In the last few weeks, fears have been growing that three prominent Uyghur academics and public figures may be executed.
Professor Tashpolat Tiyip, former President of Xinjiang University, was detained by the Chinese authorities in 2017 while en route to Germany and subsequently given a death sentence with a two-year reprieve in a secret trial for the alleged crime of separatism. There are grounds to believe that the reprieve will expire soon, and the absence of any information regarding his status raises suspicions that the government intends to execute him.
As Amy Anderson has shown in an article on Art of Life in Central Asia, Professor Tashopolat’s known expertise and moral integrity stand in a stark contrast with the unfair accusations leveled against him under the campaign against “two-faced persons” (liangmian ren 两面人, a term used to label “disloyal” Uyghur élites).
With this declaration, we join Amnesty International, the Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights, the Université libre de Bruxelles, Scholars at Risk, the Association of American Geographers, the Central Eurasian Studies Society, a group of academics and artists and others in an appeal to the relevant authorities of the People’s Republic of China’s to abandon any plans to execute Professor Tashpolat, and demand this respected intellectual with a lifelong contribution to education and culture be given an open and fair trial.
We demand the same in the cases of Dr Halmurat Ghopur, a prominent Uyghur physician and former director of the Xinjiang Food and Drug Inspection Administration Bureau, and Sattar Sawut, a former head of the Xinjiang Education Department, whose reprieves may likewise be about to expire, or have already expired.
We also call on other universities, organisations and individual academics to join our statement of solidarity with Tashpolat Tiyip, Halmurat Ghopur and Sattar Sawut.
Olga Lomová, director of the Institute of East Asian Studies, professor of Chinese literature, Charles University
Ondřej Klimeš, researcher, Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Jichang Lulu, independent researcher