Human Rights Organizations To Pompeo: Stand Up For Xinjiang

September 17, 2018

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin
Secretary of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20220

The Honorable Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
2201 C Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20520

We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to sanction all Chinese officials responsible for the horrendous human rights situation in Tibet and Xinjiang, also known as East Turkestan. We commend the State Department for calling attention to this issue in its first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious reedom, and concur with the Ministerial’s Statement on China, which strongly urges “the Chinese government to protect the religious freedom of all individuals and to respect the human rights of all members of religious groups in accordance to China’s international commitments to respect freedom of eligion.” We believe the United States can best pressure China by using the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to punish the officials responsible for these egregious human rights violations.

Tibet and Xinjiang are considered “autonomous regions,” but in reality, they are entirely controlled by Beijing. The People’s Republic of China has made a mockery of human rights, and established concentration camps the likes of which are found elsewhere only in North Korea. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is engaged in a full-scale campaign of cultural genocide against the Tibetans and Uyghurs, and it is time for the United States to take action.

According to the United Nations, the CCP has incarcerated 1 million Uyghurs in so-called “reeducation” camps, and as many as 2 million have been forced to undergo “reeducation and indoctrination.” The Congressional Executive Commission on China claims that this constitutes “the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today.” Tahir Hamut, a Uyghur Muslim who left Xinjiang for the United States, recounted during the Ministerial how his people are “now living in horror” of being thrown into these camps, where they are beaten, tortured, and forced to consume alcohol and pork, both of which are anathema to observant Muslims.

Mr. Hamut also said that “there are unprecedented restrictions on the religious lives of Uyghurs.” Even “free” Uyghurs living in their own homes face a life of fear and surveillance. During Ramadan, the CCP embeds officers in Uyghur homes to make sure they don’t pray or fast. Xinjiang is one of the most surveilled regions in the world, with the CCP investing more than $1 billion in security investment projects in the first quarter of 2018 alone. Officials like Chen Quanguo, Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang and previous Party Secretary of Tibet, are directly responsible for carrying out these brutal orders from Beijing.

The situation is just as bad in Tibet. Since invading and annexing Tibet in 1950, the CCP has murdered around 1 million Tibetans; destroyed 6,000 Buddhist monasteries; forced 100,000 Tibetans into exile; and ruined 80% of Tibet’s forests. The Chinese police state is so pervasive that Tibet has been described as “harder to visit than North Korea.” Yet the CCP is not content with merely controlling the Tibetans’ land; it must control their religion as well. For over half a century, the Dalai Lama has been living in exile from his homeland, and the Panchen Lama, who is the second most important religious authority in Tibetan Buddhism, was abducted by the Chinese over twenty years ago when he was only six years old; his current whereabouts are unknown. This state of oppression has tragically caused more than 150 Tibetans to lose all hope, and set themselves on fire to protest the abuses they face.

China will continue its atrocious abuse of human rights in Tibet and Xinjiang until the free world pushes back. We must show those officials responsible for enslaving innocent people that neither they nor their assets are welcome in the United States until these abuses cease. By imposing stringent sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act, the United States can send a powerful message that the world will not stand by as the CCP abuses its people.


21st Century Wilberforce Initiative
Bitter Winter
Boat People SOS
Buddhist Solidarity Association
Center for Pluralism
Center for Studies on New Religions
Chen Guangcheng Foundation
China Aid
Christian Freedom International
Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office
Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam
The Council of Peoples and Religions of Vietnam
Initiatives for China
International Campaign for Tibet
International Christian Concern
International Interfaith Peace Corps
International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees
The Junior Sacerdotal of Caodai Council
The Junior Sacerdotal Council of the Third Amnesty of God of Tay Ninh Holy See
Keep Taiwan Free
Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice
Love Your Neighbor Community
Magnitsky Global Justice Campaign
Religious Freedom Institute
Students for a Free Tibet
Union of Councils for Jews in the former Soviet Union
Uyghur American Association
Uyghur Human Rights Project
Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
Vietnam Coalition Against Torture
Vietnam Committee on Human Rights
World Uyghur Congress