World News

Uighur Group Slams China's Charges Against Intellectuals

In this Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009 photo, economist Ilham Tohti speaks to students at the Central Nationalities University in Beijing, China. He has been under arrest dozens of times over the past decade for criticizing how China runs his homeland and treats his people.In this Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009 photo, economist Ilham Tohti speaks to students at the Central Nationalities University in Beijing, China. He has been under arrest dozens of times over the past decade for criticizing how China runs his homeland and treats his people.
x
In this Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009 photo, economist Ilham Tohti speaks to students at the Central Nationalities University in Beijing, China. He has been under arrest dozens of times over the past decade for criticizing how China runs his homeland and treats his people.
In this Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009 photo, economist Ilham Tohti speaks to students at the Central Nationalities University in Beijing, China. He has been under arrest dozens of times over the past decade for criticizing how China runs his homeland and treats his people.
VOA News
An exiled Uighur group says the criminal charges against a prominent intellectual are "completely unacceptable" and meant to discourage others from defending the ethnic minority group.

Chinese authorities this week charged university professor Ilham Tohti with separatism, nearly six weeks after he was taken from his Beijing apartment without explanation.

Tohti teaches economics at the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing. He regularly speaks out against what he considers China's mistreatment of the mainly Muslim Uighurs in the far western region of Xinjiang.

There appears to be no public record of him calling for independence in Xinjiang.

Dolkun Isa of the World Uyghur Congress tells VOA that the Uighur academic never engaged in any separatist activities, but was concerned with how to help solve the unrest in Xinjiang.  

"The Chinese government should be [thanking] Ilham Tohti, they should be cooperating with Ilham Tohti, because he advised the Chinese government how to solve the problem, the conflict, between the Uighur people and the Chinese government," said Isa.

Isa is a former student leader from Xinjiang who was himself accused of terrorism by Beijing after he fled to exile in Europe in the 1990s. He says such charges have a chilling effect on those defending Uighur rights in China.

"That's why the Chinese government this time charged Ilham Tohti with separatism," he said. "It means, just silence, don't talk [about] anything. It is just to give some message to the other Uighur activists."

Guzaili Nu'er, wife of Ilham Tohti, right, pauses next to her husband's students at her house in Beijing, Jan. 16, 2014.Guzaili Nu'er, wife of Ilham Tohti, right, pauses next to her husband's students at her house in Beijing, Jan. 16, 2014.
x
Guzaili Nu'er, wife of Ilham Tohti, right, pauses next to her husband's students at her house in Beijing, Jan. 16, 2014.
Guzaili Nu'er, wife of Ilham Tohti, right, pauses next to her husband's students at her house in Beijing, Jan. 16, 2014.
The 45-year-old Tohti has been detained or harassed several times in the past because of his commentaries. He told VOA in November plain-clothes police rammed his car, took his phone, and threatened to kill him because of his comments to the media.

He now faces anywhere from 10 years in prison to life in prison or even the death penalty, depending on how serious his alleged offense is deemed by China's Communist Party-controlled courts.

China says it is fighting what it calls Uighur terrorists affiliated with the banned East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and trained in neighboring Pakistan.

Many Western human rights groups say China is exaggerating the threat in order to justify its repression of Muslim religious life and discrimination that has resulted from a large influx of majority Han Chinese to Xinjiang.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs