The Rise of China, the Uyghur Crisis and the Path Forward

The Rise of China, the Uyghur Crisis and the Path Forward

30 Mar 21

On March 30th, 2021, the Turkish Heritage Organization hosted a virtual panel featuring a discussion in The Rise of China and the Uyghur Crisis. The event’s moderator, Dr. Thomas Lum, from the Congressional Research Services led the panelists: Dr. Nury Turkel, Commissioner to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; Kyle Matthews, Executive Director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide, Human Rights Studies at Concordia University; and Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, China Reporter at Axios, in dynamic panel discussion for the event themes and potential proposals for change.

Dr. Turkel started by outlining the U.S. and global response to the Uyghur Muslim Crisis and the role that the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 posits in legislative mandates intended to protect Uyghur Muslims in China. He examines avenues for the U.S. government to address Uyghur anxiety and the threat from the Chinese government, mainly necessitating a response through immigration and resettlement. Touching on Turkish-Chinese relations, he offers personal insights into ongoing diplomatic negotiations and the ramifications posed by the dispersion of information about the Uyghur Muslim community by the Chinese government. In his later remarks, he discusses the genocide denial embedded in the separatism and extremism of the Chinese government on the Chinese Uyghur Muslims.

Kyle Matthews’ contributions lead with the emphasis on the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the responsibility every signatory has to uphold the human rights treaty. He makes clear the definition of genocide, highlighting intent as a key component. In expressing the dire need for global community advocacy, Matthews urges the need to raise awareness on the human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims.

Moreover, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian explores the trends in China such as the increase in authoritarianism and its effects on the developing world, emerging economies, and non-western countries. She delves into the erosion of human rights in China and the weaponization of its economic power. Allen-Ebrahimian disputes that the trend of states’ denouncements is not based on religious identity but rather the democratic versus non-democratic dynamic in our global system. She too, calls for multilateral efforts to best hold China accountable for its inhumane actions. 

In closing, THO Executive Director Savannah Lane extended thanks to the panelists for their dynamic contributions in this critical conversation. For more details on this conversation and future events- be sure to visit for more!