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Wang Lixiong, July 18, 2019 Beijing has designated “the main dangers affecting the stability of Xinjiang” as being “separatist forces and illegal religious activity.” This, as a matter of logical extrapolation, naturally divides the Han and local ethnic minorities into opposed groups. Because the Han are neither in favor of separation, nor do they hold religious beliefs (in particular the Islamic faith of the local people), the terms “separatist forces” and “illegal religious activities” are aimed at the local ethnicities, while the Han are the mass base (群众基础) of “anti-separatism” and support the authorities’ stance on ethnic issues. Even the temporary recruits of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (新疆建设兵团) from rural areas in China proper, who are the typical victims of oppression by corrupt […]


China Change, September 22, 2018   Unsettling news from China emerges every week in a constant flow — on social media, in reports, and from our own sources in the country. Not every new development is suited to a fully fleshed-out analysis, and as with so much in China, many reports and developments cannot be immediately confirmed or properly evaluated. Nevertheless, while each individual brush stroke may not be decisive, upon stepping back a fuller picture begins to emerge. China Change catalogues and contextualizes these items so as to keep a growing awareness of changes in China.  — The Editors   Local Government Debt: Going Bankrupt, or Raising More? On September 13, the General Offices of both the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council […]


China Change, September 16, 2018   Unsettling news from China has been emerging in a constant stream for some time now, in news, on social media and from our own sources in the country. Not every new development is suited to a fully fleshed-out analysis, and as with so much to do with China, many reports and developments cannot be immediately confirmed or properly evaluated. Nevertheless, while each individual brush stroke may not be decisive, upon stepping back a fuller picture begins to emerge. China Change today inaugurates a new, regular series titled ‘Signs of China,’ where we catalogue and contextualize what might otherwise have been forgotten as ephemera. What are these signs pointing to? Our discerning readers will know. — The Editors     […]


September 4, 2018     The Governments of Australia, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and the United States, and the European Council:   We are a group of students, scholars and professionals from China and Chinese-occupied territories. We call upon you to urge China to release the well-regarded Uyghur human rights leader Prof. Ilham Tohti, amid reports of students, scholars and professionals disappearing and dying in concentration camps and prisons in the occupied region of East Turkestan (known as Xinjiang in Chinese). The Chinese occupying authorities are cracking down on Uyghurs with the use of widespread surveillance, language restrictions, elimination of cultural and religious expression, forcible political indoctrination, family separation, and mass incarceration. Prof. Ilham criticized oppressive policies such as these, and called for dialogue, reconciliation and […]


Andrea Worden, July 10, 2018       During the most recent session of the UN’s Committee on NGOs, China attempted unsuccessfully to have the Committee withdraw the NGO consultative status of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) in connection with its support of Dolkun Isa, a human rights activist, German citizen, and president of the World Uyghur Congress. Mr. Isa, a member of STP, received accreditation through the NGO to attend this year’s session of the annual UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York from April 16-27.  Despite having received prior approval to attend, Mr. Isa was blocked from entering UN headquarters on April 17 by diplomatic security because of unspecified “security concerns.”  Following a subsequent unsuccessful attempt to gain entry […]


China Change, September 19, 2016       Ilham Tohti (伊力哈木), a Uighur scholar known for his incisive writings on China’s policies in Xinjiang, was named by the European Parliament to be one of the five nominees for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought on September 15. Ilham has for years been a vocal advocate for the economic, cultural, and religious rights of Uighurs in Xinjiang. His role as a rational voice for Uighur autonomy led to his arrest in January, 2014, and a sentence to life imprisonment in September that year. Incidentally, on the same day that Ilham won the nomination, Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was received by the European Parliament where he spoke of his admiration for “the spirit of […]


Translation published: January 15, 2016 Ilham Tohti was an economics professor at Minzu University in Beijing and the foremost Uighur public intellectual in the People’s Republic of China. He was sentenced to life in prison in September 2014 for criticizing the government’s policies in Xinjiang and advocating basic economic, cultural, religious and political rights for the Uighur people. The translation is based on the Chinese transcript of a VOA interview with Ilham Tohti in November 2013, shortly after the car crash of a Uighur family in Tiananmen Square on October 28, 2013, and less than three months before his detention on January 15, 2014. You may also want to watch our 32-minute documentary about Ilham Tohti. – The Editors   BEIJING – The Chinese government has included Xinjiang and Tibet […]


By Ilham Tohti, translated by Cindy Carter, published: May 19, 2015   ChinaChange.org Editor’s Note: This article, a total of 24,000 characters in Chinese, was first posted on the Daxiong Gonghui (大象公会) website sometime after the Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti’s arrest in January, 2014. Daxiong Gonghui described the origin of the article in a note: “This document was written by Ilham Tohti, Associate Professor of Economics at Minzu University of China (formerly Central Nationalities University), in response to a 2011 request from high-level officials in the Chinese government. Ilham Tohti made first-draft revisions to this document in October of 2013, but was unable to complete a final draft.” The post has since been censored and is only available elsewhere as reposts. Ms. Yaxue Cao, the […]


By Ilham Tohti, translated by Cindy Carter, published: April 23, 2015   Continued from I. Unemployment II. Bilingual Education Overview Besides unemployment, the issue that provokes the most intense reaction within Xinjiang’s Uighur community is the issue of bilingual education. In practice, “bilingual education” in Xinjiang has essentially become “monolingual education” (i.e. Mandarin-only education.) Within the Uighur community, there is a widespread belief that the government intends to establish an educational system based on written Chinese and rooted in the idea of “one language, one origin.” Suspicions abound that the government is using administrative means to exterminate Uighur culture and accelerate ethnic and cultural assimilation. With the mandatory implementation of so-called “bilingual education,” the Uighur language has become steadily marginalized, not only in the field of […]


By Ilham Tohti, translated by Cindy Carter, published: April 22, 2015   This article, a total of 24,000 words in Chinese, was first posted on the Daxiong Gonghui (“大象公会”) website after the Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti’s arrest in January, 2014. Daxiong Gonghui described the origin of the article in a note: “This document was written by Ilham Tohti, associate professor of economics at Minzu University of China (formerly Central Nationalities University), in response to a 2011 request from high-level officials in the Chinese government. Ilham Tohti made first-draft revisions to this document in October of 2013, but was unable to complete a final draft.” The post has since been censored and is only available elsewhere as a repost. I was able to confirm the origin and the […]


By Ilham Tohti, published: September 25, 2014 On Wednesday, September 24, 2014, lawyer Li Fangping met with Ilham in Urumqi Detention Center, Xinjiang. Ilham signed a 15-page appeal to be submitted by his lawyers. Meanwhile Li Fangping recorded Ilham’s statement:   My outcries are for our people and, even more, for the future of China. Before entering prison, I kept worrying I wouldn’t be able to deal with the harshness inside. I worried I would betray my conscience, career, friends and family. I made it! The upcoming life in prison is not something I’ve experienced, but it will nonetheless become our life and my own experience. I don’t know how long my life can go on. I have courage; I will not be fragile. If […]


By Ilham Tohti, published: September 17, 2014 The Uighur economics professor, and founder of Uighurbiz website, is on trial today in Urumqi on separatism charges. The following excerpts were compiled by Ilham’s close friend and Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser in February this year shortly after his arrest. – The editor Currently in Xinjiang, a developing tendency is that the authorities are over-extending anti-terrorism measures to conceal other problems in their name, including the incompetence of both the local governments and the security maintenance apparatus. In fact, the biggest problem in Xinjiang is not anti-terrorism, nor is it terrorism, but rather, the problem is that political power is unrestrained, unequal, controlled and monopolized by the very groups that profit from it. ——- I’ve seen this in […]


By Ilham Tohti, published: April 6, 2014   On January 15, 2014, Chinese authorities arrested Ilham Tohti, a Uighur economics professor at the prestigious Minzu University in Beijing. Authorities formally charged him with separatism on February 25, and have so far denied him access to his attorney. For years, Tohti has discussed and commented on not only Chinese policies in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, where the vast majority of this Turkic Muslim population lives, but also the state of Han-Uighur relations. He founded the Chinese-language website 维吾尔在线 (Uighur Online), which is meant to facilitate communication and understanding between the two peoples. The PEN American Center has recently named Ilham as the 2014 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award winner. The following autobiographic essay, written in January, 2011, provides a much-needed portrait of the man. […]


By Wang Lixiong, published March 3, 2014   (On the evening of March 1, 2014, several knife-wielding men and at least one woman killed 33 and injured more than 140 in the train station in the southwestern city of Kunming. The Chinese authorities blame Uighur separatists for the terrorist attack. — Editor)   People asked how I look at the Kunming incident. I don’t feel I have much more to say. The issue lies not in the incident itself but beyond it, and it has been long in the making. I have said everything in my book My West China; Your East Turkestan (《我的西域; 你的东土》) published in 2007.  I offer the following excerpts from the book to serve as my answer: What is “Xinjiang?” Its […]


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