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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Disappearance of Ilham Tohti


Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 16, 2014

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We are deeply concerned by reports that Beijing police have taken into custody prominent economics professor Ilham Tohti on January 15, together with at least six of his students.

The detention of Mr. Tohti, who has been outspoken in support of human rights for China’s ethnic Uighur citizens, appears to be part of a disturbing pattern of arrests and detentions of public interest lawyers, Internet activists, journalists, religious leaders and others who peacefully challenge official Chinese policies and actions.

We call on Chinese authorities to immediately account for the whereabouts of Mr. Tohti and his students and guarantee Mr. Tohti and his students the protections and freedoms to which they are entitled under China's international human rights commitments, including the freedom of expression.

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