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Harvard Advised Chinese Government Group Sanctioned For Uyghur Human Rights Abuses

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Harvard’s Ash Center worked with a now-sanctioned Chinese group which committed “serious human rights abuses.”

Following a National Pulse exposé on the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center’s Chinese Communist Party links, the Trump administration sanctioned an entity the center has collaborated with: the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

The Treasury Department moved to sanction the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), its former Political Commissar, and its former Deputy Party Secretary and Commander on Friday for “serious human rights abuse against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, which reportedly include mass arbitrary detention and severe physical abuse.”

XPCC, however, has liaised with Harvard’s Ash Center for Innovation and Diplomacy as part of its “China’s Leaders in Development Program,” inaugurated in 2001.

The program trained officials from the XPCC in 2012 and 2011, supplying them with meetings at the U.S. State Department, the World Bank, and, as the program’s description notes, other “local, state, and federal government organizations in the United States.”

The program describes itself as “widely recognized by the Chinese government as one of the best overseas training programs for government officials” and aims “to help prepare senior local and central Chinese government officials.”

Donors to the Ash Center, therefore helping fund this program, include Atlantic Philanthropies, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, USAID, the State Department, and Department of the Army.

Identified by The Washington Post as an “instrument of repression” against Uyghurs, the XPCC has been equated to an economic and paramilitary organization heavily repsonsible for human rights abuses such as forced labor camps, re-education centers, and internment in Xinjiang province.

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2011 opening ceremony featuring CCP apparatchiks with Harvard Kennedy School listed behind

Harvard’s XPCC connections are the tip of the iceberg for its extensive CCP links.

The Ash Center has taken millions from the Chinese government and state-owned enterprises and its directors have identified themselves as advisers to a host of Chinese companies.

Most recently, these links translated into the center publishing a study claiming the CCP is “as strong as ever,” widely circulated by state-run media and the Chinese government itself, while making no mention of ongoing Hong Kong protests or the CCP’s botched coronavirus response.


Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is an Investigative Reporter at the National Pulse and contributor to The National Pulse podcast.