WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statements after the House of Representatives last night approved an amended version of their bipartisan Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (S.178). The bill is an important step in countering the totalitarian Chinese government’s widespread and horrific human rights abuses in 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.
“The passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act is a recognition that the U.S. government cannot afford to stand idly by as millions of Uyghur Muslims continue to be unjustly imprisoned, subjected to a mass surveillance state, and forced into labor camps by an autocratic regime,” Ranking Member Menendez said. “With this legislation, Congress is taking the necessary and long overdue steps to hold accountable officials in the Chinese government and Communist Party responsible for gross violations of human rights and possible crimes against humanity. Uyghurs deserve justice for the barbaric and abhorrent acts they have been forced to endure, and I am committed to working with my colleagues to get a final bill on the president’s desk as quickly as we can.”
“The Chinese Government and Communist Party is working to systematically wipe out the ethnic and cultural identities of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. Last night, Congress took another important step to hold Chinese officials accountable for egregious and ongoing human rights abuses committed against the Uyghurs,” Rubio said. “I applaud the House for taking swift action and passing an amended version of my bill and I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to get it passed and sent to the President for enactment.”