A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a resolution Tuesday (March 23) condemning the Chinese government’s treatment of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang and calling for an international investigation into human rights abuses and crimes committed in the region. At the same Time, more than a dozen cross-party senators also introduced resolutions condemning Beijing‘s continued suppression of Hong Kong‘s autonomy.
Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Democratic Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Chairman of the East Asia Subcommittee, Republican Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, and Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, introduced a resolution condemning the treatment of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang by the government of the People’s Republic of China and calling for an international investigation into the abuses and crimes that have occurred there.
“Whether on behalf of individuals like Uyghur journalist and entrepreneur Aiseti, who has been unjustly detained since 2016, or victims of forced labor or entire groups monitored by mass surveillance systems, we must speak out against the abuses taking place in Xinjiang,” Sen. Coons said in a statement. “We call on the United States and our allies and partners to ensure a credible investigation into the crimes committed by the Chinese government in Xinjiang. We should cooperate with China when we can, but we cannot turn a blind eye to the Chinese government’s blatant disregard for the human rights of its citizens.”
Senator Rubio said, “The Trump administration was right to make the genocidal characterization at the time, and it is time for the Biden administration to take meaningful action and lead our allies and partners to stop these abusers and to hold the perpetrators accountable and bring justice.”
The United States on Monday took joint action with the European Union, Canada and the United Kingdom on the Xinjiang issue by imposing sanctions on Chinese officials. The U.S., U.K. and Canada, as well as New Zealand and Australia, also issued separate joint statements on the same day condemning the Chinese government for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Meanwhile, Senator Rubio, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, Republican Senator Jim Risch of Idaho and Senator Markey led a separate resolution condemning the Chinese government’s ongoing crackdown on democracy and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong and Beijing’s violations of its obligations under legally binding international treaties, namely the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. The resolution also calls on the U.S. government to take all necessary measures to ensure that the United States is able to meet its obligations under the 1984 Joint Declaration.
The resolution also calls on the U.S. government to use all diplomatic and economic means to punish Beijing, including responding to Beijing’s actions under the targeted sanctions and measures contained in the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. The resolution further urges the U.S. to consider the CCP’s violations of its treaty obligations to Hong Kong in considering any future agreements with Beijing and urges the International Olympic Committee to consider not hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.
“The United States stands with Hong Kong in the fight for democracy and freedom,” Senator Cardin said in a statement. “It is unacceptable that the Chinese government refuses to honor the agreement it made to the people of Hong Kong in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. We must continue to hold the Chinese government accountable and take action to hold human rights violators accountable for their actions.”
Senator Rubio said, “Words are not enough. We must use all available diplomatic and economic means to hold Chinese Communist Party officials accountable.”
The resolution was cosponsored by 13 other senators from both parties.