House passes Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act
Legislation now advances to Senate, where it is poised for expedited consideration
The House of Representatives last night unanimously passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (H.R. 6256)—bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) to stop U.S. imports from China’s Xinjiang Region, where the Chinese Communist Party is committing genocide against the Uyghurs and other Muslims.
“Xi Jinping’s abject cruelty towards all people of faith—Christians, Falun Gong, Tibetan Buddhists—has evolved at his personal direction into genocide against the Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang,” said Rep. Smith, who has chaired a total of 74 congressional hearings on human rights abuses in China.
“This critical legislation prohibits imports from Xinjiang to the U.S. by creating a ‘rebuttable presumption,’” said Smith. “And that is the core of this bill—a presumption that all goods produced in the region are made with forced labor unless U.S. Customs and Border Protection certifies by clear and convincing evidence that goods were not produced with forced labor.”
“The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is important and necessary to end or at least mitigate the United States’ complicity in Xi Jinping’s genocide,” Smith said.
Smith, who spoke on the Floor during House debate on the legislation, shared just one of the many “truly nightmarish accounts” of Xi Jinping’s genocide that Mihrigul Tursun—a Muslim Uyghur—recounted at a congressional hearing chaired by Smith and Senator Marco Rubio in November 2018.
Tursun, who broke down weeping as she recalled her experience in one of China’s infamous concentration camps, said she pleaded with God to end her life as her Chinese jailers increased the electrical currents coursing through her body:
“Each time I was electrocuted, my whole body would shake violently, and I could feel the pain in my veins. I thought I would rather die than go through this torture and begged them to kill me. They insulted me with humiliating words and pressured me to admit my guilt.”
Smith, who authored the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2018, said “there are millions of stories like this waiting to be told.”
Banned from China for his tireless advocacy and legislative work to promote human rights, Smith is the only House member to have been targeted with sanctions by the Chinese government.