Press Releases

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Washington, DC—Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the senior Republican and President Pro Tempore of the Senate, released the following statement upon the introduction of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act. The bill is a response to the gross violations of human rights in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, including the mass internment of over one million Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities, as well as China’s intimidation and threats against US citizens and legal permanent residents (LPRs) on American soil. 

“The persecution of the Uyghur community is unconscionable,” Hatch said. “Religious liberty is a sacred right, which is why I have sought to defend it both at home and abroad. In line with that mission, I am honored to join Senators Rubio and Menendez today in advancing legislation that will hold the Chinese government accountable for its record of religious persecution, especially against the Uyghurs. Our bill sends a clear message that the United States will not abide such human rights abuses. It likewise provides the US government with the resources it needs to protect the basic liberties of the Uyghur community and other religious minorities.” 

Additional cosponsors include Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez  (D-NJ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Angus King (I-ME), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Cornyn (R-TX), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Background

A copy of the legislation can be found here. Key elements of the legislation include:

  • A report by the Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the State Department, regarding the regional security threat posed by the crackdown and the frequency with which Central Asian countries are forcibly returning Turkic Muslim refugees and asylum seekers. The report will also include a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps.
  • An FBI report on efforts to provide information to and protect U.S. citizens and LPRs (including Uyghurs) from Chinese government harassment and intimidation.
  • A report by the CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media regarding efforts to intimidate Radio Free Asia (RFA) employees, the status and reach of U.S. broadcasting to Xinjiang, and analysis of disinformation propaganda by the PRC targeting Uyghur communities globally.
  • A State Department report regarding the scale and scope of the crackdown.

The bill urges high-level US engagement on this issue, the establishment of a new “double-hatted” position at the State Department (a Special Coordinator for Xinjiang) while the crisis persists, the application of Global Magnitsky and related sanctions, the full implementation of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, a review of Commerce Department export controls and end user restrictions and the establishment of a voluntary database whereby U.S. citizens and LPRs can provide information regarding missing/detained family members with a view toward pressing for accountability.