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Adrian Zenz – Xinjiang Update: What New Documents Tell Us About Beijing’s Evolving Internment Policy

April 4, 2023 @ 4:30 pm 6:00 pm

this photo shows protesters in Berlin, protesting against China's policies in Xinjiang

Read our blog post on the event: Xinjiang Update: Beijing’s Evolving Internment Policy

Speaker: Adrian Zenz, Senior Fellow and Director in China Studies, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

Moderator: Mark C. Elliott, Vice Provost for International Affairs, Mark Schwartz Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History, Harvard University

Since the start of Beijing’s campaign of interning Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in its northwestern region of Xinjiang in re-education camps, the most pertinent evidence on the nature and impact of these policies has come from public and internal (classified) government documents. However, nearly all of this documentation was limited to latter (implementation-related) stages of the policy cycle, leaving scholars in the dark about crucial aspects of the deliberations and decision-making processes behind the policies. Between late 2021 and mid-2022, two important caches of new internal files have been made public, including classified speeches by Xi Jinping and by Zhao Kezhi, China’s former Minister of Public Security. This presentation seeks to elucidate what these new files can tell us about the evolution of Beijing’s policies in the region, the role of the central government in the process, and the potential scale of the campaign of mass internment.

Dr. Adrian Zenz is Senior Fellow and Director in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Washington, D.C. (non-resident). His research focus is on China’s ethnic policy and Beijing’s campaign of mass internment, securitization and forced labor in Xinjiang, as well as ethnic minority education and labor programs in Tibet. Dr. Zenz is the author of Tibetanness under Threat and co-editor of Mapping Amdo: Dynamics of Change. He has played a leading role in the analysis of leaked Chinese government documents, including the “China Cables,” the “Karakax List,” the “Xinjiang Papers,” and the Xinjiang Police Files. Dr. Zenz has provided expert testimony to the governments of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. He is a member of the Association of Asian Studies. He has published opinion pieces with Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.


April 4, 2023
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies


CGIS Knafel K262

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States

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