Last week, during a U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Joint Subcommittee Hearing on the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang against Uyghurs by the Chinese Communist Party, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., offered the following remarks:
“Well, thank you. I want to thank you and all the members here for convening this important hearing. I also want to thank our witnesses. I want you to know that your research and your advocacy have done much to shine a bright light on these atrocities that are being committed in Xinjiang by the Chinese Communist Party.
“And Ms. Abbas, who I understand, joins us virtually, [she] was my guest at the State of the Union last February. Her sister is currently detained in a camp. She and Dr. Gulshan’s daughter, Zeba, have been forced to live without their family for no other reason than the fact that they are Uyghurs.
“Dr. Richardson, you have testified in front of the CECC, which I had the honor to Chair for a number of years. You’ve done so in the past, testified about your work, as well as Dr. Zenz, which has been instrumental to me, my team, and to all of us in helping us craft policies. That includes the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, which became law last year. And the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which we’re very hopeful will become law very soon. We’re hopeful the full committee will be able to hear it as soon as this month.
“You know, in a few weeks, the Chinese Communist Party will mark 100 years since its founding. They’re going to likely gather in Beijing and cities across China to ‘celebrate’ this centennial. It should actually be a national day of mourning. That would be more appropriate.
“The crimes by the Chinese Communist Party are too numerous to catalogue here. But the one we’re focused on here today is an effort by the Chinese Communist Party to completely eliminate Turkic Muslims, especially Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Since all of this has come to light, we’ve learned the appalling extent of these violations. There are more than 1 million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim detained in camps and forced into labor. The network of detention facilities and factories has turned Xinjiang into a huge, massive labor camp.
“Guards at these camps force Uyghur men to renounce their faith, to shave their beards, and to violate Muslim dietary restrictions. Uyghur women have been raped, experience other forms of heinous sexual violence, and have undergone forced sterilization, forced abortions.
“Families are ripped apart, adults working in factories and children sent to state operated orphanages. At least that’s what they call them. The goal is to brainwash them, to strip them of their language, their culture, their traditions, their identity, and isolate them from their families and communities. The Chinese Communist Party is also working to suppress birth rates among Uyghur populations, with official data now showing birth rates already declining between 2017 and 2019.
“Earlier this year, former Secretary of State Pompeo determined that crimes against humanity and genocide are being committed by the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a determination the Biden Administration has rightfully upheld. It’s important to call these crimes by their proper name, and I give credit to both administrations for doing so.
“But we need to do something about these crimes even more than just call them for what they are. China’s efforts to silence Uyghurs and turn the world’s attention away from the ongoing atrocities also include coercing and intimidating those Uyghurs who live abroad. That includes American citizens, American residents, and American citizens are speaking out at great risk of having the Chinese Communist Party target themselves and their family members who remain in Xinjiang.
“And an earlier this year, CNN reported, a Uyghur man being taken from his pregnant wife in Dubai and extradited to China. If we don’t fight back against the extraterritorial reach of the CCP now. We will one day find that such practices will increase in frequency to the point that many places outside of China will be just as dangerous as the territories are directly controlled by the CCP.
“I would note in closing, the one major difference between past and present crimes of the Communist Party of China is the motivation. It has evolved beyond simply power to both power and profit. Many Uyghurs and other Muslims are forced to manufacture goods such as textiles and electronics and food products. They’re also transported to other provinces, and they’re forced to work there.
“The Chinese government calls this ‘poverty alleviation’, that’s the term they’ve come up for it. But everybody else knows what it is. It’s slavery. While some companies are waking up to this reality, to the reality that they are unwittingly profiting from these crimes, many still have not for far too long. Companies like Nike and Apple and Amazon and Coca Cola were using forced labor.
“They were benefiting from forced labor or sourcing from suppliers that were suspected of using forced labor. These companies, sadly, were making all of us complicit in these crimes. That’s why it is critical that the Senate quickly pass our Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to ensure the goods being made by Uyghur forced labor do not enter our markets and make all Americans unwitting accomplices. The crimes against humanity and genocide that are taking place at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party demand an urgent international response.
“I urge the Biden Administration to use all of its tools at its disposal to end these atrocities and ensure that the CCP does not benefit from these crimes. But it is incumbent upon us here in Congress to act as well.
“And I’m hopeful that our legislation will be a major step in that direction. And I thank you for holding this hearing.”
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