Uyghur Scholar Seized by Police, Says Website

Amid an atmosphere of turbulence and unrest in China’s Xinjiang region, central authorities have announced that regional policy will see a “major shift” towards maintaining social stability. The Guardian reports that Ilham Tohti, a Beijing-based Uyghur economist and outspoken researcher of Uyghur-Han relations, has been detained by police along with his mother:

Chinese police have taken an Uighur scholar and his mother from their home in Beijing, a website connected to the professor said on Wednesday.

Ilham Tohti, 45, is known for pressing the rights of the Uighur ethnic minority in Xinjiang and for questioning state policies in the troubled north-west region, where scores have died in unrest over the last year.

The Uighurbiz.net website said police seized Tohti and his mother between 3pm and 4pm local time on Wednesday, citing a phone call from his wife. The site, which is hosted overseas, was inaccessible on Wednesday evening.

[...] Tohti, who lectures on economics at the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing, has been an outspoken commentator on Uighur issues. [Source]

As tensions have been rising in China’s far west in past months, Tohti has spoken to to foreign media outlets, alleging heavy surveillance and intimidation by national security officials. Following the 2009 riots in Urumqi, Tohti spent a month in detention.