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U.S. Congress urged to act on China’s Uyghur, Taiwan issues

The U.S. House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, a recently established congressional panel, has issued a strong call for Congress to take decisive action against Beijing. The committee is responding to concerns over China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, as well as the rising tension over the status of Taiwan. The members of the committee have voiced hopes that some of their recommendations will be transformed into legislation within this year.

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Established by the Republican majority after taking control of the House of Representatives earlier this year, the committee put forward its first two reports, both of which were unanimously approved through a voice vote. The primary aim of the panel is not to draft legislation but to focus policy recommendations concerning China. This objective is particularly poignant given the current state of U.S.-China relations, as competing with China is one of the few areas where bipartisan agreement is found in an otherwise deeply divided U.S. Congress.

The U.S. government has been outspoken in its condemnation of China, accusing the Asian giant of perpetrating an ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in its Xinjiang region. The allegations have stoked tensions and attracted international attention, further straining relations between the U.S. and China.

Among the recommendations proposed by the committee are calls for sanctions to be imposed on Chinese technology companies alleged to be complicit in the supposed genocide. The committee also suggests reinforcing existing laws designed to prevent the import of goods produced using forced Uyghur labor. These proposals are seen as essential steps in countering the human rights abuses reportedly occurring in China.

Republican Representative Mike Gallagher, the committee’s chairman, underlined the necessity for bipartisan commitment in opposing genocide, which he referred to as “the crime above all crimes”. This sentiment was echoed by members across the political spectrum, indicating a broad consensus on this critical issue.

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China faces allegations from human rights organizations of widespread abuses, including the imposition of forced labor on Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group. It is estimated that over a million Uyghurs have been interned in detention camps within Xinjiang. China vehemently denies these allegations, maintaining that these institutions are vocational training centers intended to combat terrorism, separatism, and religious radicalism.

These recommendations come at a pivotal time as Congress begins drafting the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a significant bill that determines policy for the Department of Defense. Some of the committee’s policy recommendations regarding Taiwan, which include expediting the delivery of weapons, could be incorporated into this bill. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, the panel’s leading Democrat, emphasized the right of the Taiwanese people to live in peace, free from threats and intimidation.

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