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CAIR Action Alert: Urge Senate, White House to Finalize and Enact Bill Sanctioning China Over Uyghur Muslim Concentration Camps

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/4/19) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is urging all Americans to urge their Senators to finalize the adoption of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 (S.178) and for the White House to immediately enact the bill once it arrives on the president’s desk. 

Previously adopted in the Senate, it is being reported that the bill will not go to conference to consider the House’s amendments but will instead go to the floor for a final vote. 

TAKE ACTION: Urge Final Adoption and Enactment of Uyghur Right’s Act

The bill was introduced earlier this year 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 persons, pervasive high-tech surveillance across the Xinjiang province, and the systemic denial of the freedoms of expression, religion, and movement. 

The bill would:

  • Call for the imposition of sanctions on China under the International Religious Freedom Act
  • Urge the application of sanctions against specific Chinese government officials under the Global Magnitsky Act
  • Ask the Secretary of Commerce to consider prohibiting the sale of U.S.-made goods to Chinese state agents in the Xinjiang province
  • Call on U.S. companies operating in Xinjiang to publicly assert that their commercial activities are not contributing to human rights violations
  • Call 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
  • Call 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

Yesterday, bill sponsor Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ranking Member Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ) issued the following joint statement welcoming the House’s adoption and pledging to ensure a final act will be sent to the president’s desk for enactment:

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. Today, Congress took another important step to hold Chinese officials accountable for egregious and ongoing human rights abuses committed against the Uyghurs. 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.” – Senator Marco Rubio

Today’s 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. 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.” – Senator Bob Menendez

On November 25, CAIR called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office to ask that she immediately hold a vote on the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act.

Last month, The New York Times published more than 400 pages of leaked Chinese government documents detailing the mass detention of Uighurs, Kazakhs and others Muslims in concentration camps in the Xinjiang region.

Dubbed the “Xinjiang Papers” by the New York Times, more than 400 pages of leaked Chinese government document reveal classified Chinese government directives and private speeches by leaders of that country on the mass detention of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. Included in the leaked files are quotes by China President Xi Jinping to government officials instructing them to use the “organs of dictatorship” to show “absolutely no mercy” to Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang region as part of China’s “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism.” The Chinese Communist Party boss for the region Chen Quanguo is also shown instructing officials to “round up everyone who should be rounded up.”

The New York Times reports that the Chinese government will detain Uighur Muslims for common Islamic practices such as “wearing long beards, giving up smoking or drinking, studying Arabic and praying outside mosques.” Leaked documents reveal Chinese government officials are being instructed to tell college students returning home to Xinjiang who find their parents or family members missing that “their behavior could either shorten or extend the detention of their relatives” – a veiled threat.

Uyghur Muslim concentration camp detainees report being forced to listen to lectures, learn Mandarin, sing songs praising the Chinese Communist Party, and are coerced into abandoning their faith. Some inmates are forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, both forbidden activities in Islam. Some are tortured. Muslim women detainees have reported being sexually assaulted, raped, forcefully sterilized, and made to have abortions in Chinese detention facilities.

In October, CAIR condemned the NBA for silencing Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey over his support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and for the league’s continued operation of a training academy in Xinjiang.

SEE: CAIR, CAIR-Houston Condemn NBA for Bowing to Chinese Pressure after Houston Rockets Manager Backs Democracy in Hong Kong

CAIR also welcomed visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other minority groups in China’s Xinjiang region.

SEE: CAIR Welcomes Sanctions on Chinese Officials Involved in Detention of Uyghur Muslims

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 Coordinator Ayan Ajeen, 202-774-0770,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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