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Communist state authorities in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region, the largest province in China, have sentenced a distinguished theological scholar to ten years in prison for “illegal religious activity,” reports Radio Free Asia (RFA), citing local sources.
The news outlet notes that Hebibulla Tohti’s verdict came in May after he voluntarily left Cairo, Egypt for Xinjiang to “register” himself with the government as required by Beijing.
Tohti - Member - China - Uighur - Uyghur
Tohti is a member of China’s Uighur (or Uyghur) minority group, a predominantly Muslim group that is often described by human rights groups as oppressed by Beijing, and enjoyed sponsorship from China’s official Islamic Association.
“Observers say that Tohti was likely targeted by authorities as being ‘double-faced,’ according to Xinjiang Party Secretary Chen Quanguo’s recent campaign to punish influential Uyghurs who appear loyal to China’s ruling Communist Party, but secretly promote the interests of their ethnic group,” notes RFA.
China - Campaigns - Xinjiang - Police - Raids
“China regularly conducts ‘strike hard’ campaigns in Xinjiang, including police raids on Uyghur households, restrictions on Islamic practices, and curbs on the culture and language of the Uyghur people, including videos and other material,” it adds.
Although Xinjiang is considered autonomous, it is governed by the Communist Party of China, namely the province’s chairman, a communist politician of Uighur descent. Xinjiang is home to China’s largest concentration of Uighurs.
Condition - Anonymity - Faculty - Member - Xinjiang
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a faculty member at Xinjiang Islamic University told RFA that the Chinese communist state had sent the scholar to prison for “illegal religious activity.”
“I know that he was detained … by state security police,” noted the source.
Faculty - Member - Announcement - Conviction
The faculty member indicated that “there has been no official announcement of his conviction or what charges he had faced.”
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