What is the Ilham Tohti Initiative?

The Ilham Tohti Initiative (ITI e.V.) is a non-profit organization based in Germany (Fasanenstr. 79, 85757 Karlsfeld) named after the renowned and unjustly imprisoned Uyghur academic: Professor Ilham Tohti. The ITI is a multi-national entity open to anyone regardless of nationality, ethnicity and religious affiliation, who agrees with Prof. Tohti’s ideals and shares his vision. The Ilham Tohti Initiative has the goal to promote Prof. Ilham Tohti’s ideas and to help to put them into reality.

These are:

Friendship and harmony between all peoples living in PRC, including the Uyghur and the Han, peaceful co-existence based on mutual respect and equality, rule of law and implementation of the various laws referring to autonomy as enshrined in the Chinese Constitution. The ITI will promote them internationally as an instrument to help achieve freedom, equality, democracy, peace and stability for the Uyghur people and harmony amongst the numerous ethnicities living in China.

To achieve these goals the ITI will:

Hold international seminars and conferences, publish statements, brochures and other printed materials, engage in advocacy work and cooperate with various international bodies, including democratic governments, UN agencies and NGOs, national and local Parliaments to seek their support and solidarity.

Little is known about the Uyghurs and their situation in Xinjiang. The ITI will both provide general awareness as well as highlight the Chinese repression of Uyghur people, focusing on the case of Prof. Ilham Tohti as an example. The organization will emphasize the fact that even a personality as peaceful as Ilham Tohti will not be tolerated by the Beijing regime despite the fact he would have helped to achieve peace and stability in the region.

The ITI’s intermediate aim is to bring the Uyghur issue into the agenda of the European Union in its dealings with China. This might help to achieve facilitations of imprisonment for Ilham Tohti or his release. The ultimate goal is the strict application of the existing autonomy laws for Xinjiang, which is the best way to bring peace and stability into the region.

We already have strong support around the world from human rights activists, NGOs and scholars sympathetic to the Uyghur issue. We will have donors, patrons, and supporters who will be involved in doing the fieldwork (such as people with constructive ideas, translators, Web Administrators, etc.). We will try to engage in meaningful cooperation with Han Chinese overseas democratic movements and intellectuals to build a bridge between Han and Uyghur peoples just like Ilham Tohti. Together we will bring out some information to be distributed to ordinary citizens about co-existence based on mutual respect, trust and acknowledgement amongst Uyghur and Han peoples both abroad and at home. We want to launch a real discussion and dialogue among the Uyghur and the Han for the post CCP era because they are the ones who should really decide what kind of future they want to create for themselves and their children.

We are convinced that Ilham Tohti’s way is the only realistic way to overcome the present tensions between Han and Uyghurs. That is why the ITI will propagate his ideas and propose him for international human rights awards such as the Sakharov-Prize, the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize. First success: the European Parliament nominated Ilham Tohti for the Sakharov-Prize in 2016.