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.
Chinese authorities detained the Central University for Nationalities professor on Jan. 15 but have refused to say where he is being held, accusing him of leading a separatist group that advocates violence to overthrow Chinese rule in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) — charges which Guzelnur totally refuted.
IN AN ominous sign of the fate awaiting one of China’s best-known Uighur intellectuals, security officials in the far western region of Xinjiang issued a statement on January 25, accusing him of separatism and inciting ethnic hatred. The statement provides the first concrete indication that the scholar, Ilham Tohti, an economics professor in Beijing, could face a long prison term for his advocacy on behalf of Uighurs, the Turkic-speaking Muslim minority whose uneasy coexistence with the Chinese authorities has grown increasingly violent.
Reporters Without Borders is worried about Uyghur academic and citizen-journalist Ilham Tohti, who was arrested at his Beijing home on 15 January and has been held at an unknown location ever since. "We call for Tohti's immediate release in view of the clearly arbitrary and illegal nature of his arrest and detention," Reporters Without Borders said. "It shows how the authorities keep cracking down on the Uyghur community, including those who just freely express their views and inform the world about the disastrous human right situation in the far-west province of Xinjiang."
Twelve people died in clashes with police in the troubled Xinjiang autonomous region in western China on Friday, after causing explosions at a hair salon and a vegetable market, says state-controlled news agency Xinhua in an unverified report. The news agency said six assailants were gunned down by police, while six others died after setting off explosives. Five people were also arrested in what the police described as a “premeditated terrorist attack.”
Also on Friday, border guards in neighboring Kyrgyzstan said that a group of Uyghurs were killed after crossing the border and that their belongings indicated that they belonged to a separatist group. These are the latest in a series of violent incidents in Xinjiang, which authorities blame on separatist, or terrorist, groups, though few details are released about individuals involved or the events themselves, and journalists are not allowed to independently investigate.
The European Union joined the United States in criticizing China for the detention of outspoken ethnic minority Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti as Beijing maintained its silence on his whereabouts and the specific charges he faces. The Chinese government said the professor at Beijing's Central University for Nationalities was "criminally detained" from his home on Wednesday because he was "under suspicion of committing crimes and violating the law" but it did not give any details.
The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) expresses its concern for the condition of Ilham Tohti, who was arbitrarily detained by Beijing and Xinjiang police on January 15, 2014. UHRP calls on the Chinese authorities to immediately release Mr. Tohti and to return all personal property, including data, confiscated from Mr. Tohti during the raid on his home in Beijing. UHRP also commends the strong statements issued by the US State Department and European Union regarding Ilham Tohti’s arbitrary detention and asks officials from concerned governments to sustain pressure on China for Mr. Tohti’s unconditional release.
BEIJING (Reuters) - China decried what it called interference in its internal affairs on Friday, after both the United States and European Union voiced concern over the detention of a high-profile ethnic Uighur academic from the restive western region of Xinjiang. Police in Beijing on Wednesday seized Ilham Tohti, a prominent economist who has championed the rights of the Muslim Uighur community, from his home and his whereabouts were unknown, his wife and a close friend told Reuters.
Police took Tohti, a vocal critic of Beijing's policies in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang, and his mother away from the family home in Beijing between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, the Uyghur Online website said. Police officers from Beijing and from the Xinjiang regional police department locked Tohti's wife and the couple's two children in the bathroom during the arrest and seized all the family's communications devices, the report said.