2019 Annual Report on Human Rights in China
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), former chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and current Ranking Member, gave remarks at a press conference of the bipartisan and bicameral CECC that was attended by many members of the Uyghur community who have loved ones suffering from human rights abuse at the hands of the Chinese government. The event was held to discuss the findings and recommendations of the Commission’s 2019 Annual Report on human rights conditions and rule of law developments in China. The following statement are excerpts of Smith's remarks:
This is the one area where there is total bipartisanship, bicameral cooperation on behalf of human rights, especially facing the egregious abuses being committed by Xi Jinping each and every day against the Uyghurs.
We have raised this issue for decades. I remember the first time I met Jomana Qaddour when she was permitted to leave the country. They had a couple of their children incarcerated—and now the entire family is incarcerated—as are so many of the family and friends of you who are here today from the Uyghur community who also have loved ones incarcerated.
When Mihrigul Tursun testified a couple of years ago before the commission in 2018, she said she was targeted because of her faith. She asked her torturer, “why are you doing this to me?” and was told “because you are Muslim and because you are Uyghur.”
We are talking about crimes against humanity on a massive scale. With regard to what is being done to the Uyghurs–– we are talking about something we have not seen since World War II. And the Chinese Government, in particular Xi Jinping, needs to be held accountable for this egregious behavior.
That means the UN, the United States, and everyone else around the world need to be raising these issues. The Muslim countries need to be far more outspoken in their condemnation of this genocide against the Muslims in Xinjiang.
We’re here today with this new report on 2019. There is continuity… we can look back at last year and look for any changes or reforms. Sadly, there’s not much good news to talk about––2019 has been a horrific year of human rights abuse by Xi Jinping and Beijing.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, which we pushed since 2014, was signed into law. Now we are calling on the President to faithfully and aggressively implement it. And I believe he will.
Secretary of State Pompeo has spoken about the situation in Xinjiang and in Hong Kong, for example, more than 20 times. They have raised religious freedom repeatedly, including two large summits held during the summer months, where religious freedom was focused upon. And there is no other country in the world that was more in the crosshairs than China because of the on-going of what Xi Jinping calls the “Sinicization”—of all faiths. Falun Gong, Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Muslim Uyghurs—all have to comport with Xi Jinping’s Marxist-Leninist viewpoint; or else they will be incarcerated or subjected to reeducation camps—or even death.
So this is a huge problem, and this commission will continue to speak truth to power. We also know—and I have been working on this since my first term in 1980—the pervasive use of forced abortion and forced sterilization continues, but it’s also being used in a horrific manner against ethnic minorities, especially the Uyghurs, as a way of population control and as another manifestation of genocide.(Click here to watch a video of Rep. Smith speaking at the press conference.)