Virtual Event: Sean R. Roberts at The George Washington UniversityThe War on the Uyghurs

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the International Development Studies Program (IDS) at the Elliott School of International Affairs bring you this webinar book launch with Sigur affiliated faculty members: IDS Director Sean R. Roberts and moderator Eric Schluessel, Assistant Professor of modern Chinese history. Roberts’ first book, The War on the Uyghurs: China’s Internal Campaign against a Muslim Minority (Princeton University Press, September 2020), is a gripping and moving account of the humanitarian catastrophe that China does not want you to know about. In the fifth edition of the Sigur Center’s latest research initiative, New Books in Asian Studies, attendees will learn about Roberts’ own in-depth interviews with the Uyghurs, thus enabling their voices to be heard. 

Within weeks of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the Chinese government warned that it faced a serious terrorist threat from its Uyghur ethnic minority, who are largely Muslim. In this explosive book, Sean Roberts reveals how China has been using the US-led global war on terror as international cover for its increasingly brutal suppression of the Uyghurs, and how the war’s targeting of an undefined enemy has emboldened states around the globe to persecute ethnic minorities and severely repress domestic opposition in the name of combatting terrorism. Of the eleven million Uyghurs living in China today, more than one million are now being held in so-called reeducation camps, victims of what has become the largest program of mass detention and surveillance in the world. Roberts argues that the reframing of Uyghur domestic dissent as international terrorism provided justification and inspiration for a systematic campaign to erase Uyghur identity, and that a nominal Uyghur militant threat only emerged after more than a decade of Chinese suppression in the name of counterterrorism—which has served to justify further state repression.

The Sigur Center continues to offer a book giveaway to support research and local business. To be eligible to win, please register and attend with the same name, and follow the Sigur Center (@GWUSigurCenter) and IDS (@GWUIDS) on Twitter. The winner will be randomly selected during the event and contacted for a U.S. address. The Sigur Center will purchase a book from a local DC bookstore and pay for shipping.

Advance questions can be sent to with subject “NBAS: Sean Roberts” or directly posted in the live Q&A. Registered guests will receive an email with instructions for joining Webex 24 hours prior to the event. Registration closes at 2pm EDT on October 21. This event is on the record, open to the public, and will be recorded.

Use code GWU-FG for 30% off The War on the Uyghurs and free shipping through 11/30/20.