Post Tagged with: "Uyghur Economist Silenced"
RFA 2009-03-26 HONG KONG – Chinese authorities have warned a prominent economist from China’s mainly Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority against speaking or writing publicly after he criticized China’s handling of his native Xinjiang region, friends and colleagues who have seen him in recent days said. Ilham Tohti, an economics professor at the Central Nationalities University in Beijing, “is working as usual, but he’s being questioned by state security police after class every day,” one friend who spoke on condition of anonymity said in an interview. Other friends, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said Tohti had been warned against speaking or writing in the media. “His Web site has been shut down. We don’t know how long this situation will continue,” one friend said. In a blog post dated March 12, Tohti himself wrote: “I apologize to my readers, but I’m told I must be silent for some time. I am facing unbelievable threats and pressure now, but whatever happens, I call on my friends to stay firmly on course.” Officials contacted by telephone on Wednesday at the Central Nationalities University’s economics, security, and propaganda departments declined to comment on Tohti or where he could be reached. Outspoken interview In an interview earlier this month, Tohti sharply criticized Chinese policies in the northwestern Xinjiang region where he was born, saying that joblessness remains the single biggest problem and residents have suffered under the current governor. “Unemployment has existed in Xinjiang since the 1950s,” Tohti told RFA’s Uyghur service after returning home to Beijing from a weeklong academic exchange in France. “No matter what … I will still talk about the issue of unemployment.” He also sharply criticized the governor of Xinjiang, Nur Bekri, as incompetent. “I think he’s unqualified … I don’t know how he became governor of Xinjiang, […]