On Thursday, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), a longtime leader on human rights issues in Congress, condemned as “genocide” efforts by the Chinese Communist government to forcibly suppress the birth rates of ethnic minority populations on Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) though forced sterilizations, abortions, and detention. Smith also renewed his call for the International Olympic Committee to remove the 2022 Winter Olympics from China and urged the U.S. Olympic Committee to convey its condemnation of the Chinese Communist government’s actions.
“These policies are genocide and gruesome violence against women,” said Smith, who also co-led a bipartisan letter to the Administration signed by 78 House and Senate members on whether the atrocities constitute crimes against humanity or genocide, and merit imposing sanctions. “The Chinese Communist government should be immediately and loudly condemned by the U.S. and the international community. It has long been U.S. policy to sanction individuals complicit in forced sterilization and abortions, and that should be done immediately, but it is not enough given that these policies are intended to destroy Uyghur, Kazakh and other ethnic minority populations. The United Nation’s must convene an urgent discussion of Beijing’s egregious human rights abuses in Xinjiang and appoint a Special Rapporteur or a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate mass internment, forced labor, religious freedom restrictions, and now forced sterilizations and abortions.”
Smith’s statement comes as new information was released this week by Adrian Zenz of the Victims of Communism Foundation in the Associated Press.
“In addition, the 2022 Olympic Games must be moved from China—the world must not reward any country engaged in genocide and crimes against humanity. I renew my call that IOC Chief Thomas Bach remove the Olympic Games from China and call on the US Olympic Committee to convey their condemnations of Beijing’s actions.”
Smith is the author of a 2001 law requiring sanctions for Chinese officials complicit in forced sterilizations and forced abortions (see 8 U.S.C. 1182e) and the House author of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
As Co-chair of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional Executive Commission on China(CECC), Smith joined Sen. Marco Rubio in 2018 in calling on the International Olympic Committee to consider removing the 2022 Olympic Games from China because of the mass internment of over a million Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities. Since that time, human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, Tibetans, democracy and labor advocates, Christians and other independent religious groups have increased. Beijing is also flaunting its international obligations to protect Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy.
On March 11, Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), CECC Ranking Member and Chairman respectively, introduced bipartisan House legislation, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, HR 6210, that would address the egregious human rights abuse of forced labor camps committed by Chinese Communist Party officials and local authorities in China’s XUAR.
Smith is also the author of the House version of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019, which had 136 House cosponsors. The Senate version of the bill passed March 27 in the House and was signed into law June 17.
Smith has been a CECC commissioner since 2007, and chaired the congressional panel for two terms.