Ilham Tohti, an economics professor who has taught at Beijing’s Minzu University, was a visible commentator on Uyghur-Han policy issues who often criticized the Chinese ruling regime’s actions in Xinjiang. Within China’s academic circles, Mr. Tohti and his nonviolent perspectives were viewed as the bridge between the Ugyhur and Han ethnicities. He hosted and frequently contributed to Uyghur Online, a website that discusses Uyghur issues.
Mr. Tohti’s arrest comes after the October 28th vehicular crash last year in Tiananmen Square, which prompted widespread fear of a renewed regime crackdown on Uyghur communities.
Citizen Power for China (CPFC, aka Initiatives for China) calls for Mr. Tohti’s immediate release unless charges are substantiated while Mr. Tohti is protected by due process. Citizen Power for China also calls for Mr. Tohti’s right for family and lawyer visits. We are saddened that the regime’s history of ethnic suppression, including their crackdowns after the 2008 Tibetan Incident and the 2009 Urumqi Incident, have long caused devastating results and unrest. The unsubstantiated arrest of Mr. Tohti again demonstrates the regime’s ignorance of its past mistakes.