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CAIR Welcomes U.S. House Passing Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, Urges Senate to Pass Without Delay

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/23/2020) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, a measure that bans imports from the Xinjiang region of China, where there are reportedly more than one million Uyghur Muslims incarcerated in concentration camps.  

That act would also impose sanctions on those responsible for the abuse suffered by Uyghur Muslims.

“CAIR commends the House of Representatives’ passage of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act of 2020,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw. “It is imperative that our nation block the products of slave labor and hold accountable those responsible for China’s genocidal targeting and concentration camp imprisonment of Uyghur Muslims. The Senate must adopt the act without delay.” 

If signed into law, the bill would: 

  • Impose restrictions by banning certain imports from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region and impose sanctions on parties responsible for human rights violations; 
  • Determine if goods manufactured or produced in the region were produced or manufactured by forced, convict, or indentured labor; 
  • Require the President to report a list of known foreign entities and individuals facilitating forced labor of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang or undermining US efforts to restrict prohibited goods to Congress. All members of this list will be subject to property-blocking sanctions and individuals will be subject to visa-blocking sanctions; 
  • Require issuers filing annual or quarterly reports with the Securities Exchange Commission to disclose information relating to Xinjiang. This information includes instances when the issuer knowingly assisted in creating mass surveillance systems in Xinjiang, engaged with groups building or running Muslim minority detention centers, or obtained textiles manufactured in Xinjiang. The President will determine if sanctions or criminal charges against these issuers are appropriate.  

CAIR has been an outspoken proponent of placing sanctions on China after reports first emerged that Uyghur Muslims were victims of Chinese internment and a supporter of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act of 2020. 

SEE: CAIR Action Alert: Ask Speaker Pelosi to Hold to Vote China Sanctions Following Disclosure of Secret Files on Mass Detention of Uyghur Muslims 

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

SEE: CAIR Welcomes U.S. Blacklisting of Chinese Companies Being Used to Repress Muslims in China, Calls on NBA to Cancel Exhibition Games, Close Training Centers in China 

Background: 

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. 

The New York Times reports that the Chinese government will detain Uyghur 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. 

Dubbed the “Xinjiang Papers” by the New York Times in November 2019, more than 400 pages of leaked Chinese government documents 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.” 

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. 

END 

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw, 202-999-8292, rmccaw@cair.com 

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