No Escape

Hanover Square. May 2022. 352p. ISBN 9781335469564. $28.99. POL SCI
Turkel, currently appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), has written a matter-of-fact yet devastating account of the ongoing human rights abuses and genocide of the Uyghur people of the Xinjiang region of China. The author combines a description of his family’s experiences within China, his successful application for asylum in America, and his own path from student to high-powered human rights lawyer in Washington, DC. He also includes information from researchers and journalists who have publicized the measures taken against Uyghurs in China. These measures include mass incarceration, forced sterilization, sexual assault, torture, and the systematic destruction of Uyghur religious, cultural, and social structures. Turkel details the features of a high-tech surveillance state, where every individual is required to submit samples of DNA and biometric information, and undergo continual monitoring by camera, phone, and even live-in human surveillance. The final chapters outline the author’s push for the Trump administration to recognize the genocide of the Uyghur people in early 2021, efforts which eventually led to the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act signed by President Biden at the end of 2021.
VERDICT An important, harrowing overview of the ongoing human rights crisis in Xinjiang, China.
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