Post Tagged with: "The Guardian"
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 […]