Post Tagged with: "Economist Speaks Out Again"
RFA 2009.05.12 A prominent Uyghur economist takes outspoken aim at the Chinese government’s handling of his native Xinjiang region. HONG KONG—A prominent economist from China’s mainly Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority has called on authorities to ease curbs on free expression and foster greater economic opportunity for Uyghurs in their native Xinjiang region, where poverty and joblessness are commonplace. Ilham Tohti, an economics professor at the Central Nationalities University in Beijing, said he was interrogated repeatedly and accused of separatism after he spoke out in March against Chinese policies in Xinjiang. He said at the time that unemployment remains the single biggest problem in Xinjiang and that Uyghurs have suffered under the current governor. “There are visible changes in China,” he said in an interview. “But in terms of freedom and democracy, Xinjiang’s situation is the worst of the worst-compared with other regions of China. “What I have encountered at this time is typical. My Web site was shut down without notice. I was interrogated many times and threatened. I am a legal Beijing resident, and by law I should not be interrogated by Xinjiang police officials, but it has happened.” “This shows how long the local authorities’ reach is. They accused me of separatism,” he said. “But is demanding implementation of the autonomy law separatism?” I have received more than 1,000 e-mails from intellectuals—Chinese, Tibetans, and Uyghurs—all saying they are behind me.” Ilham Tohti, economist China’s 1984 Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law is the main legal framework for managing the affairs of China’s ethnic minorities, and it promises a high degree of autonomy for minority groups. Critics say its implementation in many areas has been weak. “There is no major problem with the main points of the central government’s policy,” Tohti said. Sharp criticism His goal, he said, is “equal opportunity […]