Enes Kanter Freedom, Rep. Mike Gallagher, Joey Siu, and Josh Rogin talk Chinese human rights abuses and fear of activism at the Beijing Olympics
Arlington, VA — On Monday, February 14, 2022, NSI hosted NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom, Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI-08), Hong Kong activist Joey Siu, and the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin for a conversation on China’s ongoing genocide of the Uyghurs and other CCP oppressive policies and how Americans can become involved by pressuring policymakers and educating themselves on China’s policies. In particular, Enes Kanter Freedom highlighted how he evolved into a global human rights advocate and Joey Siu detailed her work with the #NoBeijing2022 campaign, which pushes viewers to avoid watching the Beijing Olympics.
Quotes from the event include:
- “If your mother, if your daughter, if your sister or whoever, one of your family members was in those concentration camps, or their countries about to be invaded by a dictatorship, would you still remain silent?” Enes Kanter Freedom
- “While we know that she’s [Peng Shuai] alive, I don’t believe she is free, she’s not free to speak, she’s not free to travel,” Enes Kanter Freedom
- “We are all human, and we only have one world to live. So we need to make this world better together,” Enes Kanter Freedom
- (In response to the question: Whether the U.S. Congress has the motivation to act on China) “I do believe that fundamental bipartisan spirit of pushing back on the CCPs human rights abuses and understanding how pernicious of a threat they are still exists in Congress,” Congressman Mike Gallagher
- “I think it would make sense for Congress to pass a law that says to every institute of higher education…that they should not be allowed to invest in China. At a minimum, I don’t think our taxpayer dollars should flow to a regime that is actively trying to destroy us,” Congressman Mike Gallagher
- (In response to the question: Do you believe there’s a political will in Congress to boycott Chinese goods?) “If you lay out the case for ‘this is going to cost a little bit more. But you’re supporting the cause of freedom against sort of the evil cause of a totalitarian regime?’ I think people get fired up about that,” Congressman Mike Gallagher
- “We need them [policymakers] to help lead the change that will protect us from being censored by the Chinese party,” Joey Siu
- “I think it is really ridiculous and disappointing to hear international sports organizations telling us that now, the numerous concerns that you have raised to us are simply political matters,” Joey Siu
- “Everything in Hong Kong, including our judicial system, including the values that we used to cherish, is now completely overhauled by the Chinese Communist Party,” Joey Siu
- “This is the CCP on its best behavior, and the behavior is pretty awful,” Josh Rogin
The event was part of NSI’s project, China’s Rise: Confronting China’s Challenge to the World Order. To learn more about the project, click here.
This is also the second in a series of events NSI has hosted on the Beijing Olympic games. In December 2021, U.S. Representatives Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) and Michael Waltz (FL-06) joined host NSI Senior Fellow Lester Munson for 2022 Winter Olympics: Standing up to China’s Human Rights Abuses, which featured a conversation on the implications of the U.S.’ diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics.
- “No amount of gold or silver or bronze medals are worth these atrocities,” Congressman Mike Waltz
- “We need to take a good hard look at the way that the IOC is doing business, and see what we can do to correct course,” Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton
To watch the event, click here.
February 14 Event Speaker Bios:
Enes Kanter Freedom was born in Zurich, Switzerland and spent the majority of his youth in Turkey, until Freedom moved to the United States at 17 to play high school basketball. Freedom was drafted with the third overall pick by Utah during the 2011 NBA Draft and has played professionally since. In 2021, Freedom changed his legal name from Enes Kanter to Enes Kanter Freedom to celebrate becoming a legal U.S. citizen and out of appreciation for the freedoms, ones which he would not have had as a citizen of Turkey, that the U.S. gives and protects. Freedom is an outspoken advocate for human rights around the globe and, most notably, against China’s genocide of the Uyghurs and American corporations’ involvement in China’s human rights abuses.
Rep. Mike Gallagher currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where he is the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Military Personnel, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. From 2019-2021 he served as Co-Chairman of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. Rep. Gallagher has taken the lead on a number of pieces of legislation aimed at curbing China’s influence against its people around the globe; most recently, Rep. Gallagher was the Lead Sponsor on the Free Peng Shuai Act, which would impose Magnitsky Sanctions on IOC Leadership complicit in tennis star Peng Shuai’s disappearance in 2021.
Joey Siu is a Hongkongese-American student activist, a Policy Advisor of Hong Kong Watch and advisor to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). She participated actively in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement by organizing local grassroot campaigns and also international advocacy for Hong Kong. Her focus is on human rights in Hong Kong, East Turkestan, Tibet and other regions in China. She also writes on U.S. – China relations and Hong Kong politics. She has testified before the U.S. Congress twice, spoken in the U.K. Parliament and United Nations in Geneva, and given briefings at the European Union Delegation office at the U.N.
Josh Rogin is a Washington Post foreign policy columnist and a political analyst with CNN. Previously, he has covered foreign policy and national security for Bloomberg View, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Foreign Policy magazine, Congressional Quarterly, Federal Computer Week magazine, and Japan’s Asahi Shimbun. He was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and the 2011 recipient of the Interaction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. Josh holds a BA in international affairs from the George Washington University and studied at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. He lives in Washington, DC. He is also the author of his newest book, Chaos Under Heaven: Trump, Xi, and the Battle for the Twenty-First Century.
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