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About the Event
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has spent the past 30 years since the Tiananmen Square Massacre doubling down on its authoritarian rule and increasing suppression of any form of dissent. As Xi Jinping has amassed greater power than any leader since Mao, the CCP has focused the brunt of its oppression on ethnic and religious communities that seek to protect their own identities. Using new tools and technologies and exporting this transnational repression overseas, the CCP has intensified its persecution of Hongkongers, Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Chinese dissidents with increasing impunity.
A new book, China Nexus: Thirty Years In and Around the Chinese Communist Party’s Tyranny—published by Optimum Publishing International and written by Benedict Rogers, co-founder and chief executive of Hong Kong Watch—tells the story of the fight for freedom by an emerging human rights movement in China. Join the author and leading human rights activists Alex Chow from the Hong Kong Democracy Council and Rushan Abbas from Campaign for Uyghurs to discuss the obstacles their communities are facing today, and how the world can fight back.
About the Speakers
Benedict Rogers is the co-founder and chief executive of Hong Kong Watch and served as the chair of Trustees of Hong Kong Watch from 2017-2020. Previously, Ben was the East Asia team leader at the international human rights organization CSW, focused on Myanmar, Indonesia, North Korea, and China. He is also the co-founder and deputy chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, a member of the advisory group of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), an advisor to the World Uyghur Congress, Senior Analyst for East Asia at CSW, a trustee of several other charities, author of six books and a regular contributor to international media. A frequent speaker, he has testified before the British Parliament, European Parliament, Japanese Parliament and United States Congress, and worked as a journalist in Hong Kong. He is the author of China Nexus: Thirty Years In and Around the Chinese Communist Party’s Tyranny.
Rushan Abbas is the founder and executive director of Campaign for Uyghurs. Rushan Abbas started her activism work while she was a student, co-organizing the pro-democracy demonstrations at Xinjiang University in 1985 and 1988. Since her arrival in the United States in 1989, Ms. Abbas has been an ardent campaigner for the human rights of the Uyghur people and has worked closely with members of Congress. Ms. Abbas was a co-founder of Uyghur Overseas Student and Scholars Association in 1993, the first such Uyghur association in the United States. When Radio Free Asia launched its Uyghur service in 1998, Ms. Abbas was the first Uyghur reporter broadcasting daily to the Uyghur region. In 2017, she established the Campaign for Uyghurs, to advocate for the human rights and democratic freedoms of Uyghurs and others oppressed by the Chinese regime. Ms. Abbas introduced and led the “One Voice One Step” movement and successfully organized protests on March 15, 2018, in 14 countries and 18 cities on the same day to expose China’s detention of millions of Uyghurs in concentration camps.
Alex Yong-Kang Chow is the board chair for the Hong Kong Democracy Council. He is the former secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students during the 2014 Umbrella Movement. In 2017, Chow was sentenced to prison for seven months. In 2018, Chow was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, for their contribution to Hong Kong’s democracy movement. He also is co-founder of the Flow, the first Hong Kong diasporic magazine aimed to provide critical views on Hong Kong’s political and socio-cultural development.
Johanna Kao serves as regional director for Asia-Pacific for IRI. She brings more than 20 years of experience in international political development, nonprofit management, and citizen empowerment to this role, and has lived and worked in the Asia region most of her life. Before joining IRI, Johanna worked as a consultant with the UN in Indonesia and coordinated policy programs for the Asia Society in Hong Kong. Johanna was born and grew up in Hong Kong. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in political science and completed her LLM at the University of Hong Kong. Johanna also serves as nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub.
Derek Mitchell serves as president of the National Democratic Institute. Beginning in September 2018, he returned to NDI just over two decades after he departed the Institute in 1997, at the conclusion of nearly four years as senior program officer for Asia and the former Soviet Union. Since that time, Mitchell has had a distinguished career in and out of the U.S. government, connecting democracy and international security. From 2012-2016, Mitchell served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma). He was America’s first ambassador to the country in 22 years. From 2011-12, he served as the U.S. Department of State’s first Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, with the rank of ambassador.
Daniel Twining joined IRI as president in 2017, where he leads the organization’s mission to advance democracy and freedom around the world. He heads IRI’s team of over 800 global experts to link citizens and governments, motivate people to engage in the political process, and guide politicians and government officials to be responsive to citizens. IRI works in over 100 countries and is a core institute of NED.
Damon Wilson is president and chief executive officer of the National Endowment for Democracy. Prior to joining NED, Mr. Wilson served as executive vice president at the Atlantic Council, as special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council (NSC), as executive secretary and chief of staff at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and as deputy director in the private office of the NATO Secretary General. Mr. Wilson began his career with Save the Children in Rwanda. He is a graduate of Duke University and Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs.
Header image adapted from image provided courtesy of Optimum Publishing International.