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Monday, 14 September 2009
Page: 9588

Mr Danby asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in writing , on 11 August 2009:

(1)   Is the Australian Government aware that in July 2009 the Chinese Government detained prominent ethnic Uighur economist Professor Ilham Tohti.

(2)   Is the Australian Government aware that Professor Tohti had been critical of the lack of jobs for Uighurs and policies that encouraged the influx of Han settlers into traditionally ethnic Uighur areas of China.

(3)   Does the Australian Government know if Professor Tohti has been charged; if he has, what are the charges.

(4)   What is the Australian Government’s position in relation to the detention of Professor Tohti.

(5)   Has the Australian Government raised Professor Tohti’s detention with the Chinese Government; if not, does it plan to do this at the Australia-China Human Rights Dialogue.

Mr Stephen Smith (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   to (5) The Australian Government was concerned by the detention of Professor Tohti, and welcomes his release on 23 August.