A New York Conference Focuses on the Crisis of the Uyghurs

Good morning. It’s Wednesday. Today we are speaking with Elisha Wiesel about a two-day conference on the plight of the Uyghurs that is being held in New York.

A Uyghur cemetery in Yengisar in northwest China’s Xinjiang region. Credit…Pedro Pardo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In 2021, Elisha Wiesel became engrossed in the life story of a Uyghur woman named Gulbahar Haitiwaji, told in the book “How I Survived a Chinese ‘Reeducation’ Camp.”

Uyghurs (sometimes spelled as “Uighurs”) are a primarily Muslim ethnic group that for more than a thousand years has lived in a region of what is now China.

The story of Haitiwaji’s experience struck Wiesel with its familiarity. He is the son of the Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and champion of human rights who died in 2016.

“Reading about the Chinese government’s determination to stamp out a people, it had very powerful echoes of ‘Night,’” Wiesel said, referring to his father’s memoir, in which he recounted his days imprisoned during the Holocaust in the Nazi death camps Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

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