WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and John Cornyn (R-Texas) yesterday introduced a bipartisan resolution to designate human rights abuses perpetrated by the People’s Republic of China against the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) as genocide. The resolution would hold China accountable under the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and begin the process to coordinate an international response to bring these abuses to a halt.
They were joined by Senators James Risch (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
“There can be no question that the People’s Republic of China is committing genocide against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang,” Senator Menendez said. “Stopping a genocide is consistent with our national security and our values, and it starts by standing up and speaking the truth. I hope that President Trump and Secretary Pompeo will join us in calling this genocide by its name and responding to it with our partners in the international community.”
"For far too long, the Chinese government has carried out a despicable campaign of genocide against millions of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims," Senator Cornyn said. "This resolution recognizes these crimes for what they are and is the first step toward holding China accountable for their monstrous actions.”
“The Chinese government’s systematic use of forced sterilization, abortion, and other practices in Xinjiang is truly abhorrent,” Senator Risch said. “These actions targeting Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities constitute genocide, and I am proud to join colleagues on both sides of the aisle in introducing a resolution that defines them as such. The United States and countries around the world must continue to draw attention to what is happening in Xinjiang.”
“As evidence is mounting of the Chinese government and Communist Party’s heinous crimes against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, we must be clear about the nature of these atrocities,” Senator Rubio said. “It is for that reason that I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan resolution declaring that the egregious human rights violations against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities constitute genocide. Free nations must urgently come together and press for an end to these crimes and seek accountability and justice.”
“Congress cannot – and must not – turn a blind eye to China’s shocking, systematic abuse of its Uyghur population, as well as of ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgz, and members of other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” Senator Cardin said. “These human rights violations demand a forceful U.S. response. That is why I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this resolution, which makes clear that the Senate will not shy away from calling these atrocities what they are: a genocide.”
“China’s assault on Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups—escalating surveillance, imprisonment, torture, and forced ‘re-education camps’—is genocide, pure and simple,” Senator Merkley said. “America can’t stand silent.”
Since 2017, the Chinese Communist Party has detained an estimated 1.8 million Turkic Muslims, mostly Uyghurs, in internment camps without due process. Detained Uyghurs are tortured, coerced to disavow their religious beliefs and cultural practices, compelled to work in forced labor programs, and, in some cases, raped, subjected to involuntary sterilization, and forced organ harvesting. As a direct result of the CCP’s targeted population control campaign against Uyghurs, the birthrate of the Uyghur population in the XUAR plummeted by 24% from 2017 to 2018, with birthrates in the Uyghur majority regions of Hotan and Kashgar decreasing by more than 60% from 2015 to 2018. In 2018, 80 percent of all net added IUD placements in China (calculated as placements minus removals) were performed in Xinjiang, despite the fact that the region only makes up 1.8 percent of the nation’s population. Nearly half a million Muslim children in Xinjiang have been forcibly removed from their families, placed in state-run boarding schools, and subjected to indoctrination and inhumane treatment. Between 2017 and 2019, an estimated 80,000 Uyghurs were forcibly transferred out of the XUAR to work in factories across China which has raised concerns of forced labor being used in global supply chains.
Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.