A Bipartisan Effort to Aid the Uyghurs

Good morning. President Joe Biden signed Democrats’ nearly $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill into law yesterday. Democrats are planning their next big legislative priority, which is expected to be a massive infrastructure package. In the meantime, members of Congress are working on policies that could pass with bipartisan support. Few topics bring the two parties together like human rights in China and the need to push back on the Chinese government on the world stage. Today’s Uphill focuses on the latest in these conversations.

Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Uyghur Refugee Bill

A group of representatives introduced legislation this week to make it easier for Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities who are facing persecution in China’s Xinjiang region to apply to the U.S. government for asylum. 

Sponsored by Reps. Ted Deutch, Mario Diaz-Balart, Jennifer Wexton, and Chris Smith, the bill would grant a special refugee status to Uyghurs and others who have been targeted by the Chinese government in its brutal efforts to stamp out Uyghur culture and identity. 

Up to 3 million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Krygyz, and other Muslim minorities have been forcibly detained in concentration camps in Xinjiang in recent years. Some who have made it out of the camps have described horrifying conditions, including frequent rapes of the prisoners by guards and other forms of violence. The Chinese government’s campaign against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang has also involved forced sterilizations and forced abortions in an effort to slash birth rates. Many Uyghurs who have been detained have also been victims of a sprawling forced labor system. The U.S. State Department officially labeled the atrocities a genocide last year.

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