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Rubio, Menendez, Colleagues Introduce Legislation In Response To China’s Human Rights Abuses Of Uyghurs

Jan 17, 2019 | Comunicados de Prensa

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) today reintroduced the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act in light of the continued gross human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, including the mass internment of over one million Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities, as well as China’s intimidation and threats against U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents (LPRs) on American soil. 
 
Joining Rubio and Menendez are Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), John Cornyn (R-TX), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Steve Daines (R-MT),  Chris Coons (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Ed Markey (D-MA).
 
“The United States must hold Chinese government and Communist Party officials responsible for gross human rights violations and possible crimes against humanity, including the internment in ‘political reeducation’ camps of a million or more Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim minorities,” Rubio said. “The State Department has indicated that it is leading an interagency effort within the Administration to develop policy options in response to this brutal campaign of repression. The time for action is now.  I’m proud to lead this important bipartisan initiative that elevates the current crisis in Xinjiang, puts forth policy options to address it, and signals that we will not tolerate Chinese government intrusions on American soil.”
 
“The Trump administration needs to finally develop  a coherent strategy for China that reflects our nation’s values, especially given the horrific and ongoing human rights abuses committed against China’s Uighur Minority,” Menendez said. “This legislation is an acknowledgment that we are now in a new era of strategic competition with China, and I am proud to help lead this important effort so we don’t abandon our values and simply turn a blind eye as a million Muslims are unjustly imprisoned and forced into labor camps by an autocratic Chinese regime.”
 
 A copy of the legislation can be found here. Key elements of the legislation include:

  • A report by the Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the State Department, regarding the regional security threat posed by the crackdown and the frequency with which Central Asian countries are forcibly returning Turkic Muslim refugees and asylum seekers. The report will also include a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps.
  • An FBI report on efforts to provide information to and protect U.S. citizens and LPRs (including Uyghurs) from Chinese government harassment and intimidation on American soil.
  • The establishment of a new “double-hatted” position at the State Department (Special Coordinator for Xinjiang) while the crisis persists.
  • A report by the CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media regarding efforts to intimidate Radio Free Asia (RFA) employees, the status and reach of U.S. broadcasting to Xinjiang, and analysis of disinformation propaganda by the PRC targeting Uyghur communities globally.
  • A report by the Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the State Department, regarding the regional security threat posed by the crackdown on Uyghurs and the transfer and development of technology facilitating surveillance and mass internment. The report will also include a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps.

 
The legislation also urges high-level U.S. engagement on this issue, the application of Global Magnitsky and related sanctions, the full implementation of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, a review of Commerce Department export controls and end user restrictions and the establishment of a voluntary database whereby U.S. citizens and LPRs can provide information regarding missing/detained family members with a view toward pressing for accountability.
 
U.S. Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY) are introducing bipartisan, companion legislation in the House.