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.
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.
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.”
BEIJING (Reuters) - A senior Chinese official called for stricter management of religious activities, state media said on Monday, following explosions in China's western region of Xinjiang which authorities say were masterminded by a religious extremist. Police shot dead six people and six more died when explosives they were carrying detonated in Xinhe county, according to weekend media reports. Blasts struck a beauty salon and a vegetable market.
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.
Last October, a sport-utility vehicle sped onto a crowded Beijing sidewalk and exploded at the foot of Tiananmen gate, killing five people and injuring nearly 40 others. In the aftermath of the attack, the Chinese government declared the explosion an act of terrorism committed by Islamic jihadists from western China. Meanwhile, the foreign media turned the spotlight on the home province of the attackers -- China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region -- where some nine million Turkic-speaking Muslims, known as Uighurs, have lived under the control of the Chinese Communist Party since 1950. This arrangement has not been altogether peaceful; just this week, for example, local police gunned down six people in the city of Xinhe.
Chinese authorities have forcibly relocated more than half of the ethnic minority Uyghurs—mostly farmers and herders—from three mountain townships in the Xinjiang region to make way for tourist resorts without providing them adequate compensation or job opportunities, according to area sources. Villagers from the three townships in Kumul (in Chinese, Hami) prefecture, in northwestern China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Uyghur Region, told RFA’s Uyghur Service that in addition to being stripped of their livelihoods, they fear losing their cultural traditions, as local officials resettle them to suburban neighborhoods.
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.
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.