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Rubio, Merkley Introduce Landmark Legislation to Hold the CCP Accountable for Crimes in Xinjiang

May 31, 2023 | Press Releases

The bipartisan law, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, was a crucial first step to address the egregious acts of genocide committed in Xinjiang by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Congress then passed the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to ensure that goods tainted with slave labor would not be able to enter the United States.

Unfortunately, Beijing has continued its genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Congress should further expand on existing sanctions and visa prohibitions against Chinese government officials to hold them accountable for their crimes, such as forced abortions or sterilizations.

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Uyghur Genocide Accountability and Sanctions Act (UGASA). In addition to expanding sanctions and travel restrictions on Chinese officials responsible for the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs, the bill would also authorize the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide assistance to victims of genocide, allow them to broadcast initiatives to counter Chinese propaganda regarding the CCP’s ongoing acts of genocide, promote the preservation of cultural and linguistic heritages repressed by the CCP, mandate disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission of entities directly or indirectly engaged in activity supporting the CCP’s genocide in the XUAR, and fund organizations documenting human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

  • “By building upon current legislation, this bicameral bill aims to enhance the enforcement of secondary sanctions on businesses that offer assistance to the Chinese Communist Party’s ongoing atrocities against the Uyghurs. As Beijing continues with its campaign of oppression against non-Chinese ethnic groups, we must uphold sanctions against Chinese authorities and companies responsible for acts of genocide.” – Senator Rubio
  • “Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang are being tortured, imprisoned, forced into labor, and pressured to abandon their religious and cultural practices by the Chinese government. The United States must send a resounding and unequivocal message against genocide and slave labor wherever these evils appear. The horrifying surveillance, imprisonment, torture, and forced ‘re-education camps’ that Uyghur Muslims have been subjected to are appalling human rights violations, depriving millions of people of their liberty in an effort to strip an entire community of their culture and their past. This bill is a critical step in doing more to hold the CCP accountable for these atrocious abuses while taking actions to protect the victims of genocide.” – Senator Merkley

Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) will introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives.