Wenstrup Leads Coalition Urging Biden Administration to Hold China Accountable for Ongoing Genocide in Xinjiang
Washington, February 4, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) led 45 of his colleagues in writing to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan regarding the Chinese Communist Party’s coercive population control efforts and grave human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
“There is little doubt that China poses one of the most significant challenges to the United States going forward. As part of the Administration’s effort to confront this challenge, we urge you to prioritize holding the Chinese government accountable for the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang and to stand up for the rights to life, human dignity, and religious freedom for all people,” the members wrote.
The following Representatives signed the letter: Mike Gallagher, Ashley Hinson, W. Gregory Steube, Ann Wagner, Jody Hice, Scott DesJarlais, M.D., Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S., Ben Cline, Gus M. Bilirakis, Michael Waltz, James R. Baird, Jim Banks, Brian Babin, D.D.S., Andy Harris, M.D., Bryan Steil, Tom McClintock, Robert B. Aderholt, Warren Davidson, Lisa McClain, Guy Reschenthaler, Mario Diaz-Balart, Yvette Herrell, Robert E. Latta, Vicky Hartzler, Bill Posey, Ron Estes, Fred Keller, John Joyce, M.D., Chris Stewart, John Rose, Jackie Walorski, Darrell Issa, Jeff Van Drew, Ronny L. Jackson, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Randy K. Weber, Glenn Grothman, Michael Guest, Kevin Hern, Scott Perry, Tom Emmer, Ken Calvert, Scott Franklin, Michael Cloud, and Christopher H. Smith.
You can read the full text below:
Dear Secretary Blinken and National Security Advisor Sullivan:
We write to express our deep concern with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) coercive population control efforts and grave human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), as well as the CCP’s continued dissemination of propaganda to deceive the world about it. As President Biden’s Administration works to establish its foreign policy agenda, we ask that you make ending the ongoing genocide and broad human rights abuses – and holding the Chinese government accountable for them – one of this Administration’s top foreign policy priorities.
For years, Chinese government officials and academics have attempted to justify abhorrent state-sponsored ethnoreligious population control by claiming the need to conserve public resources and combat a supposed rise in religious extremism. They have also asserted that the specter of religious extremism is an opportunity to eliminate the obstacle of religious beliefs more broadly. These justifications are dehumanizing and destructive to religious liberty. We have learned from leaked government documents, witness testimony, and public reporting that CCP propaganda, which portrays these measures as nothing more than voluntary “birth control,” is merely a smoke screen for the CCP’s broad human rights abuses.
According to a June 2020 report published by the Jamestown Foundation, Chinese officials initiated a crackdown in 2017 to identify, sterilize, and punish women in the XUAR who violated childbirth limits or became “illegally” pregnant. The report cites multiple government directives enforcing this initiative. One directive requires mothers in violation to adopt “birth control measures with long-term effectiveness,” such as sterilization surgery or implanted contraceptive devices, and to be subjected to internment. Others require internment for those who refuse to abort “illegal” pregnancies and those who do not pay the related fines, which can range from three to eight times the average annual disposable income. A leaked government document known as the “Karakax List” confirmed that violations of population control regulations were the primary reason for internment in central education camps in multiple counties. Anecdotal stories indicate that the ultimate purpose of internment is not just “re-education” but also state-sponsored torture and sterilization. Altogether, the CCP curtailed natural population growth rates in Xinjiang minority regions by nearly 70 percent between 2015 and 2018 as a result of the Chinese government’s population control regulations and these more recent abuses.
Following the Jamestown Foundation report, the Chinese government responded with another disinformation campaign to deceive the public about the coercive measures the CCP uses against its female citizens in Xinjiang. On January 9, 2021, the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. shared information on Twitter about a Chinese research report deceptively claiming the Xinjiang government had simply taken efforts to reward and popularize “reproductive health,” and, in the process of eradicating extremism, has emancipated women’s minds.
On January 19, 2021, former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo determined that the People’s Republic of China has committed both crimes against humanity and genocide against the Muslim Uyghurs and other religious minority groups in Xinjiang. We were heartened to hear Secretary Blinken agree with this assessment during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the same day.
There is little doubt that China poses one of the most significant challenges to the United States going forward. As part of the Administration’s effort to confront this challenge, we urge you to prioritize holding the Chinese government accountable for the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang and to stand up for the rights to life, human dignity, and religious freedom for all people.
We look forward to working with you closely on this issue.
Brad R. Wenstrup, D.P.M.