Bipartisan Uighur Caucus to check China on human rights abuse

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Bipartisan Uighur Caucus to check China on human rights abuse

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers have announced the creation of the Congressional Uighur Caucus, intended to keep the Chinese Community Party accountable for its human rights violations against the Uighur people. 

Led by Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi of New York and Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, the caucus’ goal is to “support legislation aimed at addressing the largest coordinated human rights abuse campaign of the 21st century,” the group said. The news of the caucus was first reported by Axios

“Products you buy from China that were manufactured with forced labor are cheaper, Souzzi told the outlet. “So, people are gonna say, ‘Oh my gosh, if we don’t do business with Xinjiang, the cost of products go up.’”

“Well, that’s too damn bad, he added. “This should shock everyone’s conscience.”

In the announcement, Smith called the internment of the Uighur people and other predominantly-Muslim ethnic minorities “egregious crimes.”

Red flags flutter at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China.
Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) are leading the caucus that aims to hold China accountable for the “egregious crimes” committed against Uighur and Muslim minorities.
Wang Baosheng/Qianlong.com/VCG via Getty Images

“The United States cannot be silent as Xi Jinping tortures and seeks to eradicate an entire population,” he said. “In solidarity with the oppressed, the Uyghur Caucus will call attention to the Communist Chinese government’s atrocious human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and work to end one of the world’s worst human rights tragedies.”

In addition to forced labor, the Chinese government has been accused of enslaving about 1 million Uighur Muslims and subjecting them to rape, forced sterilizations and other brutalities.

Executive director for the Campaign for Uighurs, Rushan Abbas, praised the caucus’s creation saying, “These atrocities, this genocide, requires a response that is proportional to its depravity.”

A Uighur couple walk in Kashgar in China's northwest Xinjiang region.
An Uighur couple walk in Kashgar in China’s northwest Xinjiang region.
GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images

“With this Caucus, we now have a way to organize our allies in the United States, and turn activism into concrete policy actions that address this unspeakable crime,” Abbas added. “Together, we will see this genocide ended, and those responsible brought to justice.”

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