The Xinjiang Initiative

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The Xinjiang Initiative

Hundreds of thousands of people of Uyghur and Kazakh descent are being held indefinitely in extra-judicial internment camps in Xinjiang today. Prisoners are detained due to their ethnicity or Muslim faith, tearing apart families, destroying lives, and threatening culture. These are horrific developments that should have no place in the twenty-first century.

The global response to these developments, however, has been muted. Many are still unaware even of the existence of these camps. Reporting on the situation is hindered by an information blockade by the Chinese state, which denies even the existence of any such camps. And those who stand up and speak out openly against these policies may face the wrath of a rising power that is determinedly hostile to criticism.

In order to encourage greater awareness and discussion of the ongoing abuses in Xinjiang, we propose a Xinjiang Initiative open to scholars, authors, artists, and other public speakers concerned about the situation in Xinjiang today.

Participants in the Xinjiang Initiative commit to raise awareness of the situation in Xinjiang at every public event in which they are a participant. As an example of one method of doing this, participants could, at the start of public talks, acknowledge the situation in Xinjiang today as follows:

I am one of over one hundred scholars and others who have agreed to make the following statement at public events. We would like to bring to everyone’s attention to the fact that several hundred thousand, possibly over a million, Uyghurs and members of other ethnic minorities are being held indefinitely in extra-judicial internment camps in Xinjiang, China. These are arbitrary detentions, based not on suspicion or proof of any crime, but rather solely on religious and ethnic persecution. These detentions not only violate international human rights standards, but also have no proper basis even in Chinese law. Facing a situation like this, China scholars and the broader academic community cannot remain silent. Thank you for your attention.

Those who would prefer to put similar ideas in their own words, or who would like to raise awareness of particular aspects of or personal stories from the camp system, are also welcome and encouraged to do so. The idea behind this initiative is simply to encourage individuals to speak out publicly to enhance awareness about the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in Xinjiang today.

We continue to collect signatures from anyone who is interested in joining this initiative: please send your name and affiliation to

Thank you for lending your voice in support of those who can’t be heard.

Signatories (243), as of October 7, 2018

Mamatimin Abbas, French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Rushan Abbas, Campaign for Uyghurs

Abduxukur Abdurixit, Sweden

Ali Ahmetbeyoglu, Istanbul University

An Ran, freelance writer

Dibyesh Anand, University of Westminster

Nicholas Andonie, University of Miami

Ross Anthony, Stellenbosch University

Alexios Antypas, Central European University

William Atkins, journalist

Nathan Atrill, Australian National University

Muhammad Atawulla, Kahramanmaraş Sütçü İmam University

Badiucao, Artist

Joseph Baker, Virginia Tech

Nicola Bajetta, Universität Hamburg

Christopher Balding, Fulbright University

Elena Barabantseva, University of Manchester

J. Kyle Bass, Hayman Capital Management

Jessica Batke, Chinafile

Thomas Beal, journalist

Jean-Philippe Béja, CNRS/ Sciences-Po-CERI (Emeritus)

Gregor Benton, Cardiff University (Emeritus)

Thomas P. Bernstein, Columbia University (Emeritus)

Aurora Bewicke, Attorney

Paul Richard Blum, Loyola University Maryland

Susan Blum, University of Notre Dame

Harald Bøckman, London School of Economics

David Xu Borgonjon, Columbia University

Joseph Bosco, Department of Defense (retired)

Camille Boullenois, Australian National University

Eric Brown, Hudson Institute

Jason Buhi, Barry University

Darren Byler, University of Washington

William A. Callahan, London School of Economics

Caitlin Campbell, Congressional Research Service

Cao Yaxue, China Change

Cao Yizhi, Australian National University

Jeffrey Carnett, author

James Carter, Saint Joseph’s University

Kevin Carrico, Macquarie University

Antonio Bolanos Casanova Jr., National Chengchi University

Sandrine Catrise, Augusta University

Anita Chan, Australian National University

Chan Sin Yee, University of Vermont

Thomas Chase, Monash-SEU Joint Graduate School

Chen Chuangchuang, China Democracy Education Foundation

Cheng Yangyang, Cornell University

Alvin Y.H. Cheung, New York University

Claudy Cheung, student, Hong Kong

Elizabeth Childs-Johnson, independent scholar

Josephine Chiu-Duke, University of British Columbia

Donald Clarke, George Washington University

Michael Clarke, Australian National University

Jerome Cohen, New York University

Edward F. Connelly, Translator

Alison Conner, University of Hawai`i

Anders Corr, Corr Analytics

John Crespi, Colgate University

Michael C. Davis, Jindal Global University

Ekberjan Derman, Engineer

Jordan Dewar, University of Pennsylvania

Clayton Dube, University of Southern California

Michael S. Duke, University of British Columbia (retired)

Ryan Dunch, University of Alberta

Arienne M. Dwyer, University of Kansas

Elizabeth Economy, Council on Foreign Relations

Richard Louis Edmonds, Kings College London (retired)

Louise Edwards, UNSW

Mohammed Elshambakey, Researcher at SRTA-City, Egypt

Johan Elverskog, Southern Methodist University

Scott Ezell, independent writer

Torbjorn Faeroevik, historian

Daniel Fairbrother, Oulu University

Fredrik Fällman, University of Gothenburg

Feng Chongyi, University of Technology, Sydney

Joanne Smith Finley, Newcastle University

Magnus Fiskesjö, Cornell University

Martin Flaherty, Princeton University

Lawrence C. Foster, University of Hawaii (retired)

Evan Fowler, writer

Vanessa Frangville, Université libre de Bruxelles

Edward Friedman, University of Wisconsin

Kerim Friedman, National Dong Hwa University

Fu Zhengming, Scholar

Andreas Fulda, University of Nottingham

Pierre Fuller, University of Manchester

Christopher Fung, University of Massachusetts- Boston

Ezra Getzler, Northwestern University

Kathleen Gillogly, University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Arafat Gokturk, Istanbul University Law School

Louisa Greve, Uyghur Human Rights Project

Wilfried Gruhn, University of Music Freiburg (Emeritus)

Mel Gurtov, Portland State University (Emeritus)

Timothy Grose, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Hans-Christian Günther, University of Freiburg

Varvara Hajisawa, translator

Kelly Hammond, University of Arkansas

Rachel Harris, SOAS, University of London

Nader Hashemi, University of Denver

DJ Hatfield, Berklee College of Music

He Anquan, Shanghai National Party

Gail Helt, King University

John Hemmings, Asian Studies Centre, Henry Jackson Society

Anne Henochowicz, the China Channel

Joseph Ho, Albion College

Virginia Harper Ho, University of Kansas

Ross Holder, Trinity College Dublin

Nick Holdstock, journalist and author

Marie Holzman, Solidarité Chine

Robert Horvath, La Trobe University

Alan Hou, translator

Susie Hughes, International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China

Tahar Imin, Uighur Agency

Bruce Jacobs, Monash University

Justin Jacobs, American University

Andrea Janku, SOAS, University of London

Lionel M. Jensen, University of Notre Dame

Filip Jirous,

Alex Joske, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Marja Kaikkonen, Stockholm University

Elsa Kania, Harvard University

Séagh Kehoe, University of Nottingham

Jaymin Kim, University of St. Thomas

Alyssa King, Queen’s University

Ondrej Klimes, Czech Academy of Sciences

Ilshat Kokbore, Uyghur American Association

Julian Ku, Hofstra University

Ann Lau, Visual Artists Guild

Colin Legerton, translator

Steven A. Leibo, The Sage Colleges

James Leibold, La Trobe University

Steven I. Levine, University of Montana

Margaret Lewis, Seton Hall University

Lhadon Tethong, Tibet Action Institute

Yao Lin, Yale University

Jonathan Lipman, Mount Holyoke College (Emeritus)

Stanley Lubman, University of California, Berkeley (Emeritus)

Mary Dell Lucas, Far Horizons Archaeological and Cultural Trips

Laura Luehrmann, Wright State University

Jichang Lulu, independent researcher

Richard Madsen, University of California, San Diego

Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania

Rahima Mahmut, Singer and Translator

Melwin Martinsson, Swedish Christian Democracy Youth Party

Tamar Mayer, Middlebury College

Barrett McCormick, Marquette University

Carole McGranahan, University of Colorado

Paul Macgregor, Historian and Heritage Consultant

James McMurray, University of Sussex

Joe McReynolds, Jamestown Foundation

Andrew Seth Meyer, Brooklyn College

James Millward, Georgetown University

Simon Milnes, Barrister

Jonathan Mirsky, journalist

Mo Li, Scholar

Brian Moloughney, University of Otago

Isabel Morais, University of Saint Joseph

Joe Moschella, Attorney

Ali Mosleh, Allameh Tabatab’i/Tehran University

Stephen Morgan, University of Nottingham

Luisetta Mudie, translator

Benjamin Mulvey, Education University of Hong Kong

Andrew J. Nathan, Columbia University

Adam Ni, Australian National University

Tim Oakes, University of Colorado

David O’Brien, University of Nottingham

Mariusz Ozminkowski, California State Polytechnic University

Palden Sonam, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies

James Palmer, Foreign Policy

Jonas Parello-Plesner, Hudson Institute

Ben Parker, Architect

Ruud Peters, University of Amsterdam (Emeritus)

Kristian Petersen, Old Dominion University

Eva Pils, King’s College London

Robert Precht, Attorney

Hesham Rakha, Virginia Tech

Johanna Ransmeier, University of Chicago

Dilnur Reyhan, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales

Bruce L. Reynolds, University of Virginia (Emeritus)

James Rice, independent academic

Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch

Stein Ringen, King’s College London

Alessandro Rippa, University of Colorado

Sean Roberts, George Washington University

Matthew Robertson, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

Melissa Y. Rock, State University of New York at New Paltz

Heiner Roetz, Ruhr-University

Igor Rogelja, King’s College London

Viola Rothschild, Council on Foreign Relations

Matthew Ross, Lake Haven, Australia

Jennifer Ruth, Portland State University

Fergus Ryan, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Michael Sainsbury, Journalist & Photographer

Zakia Salime, Rutgers University

Scott Savitt, China Dialogue

Sebastian Scheerer, University of Hamburg

Eric Schluessel, University of Montana

Julia Schneider, University of Goettingen

Matt Schrader, Jamestown Foundation

Jillian Schultz, independent producer/ consultant

Jonathan Schwartz, State University of New York, New Paltz

Mark Selden, Binghamton University (Emeritus)

Gray Sergeant, SOAS, University of London

Zubayra Shamseden, Uyghur Human Rights Project

Savutjan Sidik, Technische Universität Braunschweig

Richard A Smith, freelance writer

Susan Shirk, University of California– San Diego

Elke Spiessens, WWU Münster and Leiden University

Phillip Stalley, DePaul University

Rune Steenberg, University of Copenhagen

Todd Stein, former U.S. State Department official

Nigel Stobbs, Queensland University of Technology

Henryk Szadziewski, University of Hawaii, Manoa

Tang Danhong, Tel Aviv University

Tashi Tsering, Mount Royal University

Teng Biao, New York University

Edith Terry, Author

Martin Thorley, University of Nottingham

Rian Thum, University of Nottingham Sean Tierney, Education University of Hong Kong

Rory Truex, Princeton University

Tsering Shakya, University of British Columbia

Adam Turan, University of Adelaide

Nury Turkel, Attorney

John B Turner, University of Auckland (retired)

Sarah Tynen, University of Colorado- Boulder

Jasaret Umit, Norway

Carsten Vala, Loyola University Maryland

Madeline Vander Velde, Unrepresented Nations and People Organization

Marije Vlaskamp, China correspondent

Arthur Waldron, University of Pennsylvania

Jeremy Wallace, Cornell University

Gerrit van der Wees, George Mason University

Koen Wellens, University of Oslo

Ingrid Widiarto,

Megan Young Wiese, New York

Corey Willis, MA, Beijing Normal University Diane Wolff, Author

Andrea Worden, independent researcher

David Curtis Wright, University of Calgary

Teresa Wright, California State University, Long Beach

Michael Yahuda, London School of Economics and Political Science

Yeung Wai Ling, Curtin University of Technology