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The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Sept. 30 amended and then approved a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) that supports the human rights of Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

“No one should feel unsafe because of their religious beliefs or ethnicity,” said Rep. Kim. “Unfortunately, millions of Uyghurs and other ethnic minority groups are repeatedly silenced, detained, imprisoned, tortured, and brainwashed by People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) officials.”   

The Uyghur Policy Act of 2021, H.R. 4785, which Rep. Kim sponsored on July 29 with 10 original cosponsors, including U.S. Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), now heads to the full U.S. House of Representatives for action.

“The United States must send a united, clear message against these gross human rights abuses,” the congresswoman said last week. “I urge House leadership to bring this bipartisan bill to the floor soon so we can take concrete steps to support Uyghurs and other groups subject to the PRC’s disinformation, coercion and abuse and support human rights and freedom around the world.”

If enacted, H.R. 4785 would create a special coordinator for Uyghur issues within the State Department; direct the U.S. Agency for Global Media to disseminate information concerning Uyghurs and other minority groups in the XUAR to Islamic majority countries; and require the State Department to offer Uyghur language training to Foreign Service Officers and to assign a Uyghur-fluent officer to a U.S. diplomatic or consular mission in China; and support U.S. efforts to raise Uyghur issues at the United Nations, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Kim’s staff.

Additionally, the bill would require the U.S. government to develop a strategy, in coordination with other countries, to pressure the PRC to close all detention facilities and release those who are detained, the summary says. 

Rep. Kim thanked her Foreign Affairs Committee colleagues “for joining us to condemn Beijing’s inhumane treatment and stand with the Uyghur population.”

The Uyghur Human Rights Project supports the measure.

The Ripon Advance

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