Tibetan Cultural Center
We are happy to announce that the celebrations will definitely be held on Saturday 18th October 2014 at 54 Rue Gheude, 1070 Anderlecht (5 minutes walk from Midi Station)
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International Tibet Network
23 September 2014
Tibet activists outraged at life sentence for Uighur academic Ilham Tohti
Tibet campaigners expressed outrage at the life sentence handed to Uighur academic Ilham Tohti today in Urumqi for "separatism". Ilham Tohti, winner of the 2014 PEN Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award , is a prominent human rights defender who was detained after launching a website questioning human rights violations against Uighurs and promoting dialogue between Uighurs and Han Chinese.
"This sentence is an outrage and demonstrates how shockingly out of step China is with the free, democratic world, silencing anyone daring to express opinions that do not conform to the State's view," said Alison Reynolds, Executive Director of International Tibet Network.  "Whilst Ilham Tohti was being tried last week, the people of Scotland were flocking to the polls in a peaceful exercise to determine the future of their nation. What a contrast with China, where Uighurs, Tibetans and Chinese dissidents alike are given hefty sentences for simply questioning China's policies."
According to his lawyer, Li Fangping, Ilham called out 'It's not just, it's not just' as he was dragged out of court. Li Fangping told BBC Chinese, "He told us that no matter the verdict, he will not be angry nor seek revenge. No matter whether he is in jail or if he is freed in the future, he will still advocate for dialogue between Uighurs and Han Chinese."  Ilham Tohti plans to appeal the sentence. Chinese State Media (Xinhua) reported "The Court heard that [he] spread lessons containing separatist thoughts via the website, Uygur Online. He bewitched and coerced young ethnic students to work for the website and built a criminal syndicate, according to the ruling." 
Tibetan blogger and close friend Tsering Woeser, interviewed by Ian Johnson before the verdict,  said "They [Chinese authorities] want evidence that he’s advocated independence in his teaching or given away secrets. I went and visited his wife and she said the students were so good. They all said that Teacher Ilham isn’t like that—he never taught us those things. So I think it’s hard for them to find a charge that will stick."
After today's sentencing Woeser tweeted "Heartache".  Her husband, dissident writer and scholar Wang Lixiong, tweeted "the authorities created a Uighur Mandela".  Amnesty International has called the verdict "deplorable". 
Prior to his trial, Ilham said "I am not going anywhere. The issues facing the Uighur are in China, and the resolution of these issues is also in China. If I have to be imprisoned, then I will remain in a Chinese prison. After my release from prison, I will still be in China seeking a future for the Uighurs. If I die, I have only one desire: to be buried in my hometown. It would be enough of a solace for me." 
1. PEN http://www.pen.org/2014-penbarbara-goldsmith-freedom-write-award-ilham-tohti-video
2. International Tibet Network is a global coalition of over 180 Tibet-related NGOs.www.tibetnetwork.org
3. BBC - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-29321701
4. Xinhua - http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/n/2014/0923/c90882-8786668.html
5. New York Review of Books. http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/sep/22/trial-ilham-tohti-they-dont-want-moderate-uighurs/
6. Woeser on Twitter https://twitter.com/degewa/status/514297222574260225
5. Video of Tsering Woeser's interview with Ilham Tohti, 2009 -http://youtu.be/91LbqqGtQxM
7. Wang Lixiong on Twitter https://twitter.com/wlixiong/status/514287805493551104
8. Amnesty International statement: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/china-deplorable-x-year-jail-sentence-uighur-scholar-2014-09-17
9. See "Ilham Tohti says", as compiled by Tsering Woeser.
.Many thanks, Alison