In DepthHuman Rights

Science organizations speak out in defense of Uyghur academics

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Science  11 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6462, pp. 165-166
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6462.165

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Summary

China's crackdown on mostly-Muslim minorities in the far western province of Xinjiang has swept up as many as 1 million people since late 2016. Among them are many scholars and scientists from the Uyghur ethnic group—including Tashpolat Tiyip, a geographer and former president of Xinjiang University in Ürümqi, who disappeared in 2017 and has reportedly been sentenced to death with a 2-year reprieve for crimes related to "separatism." Scientific organizations outside China are trying to help him and other internationally known researchers who have disappeared. But many are moving cautiously, worried about making things worse. And it's unclear whether, in China's current political climate, such support from abroad makes any difference.

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