The Uighur economist and writer Ilham Tohti (b. 1969) has for many years been a sharp critic of the differential treatment the Muslim minority he belongs to in China. He has called for cooperation between central authorities and regional minorities.In 2006, he founded the uighurbiz.net website to promote reconciliation between Uighurs and China’s majority population. In January 2014, Tohti was arrested, and later sentenced to life imprisonment, for allegedly “separatism”.In April of that year, for sharp protests from the Chinese authorities, he was awarded the PEN / Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award for his long-standing commitment.
Alexander Leborg, member of Writers in Prison Committee, PEN Norway