Members of the Florida delegation on Capitol Hill weighed in on China’s treatment of the Uyghurs and other minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Tuesday with a U.S. senator from the Sunshine State calling it genocide.
Pointing to a report from the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., took aim at the Chinese regime on Tuesday.
“It’s clear and I’ve been saying it for a year – the brutal crimes being perpetrated in Communist China by General Secretary Xi are a genocide, and it’s time for every freedom-loving nation in the world to recognize and condemn these atrocities,” Scott said. “Under General Secretary Xi’s leadership, the Chinese Communist Party has executed a campaign to abuse, harass and destroy the Uyghur population. They have forcibly sterilized women and separated children from their families in an attempt to erase the Uyghur culture. When Uyghurs are not being tortured and brainwashed in concentration camps, they are forced into slave labor. As Communist China continues to show the world its true colors, these horrific abuses cannot be ignored.
“The Biden administration must hold Communist China accountable by using every tool at our disposal. I also look forward to President Biden accepting my request for a meeting to discuss Communist China’s genocide and why the 2022 Olympic Games must be moved to a nation which truly respects human rights,” Scott added.
Over on the other side of Capitol Hill, two members of the Florida delegation are backing a bill “to provide Priority 2 refugee status for ethnic Uyghurs and others who are suffering from arbitrary arrest, mass detention, and political and religious persecution by the Chinese government” and which “expedites their ability to apply for refugee status and asylum in the United States.”
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., who sits on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the bill on Monday and showcased it on Tuesday. U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., is backing the bill. So are U.S. Reps. Chris Smith, R-NJ, and Jennifer Wexton, D-Va.
“For years, the Chinese government has used false pretexts to repress and discriminate against Turkic Muslims and other minority groups, particularly Uyghurs, in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and in other countries. Reports from Xinjiang describe a systematic program by the Chinese government involving the arbitrary detention of an estimated 1 million Uyghurs, torture, beatings, food deprivation, sexual assault, forced sterilization, and denial of religious, cultural, and linguistic freedoms. Senior Chinese Communist Party officials bear direct responsibility for this ongoing campaign of discrimination and gross human rights violations,” Deutch’s office noted. “According to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an independent U.S. government agency charged with monitoring human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, the actions taking place in Xinjiang ‘may constitute crimes against humanity.'”
Deutch weighed in on his bill on Tuesday.
“The horrific stories of forced labor, internment camps, torture, starvation, and political indoctrination of Uyghurs should shake every person to their core,” said Deutch “These egregious violations by the Chinese government are offensive to both American and universal values of human rights. In the United States, we have a proud history of welcoming oppressed peoples from around the world. This bill is a continuation of the best traditions of U.S. foreign policy and humanitarianism and upholds America’s image as a beacon of hope, refuge, and liberty to millions worldwide.”
“The Communist regime in China brutally oppresses the Chinese people and has engaged in particularly horrific abuses against the Uyghur people,” Diaz-Balart said. “I am proud to join my dear friends and champions of human rights, Reps. Ted Deutch and Chris Smith, in providing an opportunity for Uyghurs fleeing severe repression to find safe haven in the United States. Communist China poses a grave threat to the world in a variety of ways such as IP theft, endangering public health, and bullying its neighbors, but we must also remember the harm China’s Politburo has perpetrated, and continues to inflict, on the people of China as well. This important legislation will provide an avenue for some of the world’s most persecuted individuals to escape their abusers.”
“Cultural genocide, forced labor and other atrocities which the Uyghur people and other Muslim minorities are suffering at the hands of the Chinese government is a human rights crisis and demands our urgent attention,” said Wexton. “I represent one of the largest Uyghur diaspora communities in the U.S., and I have constituents who are fearful for their loved ones as they try to escape the horrors in Xinjiang. Providing an expedited process for refugee status and asylum in the United States should be an essential component of our humanitarian response to protect and save lives, even as we continue to work to hold the Chinese government accountable. I’m proud to join Rep. Deutch in this bipartisan effort.”
“The United States has an admirable record of offering safety and refuge to those who are tortured and persecuted for their faith,” said Smith, who is a co-chair of the Congressional Refugee Caucus. “In China, the Uyghurs face forced labor, concentration camps, reeducation, forced sterilization, and now reportedly, organ harvesting. The United States must not return Uyghurs to a country where they face the horrific genocide orchestrated by Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party.”
Refugees International and the Uyghur Human Rights Project are behind Deutch’s bill which was sent to the U.S. House Judiciary and the Foreign Affairs Committees this week.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.