Adrian Zenz is Director and Senior Fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, in Washington, D.C. (non-resident). His research focus is on China’s ethnic policy, Beijing’s campaign of mass internment, securitization and forced labor in Xinjiang, public recruitment and coercive poverty alleviation in Tibet and Xinjiang, and China’s domestic security budgets. Zenz is the author of ‘Tibetanness’ under Threat: Neo-Integrationism, Minority Education and Career Strategies in Qinghai, P.R. China (Brill, 2013) and co-editor of Mapping Amdo: Dynamics of Change (Oriental Institute, 2017). He has played a leading role in the analysis of leaked Chinese government documents, including the “China Cables,” the “Karakax List,” and the “Xinjiang Papers.” Zenz is an advisor to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, and a frequent contributor to the international media.

Zenz obtained his Ph.D. in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge. He conducted ethnographic fieldwork in western China in Chinese and regularly analyzes original Chinese source material. He has provided expert testimony to the governments of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. After publication of his research on forced labor in cotton picking, the U.S. government banned the import of goods made with cotton from Xinjiang. Following his research on population optimization and birth prevention, an independent Tribunal in the United Kingdom determined that China’s policies in the region constitute genocide. Zenz’s work on parent-child separation in Xinjiang prompted The Economist to feature this atrocity on its cover page and to refer to it as “a crime against humanity” that represents “the gravest example of a worldwide attack on human rights.”

Zenz has acted as academic peer reviewer for a wide range of scholarly journals, including The China Journal, Asian Studies Review, International Security (Harvard University), China Perspectives, Central Asian Survey, Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Asian Ethnicity, China: An International Journal, the Journal of Chinese Political Science, Issues and Studies, and Development and Change. He has published opinion pieces with Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and The New York Times.

Last Updated: May 23, 2022



Public Security Minister’s Speech Describes Xi Jinping’s Direction of Mass Detentions in Xinjiang

Adrian Zenz
An internal Chinese government document provides new support for the extraordinary scale of internment during what was likely its peak in 2018 and 2019. The document, a transcript of an internal June 15, 2018 speech by Minister of Public Security...



Is This the End of Belt and Road, or Just the Beginning?

Nadège Rolland, Adrian Zenz & more
On April 25-27, China’s government will host the leaders of dozens of countries to celebrate the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the signature foreign policy program of Xi Jinping. Since its founding in October 2013, the BRI now covers more than 150...



Is the Belt and Road Anti-Democratic?

Nadège Rolland, Tim Summers & more
During her visit to Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan January 31-February 2, Prime Minister Theresa May attempted to improve her country’s trade relations with China—an increasingly important partner for the post-Brexit United Kingdom. And yet, May was...