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(Source: The China Project)

Uyghur Policy Act Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Uyghur Policy Act of 2023 (H.R.2766) on February 15, 2024. The bill received support from 414 members of the House. 6 voted Nay and 10 did not vote. The legislation was first introduced on April 20, 2023 by Rep. Kim, Young. 

“Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities – just because of their identity – are repeatedly silenced, detained, imprisoned, tortured, and brainwashed in concentration camps led by the Chinese Communist Party. We must show through our words and actions that we stand against Uyghur genocide and the CCP’s repeated disinformation, coercion, and abuse,” said Rep. Young Kim, Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific. “The Uyghur Policy Act equips the U.S. with tools needed to support the basic human rights and distinct identities of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region subject to the CCP’s inhumane treatment. I thank Rep. Bera for co-leading this bill with me, the 106 cosponsors for your support, and all who joined this effort to stop Uyghur genocide. I will continue to fight to get this done, firmly push back against the CCP’s abuses, and support human rights and freedom around the world.”

The bill authorizes the establishment of a Special Coordinator for Uyghur Issues position within the Department of State

It authorizes the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State available to support human rights advocates working on behalf of the Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) that are persecuted in the PRC.

It states “the Secretary of State should, in consultation with the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies, develop a strategy to cooperate with like-minded partners to pressure the People’s Republic of China to—

(1) close all detention facilities and “political reeducation” camps housing Uyghurs and members of other ethnic minority groups in the XUAR;

(2) allow unhindered access to detention facilities and “political reeducation” camps in the XUAR by independent media, researchers, international organizations and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for a comprehensive assessment of the human rights situation; and

(3) protect human rights and preserve the distinct religious and cultural identity of the Uyghurs and the other religious and ethnic minority communities in the XUAR.”

A companion bill in the Senate, the Uyghur Policy Act of 2023 (S.1252) was introduced on April 20, 2023, by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and has been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.