Take Action for Human Rights

Tell congress to pass legislation on human rights abuses in Xinjiang, China

Where are they?

Right now, it is estimated that up to one million people — predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities — are being arbitrarily detained in “transformation-through-education” centres “in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Among them are Uighurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minority groups whose religious and cultural practices are key to their identity.

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.

Two key pieces of legislation that address the human rights violations being perpetrated by Chinese authorities in the XUAR have been introduced in the United States Congress: the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019, sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and 20 other Senators (S. 178); and the UIGHUR Act of 2018 (H.R.1025), sponsored by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and four other legislators.

The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 mandates several reports on aspects of the crackdown, including a report by the Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the State Department, on the regional security threat posed by the crackdown, the frequency with which Central Asian countries are forcibly returning Turkic Muslim refugees and asylum seekers, and containing 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 UIGHUR Act includes key provisions that would increase global advocacy by the United States on this issue at the United Nations, with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Central Asian states. The bill also mandates that the Secretary of Commerce shall deny applications for licenses by any companies for export to China of any machine learning, pattern recognition, artificial intelligence, or biometric technology unless they provide certification that it will not be knowingly used to facilitate the mass arbitrary detention of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minority groups.

The mass incarcerations of Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in China is an afront to international human rights law. The new Congress needs to assert its leadership on this key human rights issue and swiftly pass these two pieces of legislation without delay. Please take the next few minutes to email your Congressional representatives and urge them to support the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 (S.178) and the UIGHUR Act of 2018 (H.R.1025).