Release Economist Imprisoned for Religious Beliefs

uighur muslims

Target: Justice Minister Wu Aiying

Goal: Release Chinese economist imprisoned for his religious beliefs

Recent charges filed by the Chinese government against a prominent economist Ilham Tohti are ethnically motivated. Mr. Tohti is a Uighur muslim who has displayed only minor advocacy for greater rights for Uighurs in articles and interviews. As a result of the little work he has done to advance the Uighur agenda, he has been charged with ‘separatism’, a charge that can result in the death penalty. The case against Mr. Tohti must be withdrawn immediately and unconditionally.

None of the articles or interviews referenced by the Chinese government in the case against Mr. Tohti calls for violence or uprising against the majority government. Lectures given by the economist at the university he taught at have also been brought up in court. The authorities have so far refused any attempts by Ilham Tohti’s lawyers to obtain any evidence that the state says the have. In fact, there is no public information regarding Mr. Tohti’s alleged separatist connections.

The Chinese governments security concerns in the region have caused a backlash against peaceful civilians. The government has used all means necessary to suppress any dissent against its rule, even in the face of massive human rights abuses against the Uighurs. The arrest of a moderate such as Ilham Tohti will not lead to an end to unrest in the region. Sign this petition to call for charges to dropped against this prisoner of conscience.


Dear Minister Wu Aiying,

The arrest of Ilham Tohti will not lead to an end to unrest in the region, but will further inflame tensions. I ask that you immediately and unconditionally drop charges against Mr. Tohti. Doing so would show the members of the Uighur community that the moderates among them are respected and listened to. Only by engaging the Uighur minority in a meaningful way can a lasting peace be achieved.

There is no public information regarding Mr. Tohti’s alleged separatist connections. It is obvious to the rest of the world that this arrest is politically motivated. Prosecuting Mr. Tohti for practicing his freedom of speech is a violation of numerous international treaties to which your country is a party. I urge you to do the right thing and release Ilham Tohti before any more harm is done.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: High Contrast via Wikipedia

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