Report: Two Chinese Communist Party Officials Studied at Harvard Before Overseeing Uyghur Detention Camps

Harvard on trial over alleged discrimination against Asians
AFP

Two Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials reportedly received an education through Harvard University fellowships before overseeing what U.S. State Department labeled a genocide of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.

Yao Ning, a local party secretary of the Communist party studied as an Asia fellow at Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation between 2010 and 2011, according to a report by the Canberra-based Australian Strategic Policy Institute [ASPI], as cited by the Financial Times.

For a few months in 2012, chairman of the Xinjiang region Erken Tuniyaz was also a new world fellow at Harvard’s Ash Center. Xinjiang’s chair ranks as the region’s second highest official after the party secretary, Chen Quanguo, according to the report.

In a February speech, Tuniyaz claimed Xinjiang’s internment camps are for “counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures,” despite accusations of rape, torture, forced sterilizations and abortions, organ harvesting, and genocide.

The report cited an article published in 2012, in which the Ash Center said the research of Tuniyaz and a colleague at Harvard “promises to inform their professional careers and enrich the Center’s portfolio of scholarship on innovation and democratic governance.”

A Muslim ethnic Uighur woman begs with her baby on a street in Urumqi, capital of China's Xinjiang region on July 2, 2010 ahead of the first anniversary of bloody violence that erupted between the region's Uighurs and members of China's majority Han ethnicity. The government says nearly 200 people were killed and about 1,700 injured in the unrest, China's worst ethnic violence in decades, with Han making up most of the victims. AFP PHOTO/Peter PARKS (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

A Muslim ethnic Uighur woman begs with her baby on a street in Urumqi, capital of China’s Xinjiang region on July 2, 2010 ahead of the first anniversary of bloody violence that erupted between the region’s Uighurs and members of China’s majority Han ethnicity. (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty)

“Candidates for this programme were only accepted upon the successful completion of the vetting process by the US embassy in Beijing,” spokesman for the Ash Center Daniel Harsha said, noting that the school commonly admits participants from China.

Yao, 36, studied at Harvard as part of his PhD in public policy at Tsinghua University in China, the report states.

After completing his studies in 2014, he worked in Xinjiang’s Kashgar prefecture, first in the mostly Uyghur Yengisheher county, and then in Maralbeshi county, according to the report.

Then in early 2019, Ning was promoted to Party Secretary of Maralbeshi County, “a small and predominantly Uyghur county where ASPI researchers have identified nine detention facilities built or expanded since 2017.”

The report continued:

“Months before Yao’s arrival, authorities in Maralbeshi sought to recruit 320 new re-education camp staff members,” said the report.

In July this year, Yao was among 103 officials who met Xi Jinping, China’s president, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to be honoured as “outstanding county party secretaries”. The post of party secretary at county level is the most senior political post, meaning that Yao has responsibility for the local detention camps.

According to the Times, the ASPI report showed satellite images of a large prison complex in Maralbeshi county that is “guarded by six watchtowers and has been operations throughout Yao’s term.”

Uyghurs people demonstrate against China outside of the United Nations (UN) offices during the Universal Periodic Review of China by the UN Human Rights Council, on November 6, 2018 in Geneva. - China's mass detainment of ethnic Uighurs and its crackdown on civil liberties likely figures high on the agenda when countries meet at the UN in Geneva to review Beijing's rights record. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Uyghurs people demonstrate against China outside of the United Nations (UN) offices during the Universal Periodic Review of China by the UN Human Rights Council, on November 6, 2018 in Geneva. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

“Construction on the camp has continued throughout 2021,” the report states.

Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry have admitted that despite China’s growing list of heinous human rights abuses, the United States needs to partner with the CCP to fight “climate change.”

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