Chinese Repression of Muslim Minorities in Xinjiang


On August 7, 2019

On August 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of State hosted an interactive webchat to highlight the Chinese government’s repression of Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China.

A panel of experts on Xinjiang issues featuring a journalist and two prominent human rights advocates discussed a number of topics, including:

– The mass detention of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

– Increasing use of surveillance technology.

– Repression of religious and cultural expression.

– Chinese disinformation on the issue.

The speakers shared their insights, answered viewer questions, and helped us understand what is happening in China—and why it concerns us all.

The original program streamed to:


Sophie Richardson is the China director at Human Rights Watch. She is the author of numerous articles on domestic Chinese political reform, democratization, and human rights in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Vietnam. She has testified before the European Parliament and the US Senate and House of Representatives.

Dr. Richardson has provided commentary to the BBC, CNN, Foreign Policy, National Public Radio, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Dr. Richardson is the author of China, Cambodia, and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

Nury Turkel is a U.S.-based Uyghur rights advocate and attorney in Washington D.C. Turkel was born in a re-education camp in China’s Xinjiang region, and has been advocating for the rights of the Uyghur people in the region.

Turkel is the Chairman of the Board of the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and the former president of the Uyghur American Association (UAA). Turkel serves as a prominent voice for the Uyghur people by urging action against the repression of Uyghurs.

Alim Seytoff is the Director of the Uyghur Service at Radio Free Asia (RFA). He previously served as the Executive Director for the Uyghur Human Rights Project. In 1999 he started his career at RFA as a Production Coordinator and Broadcaster. Throughout his career has written many articles on China’s human rights violations of the Uyghur people.

Seytoff has been frequently interviewed/quoted by CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC, Fox News, PBS, Voice of America, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor, and the newswires.

Moderator: Cory Andrews is the Deputy Director of the Office of Policy Planning and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) at the U.S. Department of State.

He previously served in the Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs where his portfolio included 15 countries of the Caribbean Basin as well as LGBTI issues for Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada. Cory also served as the Communications Director for GLIFAA, the State Department’s LGBT+ employee affinity group.