BEIJING (AP) — A lawyer has provided the first news about an outspoken minority Uighur scholar since he was detained by Chinese authorities over five months ago, saying he went on a hunger strike and later was denied food.
Attorney Li Fangping said he met with scholar Ilham Tohti on Thursday at a detention center in China’s far west and that Tohti firmly rejected accusations of fomenting separatism.
Tohti is an economics professor who has been a moderate but vocal advocate for equal rights for the Turkic Uighur ethnic minority in restive Xinjiang.
Little has been known about his condition since he was taken away from his home by police in mid-January and later accused of separatism.
Calls to the detention center in Xinjiang’s capital rang unanswered.