China’s Transnational Repression of Uyghurs

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China’s Transnational Repression of Uyghurs

18th October 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

chinese repression of uyghurs

Since the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan, much has been said about the grave threat the militants pose to ethnic and religious minorities. One group has, however, been largely overlooked – the Uyghurs. Since the Taliban regained power of the Central Asian country, Uyghurs in the country are anxious over heightened Chinese control and influence. The Chinese state has deployed a range of aggressive methods to silence Uyghur critics abroad, or in some cases even detain and render them back to Xinjiang province. With Beijing positioning itself as a leading player in Afghanistan’s economic future, the country’s Uyghurs will understandably be extremely uneasy over what the future holds.

This event, hosted by the Henry Jackson Society, will explore which countries have collaborated with the Chinese communist regime over the transnational repression of Uyghurs, the kind of shape this repression takes, and what the West can do to help one of the world’s most persecuted ethnic groups.



Rahima Mahmut is an Uyghur singer, human rights activist, and award-winning translator of the poignant prison memoir The Land Drenched in Tears by Soyungul Chanisheff. She translated the testimonies of survivors during the Uyghur Tribunal and is a prominent voice for Uyghurs in the UK. Rahima’s work includes producing music for award-winning Al Jazeera documentary ‘Living in the Unknown,’ working as a consultant and translator for the Bafta-winning ITV documentary ‘Undercover: Inside China’s Digital Gulag,’ and translator for the BBC documentary ‘China: A New World Order.’ She is currently UK Director of the World Uyghur Congress, Executive Director of Stop Uyghur Genocide, and an Advisor to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.



Benedict Rogers is a British human rights activist and journalist based in London. He is a member of the advisory group of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) and an advisor to the World Uyghur Congress. Benedict is also the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Watch and Senior Analyst for East Asia at Christian Solidarity Worldwide. He regularly briefs senior Government ministers and officials, UK members of parliament, the European Union, United Nations officials, US Congressional offices and the State Department on human rights and freedom of religion in Asia. Benedict has also testified in hearings at the House of Commons, the European Parliament, the National Diet of Japan and the United States Congress. He is a regular contributor to international media, including The Wall Street JournalInternational Herald Tribune, and The Huffington Post.



Gray Sergeant is a Research Fellow in the Asia Studies Centre. He studied International Relations and History at the London School of Economics and went on to complete a Master’s in Chinese Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Most recently, he completed a one-year Mandarin language programme at National Taiwan University.

Prior to joining HJS, Gray held various positions including campaign roles for the Labour Party in, as well as working in the UK Parliament. In addition, he spent several years in human right advocacy, with a specific focus on Tibet. In 2017 he co-founded Hong Kong Watch, which monitors freedoms and the rule of law in Hong Kong and is currently the organisation’s Chair.

Gray’s latest report ‘Supporting Taiwan: A Calling for Global Britain’ documents China’s ongoing campaign to isolate and intimidate Taiwan, and outlines ways in which the rest of the liberal democratic world can counter such efforts.



Dr Rakib Ehsan is a research fellow who sits in both the Henry Jackson Society’s Centre on Radicalisation & Terrorism (CRT) and Centre on Social & Political Risk (CSPR).

He holds a BA in Politics & International Relations (First-Class Honours), MSc in Democracy, Politics and Governance (Pass with Distinction), and a PhD in Political Science, all obtained from Royal Holloway, University of London. His PhD thesis, which was comprehensively sponsored by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), investigated the impact of social integration on the public attitudes of British non-white ethnic minorities.

Since joining the Henry Jackson Society in March 2019, Dr Ehsan has authored a number of reports incorporating matters of social cohesion and national security, including Muslim Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Great Britain and Weaponising COVID-19: Far-Right Anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom and United States.

Most recently, he edited HJS’s Black Lives Matter UK: An Anthology, which included contributors who are critical of the political movement’s impact on UK race relations and contemporary civil discourse. His research has been published by other British think-tanks such as Policy Exchange, Runnymede Trust, and Intergenerational Foundation, as well as the Canadian independent security think-tank, the Mackenzie Institute.

Currently a columnist at Sp!ked and a regular contributor for The Telegraph, he has also written for The Independent, The Scotsman, The Jewish Chronicle, UnHerd, and CapX. His comments have also featured in mainstream British newspapers such as The Sun and The Daily Mail, as well as foreign platforms such as Arab News in Saudi Arabia and The National in the UAE.

A regular guest on TalkRadio’s Independent Republic of Mike Graham, Dr Ehsan has also featured on Sky News and BBC World News. He has also made radio appearances for stations such as LBC, BBC Radio London, and BBC Asian Network.

Establishing himself as a prominent British authority on matters of racial identity and social integration, Dr Ehsan has consulted influential UK parliamentarians and policymakers on issues surrounding race relations and community cohesion.




On the 18th October 2021, HJS research fellow Dr Rakib Ehsan chaired a panel to discuss China’s Transnational Repression of Uyghurs. The speakers were analyst, journalist and human rights advisor Benedict Rogers, Uyghur singer and human rights activist Rahima Mahmut, and HJS research fellow, Gray Sergeant. The panellists reflected upon the ongoing repression within Xinjiang province and agreed that further diplomatic pressure should be put on Beijing to halt the atrocities. They agreed that liberal democracies in general are not doing enough, but there was some disagreement over the role of the UK, as although Benedict Rogers felt it could be doing more in terms of sanctions, Gray Sergeant defended the government’s slower path of working in coalition with other countries. 


18th October 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


United Kingdom


Rahima Mahmut, Benedict Rogers, Gray Sergeant


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