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Rubio, McGovern, CECC Chairs, Release 2019 Annual Report on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in China
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), Cochair and Chair of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued the Commission’s 2019 Annual Report on Wednesday highlighting human rights and the rule of law in China.
The Commission plays an essential role in shining a light on the acts of the People’s Republic of China that reflect compliance with or violation of human rights and helping the legislative and executive branches craft more effective human rights strategies for U.S.-China relations.
The 2019 Annual Report documents a worsening human rights situation and a further deterioration of the rule of law. The Chinese government continued gross violations of human rights in ethnic minority regions, religious freedom violations, harassment of rights defenders and lawyers, suppression of free speech, and onerous restrictions on civil society.
A major focus of the report is the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and the mass internment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), which may constitute crimes against humanity. The report outlines steps that should be taken for a more concerted U.S. Government response.
The report also contains a special section highlighting the human rights violations associated with an “anti-crime and vice” campaign, and an extension of the anti-corruption campaign, which has been used to target marginalized groups in China, particularly petitioners, religious believers, human rights lawyers, and rural migrants to urban areas.
Sixteen political and religious prisoner cases were highlighted in the 2019 Annual Report that are representative of those in detention in China. The CECC’s Political Prisoner Database includes detailed information on these cases and thousands of individuals currently known or believed to be detained in China.
“The Chinese Communist Party’s egregious human rights record has only gotten worse as Beijing utilizes more advanced and updated tools of repression,” Rubio said. “While we remain outraged by flagrant violations of fundamental human rights, the relentless repetition of the Chinese Communist Party’s abuses make it easy for us to forget what happened even a few weeks ago – the work of the Commission ensures that we do not forget and serves as a stark reminder that Congress must continue to hold Beijing accountable.”
“The Commission’s report shines a bright light on Beijing’s dangerous and ever-expanding repression and efforts to crack down on freedom of expression, religion, assembly, and speech. The United States must be a strong and unwavering voice for universal human rights in China. I hope both Congress and the Trump Administration use this information to hold the Chinese Government accountable and more effectively prioritize the promotion of universal human rights and the rule of law in the U.S.-China relationship,” McGovern said.
Recent CECC Initiatives:
- The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and the PROTECT Hong Kong Act which bans U.S. companies from exporting tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and other crowd control equipment to Hong Kong both became law in 2019. The legislation were initiatives of the CECC Chairs.
- The House and Senate also both passed Uyghur human rights legislation to focus U.S State Department resources and attention on the mass internment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in China. We hope these bills will be reconciled in the coming weeks.
- Tibetan Policy and Support Act: The Chairs introduced bicameral legislation last year (H.R. 4331 / S. 2539) to update and strengthen the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 and address emerging human rights, religious freedom, and environmental challenges faced by the Tibetan people.
- Letter to Administration Urging More Decisive Action on XUAR Human Rights Abuses: The Chairs sent a letter signed by twenty-eight senators and twenty House members urging the Administration to publicly employ Global Magnitsky sanctions for Chinese officials complicit in mass internment in the XUAR and to expand the use of the Commerce Department’s “Entity List” designations, particularly to target Chinese companies engaged in forced labor in the XUAR.
- Letter to Customs and Border Control Commissioner on XUAR Forced Labor: The Chairs sent a bipartisan letter to Mark A. Morgan, Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) calling on CBP to enforce existing U.S. law by investigating and blocking goods made in the XUAR with forced labor.
Both Chairs commend the capable and professional work of the CECC’s research staff in producing the Commission’s 18th Annual Report. The full 2019 Annual Report and an Executive Summary can be accessed on the CECC’s website.