Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act

The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 is a bill in the United States Congress that would require various United States government bodies to report on the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China, including internment in the Xinjiang re-education camps.[1][2]

Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019
Great Seal of the United States
Full titleA bill to condemn gross human rights violations of ethnic Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang, and calling for an end to arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of these communities inside and outside China.
Colloquial name(s)Uyghur Act
Introduced in116th United States Congress
Introduced onJanuary 17, 2019
Number of co-sponsors44
Legislative history

On September 11, 2019, a version of the bill was passed in the United States Senate by unanimous consent.[3][4][5] On December 3, 2019, a stronger version of the bill was passed by the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 407 to 1.[2] As of December 3, 2019, the revised bill is awaiting approval by the United States Senate.[2][4]

Legislative historyEdit

On September 11, 2019, a version of the bill—S. 178, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019—passed in the United States Senate by unanimous consent.[4][5][6]

On December 3, 2019, a stronger, amended version of the bill—the Uighur Intervention and Global Humanitarian Unified Response Act (UIGHUR Act)—was passed by the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 407 to 1.[2][7][4][8] The sole "no" vote was cast by Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky.[8]


The bill would direct the Director of National Intelligence to report to Congress on security issues caused by the Chinese government's reported crackdown on Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the Federal Bureau of Investigation to report on efforts to protect Uyghurs and Chinese nationals in the United States, the U.S. Agency for Global Media to report on Chinese media related issues in Xinjiang, and for the United States Department of State to report on the scope of the reported Chinese government crackdown on Uyghurs in Xinjiang.[1]

The bill would also call on United States President Donald Trump to impose sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act on Xinjiang Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, which would be the first time such sanctions would be imposed on a member of China's politburo.[9][10]



Editorials in the New York Times and the Washington Post supported the passage of the Act.[11][12] Opinion pieces written in various publications also supported the passage of the Act.[13]


A World Uyghur Congress spokesman said on December 3, 2019 that the House bill is important in opposing "China's continued push of extreme persecution" and that the organization looks forward to President Trump signing the bill.[9][14] Uyghur activists, think tank analysts and political representatives called on various governments to sanction Mainland Chinese officials for their perceived involvement in the Xinjiang conflict.[15]

The Chinese government have called the bill a malicious attack on China and demanded that the United States prevent it from becoming law, warning that it would act to defend its interests as necessary.[9] On December 4, 2019, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that the bill "wantonly smeared China's counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts".[2] On December 8, 2019, Minfeng/Niya County (in eastern Hotan Prefecture, southern Xinjiang) County Communist Party Committee Vice Secretary (委副书记) and County Magistrate (县长) Aizezi Aili (艾则孜·艾力) penned a criticism of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act.[16] The claim of deradicalization drew criticism in an article by the Deccan Chronicle[17] while an article written by Srikanth Kondapalli made criticisms of the PRC's grand strategy for Xinjiang.[18]

Analysts cited in an article by Reuters said that Mainland China's response to passage of the Uyghur bill could be stronger than its reaction to the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act[9] while the BBC's China correspondent said that if the bill became law, then it would mark the most significant international attempt to pressure Mainland China over its mass detention of the Uyghurs.[14]

On December 6, 2019, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates defended China's actions in Xinjiang in response to the passage of the act, stating that it is a "blatant interference by the US in the internal affairs of the People’s Republic of China." The statement concluded that “Syria emphasises the right of China to preserve its sovereignty, people, territorial integrity, and security and protect the security and property of the state and individuals.”[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "H.R.649 - Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019". United States Congress. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Westcott, Ben; Byrd, Haley (December 3, 2019). "US House passes Uyghur Act calling for tough sanctions on Beijing over Xinjiang camps". CNN. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  3. ^ "Actions Overview S.178 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)". United States Congress. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Uyghur bill demanding sanctions on Chinese officials passes US House of Representatives". ABC News. December 4, 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Lipes, Joshua (September 12, 2019). "US Senate Passes Legislation to Hold China Accountable for Rights Abuses in Xinjiang". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  6. ^ S.178 - Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019, 116th Congress (2019-2020),
  7. ^ "Anger in China as US House passes Uighur crackdown bill". Al Jazeera. December 3, 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Roll Call Vote No. 644, Clerk of the United States House of Representative (December 2, 2019).
  9. ^ a b c d Lee, Se Young; Brunnstrom, David (December 3, 2019). "Trump comments, Uighur bill hurt prospects of U.S.-China deal". Reuters. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  10. ^ Flatley, Daniel (December 4, 2019). "U.S. House Passes Xinjiang Bill, Prompting Threat From China". Bloomberg News. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  11. ^ "China's Brutal 'Boarding Schools'". NYT. NYT. March 17, 2019.
  12. ^ "What Congress can do now to combat China's mass ethnic cleansing of Uighurs". Washington Post. Washington Post. May 23, 2019. Meanwhile, bipartisan legislation aimed at holding the Chinese accountable, sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), has cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is in committee in the House. Hopefully it will pass both chambers soon.
  13. ^ Sources include:
  14. ^ a b "China sanctions: US House passes bill over treatment of Uighurs". BBC. BBC. December 4, 2019.
  15. ^ Sources include
  16. ^ 艾则孜·艾力 (December 8, 2019). 李梦婷 (ed.). 坚决不允许美国蓄意诋毁和抹黑新疆的人权状况. Xinhua News Agency (in Chinese). Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  17. ^ "'De-radicalising' Uighur Muslims: Is the Chinese action justified?". Deccan Chronicle. Dawn. December 18, 2019. Calling the US action a political move aimed at damaging its international image, China says it is running a deradicalisation programme to mainstream its communities. The Chinese claim has not been verified by independent sources and mystery shrouds its deradicalisation or re-education programme. China needs to demonstrate to the international community that it has inserted human rights safeguards in its deradicalisation measures ... It is interesting that at a time when exclusionism, supremacism, and hyper-nationalism tendencies are globally on the rise, China has decided to launch its own version of 'harmonising' society. This thinking might appear to negate the global trends but in essence, its objectives are similar, and it has little space for accepting diversity.
  18. ^ Kondapalli, Srikanth (December 8, 2019). "'No Mercy' for the Uighurs". Deccan Herald. Deccan Herald.
  19. ^ "Syria defends China's Uyghur policy after US condemnation". Middle East Monitor. December 6, 2019. Retrieved December 22, 2019.

External linksEdit