China Forum

China Forum 2023

China Forum is an annual conference in Washington, D.C. convening scholars, experts, and policymakers in the areas of trade and economics, foreign policy and security, and human rights and political development. The goal of China Forum is to help Americans understand the nature of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Communist Party, and key issues in U.S.-China relations.

China Forum Agenda 2023

Panel and Film Screening

Reception

Welcome

Opening Remarks

Film Screening: “China: The Uyghur Tragedy,” directed by Romain Franklin and François Reinhardt 

Panel Discussion: “Beijing’s Ongoing Repression of the Uyghurs”

China Forum 2023

Coffee & Registration

Opening Remarks

Keynote Address (Virtual Presentation)

Uyghur Forced Labor: Dissecting Beijing’s Systems of Coercive Work for Ethnic Minorities 

This panel will discuss Beijing’s forced labor schemes targeting ethnic minority and rural workers, including industry-based forced labor in sectors such as cotton, tomatoes, and polysilicon, coercive labor transfer of rural surplus workers, and forced labor linked to the Xinjiang internment camps. Panelists will discuss issues and challenges surrounding the implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). The panel will highlight recent developments in research on how forced labor risk enters global supply chains from China, implicating western businesses in Beijing’s human rights atrocities, as well as research-based policy responses for governments and businesses.

Sunlight and Shadows: How Western Businesses Are Responding to Entanglement in Beijing’s Malign Activities

As evidence continues to mount showing how Beijing’s human rights abuses are linked to global markets, western businesses are under increasing pressure to “de-risk” their supply chains and fully comply with new legislation such as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. This panel will discuss how companies and investors find themselves supporting human rights violations in Xinjiang and China’s problematic economic practices, and how they are dealing with this problem. It will assess Beijing’s use of financial incentives and coercion to co-opt western business, fund its oppression of Uyghurs, strengthen its economy through unfair competition, and influence national governments. Topics will include how Beijing uses western capital markets to finance malign activities such as its surveillance, military modernization, and arbitrary detention, and how governments and businesses can reform due diligence practices to address this challenge. 

Luncheon

Power and Responsibility: How Beijing’s Human Rights Record is Shaping Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

From the halls of Brussels and Washington to Geneva and New York, Beijing is increasingly being scrutinized for its human rights record, hindering its efforts to present itself as an emerging great power and responsible player on the world stage. Western diplomats and policymakers are thus rethinking China’s role in major spheres of multilateral cooperation, from the United Nations and the European Union to diplomatic efforts around Ukraine, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. This panel will assess Beijing’s multi-pronged strategy to make the world “safe for autocracy,” fend off criticisms of its human rights practices, and influence international bodies in ways that undermine the principles of democratic governance. Experts will discuss available tools and specific actions the US and its allies can take to address this challenge.

Interview and Q&A Session

Coffee Break

Towards Accountability: Pursuing Legal Action on the Xinjiang Atrocity Through International Mechanisms 

Despite global condemnation of Beijing’s atrocities in Xinjiang that multiple governments have declared amounts to genocide and crimes against humanity, the Chinese regime continues to maintain its repressive policies under the pretext of counterterrorism. Meanwhile Beijing has used its powerful sway in international bodies such as the UN to prevent initiation of an independent investigative or accountability mechanism such as was possible for recent crimes in Syria, Iraq, and Myanmar. This panel will discuss international legal mechanisms for holding the perpetrators to account, including from multilateral bodies in the UN and The Hague, to national governments imposing Magnitsky-style sanctions or exercising universal jurisdiction. It will assess the status and prospects for specific legal actions, and what is needed from governments and the international community to ensure their success, including effective documentation and analysis of available evidence.

Closing Remarks

China Forum 2022

In Search of My Sister Film Screening

Filmed in over a dozen countries, “In Search of My Sister” is a story of an American Uyghur Activist whose sister is one of 1.8-3 million Uyghurs taken by the Chinese Communist Party. She embarks on a journey to create awareness and find clues to the whereabouts of her missing sister.

China Forum 2022

Welcome Remarks

Uyghur Forced Labor and Prevention: New Trends in Coercive Labor and the Duties of Business

NOTE: This panel will adhere to Chatham House rules. The discussion will be off-the-record and will not be live-streamed.

In June 2022 the United States banned the import of all goods linked to Xinjiang due to the region’s systematic, state-sponsored forced labor systems, through the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). Recently Xinjiang has embarked on a program to deepen the reach of forced labor through increased full employment requirements. Which goods and sectors can be implicated in forced labor? How has enactment of the UFLPA, and the enforcement measures applied to date, impacted US-China supply chains? Can the Act effectively contain the import of goods whose production is linked to Xinjiang, or are Chinese businesses successfully avoiding the ban? Can supply chain regulations catch up with the evidence? This panel will also address business due diligence issues such as how Xinjiang companies may be evading sanctions, supply chain risks related to intermediary countries especially in Asia, and how the business community is responding amid these developments.

Panelists:

Beginning of Public Livestream

Opening Remarks

Keynote Address

Entanglement and Dependencies: Addressing the Challenges of Economic Integration With China

Beijing has leveraged China’s economic power and integration with global markets to expand its global influence and reduce criticism of its human rights violations. Business relationships with China increasingly implicate rights-respecting countries and companies in Beijing’s human rights abuses, military modernization, and surveillance state. This panel will discuss the moral and strategic costs of doing business with China, the challenges of disentangling from problematic financial ties, and explore approaches toward strategic forms of decoupling from related entanglements.

Panelists:

Global Governance: World Order With Chinese Characteristics?

Now more than ever, the CCP appears confident that their system of governance is ascendant. This now poses a serious question for the U.S. and its allies: Does the CCP intend to export this system of governance in the same way that the Soviet Union did? This panel will explore the ways in which the CCP is promoting its authoritarian system overseas, or at least using its growing influence to silence dissent against it.
Panelists:

Luncheon

Chains of Command: Beijing’s Policymaking on Xinjiang and the Direction of Ethnic Policy Under Xi Jinping

Internal documents from the leaked “Xinjiang Papers” and hacked “Xinjiang Police Files” shed unprecedented new light on the nature, scale, and driving forces behind Beijing’s campaign of mass internment. This panel will discuss what the latest evidence reveals about Beijing’s increasingly draconian ethnic policies in particular in Xinjiang, including their genesis and development, their nature and intent, the extent of central government involvement, and their future direction under Xi Jinping. It will discuss the latest developments in ethnic policy for sensitive groups such as Uyghurs or Tibetans, and assess how unprecedented developments in Xinjiang may be influencing policies in other sensitive ethnic regions.

Panelists:

Interview and Q&a Session

Global Ambitions: Beijing’s Foreign Policy and Power Projection

Under Xi Jinping, Beijing’s foreign policy has taken a coercive turn, and its attempts to influence global norms and institutions in line with its global ambitions have become more overt. China’s economic coercion toward other countries, unprecedented military aggression towards Taiwan, and quiet backing of Putin’s land war Ukraine have amplified existing concerns over the ascending superpower’s role within the global community. What are the implications for international relations? What is needed to defend and strengthen a rules-based global order? This panel will assess China’s means of power projection and explore research-driven counter-strategies and responses.

Panelists:

Closing Remarks

China Forum 2021

China Forum Agenda 2021

China Forum 2021

Opening Remarks

Chairman’s Remarks
Keynote Remarks

Technology, Authoritarianism, and Big Tech’s Compliancy

TECHNOLOGY, AUTHORITARIANISM, AND BIG TECH’S COMPLIANCY
The unique pairing of an authoritarian government with highly advanced technology has resulted in the world’s most sophisticated police state, and the CCP is determined to export these measures to regimes around the world. This panel will discuss the extent to which the CCP seeks to disrupt global norms governing the use of technology to repress people both at home and abroad and how Silicon Valley is unwittingly or wittingly complicit. 
Panelists:

Global Governance: World Order With Chinese Characteristics?

Now more than ever, the CCP appears confident that their system of governance is ascendant. This now poses a serious question for the U.S. and its allies: Does the CCP intend to export this system of governance in the same way that the Soviet Union did? This panel will explore the ways in which the CCP is promoting its authoritarian system overseas, or at least using its growing influence to silence dissent against it.
Panelists:

China’s Frontiers: The Ccp and Colonial Legacies

How do we view China – a nation, a civilization, or an empire? In 1949, the CCP inherited a vast landmass that encompassed countless cultures, languages, and ethnic groups. Mao implemented a Leninist system that promised many of these unique groups autonomy within a socialist state. However, under Xi Jinping and his “second-generation ethnic policies,” it seems that the CCP has resurrected the same kind of colonialism that was practiced by the empires of the 19th century. This panel will focus on the crises facing the nations that live along China’s historical frontiers, namely the Turkic peoples, Tibetans, and Mongols, as well as how Hong Kong fits into this discussion.
Panelists:

LUNCHEON

Supply Chain and Forced Labor

Reports published in the past year by VOC have presented new evidence that hundreds of thousands of indigenous laborers in Xinjiang are being forced to pick cotton and attend “vocational training,” and being deported to other parts of the country as part of a coercive, state-mandated labor transfer and “poverty alleviation” scheme, with possibly drastic consequences for global supply chains. This panel will discuss this evidence, its implications, and what can be done to effect change.
 
Panelists:

Finance: The Myth of Chinese Financial Hegemony

FINANCE: THE MYTH OF CHINESE FINANCIAL HEGEMONY
China is home to the largest finance sector in the world, but it may not be as strong as it seems. The Global Magnitsky Act empowered free governments to sanction individuals responsible for human rights abuses. The free world appears to be on the verge of taking the next step, which is to target private companies whose support of governmental actions makes the abuses possible. This panel will highlight the risks run by U.S. and Chinese businesses providing material support for China’s human rights abuses. Additionally, this panel will discuss how multinational corporations are enabling Beijing’s repression and what can be done to hold them to account. 
Panelists:

Closing Remarks