EDITORIAL: Happy belated birthday, Ilham Tohti
  • Mon, 10/28/2019 - 20:11

Sat, Oct 26, 2019

The European Parliament should be congratulated for awarding this year’s Sakharov Prize to Uighur economist Ilham Tohti, who is now five years into a life sentence in a Chinese prison after being convicted in 2014 on trumped-up charges of engaging in separatist activities and encouraging terrorism.

Thursday’s announcement was the second time this month that European nations have shown their support for Tohti, an academic who spent years researching relations and encouraging dialogue between Uighur and Han Chinese, after the Council of Europe awarded him the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize as a symbol of the suffering of the Uighurs.

Although it is unlikely that Tohti would hear of either prize, at least for some time, or that Beijing would heed the parliament’s call to free him, the awards are recognition both of the plight of the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang and the rest of China, and a condemnation of Beijing’s blanket abuse of its people.