Author Topic: China: Uyghur scholar jailed for life wins top human rights award  (Read 2592 times)


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China: Uyghur scholar jailed for life wins top human rights award

By James Griffiths, CNN
Updated 10:31 PM ET, Tue October 11, 2016

Hong Kong (CNN)Chinese officials have denounced the award of a prestigious human rights prize to jailed Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti.

Tohti was found guilty of "separatism" in 2014 and sentenced to life in prison.

On Tuesday, he received the Martin Ennals Award, the winner of which is selected by a jury of 10 activist groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Speaking at a regular media briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accused Tohti of openly making "heroes of terrorist extremists that conducted violent terror attacks."

"Ilham Tohti has nothing to do with human rights," he said.

Before he was jailed, Tohti was known for his research on Uyghur-Han relations and has been a vocal critic of the government's ethnic policies in Xinjiang, a resource-rich region long inhabited by the Turkic-speaking Uyghurs.

The arrival of waves of Han, China's predominant ethnic group, over the past decades has fueled ethnic tensions, as have harsh treatment of Uyghurs by Chinese security forces and restrictions on traditional Islamic practices such as fasting for Ramadan.

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