BEIJING – An outspoken scholar and advocate for China's Uighur minority has criticized the authoritarian government for imposing a stifling security presence and fanning ethnic discord in his homeland in the country's far west, a region recently rocked by unrest.
Ilham Tohti says tensions will continue to boil over into violence as long as the government maintains its tight controls over the Xinjiang region and fails to address the legitimate complaints of Uighus.
Tohti is a Beijing-based economist from Xinjiang. He was speaking on the fourth anniversary of riots that killed nearly 200 people in the regional capital Urumqi.
The region has long been home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule among parts of the Muslim Uighur population and clashes in recent months have killed at least 56 people.