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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Statement of Congressman Tom Suozzi – April 6, 2019, Uyghur Freedom Rally

April 6, 2019

Congressman Tom Suozzi stands with the Uyghurs! He has sponsored legislation to help shed light on the persecution of the Uyghurs and he will continue to speak out on their behalf.

Congressman Suozzi says “The Chinese government’s authoritarian state uses re-education camps and surveillance methods that it pioneered in Tibet to target Uyghurs in Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has created a surveillance state unlike anything the world has seen.

The Chinese Communist Party’s campaign to destroy the cultural and religious identities of ethnic minorities requires more than just words of condemnation, it requires U.S. leadership and action.

I am proud to be part of a legislative body that advocates for the Uyghurs, and for human rights and the rule of law in China. I, along with Representative Smith, and Senators Rubio and Menendez, am leading The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, to hold accountable Chinese officials and businesses responsible for heinous human rights abuses. I am proud to say that Speaker Pelosi has cosponsored this legislation. I will fight for the Uyghurs. The United States’ strength is in our values, and our policies should not be separated from them. We must not lose hope and we must continue to fight for the good of humanity. Thank you for your activism and commitment today, and I wish you all the best and offer you my support in your continued efforts to free the Uyghurs.”

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Statement of Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton – April 6, 2019, Uyghur Freedom Rally

April 6, 2019

Dear friends of the Uyghur community:

Thank you so much for inviting me to be with you today. I am sorry that I am not able to attend, but please know that I stand with you in support of the Uyghur people.

Human rights violations of any kind are unacceptable, and the treatment of the Uyghur people by the Chinese government is no exception. State-sponsored violence and “re-education” camps that suspend civil and religious liberties have no place in East Turkestan or anywhere in the world.

The Uyghur people have suffered for too long under the Chinese government, and it is past time that Congress acted to protect Uyghurs from persecution, forced internment, and violence. That is why I cosponsored two pieces of legislation in the House of Representatives that would condemn human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and impose sanctions on those who support the concentration camps in East Turkestan or otherwise harm the Uyghur population. The U.S. can and should be a global leader in preventing human rights violations against Uyghurs, and I urge my colleagues in Congress to support this important legislation and act on it as soon as possible.

Thank you so much to all of you who are here today. In the short time I have served in the House of Representatives, hundreds of my constituents from Virginia’s 10th District have contacted me about this important issue, and I want to let them know that their voices have been heard. I urge you all to keep up the fight so that together we can end the brutal repression of the Uyghur people once and for all.

                                                                                    Sincerely,

                                                                                    Jennifer Wexton

                                                                                    Member of Congress

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