Lawyers for Ilham Tohti said the prominent Uyghur scholar was chained with leg irons and denied access to food and warm clothes while detained. The verdict is due next week.
Media were not allowed in the court room, but Ilham Tohti’s lawyer, Li Fangping, told reporters that the defendant spoke to the court for 90 minutes and vehemently denied the charges against him. Read on.
The separatism trial of Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti began in Urumqi on Wednesday. Beside being shackled and denied food, Tohti has reportedly not received photographs or warm clothes sent by his family, while specially relocated Han prisoners have been monitoring him on behalf of the authorities, verbally abusing him and in one case starting a fight. Read on.
Photo of the Day: Skyline of Urumqi by SiZhe Hu
China’s state media announced that eight people were executed in Xinjiang over the weekend for involvement in the jeep crash that killed five near Tiananmen Square in October of last year. These executions are the latest in Beijing’s ongoing “people’s war” against terrorism, launched after an upswing of violent attacks have been blamed by central authorities on separatists and religious extremists from the western region of Xinjiang, home to the ethnically distinct and primarily Muslim Uyghur minority. Launched in May, the terror crackdown has seen mass public sentencing rallies, a crackdown on “violent Internet content,” the launch of a cash rewards programs for those who aid in tracking down alleged terrorists, and in some areas restrictions on cultural and religious practices such as Ramadan fasting, and the wearing of burkas or facial hair.
Photo of the Day: Fading With Time by Baron Reznik (taken in the Forbidden City, Beijing)
Outside observers dispute the Chinese state media’s claim that a “premeditated and carefully planned” violent terrorist attack [Chinese] in Xinijang killed dozens of civilians on Monday. Meanwhile, Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti has been formally charged with separatism, despite the fact that he takes a moderate view on his home province. This and more, today at China Digital Times.
Photo of the Day: Golden Light Above The Sky by Achilles Shan (Mount Emei, Sichuan)
It is my belief that I will not be doing a service to my ethnic group and my country unless I remain a scholar—a ‘clean’ one at that —and use my free time to help others and serve the public interest.
Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti was detained in January and later charged with separatism. In a biographical essay written in 2011 and recently translated by China Change, he explains that he has purposefully limited contact with Western organizations, precisely to avoid such accusations. Read on.
维族 砍人 (Uyghurs stab people / wéi zú kǎn rén): Though China has officially recognized fifty-six native ethnic groups, all of which have an array of unique concerns and issues, the two most “problematic” for state officials are the Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the Tibetans in Tibet, regions where unrest has broken out in recent years. A mix of ethnic tensions, desires for independence or greater autonomy, and increasing income inequality make these particularly volatile regions, especially as more Han Chinese migrate to Xinjiang and Tibet. Government officials have responded by investing heavily in the regions’ infrastructures and social welfare systems in a sort of effort to buy peace and acquiescence in these border provinces.
Despite these investments, Uyghurs face continued discrimination and economic hardship in the region. There have been a number of collective responses by Uyghurs, including protests and demonstrations, some of which have been violent and some of which have been branded as terrorism. Notable violent events in Xinjiang that have been blamed by authorities on Uyghur sepratists include a 2008 attack on a police station, and attacks in 2011 (in both Kashgar and Hotan) and 2013 featuring knife-wielding terrorists.
In a break from our usual series of highlighting words blocked from searching on Weibo, for the next two days I’ll be looking more deeply at the keywords on chat messenger app LINE’s “bad words” list. For more about this series, see this introductory post.
Uyghurs may face heightened discrimination from the government and ordinary people now that the Jeep crash in Tiananmen Square has been labelled a “terrorist attack” by “Uyghur extremists.” Read more about the crash, Uyghurs, and Xinjiang at China Digital Times.
Andrew Jacobs reports for the The New York Times that residents of the Xinjiang town of Hanerik fear speaking out, weeks after witnessing police kill “scores” of Muslim protestors in one of two major clashes in Xinjiang in June. Read about violence in Xinjiang including possible causes of the unrest via China Digital Times. (image courtesy Remko Tanis under Creative Commons license)
We hope the U.S. will turn a mirror on itself and all its own domestic problems instead of pointing fingers at other countries.
No one believes they would be able to try to hijack a plane.