Tohti's family has received no news of him since his arrest at his Beijing home on 15 January. No one knows for sure, but he may have been secretly transferred to a prison in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Wednesday's detention is the latest indication of the government's increasing hardline stance on dissent surrounding Xinjiang, where a series of violent riots in the past year have killed at least 91 people, rights activists say. Xinjiang is home to the Muslim Uighur people who speak a Turkic language. Many resent what they see as oppressive treatment by the government, though Beijing says they are granted wide religious, cultural and linguistic freedoms. Police in Beijing seized Ilham Tohti, a prominent Uighur economist who has championed the rights of the Uighur community in Xinjiang, at his home and his whereabouts were unknown, his wife and close friend told Reuters.
The counter-terrorism dialogue between China and India finally took a serious turn in 2013 as the two sides discussed the issue of Afghanistan for the first time. The impending departure of Western combat forces from Afghanistan and the spectre of looming chaos seem to have persuaded Beijing that it cannot ignore the “Af-Pak” challenge forever. The two sides decided to initiate a long overdue dialogue on Afghanistan, which took place April 18, 2013, in Beijing.
Coined by prominent Chinese academic Wang Jisi back in 2011, the ‘March Westwards’ strategy is the external component of the ‘Develop the West’ strategy that Beijing advanced to bring prosperity and development to its historically underdeveloped and turbulent western provinces of Xinjiang and Tibet. Long-standing sources of instability for the central government, the regions were racked by particular violence in 2008 (Tibet) and 2009 (Xinjiang). The brutality of the Xinjiang violence was a wake-up call, with more than 200 reportedly killed on the streets of Urumqi, the provincial capital, as the chaos forced then-leader Hu Jintao to leave an international G8 Summit in L’Aquila to manage the situation.
The short film Battle (above, with English subtitles) offers viewers a perspective of Uyghur life in major Chinese cities outside of Xinjiang. Having lived in Northwest China for extended periods, it was striking to see how evocative it is of life for Uyghurs outside of their homeland.
Beijing officials on Tuesday hit out at international concern over its human rights situation, saying that only the Chinese people have the right to speak out on the subject. But police in the Chinese capital swooped on the thousands of petitioners who arrived in the Chinese capital to pursue complaints against the ruling Chinese Communist Party ahead of Human Rights Day on Tuesday. "There are tens of thousands of petitioners lurking in Beijing," retired People's Liberation Army (PLA) officer Gao Hongyi told RFA's Mandarin Service.Gao, who hails from the eastern port city of Qingdao, said he and dozens of other former PLA officers planned to converge on the United Nations representative offices in Beijing's embassy district on Tuesday. Thousands of petitioners thronged the alleyway outside the complaints offices of the central government, Supreme People's Court and National People's Congress on Tuesday, on a street dubbed by petitioners the "Dead End Alley of the Three Cheats."
Growing discontent and unceasing restiveness among Tibetan and Uyghur minorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region ensured that domestic security issues dominate Xi Jinping’s agenda. Stark reminders of discontent surfaced in the days leading up to the plenum. China’s leaders allocated vast sums for the domestic security budget which this year officially exceeds US$ 110 billion. The domestic security budget has now surpassed the national defence budget for the past three consecutive years. This will increase with the creation at the recent plenum of the National Security Committee (NSC). The head of China’s official foreign policy think tank said the new NSC would focus on the “Three Evils” (terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism) in addition to co-ordinating international strategy, particularly on maritime issues.
When Montecore, one of two white tigers in the Las Vegas act of Siegfried and Roy, turned and almost killed Roy on stage, the reaction was that the tame and complacent beast had gone berserk. Comedian Chris Rock was nearer the mark: “That tiger ain’t go crazy; that tiger went tiger.” Seems our Asian tiger is going tiger as well. Sharply escalating its clash with Japan over ownership of the Senkaku Islands, Beijing has established an air defense identification zone over the islands and a huge stretch of the East China Sea. Before entering its ADIZ, says Beijing, all planes must now notify China. The United States responded by flying two B-52s through the zone. Japan and South Korea sent fighter jets through, also without permission. China then sent a squadron of fighters over the islands. Now, in a move that has startled Tokyo, the United States has advised U.S. airliners entering China’s new ADIZ to alert China. Japan considers this tacit U.S. recognition of China’s territorial claim. While America is not a party to the dispute over who owns the islands, under our security treaty, we are obligated to come to Japan’s defense if islands administered by Tokyo are attacked.
China on Monday launched its Chang'e-3 lunar probe and rover aboard a "Long March" rocket ahead of a planned touch-down on the surface of the moon later this month, official media reported. Official video of the countdown and launch showed the enhanced Long March-3B rocket blasting off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China at 1:30 a.m. Announcing the successful launch, Xichang launch center director Zhang Zhenzhong said China's space program was part of the "Chinese dream" touted by President Xi Jinping. "The probe has entered the designated orbit," Xinhua quoted Zhang as saying. "We will strive for our space dream as part of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation," he said. China's accelerated space program comes as budget restraints and shifting priorities hold back U.S. manned space launches, and the Chang'e-3 probe blasted off just one day after India launched a mission to orbit Mars.