06 March 2020
On the evening of March 6, 2020, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum hosted the public program China’s Systematic Persecution of Uyghurs. Hundreds of Uyghur Americans and others from the community listened to powerful speeches from Massachusetts Congressman, Co-Chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China, and Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission James McGovern, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback, and Director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide Naomi Kikoler. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum volunteer and Holocaust survivor Dr. Alfred Munzer delivered a chilling, but heartening, story of his childhood in Nazi-occupied Netherlands, and how a selfless Indonesian-Dutch, Muslim family saved his life. His father and sisters perished, but his mother, against all odds, survived twelve concentration camps to eventually reunite with her son. Following the opening speeches, a panel discussion with Executive Director of Campaign for Uyghurs Rushan Abbas, Senior Editor of ChinaFile Jessica Batke, Director of Radio Free Asia Uyghur Service Alim Seytoff, and Senior Fellow in China Studies at Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Dr. Adrian Zenz shed light on the appalling crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party against the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in China, including forced labor, physical and psychological torture, religious suppression, arbitrary detention, sterilization, and starvation. Audience questions focused on what ordinary people can do to stop the atrocities, and esteemed panelists encouraged folks to spread awareness of the current plight of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples to family, friends, and policymakers. Panel experts also urged folks to be conscious consumers and stop buying products from companies that are profiting from Uyghur forced labor. This is the first time US Holocaust Memorial Museum officially called China’s atrocities ‘Crimes against Humanity’