Smith's Remarks Upon Release of 2018 CECC Annual Report
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued excerpts of the following remarks at a press conference on Wed., Oct. 10, on the release of the 2018 CECC Annual Report:
The Commission’s Annual Report is the “gold standard” of human rights reporting on China and should be required reading.
I would also like to thank the staff of the CECC—especially staff directors Elyse Anderson and Paul Protic. They have helped us as Chairs do some very important work this year—whether hearings, legislation, and advocacy. Thank you.
The bipartisan reports and recommendation of the Commission are a vital contribution to the ongoing reevaluation of U.S.-China policy.
This is the 17th Annual Report on human rights conditions and rule of law developments in China.
China’s government and Communist Party have become more repressive in domestic politics, more mercantilist in trade and economic policy, increasingly dismissive of international norms, and more assertive in spreading their model of authoritarian governance globally.
China is on a race to the bottom with North Korea on human rights.
As this report shows, it has been another difficult year for Chinese rights defenders and democracy activists, religious leaders and labor activists, and U.S. businesses and media companies.
The crackdowns on religious groups, Uyghurs, and human rights lawyers is the most severe since the Cultural Revolution.
I want to reiterate as strongly as possible that our criticism is not about the Chinese people and culture, but of the Chinese government and Communist Party’s failures to respect universal standards or abide by international obligations—whether that be trade, labor rights, human rights, or law of the seas.
The Senator and I first publicly raised the issue of arbitrary detentions of Uyghurs in January of 2018. We were among the first public officials to raise the alarm.
The work of the CECC brought global attention to the Orwellian detentions of over a million Uyghurs and other Muslims.
The Chinese government cannot get a free pass on what it is doing to the Uyghurs.
Every nation has a right to ensure its own security. But the actions of the Chinese government are extremely disproportional to the actual threat—and may constitute crimes against humanity.
This issue should be front and center in all U.S. and U.N. interactions with China.
I can promise those watching today that the CECC will continue to highlight this issue until all the political reeducation camps are closed; all prisoners freed, and all families reunited.
Over the past year, the Chinese government has intensified the most severe crackdown on religious activities since the Cultural Revolution.
Xi has personally launched efforts to “sinacize religion” and the central government has issued commands to each provincial Party Secretary, making them responsible to bring religion in line with Communist Party ideology.
Two weeks ago in my House subcommittee on human rights I chaired a hearing on the gross religious persecution with an particular emphasis on Christians.
When Bibles are burned and Tibetan monks burn themselves in protest, when a simple prayer over a meal in public may be considered illegal religious gathering, when mosques and churches are demolished and Uyghur and Kazakh Muslims are forced to renounce their faith—the “China Dream” is a nightmare for millions upon millions of Chinese citizens.
U.S.-China tensions are high at the moment on many fronts and the Chinese government presumably is searching for ways to reduce—not escalate—them. Taking a hammer and sickle to the cross or jailing a million Uyghur Muslims will only ensure a tougher China policy, one with widespread, bipartisan and even global support.
The Chinese government also continues to coercively limit the size of Chinese families, violating international obligations.
It is a brutal policy that is the cause of unspeakable pain and suffering and drives China’s bride and sex trafficking.
As the White House continues to review U.S. China policy, we will be urging the Trump Administration to adopt the CECC’s recommendations.
The need for principled and consistent American leadership is more important now than ever before. Though the U.S. and China share many interests, there is greater challenges and competition in bilateral relations than ever before.
Nothing good happens in the dark. This report shines a light on the Chinese government’s failures to abide by universal standards; shines a light on the cases of tortured and abused political prisoners; shines a light on a million Uyghurs detained in Orwellian “political reeducation” camps and on China’s still coercive population control policies.
It should be required reading for anyone interested in reevaluating U.S.-China policy and a free and open Indo-Pacific region.