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September 26, 2014

Two stories – unrelated – in yesterday’s newspaper…

The Chinese court sentenced economist and academic scholar Ilham Tohti to life in prison for advocating for more human rights for the Uighur Muslims who live on China’s western border regions. According to reports, Tohti is seen as the “Nelson Mandela” of the Uighurs. The western press describes Tohti as a “moderate”, a “scholar”, and “a man of peace”. The Chinese government accused him of inciting separatism.

America was outraged at the sentence. Secretary of State John Kerry was “deeply disappointed” at the news.

Human Rights groups have called the sentence deplorable, and a travesty of justice.

On the next page Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the religious spokeman for al-Qaida, was sentenced to life in prison in a New York court. Apparently that’s all he was – a spokesman. Oh, an he was the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden.

Ghaith was described as “defiant to the end”, called the proceedings “a sham”, and quoted Qu’ranic scripture. Some media suggested noted that he was considered by the court as being more dangerous than a suicide bomber. Ghaith said he was calling for an end to oppression.

I could find no official Chinese response to the sentence. Nor did any human rights groups comment on the sentencing.

None of the newspapers I looked at yesterday made any attempt to connect the two stories in any way.

Not even the Halifax Herald, who literally ran the two stories side-by-side.

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