NEW YORK (April 17, 2021) – The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is co-hosting Genocide in the 21st Century: The Uyghur Crisis, on Thursday, April 22, and Tuesday, April 27. This two-day event series is presented in partnership with Harvard University’s Human Rights Working Group, Harvard Law School Advocates for Human Rights, Jewish Movement for Uyghur Freedom, The Trebuchet, and the Carr Center for Human Rights.
What is unfolding in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (also referred to as East Turkestan) is considered one of the worst human rights abuses in the world today. The Uyghur Region — known as the Xinjiang province in China — is often referred to as a dystopian surveillance state and an open-air prison. The actions of the Muslim minorities living in the region are heavily monitored through cell phone applications, frequent home inspections, and an array of checkpoints throughout the region.
Anywhere from 1 to 3 million people, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Tajiks, and other ethnic minorities, are forcibly confined to the Xinjiang province by the Chinese government — simply because they speak a different language, practice religion, and embrace a different culture. Within these concentration camps built by the Chinese government, Uyghurs are forced to take “re-education” courses, and are subject to mental & bodily harm and torture. In many cases, they are coerced and trafficked into state-sponsored forced labor schemes to ramp up production in factories across the country.
In this event series, speakers will provide a holistic and multi-dimensional understanding of the genocide unfolding in the region. Participants will leave equipped with concrete ideas on how they can help stand up against these atrocities.
Speakers include: Alex Chow, Hong Kong activist and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize nominee; Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Axios China reporter; Gulchehra Hoja, Uyghur journalist at Radio Free Asia and Oslo Freedom Forum speaker; Dr. Darren Byler, anthropologist and Uyghur technopolitics expert; and Dr. Timothy Grose, associate professor of China Studies at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
SCHEDULE – Additional program details to be announced.
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Welcome Remarks and Session 1: 11:00AM EDT
Panel Discussion: The Long-Arm of Authoritarianism
This session provides an overview of the Chinese government’s human rights abuses and its global impact. Topics covered in this segment will include the Uyghur genocide, repression in Tibet, the dismantling of democracy in Hong Kong, threats to Taiwan, and the Chinese Communist Party’s over-reaching authoritarian influence globally.
• Jenny Wang, Strategic Advisor at HRF
• Dr. Sean Roberts | Director of International Development Studies Program at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs
• Dr. Timothy Grose | Associate Professor of China Studies at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
• Alex Chow | Hong Kong activist and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize nominee
Session 2: 2:00PM EDT
Panel Discussion: Highlighting the Unprecedented Digital Repression
China’s newest emerging technologies have been deployed in cities across the country, but especially in the Uyghur Region. What kind of information is the Chinese government trying to gather, and how are these technologies impacting the lives of millions of Uyghur, Kazakh, and other ethnic minorities living in the region? This session will provide insight on China’s digital authoritarianism, with regard to the ongoing, unprecedented digital repression in the region.
• Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer at HRF
• Megha Rajagopalan | Buzzfeed international correspondent and investigative journalist
• Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian | Axios China reporter
• Dr. Darren Byler | Anthropologist and Uyghur technopolitics expert
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Session 3: 11:00AM EDT
Panel Discussion: Complicity and Clothing: Xinjiang Cotton and the Fashion Industry
According to the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labor, a stunning 20% of the world’s cotton comes from the Uyghur Region, and 1 in 5 cotton garments in the global apparel market are tainted by forced labor. What are some brands that have been found to use forced labor, and what are the latest updates around this topic?
• Jenny Wang , Strategic Advisor at HRF
• Amelia Pang | Journalist of Uyghur descent, Author of new book “Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America’s Cheap Goods”
• Zumretay Arkin | Program & Advocacy Manager at World Uyghur Congress
•Rayhan Asat | Harvard alumna and Uyghur activist
Session 4: 1:00PM EDT
Panel Discussion: Silence is Not an Option: Advocacy and Action
The Chinese government is committing these atrocities with impunity, but the diaspora and the next generation of Uyghur activists are speaking up. The Uyghur community living overseas is taking matters into their own hands and keeping pressure on the Chinese government. How can everyone living in democracies help the Uyghur cause? What happens next?
• Guillermo S. Hava | Coordinator of the Harvard Human Rights Working Group, Harvard University
• Jewher Ilham | Daughter of imprisoned Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti
• Irade Kashgary | Uyghur American activist and HRF Freedom Fellow
• Gulchehra Hoja | Uyghur journalist at Radio Free Asia and Oslo Freedom Forum speaker
Closing Remarks: 2:00PM EDT
• Victoria Tin-bor Hui | Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame