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Val Demings

12/08/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/08/2021 18:47

Rep. Demings Holds Chinese Communist Party Accountable for Human Rights Abuses

Orlando, FL: Today Rep. Val Demings (FL-10) voted for the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, legislation to crack down on goods made by forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) as part of the ethnic cleansing of the Uyghur ethnic group in China. Rep. Demings is a longstanding advocate for the safety and human rights of the Uyghur people, and votedin favorof similar legislation last year.Said Rep. Demings, "The Chinese Communist Party's ongoing genocide of the Uyghur ethnic minority in China is a crime against humanity. They have lied and dissembled to cover up internment camps, torture, rape, and forced sterilization. They have attempted to eradicate the religious beliefs of the Uyghur people. It is evil, it is unacceptable, and we will fight it.

"Despite efforts to politicize this issue, holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable has been a longstanding bipartisan mission in Congress, with both parties strongly in favor of cracking down on this authoritarian government and protecting the human rights of the Chinese people.

"The America I believe in is one with the courage to stand up to tyrants, genocide and crimes against humanity. America must set the example, light the beacon of justice, and gather the nations of the world to hold wrongdoers accountable for their crimes. I support the planned diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. I call on the administration to ban Chinese goods made with slave labor and advocate for an official international designation of genocide. I will continue to fight for the human rights and human dignity for all people, everywhere."

Background

Rep. Demings recently introduced new legislation (H.R.5332, the Reclaiming the Solar Supply Chain Act of 2021) to invest in U.S.-based solar energy component manufacturing and crack down on Chinese-sourced solar components that use forced labor (The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region produces roughly 45%of the world's polysilicon). Her bill would create a new ban on awards for solar projects that source from or supply to facilities that use forced labor.

Rep. Demings also previously cosponsored two additional bipartisan bills to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable and protect Uyghurs in China.

  • H.R.4785 - Uyghur Policy Act of 2021, which creates a comprehensive, multilateral strategy with concrete steps to raise international awareness of the persecution of Uyghurs, empower the State Department to effectively respond to human rights challenges in the XUAR, and push back on the People's Republic of China's (PRC) efforts to silence Uyghur voices.
  • H.R.1025 - UIGHUR Act of 2019, which imposes sourcing restrictions and export controls related to China's mass detention of the Uyghurs.

Today's votes also included two additional resolutions, which Rep. Demings supported:

  • H. Res. 837 in support of the safety and freedom of tennis star Peng Shuaiand calling for an independent investigation into her allegations, and
  • H. Res. 317 condemning Uyghur genocide and calling on President Biden to refer these atrocities to the United Nations for investigation, seek multilateral sanctions, and take all possible actions to bring the genocide to an end.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would create a "rebuttable presumption" that any goods made in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are made with forced labor and prohibited from entering the United States unless "clear and convincing" evidence is shown to the contrary.

It authorizes the President to apply targeted visa and asset sanctions on any person responsible for the labor trafficking of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities and directs the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to address forced labor in the XUAR.

Requires disclosures by publicly traded companies in their quarterly and annual reports about any engagement with entities building or running detention facilities and developing or providing surveillance systems in the XUAR; or engagement with any persons subject to U.S. sanctions, or responsible for, or complicit in, committing atrocities in the XUAR.

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