Statement of Senator Marco Rubio – April 6, 2019, Uyghur Freedom Rally

April 6, 2019

“I want to applaud the Uyghur Human Rights Project for organizing this rally to stand against the detention of a million or more Uyghurs in political education camps in China.  I applaud your efforts and will continue to work with you to end the horrific abuses being committed by the Chinese government and Communist Party.

We must all continue to speak with one voice on this issue. The Chinese government’s creation of a vast system of internment and surveillance cannot be tolerated in the 21st century.

As a U.S. Senator, I promise to continue shining a light on China’s brutal campaign against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities, including the detainment of U.S. residents. Earlier this year, I re-introduced my bipartisan Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act. This bill not only condemns the gross human rights violations  in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, but also requires reporting on the involvement of Chinese companies in the construction and operation of the detention camps as well as Chinese efforts to intimidate or harass Americans here at home.  It is my hope that Congress will take up and pass this important bill and that President Trump will quickly sign it into law.

We must do all we can to hold accountable Chinese government officials who are responsible for the abuses. The Chinese government must understand clearly that the United States and the free world will not accept this behavior abroad or tolerate foreign interference against our citizens on American soil.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

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Statement of Congressman Jim McGovern – April 6, 2019, Uyghur Freedom Rally

April 6, 2019

Good afternoon and thanks to all of you for the invitation to join you today. Although I am unable to be with you in person, I want you to know that I am with you in spirit and I stand in solidarity with your struggle on behalf of the rights and freedom of the Uyghur people.

That is why I was an original cosponsor of both bills that you are here to support: The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (H.R. 649 and S. 178) and the Uighur Intervention and Global Humanitarian Unified Response (UIGHUR) Act of 2019 (H.R. 1025).

For too long the U.S. government has talked the talk but not walked the walk when it comes to countering China’s repression of Uyghur rights. We need to go beyond words; we need to make sure there are consequences for China’s repression of the Uyghur people. These bills are an important step in that direction and we need to work together to make sure they both pass. Please take that message to your Member of Congress and tell your friends to tell their Members of Congress – Congress must act! These bills must become law!

We have known for a long time that the Uyghurs in China suffer at the hands of the Chinese authorities. We have known about the restrictions imposed on the use of the Uyghur language and on religious practices including the training of Muslim clerics, the celebration of Ramadan, the use of veils and the growing of beards. We have known how hard it is for Uyghurs to get passports and we have seen the reports of the forced repatriation of Uyghurs living outside of China. All of these policies violate the basic human rights of the Uyghur people.

But in the last couple of years the Chinese have doubled down in a whole new way using cutting-edge surveillance technology and mass so-called “re-education” camps to try to stamp out Uyghur identity. People rightly fear what could come next. And that is why we are all here today.

So let’s get going, let’s pass these bills, let’s end the persecution of Uyghurs and let’s all say to China: great countries are rights-respecting countries. Great countries do not fear or trample on ethnic minorities. Great countries do not put massive numbers of people in camps or cages or behind bars. Great countries let their peoples speak their language, practice their faith and live their lives. Until the Uyghurs have the right to live their lives as they choose, China will not be a great country.

Thank you.

Rep. James P. McGovern

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Statement of Congressman Chris Smith – April 6, 2019, Uyghur Freedom Rally

April 6, 2019

Thank you to the Uyghur Human Rights Project for organizing this rally to highlight and condemn the internment of over a million or more Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in political education camps in China

What is happing to Uyghurs in China today is unconscionable – it should be treated and declared as a crime against humanity. Human rights leaders here in the U.S. and around the globe cannot be silent when the Chinese government is constructing a high-tech police state whose goal is the forced assimilation of Uyghurs and the “sinicization” of religious beliefs and culture. Such acts cannot be tolerated and should be unconditionally condemned by the international community.

I commend Vice President Pence and Secretary Pompeo for speaking out forcefully against human rights abuses in China – it is an important first step. In a letter sent this week, Senator Rubio and I and 41 Members of the House and Senate – asked the Administration to take the next step and impose Global Magnitsky sanctions on Xinjiang Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo and other Chinese government officials complicit in gross human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs.

The letter also urges the Secretary of Commerce to strengthen export controls to ensure that U.S. companies are not assisting in the creation of the vast civilian surveillance or big-data predictive policing systems used in Xinjiang.

As a Senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Ranking Member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and this year as Co-Chair of the Lantos Human Rights Commission, I promise to continue working with you to shine a light on egregious abuses of human rights, particularly those targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in China. I have re-introduced the bipartisan Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act with Congressman Tom Suozzi of New York, which will, among other things, create a Special Coordinator position at the State Department on Uyghur issues and require the State Department and the FBI to protect Uyghurs and other Americans from intimidation or harassment by Chinese government agents here on American soil.

I commend you all for giving voiceless Uyghurs in China a voice here in Washington,

D.C. You will be heard. But we must all continue to keep pressing for action and keep shining a bright light on horrific abuses occurring in China.

CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH

Member of Congress

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