Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) co-hosted an event yesterday with the European Parliament on the situation of Uyghur Muslims in China. Jewher Ilham, daughter of Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti who has been jailed in China since 2014, gave remarks during the event.

Rubio is Cochair of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) as well as a member of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. Senator Risch is Chairman and Senator Menendez is ranking member on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. 

“I was proud to join SFRC Chairman Risch, Ranking Member Menendez, and the European Parliament in honoring Professor Ilham Tohti, a prominent Uyghur scholar who was unjustly sentenced to life in prison by a Chinese court,” Rubio said. “I will continue to press for his freedom as well as the other over one million Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim minorities who are systematically repressed and their most fundamental rights violated by the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang.”

“The Chinese Communist Party’s systematic campaign of repression against Muslim minorities in China is intolerable,” Risch said. “I commend Jewher Tohti for bravely sharing her father’s story and for her continued advocacy on behalf of the Uyghur people. Congress has made its position on this issue very clear, and I look forward to the passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act very soon.”

“Ilham Tohti is a profoundly courageous and brilliant scholar with a remarkable love for the Uyghur community, culture, and unique history,” Menendez said. “Despite the Chinese government’s inhumane oppression of the Uyghur population, Mr. Tohti has long stood up for Uyghur rights, a heroism that was reflected in the documentary ‘China Change.’ The United States must not stand idly by and instead stand up for the rights and freedom of the Uyghur people, just as Ilham and Jewher Tohti have done.”