In memory of Eliott Sperling

Ilham Tohti Initiative (ITI) is very sad to announce the sudden death of its long time friend Elliot Sperling, in New York, on the 28th of February. A brilliant scholar of East Asian Studies Elliot Speliott-et-ilhamerling was well known for his understanding of Tibet history, his mastery of the Chinese language, and his friendship with Ilham Tohti, prominent Uyghur economist, unjustly jailed in 2014 and sentenced for « separatism » . Elliot Sperling, who was ITI’s chief advisor, got very involved in campaigning for Professor Tohti’s immediate release and spared no effort to campaign for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Freedom of Thought, and the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders of the City of Geneva. Partly thanks to the efforts of Elliot Sperling, Ilham Tohti was awarded the Martin Ennals Prize of the year 2016. Elliot Sperling will be badly missed by his Tibetan, Uyghur and international friends. Our thoughts go to his daughter Coline, and to Ilham Tohti’s daughter Jewher who greatly benefited from his help and advice after her arrival in the United States in 2014.
Enver Can, president of ITI, Cao Yaxue and Marie Holzman

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