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Beijing has reacted strongly to the award by the European Parliament of the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights to the Chinese intellectual Ilham Tohti, a member of the Uyghur minority. Photo of Ilham Tohti (c) June 2010. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP

Beijing reacted severely this Friday, October 25 to the award of the Sakharov Prize to Ilham Tohti. The human rights prize awarded by the European Parliament to this Uyghur intellectual condemned for separatism is perceived by Chinese diplomacy as an interference in the internal affairs of China.

From our correspondent in Beijing , Stéphane Lagarde

This is a double snub for Chinese diplomacy that since the award Vaclav Havel attributed to Ilham Tohti in late September continues to denounce what she sees as an encouragement to separatism. For Peking indeed, Ilham Tohti is not only a renowned economist and geographer, he is also and above all an activist of the Uyghur cause .

Laid and moderate, Professor Tohti has long put forward the dialogue with his students to try to cope with rising tensions in Xinjiang. A message that has obviously been interpreted differently by Chinese justice. On September 23, 2014, following a two-day closed-door trial, Ilham Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment by Urumqi Court No. 12 after being charged with sowing disorder and division between the Han majority ethnic group and the Muslim minority in the Uyghur Autonomous Region.

A judgment taken this Friday, October 25 by one of the spokespersons of Chinese diplomacy who blasted the new European award: " I hope that Europe can respect the internal affairs and judicial sovereignty of China, hammered Hua Chunying, avoiding giving credit to a " terrorist ".