UPDATE (12/03/19): The House has passed S. 178. The legislation now moves to Trump’s desk for final enactment.
Currently, it is estimated that up to one million people — predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities — are being detained in “transformation-through-education” camps in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Among them are Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minority groups. The detentions appear to be part of an effort by the Chinese government to wipe out religious beliefs and aspects of cultural identity in order to enforce political loyalty for the State and the Communist Party of China.
In September, the Senate unanimously passed a key piece of legislation that address the human rights violations being perpetrated by Chinese authorities in the XUAR: the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 (S.178). The legislation mandates several reports on aspects of the crackdown, including a report by the Director of National Intelligence on the regional security threat posed by the suppression, the frequency with which Central Asian countries are forcibly returning Turkic Muslim refugees and asylum seekers, and would contain a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps. The State Department would also be required to report separately regarding the scale and scope of the crackdown.
The mass incarcerations of Uyghur and other ethnic and religious minorities in China is an affront to international human rights law. The House now needs to follow the Senate’s lead and pass S.178.