Chinese Repression and Uyghur Militancy at Eurasia’s Crossroads

From Hudson Institute Background: With the launch of the PRC’s Silk Road Belt initiative, the region known to Chinese as Xinjiang and to Uyghurs as East Turkestan appears set to reprise its historic role as the strategic crossroads of Eurasia. In Xinjiang, indigenous Muslim Uyghurs have long suffered under harsh rule, and the region has been plagued by communal violence between Uyghurs and Han Chinese … Continue reading Chinese Repression and Uyghur Militancy at Eurasia’s Crossroads

The Dire Consequences of the Imprisonment of Ilham Tohti

By China Change, Elliot Sperling, February 5, 2017

In memory of Elliot, who passed away last week. I recovered this from my email archive, dated September 17, 2016, the day after Ilham Tohti was nominated for the Sakharov Prize. It is published here for the first time. – Yaxue Cao

eliott-sperlingThe nomination last week of the imprisoned Uyghur Professor Ilham Tohti for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is welcome recognition of the role this courageous individual has played in working for the fundamental rights of a beleaguered people, a people subject to one of the harshest regimens that China visits on any nationalities or collective groups within its borders. But the persecution of Ilham Tohti serves as an example of how China’s repressive policies create damage and danger that go far beyond its own borders. There are good reasons for international concern and outrage over Ilham Tohti’s imprisonment. Continue reading “The Dire Consequences of the Imprisonment of Ilham Tohti”

Die Ursachen der ethnischen Spannungen in Xinjiang

Die deutsche Webseite der Ilham Tohti Initiative finden Sie unter:

Auf eine Anfrage hochrangiger Beamter der chinesischen Regierung schrieb Prof. Tohti 2011 einen Artikel, in dem er neun Bereiche des sozialen, politischen, wirtschaftlichen und religiösen Lebens im Uigurischen Autonomen Gebiet Xinjiang aufzählt und darin die Ursachen für ethische Spannungen analysiert. Gleichzeitig gibt er Empfehlungen, wie man diesen Problemen begegnen könnte. Continue reading “Die Ursachen der ethnischen Spannungen in Xinjiang”

Present-Day Ethnic Problems in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region: Overview and Recommendations

By Ilham Tohti, January, 2014

Source: China Change, translated by Cindy Carter, May 19, 2015

This article, a total of 24,000 characters in Chinese, was first posted on the Daxiong Gonghui (大象公会) website sometime after the Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti’s arrest in January, 2014. Daxiong Gonghui described the origin of the article in a note: “This document was written by Ilham Tohti, Associate Professor of Economics at Minzu University of China (formerly Central Nationalities University), in response to a 2011 request from high-level officials in the Chinese government. Ilham Tohti made first-draft revisions to this document in October of 2013, but was unable to complete a final draft.” The post has since been censored and is only available elsewhere as reposts. Ms. Yaxue Cao, the editor of China Change was able to confirm the origin and the authenticity of the article with Mr. Huang Zhangjin (黄章晋), the editor of the online Daxiong magazine and a long-time friend of Ilham Tohti. is pleased to present a complete translation of this important article to all who are concerned about Chinese government’s gross mistreatment of Professor Ilham Tohti who was sentenced to life in prison in September, 2014, on charges of separatism. The translation was first posted on China Change in eight installments from April 22 to May 19, 2015.  Continue reading “Present-Day Ethnic Problems in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region: Overview and Recommendations”

Qu’est-ce que le Xinjiang, la région dont vient Ilham Tohti?

Source: Publié sur le site du GIS réseau Asie, en avril 2016, sous le titre “Le Xinjiang et la question ouïghoure”
 Vaste comme trois fois la France, le Xinjiang a longtemps été un des principaux carrefours des fameuses routes de la soie. Conquis par la dynastie mandchoue des Qing au milieu du XVIIIe siècle, il se situe à la confluence entre le monde des steppes dans sa partie nord et celui des oasis centrasiatiques dans sa partie sud. Le paysage ethno-religieux qui le caractérise est le fruit des interactions ancestrales entre ces deux mondes, le puissant voisin chinois à l’est et les marges voisines du sous-continent indien au sud.

Continue reading “Qu’est-ce que le Xinjiang, la région dont vient Ilham Tohti?”

Why Uyghur Issues Go Unreported—in and outside China

Source: Nieman Reports, January 8, 2016

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ most recent censusChina is the world’s leading jailer of journalists, with 49 imprisoned as of December 2015. Of those 49, at least 14 are Uyghurs—a startling proportion given that the Turkic-speaking Muslim ethnic group, living in the country’s northwest Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region, makes up less than one percent of the country’s population. That disproportionation, however, is less surprising to those familiar with the long-fraught relationship between the Uyghur people and China’s authoritarian government.

Uyghurs, unlike the rest of China’s 55 officially designated minority groups (with the other exception being the Tibetans), have a history, albeit a short one, as an independent nation. The region gained independence as the East Turkestan Republic in 1933 and again, after being sacked by the Chinese Muslim army during the Kumul Rebellion, in 1944. The Silk Road region officially came under Communist rule when the party took control of China in 1949.

Since then, the state has sponsored mass migration of the Han Chinese, China’s predominant ethnic group, to Xinjiang to support economic development; Han now comprise nearly half the region’s population. Meanwhile, the country’s central government has increasingly portrayed Uyghur separatists, who seek to govern themselves and call the Xinjiang region East Turkestan, as terrorists—claims that many human rights activists say are exaggerated and an excuse to justify oppressive policies that curtail Uyghur commercial and cultural activities. There are restrictions on Islamic religious practices, and Uyghur language instruction in schools is being phased out. Reports from the region chronicle a pattern of abuse that includes imprisonment, torture, and disappearances. Continue reading “Why Uyghur Issues Go Unreported—in and outside China”