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The United States and China are engaged in an increasingly intense confrontation over Beijing's human rights record. Biden recently vowed to be "unrelenting" in calling attention to China's human rights abuses and has formally labeled China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims a genocide. Human rights groups believe China has detained more than a million Uyghurs over the past few years in a campaign of mass detention and sterilization.
In October 2019, the World Affairs Council partnered with Human Rights Watch for a discussion on the Chinese repression of the Uyghur population and overall human rights in China. We are pleased to welcome back Brad Adams, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division, for an updated assessment of China’s treatment of its Uyghur population.
About the Speaker
Brad Adams, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division since 2002, oversees the organization’s work on human rights issues in twenty countries, from Afghanistan to the Pacific. At Human Rights Watch, he has worked on a wide range of issues including freedom of expression, protection of civil society and human rights defenders, counterterrorism, refugees, gender and religious discrimination, armed conflict, and impunity. He has written for publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Foreign Affairs, and Wall Street Journal.
Prior to Human Rights Watch, Adams worked in Cambodia for five years as the senior lawyer for the Cambodia field office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and as the legal advisor to the Cambodian parliament’s human rights committee, conducting human rights investigations, supervising a judicial reform program, and drafting and revising legislation. A former legal aid lawyer in California and founder of the Berkeley Community Law Center, Adams graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. He teaches International Human Rights Law and Practice at Berkeley Law School and is a member of the California bar.
About the Moderator
Heather Yang Hwalek is a Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, supporting the Chief Communications Officer. She previously served as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, most recently as a staff officer to the Secretary of State. She also served as a Political-Military Officer in Tokyo, Japan, where she supported the U.S.-Japan security alliance, and as Vice Consul at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China where she adjudicated non-immigrant and immigrant visas and assisted U.S. citizens in southern China with routine and emergency services. Prior to her Foreign Service career, she served in the Department of State's Bureau of African Affairs, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and Bureau of Diplomatic Security, as well as at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, where she covered South Africa's international relations and human rights policy. Before college, she spent a year teaching English in rural China. Heather studied Anthropology at Columbia University (BA) and International Relations at Yale University (MA).
Photo Credit: Malcom Brown
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