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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Ilham Tohti

All about Ilham Tohti

 
  • Interview: ‘They Are Doing The Exact Opposite of What my Father Suggested’

    Jewher Ilham, the daughter of jailed Uyghur academic Ilham Tohti, is a graduate from Indiana University who has spoken out in support of his peaceful promotion of equal rights and greater autonomy for the Turkic speaking Uyghur ethnic group in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Tohti, currently serving a life jail term for “separatism,” won the prestigious Martin Ennals Award 2016 for human rights, the Liberal International Prize for Freedom in 2017, and Freedom House’s Freedom Award in 2019. The jailed professor is also a nominee for the 2019 Sakharov Prize and the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Ilham spoke to RFA about her father’s case and Beijing’s policies in the XUAR, where authorities are believed to have held more than 1.5 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” in a vast network of internment camps since April 2017. Ilham referred to the facilities as ‘concentration camps’—a term also used by U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Randall G. Schriver and the Uyghur exile community. RFA: How do you envision a path to your father’s release from prison? Ilham: Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s happening soon, based on the Chinese government’s recent actions, such as the concentration camps and other Uyghur scholars like [jailed former head of Xinjiang University] Tashpolat Teyip. I haven’t seen good signs, especially since I haven’t heard anything about my father since 2017—his condition, or if he has been transferred to another prison. We don’t know anything about it. But I’m always keeping hope and it’s very important to be positive. If you lose hope, then you lose everything. RFA: After speaking with President Trump and other officials about your father and the situation in the XUAR, do you feel confident that the U.S. government will take meaningful […]

     
  • Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize awarded to Ilham Tohti

    The Council of Europe has awarded its prestigious annual human rights award to imprisoned Uighur activist Ilham Tohti. It has also jointly honored the Balkan-based Youth Initiative for Human Rights. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Monday jointly awarded its human rights prize to Chinese Uighur public intellectual Ilham Tohti and the Balkan-based Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR). “In honoring them, we also send a message of hope to the millions of people they represent and for whom they work: human rights have no frontiers,” PACE president Liliane Maury Pasquier said during a prize-giving ceremony.  PACE✔@PACE_News · Sep 30, 2019Replying to @PACE_News Enver Can of the Ilham Tohti Initiative receives the Prize on behalf of Mr Tohti, who has been in prison in China since 2014: “Today’s prize honours one person, but it also recognises a whole population in giving the entire #Uyghur people a voice.” PACE✔@PACE_News Ivan Djuric receives the #HavelPrize on behalf of @YIHR_Croatia @YIHRSerbia @YIHRKosovo @YIHRBiH and http://yihr.me  http://yihr.org  with pride, but warns: “Don’t play deaf to the sound of war drums from the Balkans… we’re not strangers, we’re Europeans.” 2811:04 AM – Sep 30, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee PACE’s other Tweets The Vaclav Havel Human Rights Award — named after the famed former playwright, president of the Czech Republic and democracy activist — carries a prize of €60,000 ($65,500).  Enver Can of the Ilham Tohti Initiative, who represented Tohti at the event, vowed to continue efforts to free the Uighur economist, who was jailed for life in 2014 by a Chinese court on charges of inciting separatism. The YIHR in the Balkans, founded in 2003, describes itself as a group campaigning for justice, equality, democracy and peace; it places particular importance on building cooperation between young activists from different countries and communities in the Balkans. “Don’t play deaf to the […]

     
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  • Ilham Tohti case

    Detained Since: January 15, 2014. Charges: Separatism. Sentence: Life in prison. Biography: Ilham Tohti is a Uyghur economics professor at Beijing’s Minzu University, where he was known for his research on Uyghur-Han relations as well as his activism for the implementation of regional autonomy laws in China. In 2006, Tohti founded UighurOnline, a Chinese-language website devoted to fostering understanding between Uighur and Han people, China’s dominant ethnic group. In 2008, authorities shut down his website citing the websites links to Uyghur “extremists” abroad. After the July 5, 2009 ethnic rioting between Uyghurs and Han in Ürümqi, Tohti’s whereabouts were unknown after he had been summoned from his home in Beijing. Tohti was subsequently released on August 23, 2009 after international pressure and condemnation. Tohti was again arrested in January 2014, after police raided his apartment and confiscated his laptops, books, and papers. In September 2014, after a two-day trial, Tohti was found guilty of “separatism” and sentenced to life imprisonment in addition to all of his assets being frozen. Advocacy Partner: Reporters Without Borders Advocate: Rep. James R. Langevin Updates:  Ilham Tohti: A Short Introduction. A call for the nomination of Ilham Tohti for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. (February 8, 2016, Sri Lanka Guardian)  Ilham Tohti is a recipient of the 2016 Martin Ennals Award Laureate for Human Rights Defenders. This award is to provide protection through international recognition. (October, 11, 2016, Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders) The Washington Post published a piece highlighting China’s dismal of Ilham Tohti receiving the 2016 Martin Ennals Award Laureate for Human Rights Defenders. (October 11, 2016, The Washington Post) Ilham Tohti’s daughter spoke out in support of her father’s peaceful promotion of equal rights and greater autonomy for the Turkic speaking Uyghur ethnic group in China. (March 11, 2017, Radio Free Asia) The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization conducted a joint interview about the […]

     
  • Ilham Tohti autobiography

    Ilham Tohti wrote this autobiography back in 2011 to ensure that he maintains a written account of his life, including his understanding and position regarding the Uyghur issue as well as the motivation behind his actions. Below is a copy of his account of these things: 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 my father was among the first generation of educated Uighurs brought up in New China. At the end of the 1950s, after my father graduated from middle school, he was sent to the interior of China for college. He studied at the Central University for Nationalities [now Minzu University], Beijing Normal University, and Lanzhou Railway Institute. After graduation, he worked at the Southern Xinjiang People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military zone, and then as a civilian. In 1971, at the age of 28, my father died tragically during the Cultural Revolution. I was two, and my little brother was only 11 months old. It was my mother who raised the four of us, my brothers and me, while doing auto repair work in Atush. Today, most of my father’s colleagues have become XUAR-level cadres. The older generation has kept silent about the past, and I have not understood the complicated politics of the time. As a result, while we are proud of our father, I don’t really know what kind of a person he was and how he died. In 1980, my eldest brother joined the army at age 15, but he soon left the army and pursued studies in universities in Shanghai, Urumqi, Dalian, and Beijing. As a cadre, he served as […]

     
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