech receiving Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize on behalf of Ilham Tohti

    Dear Madame President, dear Members of Parliament and distinguished guests! I am very much honored to be here among you today and to represent my fellow-countryman Prof. Ilham Tohti – a brave and courageous hero of the Uyghurs. The Uyghurs are an ethnic group with significant contributions to Central Asian and world civilisation – and have been struggling to lead normal lives for many decades. I express the sincere Thanks of Ilham Tohti, his Family and also the gratitude of the Uyghur people as a whole to you, Ms President Liliane Maury Pasquier, the Parlamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Vaclav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation, for choosing him for the prestigious Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize! Indeed Ms. President, Ilham Tohti’s selection for the Prize echoes your recent statement in which you say: I QUOTE “The women and men who defend our human rights are the very best of us. Their courage and determination in standing up for basic principles of justice and fairness – often at great personal cost, risking their liberty and sometimes even their lives – deserve our profound respect and gratitude. They are on the front line of human rights.” This statement, Ms. President, rings particularly true when referring to Ilham Tohti. To emphasise your declaration further, Ms President, and to affirm that Ilham Tohti is a worthy recipient of this award, let me convey that prior to his imprisonment, Ilham told the Voice of America that “even if I should die at the hands of the domestic security or state security police—don’t think that I’ve been killed by Han people and don’t let hatred come between our two peoples.”  Then, even after being sentenced to life in prison in September 2014, he issued a statement through his lawyer saying that “peace […]

     
  • The Dire Consequences of the Imprisonment of Ilham Tohti

    Elliot Sperling February 5, 2017 2016, the day after Ilham Tohti was nominated for the Sakharov Prize. It is published here for the first time. – Yaxue Cao The nomination last week of the imprisoned Uyghur Professor Ilham Tohti for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is welcome recognition of the role this courageous individual has played in working for the fundamental rights of a beleaguered people, a people subject to one of the harshest regimens that China visits on any nationalities or collective groups within its borders. But the persecution of Ilham Tohti serves as an example of how China’s repressive policies create damage and danger that go far beyond its own borders. There are good reasons for international concern and outrage over Ilham Tohti’s imprisonment. On the heels of recent attacks in Europe, and concern about new ISIS-aligned actors outside the group’s core Middle East area, a recent report from the New America think-tank has revealed, among other things, that China’s treatment of its Muslim population is boosting radicalization: over 100 Turkic Uyghurs, Muslims from the region of Xinjiang in China’s northwest were recruited into ISIS response to the harsh state repression visited on them as Muslims and as Uyghurs in full disregard of common human rights norms. But the particularly harsh persecution of Ilham Tohti demonstrates a terrible dynamic in that process: the one-party Chinese state, by targeting moderates effectively nurtures extremism as the outlet for legitimate grievances over China’s policies. On January 15, 2014 Ilham Tohti was spending the afternoon resting with his two young sons in his apartment on the campus of Minzu University where he taught economics. When a large contingent of police and state security agents burst through the door, suddenly and unexpectedly, waking the napping professor, his life changed forever. […]

     
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  • Special Rapporteur on the Uighur Scholar Ilham Tohti

     
  • Release Uyghur Professor Ilham Tohti, Arrested Five Years Ago

     
  • Uyghur Scholar Tohti Speaks About His Concerns Before Detention

     
  • Hundreds of academics urge China’s President to free Professor Ilham Tohti