Senate Hearing on Atrocities in the Uyghur Region Advances Wide-Ranging Policy Agenda
For Immediate Release
June 10, 2021, 12:50 p.m. EDT
Contact: Omer Kanat +1 (202) 790-1795, Peter Irwin +1 (646) 906-7722
The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) applauds the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for holding an essential Joint Subcommittee hearing, “Atrocities in Xinjiang: Where Do We Go From Here?”, focused on expert policy recommendations for ending the ongoing human rights crisis in East Turkistan. UHRP thanks presiding Senators Tim Kaine and Ed Markey for leading this hearing and advancing further Congressional action.
“This hearing showed that American elected leaders are extremely well-informed about the Uyghur genocide and the long arm of Chinese government repression, including harassment and retaliation against Uyghurs around the world, and even in the U.S.” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. “The Senate must pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act without delay.”
Dr. Adrian Zenz gave testimony detailing his recent research on reductions in the Uyghur birth rate since 2017 and argued: “Beijing’s strategy in Xinjiang is not one of population destruction, but population control. It’s a mass atrocity without mass slaughter, one with human rights violations of historic proportions, but leading to a loss of millions of lives potentially.”
In her testimony, Campaign for Uyghurs Executive Director Rushan Abbas noted the “high number of genocide denialists, who target survivors and activists, attempting to undermine their stories, and even threatening their lives.” She endorsed immediate passage of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, legislation which has 50 Senate cosponsors, signaling deep bipartisan support. She also called for increased government action locating missing relatives of Uyghur Americans, effective action to stop cyber attacks and social media harassment of Uyghur Americans by Chinese state agents, and grant Uyghur refugees P2 status for safe haven in the U.S.
Dr. Sophie Richardson, China Director at Human Rights Watch, detailed the extensive complicity and negligence of U.S. and international corporations. She urged numerous policy actions, including the “urgent, urgent, urgent need to pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act” and the SPEECH Act of 2021. These measures are necessary to end corporate reliance on supply chains implicated in Uyghur forced labor, and that contribute to the technological apparatus of genocide in East Turkistan.
One company singled out by Dr. Richardson, iFLYTEK, sells its voice pattern collection system to the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau and is the “official exclusive supplier” of the Beijing 2022 Olympics in areas of voice recognition, voice synthesis, and machine translation. UHRP urges Congress to raise concerns about whether the American Olympic delegation will be forced to use the services of a company under U.S. sanctions for being “implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance” in the Uyghur homeland.
UHRP thanks the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for their commitment to Uyghur human rights, especially the acute comments by Senators Kaine (D-VA), Markey (D-MA), Rubio (R-FL), Romney (R-UT), and Hagerty (R-TN).