An amendment offered last night by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, establishing a U.S. Special Envoy to respond to the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang, China received overwhelming bipartisan support and was adopted during the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s consideration of the Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement (EAGLE) Act.
Smith’s amendment—which seeks to hold the Chinese government to account for its genocide and other atrocious human rights violations—would require the Secretary of State to establish a U.S. Special Envoy for the Xinjiang Province to respond to the gross human rights abuses in the region, especially against the Muslim Uyghurs.
“This amendment will have a significant and positive impact on the urgent effort to bring additional scrutiny to the ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party in the Xinjiang Province,” said Rep. Smith, who has chaired 72 congressional hearings on human rights violations in China.
Among other responsibilities, the Special Envoy would coordinate diplomatic, political, economic, and security activities pursued by the United States government to address the mass detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, the surveillance and police detection of the Chinese government, and the counterterrorism and counterradicalism claims used by the CCP to justify policies in Xinjiang.
“Beginning in 2013, the Chinese Communist Party laid the groundwork for a mass internment campaign in the Xinjiang Province that would ensnare as many as 2 million Uyghurs,” Smith said.
“What began with surveillance and collection of biometric data—abetted by U.S. corporations such as Thermo Fisher Scientific—has now morphed into egregious human rights violations, especially and including the forced disappearances of Uyghurs into ‘detention and reeducation’ camps, the forced sterilization of Uyghur women and the forced aborting of their children, and state absorption of Uyghur children into orphanages far from home to be reared with non-Uyghur upbringing while their parents are tortured.”
In addition to his Special Envoy amendment, Smith also offered two other amendments to the EAGLE Act during last night’s markup session that are awaiting roll call votes by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which are expected to take place today.
One of Smith’s pending amendments would require a strategy by the Biden Administration to engage the International Olympic Committee on moving the 2022 Winter Olympics to a venue in a different country. The other would mandate an annual report from the Secretaries of State and Treasury identifying—for the purposes of sanctions—each individual and official in China involved in the production of fentanyl and its trafficking to the United States.