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November 14, 2018

King, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation in Response to China’s Human Rights Abuses Against Uyghurs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues to introduce the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act in response to the gross violations of human rights in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, including the mass internment of over one million Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities, as well as China’s intimidation and threats against U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents (LPRs) on American soil. In addition to Senator King, the bill is sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). 

“Human rights are not limited to certain people, or only applicable in select countries – they are universal,” said Senator King. “The United States must stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. That includes the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, who have been the victims of serious human rights violations at the hands of the Chinese government. These inhumane policies are unacceptable, and the United States must take steps to push China to end them.”  

  • A copy of the legislation can be found here. Key elements of the legislation include: 
  • A report by the Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the State Department, regarding the regional security threat posed by the crackdown and the frequency with which Central Asian countries are forcibly returning Turkic Muslim refugees and asylum seekers. The report will also include a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps.
  • An FBI report on efforts to provide information to and protect U.S. citizens and LPRs (including Uyghurs) from Chinese government harassment and intimidation.
  • A report by the CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media regarding efforts to intimidate Radio Free Asia (RFA) employees, the status and reach of U.S. broadcasting to Xinjiang, and analysis of disinformation propaganda by the PRC targeting Uyghur communities globally.

A State Department report regarding the scale and scope of the crackdown. The legislation urges high-level U.S. engagement on this issue, the establishment of a new “double-hatted” position at the State Department (a Special Coordinator for Xinjiang) while the crisis persists, the application of Global Magnitsky and related sanctions, the full implementation of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, a review of Commerce Department export controls and end user restrictions and the establishment of a voluntary database whereby U.S. citizens and LPRs can provide information regarding missing/detained family members with a view toward pressing for accountability.


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