BEIJING -- The most prominent Uighur intellectual in China was blocked Saturday from leaving the country at Beijing international airport as he tried to board a flight for Chicago.
Ilham Tohti, 43, a professor who teaches at the Central Minorities University in Beijing, was brought back to his home late Saturday after 10 hours in custody. His teenage daughter, who was traveling with him, was permitted to travel to the United States on a later flight.
According to Nury Turkel, a Washington lawyer, Tohti was on his way to take up a visiting scholar position at Indiana University, traveling on a temporary work-study visa.
“He had no plans to stay in the United States. He was a visiting scholar, the same as many Chinese professors,’’ Turkel said.