(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/15/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on all those who value religious liberty to urge their members of Congress to support the bipartisan legislation condemning human rights violations against Turkic Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province and calling for an end to the arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of these communities inside and outside China.
The was introduced this week in both chambers of Congress in response to reports of gross human rights violations by Chinese officials against the country’s Uyghur population, including the mass internment of more than one million Muslims, pervasive high-tech surveillance across the Xinjiang province, and the systemic denial of the freedoms of expression, religion, and movement. The bill also addresses the intimidation of Uyghurs living in the U.S. by Chinese officials.
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The bill also:
- Calls for the imposition of sanctions on China under the International Religious Freedom Act
- Urges the application of sanctions against specific Chinese government officials under the Global Magnitsky Act
- Asks the Secretary of Commerce to consider prohibiting the sale of U.S.-made goods to Chinese state agents in the Xinjiang province
- Calls on U.S. companies operating in Xinjiang to publicly assert that their commercial activities are not contributing to human rights violations
- Calls on the Secretary of State to consider creating a special position, the Special Coordinator for Xinjiang, to coordinate the U.S. response to these human rights violations
- Calls on the Secretary of State to submit a report detailing the number of persons detained in re-education camps, the conditions in those camps, and the surveillance methods used by authorities in the region
The Senate version of the bill was introduced by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ). They were joined by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Angus King (I-ME), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Cornyn (R-TX), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
“The situation in Xinjiang and China’s treatment of its Uighur Minority is beyond abhorrent and shines a light of China’s surveillance state tactics that threaten basic human dignity,” said Senator Menendez. “The President needs to have a clear and consistent approach to China, and not turn a blind eye as a million Muslims are unjustly imprisoned and forced into labor camps by an autocratic regime.”
The House version of the bill was introduced by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ). Joining him were Representatives Michael McCaul (R-TX), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), and Jim McGovern (D-MA). The Senate and House bills are virtually identical.
“The Chinese government’s creation of a vast system of what can only be called concentration camps cannot be tolerated in the 21st century,” said Representative Smith. “This legislation gives the Administration the tools to take a firm stand against Beijing’s plans to erase the religious identity, culture, and language of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s western province.”
In and , CAIR sent letters directly to Chinese President Xi Jinping responding to reports of Muslims being denied the freedom to fast during Ramadan and the confiscation of Qurans and other religious items, respectively.
On September 10, CAIR for international action in defense of religious freedom following a new by Human Rights Watch (HRW) detailing the “mass, systematic campaign of human rights violations against Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang in northwestern China.”
The report revealed that up to 1 million Uyghur Muslims are being held in reeducation centers where they are forced to listen to lectures, sing songs praising the Communist party and abandon from their faith. Some tell of inmates being forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, forbidden activities in Islam.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, email@example.com