Chairs Release 2018 Annual Report


October 10, 2018

(WASHINGTON, DC)— U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chair and Cochair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), today issued the Commission’s 2018 Annual Report and announced several new joint initiatives to protect U.S. citizens and residents from intimidation and address possible crimes against humanity occurring in China. 

The 2018 Annual Report provides detailed analysis on human rights conditions and rule of law developments in China, and offers recommendations on ways to integrate these issues into U.S.-China relations. 

Among the major trends that the Report highlights are the unprecedented repression of ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR); a dramatic increase in Communist Party Control over government, society, religion, and business; and the increasing use of technology and surveillance as a tool of repression.  The Report also highlights the elevated role of the United Front Work Department, a Party institution used to influence and neutralize possible challenges to its ideological and policy agenda, and the impact this has had on religious freedom and ethnic minority communities.

At the press conference releasing the report, the Chairs recognized members of the Uyghur diaspora community in attendance who had been personally and directly impacted by the current crackdown in the XUAR.

“The Commission’s 2018 report documents gross violations of human rights in ethnic  minority regions, religious freedom violations, harassment of rights defenders and lawyers, suppression of free speech, onerous restrictions on civil society and more—the markings of a fundamentally authoritarian state,” said Senator Rubio. “The crackdown in Xinjiang resulting in the internment of a million or more Uyghur and other Muslims may constitute crimes against humanity.  The Communist Party has dramatically increased its control over government, society and business and is ruthlessly employing technology to further its aims.  As American policymakers increasingly reexamine the misguided assumptions that have informed U.S.-China relations, we must be clear-eyed about the global implications of China’s domestic repression.”

“In the continued quest to retain power, the Chinese government and Communist Party has sought to coercively control civil society, ethnic identity, and religious belief and to decimate the ranks of human rights lawyers, pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong and labor rights advocates in China,” said Representative Smith. “Even by the Chinese Communist Party’s low standards, this year has been audaciously repressive. This report shines a light on the Chinese government’s failures to abide by universal standards; shines a light on the cases of tortured and abused political prisoners; shines a light on a million Uyghurs detained in Orwellian “political reeducation” camp and on China’s still coercive population control policies.  It should be required reading for anyone interested in reevaluating U.S.-China policy.”       

In conjunction with the 2018 Annual Report’s publication, the Chairs also announced new joint initiatives, including: 

Letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray: The Chairs released a letter asking the FBI to report on how it addresses “unacceptable” intimidation and threats targeting Chinese, Uyghur, and Tibetan diaspora communities living in the United States.

Letter to Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, on 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics: The Chairs released a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach urging him “to take steps to reassign” the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing given “credible reports of the mass, arbitrary internment of one million or more Uyghurs and other predominately Muslim ethnic minorities” and other gross violations of universally recognized rights, “which may constitute crimes against humanity.”       

Legislative Initiatives: The Chairs announced the introduction of the Xinjiang Uyghur Human Rights Act of 2018 to focus U.S State Department resources on the mass internment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in China. During the 115th Congress, the Chairs and CECC Commissioners introduced a number of different measures related to human rights and the rule of law in China, highlighting bipartisan Congressional efforts to upgrade U.S. policy and diplomatic options regarding China. Among these measures are the Countering the Chinese Government and Communist Party’s Political Influence Operations Act (H.R. 6010/S. 3171, 115th Cong., 2nd Sess.); the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2017 (S. 417/H.R. 3856, 115th Cong., 1st Sess.); the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act (S. 821/H.R.1872, 115th Cong., 1st Sess.); the Stop Higher Education Espionage and Theft Act (S. 2903, 115th Cong., 2nd Sess.) and the Fair Trade with China Enforcement Act (S. 2826/H.R. 6001, 115th Cong., 2nd Sess.).

Nomination of Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti for 2019 Nobel Peace Prize: The Chairs announced their intention to nominate Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Tohti, who is currently serving a life sentence on charges of “separatism,” founded the website Uyghur Online, which sought to promote dialogue, peace, and understanding between Han Chinese and Uyghurs.   

Both Chairs commend the capable and professional work of the CECC’s research staff in producing the Commission’s 17th Annual Report. The full 2018 Annual Report can be accessed on the CECC’s website