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Kaine Statement on U.N. Report Detailing Human Rights Violations Against Uyghur Muslims in China

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee focused on democracy and human rights, issued the following statement after the United Nations released a report confirming that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has committed “serious human rights violations” against Uyghur Muslims in China:

“I’m horrified by the UN Human Rights Office’s long overdue report on the plight of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, who have been victims of state sponsored genocide, torture, sexual violence and rape, and arbitrary detention by the Chinese government. While I’m disappointed the report does not go further by calling these atrocities a genocide, it’s nonetheless an important step in documenting the Chinese government’s appalling and systematic human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims. On behalf of Virginia’s Uyghur community, I call on the international community and United States to hold China accountable by implementing the report’s recommendations, including the immediate release of all individuals arbitrarily deprived of their liberty. The U.S. government should encourage international partners to also adopt similar legislation as the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which I cosponsored, to ensure that goods made with Uyghur forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) do not enter their markets.”

Kaine has been outspoken against the CCP’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims. In February 2022, Kaine sent a letter urging the Biden Administration to press the Chinese government to halt the harassment of his constituents and seek the release of their Uyghur family members who have been forcibly and wrongfully detained in China’s Xinjiang region. Last year, Kaine held a joint hearing to highlight China’s atrocities against the Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang province and discuss additional ways to pressure China to end this horrific genocide.

In June 2021, Kaine’s bipartisan amendment, co-sponsored by Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), to diplomatically boycott the Beijing Olympics as a way to highlight human rights issues in Hong Kong and with China’s Uyghur population was passed by the Senate as part of the bipartisan Endless Frontiers Act. Following Kaine and Romney’s urging, the Biden Administration announced a diplomatic boycott in November.

In March 2021, Kaine helped introduce a bipartisan Senate resolution condemning China’s human right abuses against the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and calling for an international investigation into the abuses and crimes committed there. In January 2021, Senator Mark R. Warner and Kaine co-sponsored the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, legislation to ensure that goods made with Uyghur forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) do not enter the United States. A version of this legislation was ultimately unanimously passed through the Senate and signed into law by President Biden in December 2021.