MIT-Harvard Conference on the Uyghur Human Rights Crisis

Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 9:30am to 1:30pm

Building 32, Kirsch Auditorium, Room 123 (Stata Center)
32 VASSAR ST, Cambridge, MA 02139

Please REGISTER if you are planning on attending.  Tickets will be required at the door.  Each person attending must register individually. 

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This conference aims to present the police state in China, where over one million innocent Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims have been forced into concentration camps since 2016; explore China’s use of technology to escalate the crisis by conducting digital, biological, and cyber surveillance on the Uyghur; introduce the biopolitics of China’s “war on terror” in countering Uyghur people as an ethnicity; and open a dialogue on our role as leaders, educators, and technologists in engaging with China while being aware of its massive human rights violations.


9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Welcome & Speaker Introductions

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Keynote speakers

  • Sean R. Roberts, PhD: Associate Professor of the Practice of International Affairs; Director, International Development Studies Program, George Washington University
  • Darren Byler, PhD: Lecturer of Sociocultural Anthropology, University of Washington; Writer for CNN, ChinaFile, Dissent, and SupChina
  • Rian Thum, PhD: Associate Professor of History, Loyola University New Orleans; Author of The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History (Harvard University Press, 2014)

11:00 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. Q&A with speakers

11:20 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. Break

11:40 a.m. – 12:40 p.m. Keynote Speakers

  • Jessica Batke: Senior Editor at ChinaFile in New York City; former foreign affairs research analyst in the US State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research of Uyghurs
  • Gene A. Bunin: Independent scholar, freelance journalist, and curator of the Xinjiang Victims Database at

12:40 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Q&A and discussion with speakers

1:00 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. Closing Remarks

1:10 p.m. – 1:40 p.m. Breakout Sessions


Co-sponsors:  MIT Center for International Studies, Radius at MIT, Harvard University’s Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies, Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, MIT Student Activities Office, MIT CIS Human Rights and Technology Program

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