Ilham Tohti

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Ilham Tohti (2011)

Ilham Tohti ( Uighur ئىلھام توختى Ilⱨam Tohti , Chinese  伊 力 哈 木 • 土 赫提 , Pinyin Yīlìhāmù Tǔhètí ; Born October 25, 1969 in Artux , Kizilsu Autonomous District , Xinjiang ) is a Chinese economist , university professor and government critic from the Uyghur ethnic group .


Tohti graduated from the Pedagogical University in Northeast China in Changchun , Province Jilin in Manchuria , and then went to Beijing , where he attended the Faculty of Economics of the Nationalities University Central taught.

Ilham Tohti is married to Guzelnur for the second time. He has a daughter, Ilham, from his first marriage and two sons.

Persecution as a critic of the regime

In 2006 Tohti founded the website with the purpose of creating a better relationship and understanding between Han Chinese and Uyghurs. In 2008, the Chinese authorities shut down this website, which Radio Free Asia in the US has called "a modern, intellectual website for social issues".

In a radio interview in March 2009, Tohti criticized the Chinese government's policy in Xinjiang, particularly the settlement policy with regard to the Han Chinese. This policy exacerbates the problem of unemployment among the Uyghurs. He also criticized the governor of Xinjiang, Nur Bekri , as "unqualified" and demanded that Xinjiang implement the law on regional autonomy .

Tohti took the position that Uyghur activists in Xinjiang and international terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda have no connection and that the Chinese government and media are using the fight against terrorism as a reason to attack the minorities more strongly.

Tohti was arrested in March 2009 and interrogated several times on charges of supporting separatist efforts. After unrest broke out in Urumqi , capital of Xinjiang, among Han Chinese and Uyghurs, killing more than 150 people in early July 2009 , Governor Bekri claimed that the re-active website UyghurOnline had provoked the events. Tohti was arrested again. The writers and bloggers Wang Lixiong and Tsering Woeser published a petition asking for his release on their blog. On July 14, 2009, more than 250 Han Chinese and representatives of ethnic minorities such as blogger Ran Yunfei , a member of the Tu minority , had already signed the petition requesting that Tohti be released. A total of 397 people from 30 countries signed the petition. Tohti was released in August 2009. His freedom of travel and that of his family members remained restricted.

On January 15, 2014, Ilham Tohti and his mother were arrested in Beijing. His home was ransacked and his computer and phone were confiscated. On September 23, 2014, the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court sentenced him to life imprisonment after two days of trial for “separatism” and confiscated his property. His defense attorney appealed unsuccessfully.


In 2019 Tohti received the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize ; his daughter accepted the award on behalf of the company.

Web links

Commons : Ilham Tohti  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Friederike Böge: The professor talks too much. In: FAZ . October 1, 2011, p. 7 , accessed December 20, 2012 .
  2. ^ Edward Wong: "China Sentences Uighur Scholar to Life" NYT of September 23, 2014
  3. ^ Paul Gregoire: "" Free My Father ": An Interview with Jewher Ilham" of May 20, 2019
  4. ^ Stephanie Ho: Kina traži pomoć medjunarodne zajednice u borbi protiv terorizma. In: May 17, 2011, archived from the original on October 5, 2019 ; accessed on June 16, 2020 .
  5. ^ A month without word of detained blogger Ilham Tohti. (No longer available online.) Reporters without borders , Aug 7, 2009, archived from the original on Aug 11, 2011 ; accessed on December 20, 2012 .
  6. a b Uyghur Blogger Freed after six Weeks Incommunicado, but under close watch. Reporters Without Borders, August 25, 2009, accessed December 20, 2012 .
  7. China arrests prominent critics. In: Tages-Anzeiger . January 16, 2014, accessed September 27, 2014 .
  8. It's bewitched. In: FAZ , September 24, 2014, p. 11.
  9. Fang Wan: Life sentence for Uyghur activists Tohti. Deutsche Welle , September 23, 2014, accessed on September 27, 2014 .
  10. China confirms life imprisonment for civil rights activists. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . November 21, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  11. ^ Human rights award for Uyghur activist Ilham Tohti. Deutsche Welle , October 11, 2016, accessed October 15, 2016 .
  12. Sakharov Prize 2016: MEPs present their nominations. European Parliament , September 15, 2016, accessed October 18, 2016 .
  13. oli / sda: Uyghur imprisoned in China receives Vaclav Havel Prize. In: Bernese Oberland. September 30, 2019, accessed on October 3, 2019 (Swiss Standard German).
  14. European Parliament : Ilham Tohti: Winner of the Sakharov Prize 2019. Accessed October 24, 2019 .
  15. Ilham Tohti distinguished in absence ,, published and accessed on December 18, 2019.