Cicilline Urges Action Against Chinese Government Abuse of Uyghur Muslims

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today spoke on the House Floor in favor of H.R. 6256, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. This legislation will ensure that goods made with forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China do not enter the United States market.

The Congressman’s speech, as delivered, is below.
 Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Chairman for yielding and thank him for his extraordinary, bipartisan leadership on this issue and on so many of the issues that come before our committee.
 I want to begin by acknowledging the leadership of the Speaker, who has been an advocate and a strong voice for human rights around the world but particularly in China for many, many years.
 And I rise, Mr. Speaker, in strong support of this bicameral version of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to ensure that the United States does all we can to condemn the appalling human rights record of the Chinese government against Uyghur Muslims.
 With the ongoing genocide against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang and with the crackdown on democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong, the world has seen what a glimpse of Chinese leadership in the international system would mean – a rejection of human rights, a commitment to authoritarianism, a silenced press, and the abandonment of the rule of law.
 In Xinjiang, over a million members of the Uyghur population have been forced to live in squalor; forced to abandon their beliefs; forced to abandon their children; and forced to work. Many have been tortured. Many have died. All have suffered. Policies undertaken in Xinjiang continue to stir the conscience and represent this country’s most agonizing human rights catastrophes ever.
 The Chinese government has unleashed a series of draconian measures that should give anyone in the civilized world a pause.
 They have mandated abortions; they have forcibly sterilized men and women; they have forcibly taken over half a million children from their families and they have sent them to so called re-education centers.
 They monitor the movements and the online activities of millions, ensuring Uyghurs and other minorities are robbed of their privacy, and they force Uyghurs and other minorities into factories for no pay and with no recourse.
 We must recognize that the Chinese government built its policy over time. What has happened to the Uyghur population is not borne out of a spontaneous brutality; it’s been a well-planned endeavor designed to extinguish a population that China finds undesirable.
 This is a systemic policy that denies the Uyghurs their humanity, their dignity, and seeks to ultimately deny them of their existence.
 We must do all we can to ensure that the clarion call of “Never Again” reverberates around the globe. This bill will ensure that goods made in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region imported into the United States are not made with forced labor.
 I want to thank Chairman McGovern for his extraordinary leadership and urge all my colleagues to support the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and again thank the Chairman for his courtesy and with that I yield back.

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