Uyghur Policy Act of 2021

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 29, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding, and for her management of this very important legislation as a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

It is my honor to stand on this floor today in support of the Uyghur Policy Act and to join my colleague, Mr. Smith. For decades, Mr. Smith and I--as well as Frank Wolf and so many others--have been working together for human rights throughout the world. I thank him for his leadership and his remarks on this important legislation. Again, a strong step in our continued work to counter the genocide of the Uyghur people.

In Xinjiang and across China, millions of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are enduring outrageous and barbaric abuses, from mass surveillance and discriminatory policing to mass incarceration in forced labor camps to mass torture, including solitary confinement and sterilization.

In its latest Human Rights Report, our own State Department has unequivocally declared that the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of the Uyghurs amounts to genocide and crimes against humanity.

It is often said that one of the most sinister and cruel forms of torture employed by authoritarian regimes is to tell the oppressed: ``Nobody even remembers you.'' They don't even know what the fuss is about.

This Congress remains bipartisan, bicameral, unbreakable in our commitment to shining a bright light on the persecution of the Uyghurs.

With this legislation, we send a powerful signal to the Uyghur people: America sees you; we stand with you; and we are fighting for you.

And we send a resounding message to Beijing: This genocide must end now.

My remarks go on to talk about the Uyghur Policy Act and what it does, in addition to what we passed in 2020, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act; in 2021, the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act. It includes the establishment of a Special Coordinator at State to spearhead the effort, which will ensure a laser focus on the brutal conditions facing the Uyghurs.

For decades, the Chinese Communist Party has waged a campaign of cruelty, terror, and repression, from cracking down on the culture, religion, and language of Tibet, intimidating the people of Taiwan, to restricting basic freedoms in Hong Kong, to jailing journalists and dissidents; and more.

We support and salute the courageous citizens across mainland China who are in the streets today speaking out for their freedom.

I join freedom-loving people around the world supporting the Chinese people for exercising this Fundamental right to make their voices heard.

Yet let us not forget how the government of China has often responded to these demonstrations with a heavy hand: whether in Tiananmen in 1989 or more recently against those marching for their rights in Hong Kong.

The past must not be precendent for Beijing's response to this wave of peaceful protests.

As I always say: if we do not speak out for human rights in China because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out for human rights anywhere.

This is America's moral imperative--and today, we take another step to honor this charge today with the legislation before us

I urge a strong, bipartisan yes vote on the Uyghur Policy Act.

Mr. Speaker, I also rise in support of legislation, H.R. 9308, honoring a legendary leader in Congress, Susan Davis, my dear colleague from San Diego.

Susan Davis began her career in public service in her beloved San Diego: First in social work, then on the historic school board, then the State Assembly; and now, the Armed Services Committee, Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Speaker, I urge a strong bipartisan ``yes'' for this bill honoring Susan Davis, and also for the Uyghur Policy Act.

Mr. Speaker, I again thank our colleagues for bringing these pieces of legislation to the floor, and I urge a ``yes'' vote on both.