the Human Rights of Uyghurs
As passed by the Senate, S. 3744 would impose sanctions on foreign individuals and entities responsible for human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region and require various reports on the topic..
The Uyghurs have traditionally inhabited a series of oases scattered across the Taklamakan Desert within the Tarim Basin, a territory that has historically been controlled by many civilizations including China, the Mongols, the Tibetans and various Turkic polities. The Uyghurs gradually started to become Islamized in the 10th century and most Uyghurs identified as Muslims by the 16th century. Islam has since played an important role in Uyghur culture and identity.
Since 2015, it has been estimated that over a million Uyghurs been have detained in Xinjiang re-education camps. The camps were established under General Secretary Xi Jinping's administration with the main goal of ensuring adherence to national ideology. Critics of China's treatment of Uyghurs have accused the Chinese government of propagating a policy of sinicization in Xinjiang in the 21st century, calling this policy an ethnocide or a cultural genocide of Uyghurs.
Summary of Immigration and Refugee Provisions. With respect to immigration and refugee policy, the measure would require the president to impose visa-blocking sanctions on individuals identified as abusing the human rights of Uyghurs. It also would require the Secretary of State to report on a number of things, including a description of the frequency with which foreign governments are forcibly returning Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other refugees and asylum seekers to the People’s Republic of China.
The first version of the "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act" was introduced in the Senate on January 17, 2019, by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) as. S. 178. It was introduced in the House on that same day by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) as H.R. 649.
The Senate passed the Senate-passed version of S. 178 on September 11, 2019, by unanimous consent.
The House Committee on Foreign Affairs marked up S. 178 on October 30, 2019, amending it an ordering it to be reported to the full House.
The full House of Representatives took up the House Amendments to S. 178 on December 3, 2019, passing it by a vote of 407-1.
A new version of the "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act" was introduced in the Senate on May 14, 2020, by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) as. S. 3744.
The Senate passed S. 3.744 on May 14, 2020, by unanimous consent.
Next Steps. Now that the Senate has passed S. 3744, the next step in the legislative process is its consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House is expected to take up the measure in the coming weeks.