Bipartisan Senators Seek to Reauthorize Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act

‘Passing this bill is vital to holding China accountable for these grave human rights violations,’ Sen. Jeff Merkley said.Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) have introduced the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Reauthorization Act of 2024 to maintain U.S. support for the human rights of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region and other ethnic minority groups in China.Congress enacted the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act in 2020 in response to widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Mr. Rubio was the legislation’s sponsor.The bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump in 2020 and went into effect the same year. It’s sanctions are set to expire in 2025, five years after being enacted. The two senators seek to reauthorize the sanction section for an additional five years.“At a time when the Uyghur diaspora and Chinese dissidents remain the targets of transnational repression at the hands of Communist China, we must have the tools needed to confront this threat. This reauthorization is essential and I urge my colleagues to support this initiative,” Mr. Rubio said.The legislation requires the U.S. president to impose sanctions on Chinese officials involved in human rights violations against Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in the region. It also calls on the president to ask Chinese authorities to shut down the network of mass internment camps where at least one million Uyghurs are unlawfully detained. Forms of sanctions include the freezing of assets and visa denial.The Act also requires the secretary of state, within 180 days of its enactment, to report human rights abuse in Xinjiang. The report should address details about the violations, including the number of detainees, “reeducation” methods, forced labor, methods of torture, and other serious abuses.Related StoriesThe director of national intelligence is also required to report on national security threats arising from the Chinese communist regime’s policies on Xinjiang, including the technology used for mass surveillance.Washington has accused Beijing of ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity that target Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang. The Chinese communist regime denies the allegations.The U.S. State Department found that “documented human rights abuses include coercive population control methods, forced labor, arbitrary detention in internment camps, torture, physical and sexual abuse, mass surveillance, family separation, and repression of cultural and religious expression.”The United Nations Human Rights Office in its 2022 report found that Beijing may have committed multiple “serious human rights violations” against Uyghurs in the region, and “credible evidence” of torture amounts to “crimes against humanity.”In July 2020, the Trump administration sanctioned Xinjiang party secretary Chen Quanguo, a politburo member and the highest-ranking Chinese official ever to be hit by U.S. sanctions, for his role in carrying out religious persecution in the region. Other Chinese officials sanctioned included Zhu Hailun, a former Xinjiang deputy party secretary; Wang Mingshan, Xinjiang’s director and Communist Party secretary; and Huo Liujun, Xinjiang’s former party secretary.“The United States must continue to send a clear message that we will not be complicit in the Chinese government’s persecution and genocide of Uyghur Muslims,” Mr. Merkley said. “Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang are being tortured, imprisoned, enslaved, forced into labor, and pressured to abandon their religious and cultural practices by the Chinese government. Passing this bill is vital to holding China accountable for these grave human rights violations while protecting the victims of this genocide.”In 2020, a report from the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) led by Mr. Rubio and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) found that multiple corporations, including Adidas, Nike, Coca-Cola, and Costco have been allegedly linked to forced labor in the region.Earlier this year, the House passed the Uyghur Policy Act to support Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in preserving their identities against the Chinese regime’s attempts to erase them from history. The legislation also aims to promote international awareness about the persecution and to guide responses to these human rights violations in the region.

Bipartisan Senators Seek to Reauthorize Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act

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‘Passing this bill is vital to holding China accountable for these grave human rights violations,’ Sen. Jeff Merkley said.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) have introduced the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Reauthorization Act of 2024 to maintain U.S. support for the human rights of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region and other ethnic minority groups in China.

Congress enacted the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act in 2020 in response to widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Mr. Rubio was the legislation’s sponsor.

The bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump in 2020 and went into effect the same year. It’s sanctions are set to expire in 2025, five years after being enacted. The two senators seek to reauthorize the sanction section for an additional five years.

“At a time when the Uyghur diaspora and Chinese dissidents remain the targets of transnational repression at the hands of Communist China, we must have the tools needed to confront this threat. This reauthorization is essential and I urge my colleagues to support this initiative,” Mr. Rubio said.

The legislation requires the U.S. president to impose sanctions on Chinese officials involved in human rights violations against Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in the region. It also calls on the president to ask Chinese authorities to shut down the network of mass internment camps where at least one million Uyghurs are unlawfully detained. Forms of sanctions include the freezing of assets and visa denial.

The Act also requires the secretary of state, within 180 days of its enactment, to report human rights abuse in Xinjiang. The report should address details about the violations, including the number of detainees, “reeducation” methods, forced labor, methods of torture, and other serious abuses.

The director of national intelligence is also required to report on national security threats arising from the Chinese communist regime’s policies on Xinjiang, including the technology used for mass surveillance.

Washington has accused Beijing of ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity that target Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang. The Chinese communist regime denies the allegations.
The U.S. State Department found that “documented human rights abuses include coercive population control methods, forced labor, arbitrary detention in internment camps, torture, physical and sexual abuse, mass surveillance, family separation, and repression of cultural and religious expression.”
The United Nations Human Rights Office in its 2022 report found that Beijing may have committed multiple “serious human rights violations” against Uyghurs in the region, and “credible evidence” of torture amounts to “crimes against humanity.”
In July 2020, the Trump administration sanctioned Xinjiang party secretary Chen Quanguo, a politburo member and the highest-ranking Chinese official ever to be hit by U.S. sanctions, for his role in carrying out religious persecution in the region. Other Chinese officials sanctioned included Zhu Hailun, a former Xinjiang deputy party secretary; Wang Mingshan, Xinjiang’s director and Communist Party secretary; and Huo Liujun, Xinjiang’s former party secretary.

“The United States must continue to send a clear message that we will not be complicit in the Chinese government’s persecution and genocide of Uyghur Muslims,” Mr. Merkley said. “Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang are being tortured, imprisoned, enslaved, forced into labor, and pressured to abandon their religious and cultural practices by the Chinese government. Passing this bill is vital to holding China accountable for these grave human rights violations while protecting the victims of this genocide.”

In 2020, a report from the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) led by Mr. Rubio and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) found that multiple corporations, including Adidas, Nike, Coca-Cola, and Costco have been allegedly linked to forced labor in the region.
Earlier this year, the House passed the Uyghur Policy Act to support Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in preserving their identities against the Chinese regime’s attempts to erase them from history. The legislation also aims to promote international awareness about the persecution and to guide responses to these human rights violations in the region.
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