We condemn the reported life sentence handed down by the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) following secret court proceedings of Professor Rahile Dawut, an anthropologist and expert on Uyghur folklore and traditions.

Professor Dawut and other Uyghur intellectuals, including Ilham Tohti, have been unjustly imprisoned for their work to protect and preserve Uyghur culture and traditions. Professor Dawut’s life sentence is part of an apparent broader effort by the PRC to eradicate Uyghur identity and culture and undermine academic freedom, including through the use of detentions and disappearances.

We call upon the PRC government to immediately end the genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang and to abide by its international commitments to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. We continue to call on the PRC government to immediately release Professor Dawut and all individuals who are unjustly detained.