Strasbourg/Beijing — The European parliament on Thursday gave its annual prize for the defence of human rights — the Andrei Sakharov Prize — to Ilham Tohti, its president David Sassoli said, a blow to China where the Uighur activist is serving a life sentence on charges of separatism.

Tohti, an economics professor and Uighur rights advocate, has been in jail since 2014. The European parliament chose him for his activity to “foster dialogue” between Chinese people and the Uighur Muslim minority, that mostly live in China’s western region of Xinjiang...

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