Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today celebrated President Donald J. Trump’s signing of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (S.3744), thereby enacting it into law. The Senate and House of Representatives passed the bill last month.
“We would like to thank President Trump for signing the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act into law today, as well as Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, Ambassador Brownback, and other senior administration officials for continuing to raise awareness about the plight of Uyghurs. It is a great day for American citizens as well as Uyghur and other Turkic people in China who have been subject to ghastly human rights abuses by the Communist Party of China,” USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel stated. “We would also like to acknowledge Representatives McGovern, Smith, and Sherman and Senators Rubio and Menendez for their years of leadership and hard work on this bill. In addition, we would like to extend our appreciation to Leader McConnell and Speaker Pelosi for their support in the final stages of this process. Because of the U.S. government’s commitment to religious freedom, for the first time in years we have reason to hope for a better future for Muslims living in China.”
The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act directs the administration to impose financial sanctions and visa bans under the Global Magnitsky Act against Chinese government officials responsible for the persecution of Uyghur and other Muslims. The law also requires federal government agencies to report on human rights abuses in Xinjiang and attempts by Chinese government agents to harass Uyghurs and Chinese nationals in the United States.
“This is truly a momentous day for religious freedom,” noted USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer. “We urge the Trump Administration to swiftly implement this new law by sanctioning Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, former Political and Legal Affairs Commission Chief Zhu Hailun, Hikvision Chairman Chen Zongnian, and any other Chinese official responsible for the crimes against humanity occurring in Xinjiang.”
In its 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF called upon the president to publicly state that U.S. officials would not attend the 2022 Winter Olympic games in Beijing if the Chinese government does not close the concentration camps in Xinjiang. In February 2020, USCIRF released a factsheet explaining how the new Administrative Measures for Religious Groups could further restrict religious freedom.
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