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Uyghur Children in China’s Genocide – a symposium

Since 2017 the Chinese government has seized Uyghur and Kazakh ethnic minority people on a mass scale, holding them in camps, and more recently, transferring them to forced labor and to prisons.

But this is also an unprecedented program of mass family separation: the detainees are parents and grandparents, and their children are put into a children's Gulag of "boarding schools" and "orphanages", to date estimated to hold about 1 million kids. Family separations and boarding schools are soon to expand to all ethnic children.

By way of brutal punishments and even sibling separation, children are forced to permanently forget their language and culture -- thus, the plan is clearly an intentional component of genocide as per the U.N. Convention -- in ways similar to history's 'Indian schools'. Meanwhile, the rest of society is held in terror; international media is barred, and a campaign to intimidate and silence witnesses around the world, is also ongoing.

In this symposium, we ask: What happens to children victimized by family separation, who are forcibly cut off from family, siblings, language, and culture? What is the nature of the deep traumas they endure? How can these wounds be remedied, if the genocide is halted tomorrow? What are the prospects for halting the genocide?

A series of experts, activists, and witnesses, including Uyghurs, will give presentations on these issues. 


  • Rukiye Turdush, Independent Scholar from East Turkistan
  • Zumret Dawut, Camp survivor from East Turkistan, with family
  • Adrian Zenz, Victims of Communism Museum and Memorial Foundation
  • Magnus Fiskesjö, Anthropology, (Cornell University)
  • Jeffrey Palmer (Kiowa), Performance Studies, (Cornell University)
  • Amy Bombay (Anishinaabe from Rainy River First Nations), Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, Canada


Contact person: Magnus Fiskesjö, Anthropology,

This symposium will be hybrid and a registration link will be provided soon.

Sponsor: East Asia Program, Cornell University

Cosponsors: Reppy Program in Peace and Conflict Studies; the Comparative Muslim Societies Program; the American Indian and Indigenous Studies(AIISP); the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs; and the Departments of Anthropology, Sociology, and Government.

Start Date: October 27, 2023
Start Time: 1:00 pm
Location: Goldwin Smith Hall