May 27, 2020

Risch, Rubio, Menendez, Gardner, Markey, McGovern, Smith Applaud House Passage of Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act

BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), along with Representatives Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.), today applauded House passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 (S.3744).

This bipartisan bill is an important step in countering the totalitarian Chinese government’s widespread and horrific human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, including the mass internment of more than one million Uyghurs and other predominantly ethnic Turkic Muslims, as well as Beijing’s intimidation and threats against U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents on American soil.

“I am glad the House took swift action to pass the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act today,” said Risch. “The internment of at least a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities is reprehensible and inexcusable, and the Chinese Communist Party and government must be held to account. I look forward to the president signing this important legislation into law soon.”

“I commend the House for swiftly passing this bipartisan bill, which now heads to the President’s desk to become law,” said Rubio. “Congress is sending a strong message of support to Uyghur Muslims worldwide that the United States stands with you and will not sit idly by as the Chinese government and Communist Party commit egregious human rights abuses and crimes against humanity. For far too long, the Chinese Communist Party has tried to systematically wipe out the ethnic and cultural identities of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims. It’s long overdue to hold the perpetrators accountable and I urge the President to sign it into law without delay.”

“Today’s passage by the House of Representatives makes clear the United States Congress is united and determined to take action as millions of Uyghur Muslims continue to be unjustly imprisoned, subjected to a mass surveillance state, and forced into labor camps by Beijing’s autocratic regime,” said Menendez. “Enactment of this legislation to provide justice for the Uyghur people and others subject to China’s gross violations of human rights and possible crimes against humanity is long overdue. I look forward to getting the president’s signature on this bill to enact it into law as soon as possible.”

“The Chinese Communist Party’s actions in Xinjiang are an affront to humanity and the CCP must pay a heavy price for these heinous crimes,” said Gardner. “The mass internment and forced labor of Uighurs is one of the greatest ongoing tragedies of our time. With passage of this bill, the U.S. Congress stated loud and clear that we will hold the CCP and its enablers responsible, pursuant to my Asia Reassurance Initiative Act and other relevant U.S. laws.”

“The House has now joined the Senate in sending a united message that Beijing’s attempt to erase a culture through mass detention and surveillance will not succeed,” said Markey. “I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation and will continue to press our own government to promote accountability for the Chinese government’s oppression of historic scale. I commend those who have revealed the enormity of these human rights violations, including the brave journalists of Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service, whose family members have endured retaliatory abuse simply for uncovering the terrible truth of Beijing’s campaign against its ethnic and Muslim minorities.”

“I applaud the passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act. This important bipartisan action makes clear that Congress will not be silent while Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities face reprehensible human rights abuses,” said McGovern. “I call on the President to sign the legislation quickly and take swift action to sanction Chinese officials and businesses engaged in mass internment, surveillance, and forced labor.”

“We cannot remain silent in the face of the unconscionable, horrific atrocities in the Xinjiang region of China,” said Smith. “Our strong bipartisan legislation condemns mass surveillance, the internment of Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, and the systematic use of forced labor to profit the Chinese government and state-owned companies. We are committed to stopping these horrendous abuses of human rights and labor rights and this legislation is a starting point, not our last word or action on behalf of the victims.”

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