Hawley, Colleagues Confront China’s Human Rights Abuses

Friday, May 15, 2020

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) joined his colleagues in passing the “Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act,” introduced by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to confront the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) abuses of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, China.

The bill requires that U.S. policy toward China be explicitly linked to human rights violations in Xinjiang by directing the President to impose sanctions related to the CCP’s treatment of Uyghurs and requiring the FBI to report on efforts to protect Uyghurs and Chinese nationals living in the U.S. from CCP intimidation and harassment.

Senator Hawley, an original cosponsor of the bill, said:

“For too long, the Chinese Communist Party has gotten away with imprisoning over a million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in its concentration camps. Passing this bill shines the light on the Party’s human rights abuses and makes sure those responsible for the Uyghurs’ persecution do not go unpunished.”

The Senator and his colleagues also sent a letter to the U.S. Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Commerce last year urging them to levy sanctions against those responsible for the Xinjiang concentration camps.

The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 would

  • Update U.S. policy towards China to be explicitly linked to the situation in Xinjiang.
  • Direct the President to impose visa and property blocking sanctions related to China’s treatment of the Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim Turkic ethnic group. Includes a Presidential waiver on U.S. national interest grounds.
  • Require a report from Secretary of State on human rights abuses in Xinjiang, including an assessment of the number of individuals detained in forced labor camps. 
  • Require a report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on efforts to protect ethnic Uyghurs and Chinese nationals legally residing in the United States from Chinese government intimidation or harassment within the United States.
  • Require reports from the Director of National Intelligence on (1) security and economic threats caused by the Chinese government’s crackdown and policies against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang province, the frequency with which other governments are forcibly returning Turkic Muslim refugees and asylum seekers to China, and the development or transfer of technology that facilitates mass internment and surveillance, and (2) the ability of the USG to collect and analyze intelligence regarding to the scope and scale of the detention and forced labor of Uyghurs.