Release Of 2021 Annual Report

March 31, 2022

(WASHINGTON, DC)—U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and U.S. Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), Chair and Cochair of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued today the Commission’s 2021 Annual Report on human rights conditions and rule of law developments in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The full report and an executive summary are available for download on the CECC’s website.

“The Chinese government’s horrific abuse of human rights and trampling of human dignity make it more important than ever that the Congressional-Executive Commission on China document abuses of human rights and the rule of law in China, as the Commission has done for the past 20 years,” said CECC Chairman Merkley. “This report calls attention to the limitations of China’s model of governance in meeting the needs of the Chinese people and in respecting fundamental rights both in China and globally. It should serve as a call to action. Those fleeing persecution, facing arbitrary detention, fighting coercion, or fearing the destruction of their culture need to know the United States has their back, and I hope Congress and the Biden Administration will continue to act on the CECC’s recommendations to do so.”

“Documenting the human rights abuses committed by the Chinese government is not only the Commission’s mandate, but our moral obligation to those who, due to repression and censorship, are unable to tell their stories,” said CECC Cochair McGovern.  “I commend the hard work and expertise of the Commission’s staff in monitoring and reporting on trends in China, from the horrific genocide against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims, to the repression in Tibet and eradication of democracy in Hong Kong, to the authoritarian clamp down on space for civil society, labor advocates, women’s rights activists and LGBTQ voices. Our Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act shows how to convert the Commission’s work into law, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to put the CECC’s recommendations into action.”

The 2021 Annual Report details the serious human rights abuses the People’s Republic of China (PRC) commits, including the genocide being perpetrated in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), the crushing of Hong Kong’s autonomy, and myriad violations of China’s Constitution and domestic laws as well as numerous international human rights standards. The report reflects the view of CECC commissioners that the Chinese government’s systematic violations of human rights and failure to fulfill its obligations under international treaties pose a challenge to the rules-based international order, requiring a consistent and coordinated response from the United States and its allies and partners. In particular, the 2021 Annual Report:

  • Deems atrocities against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in the XUAR as genocide;
  • Reveals elements of eugenics in population control policies directed at ethnic minorities.
  • Expands reporting on economic coercion aimed at stifling free expression and shaping discussion in the United States and elsewhere; and
  • Announces significant upgrades and enhancements to the Commission’s Political Prisoner Database to improve its usability for researchers and the public.

The report also highlights many recommendations for congressional and executive branch action, including recommendations under consideration as Congress works to pass legislation to enhance U.S. competitiveness with the PRC. This week, Chair Merkley and Cochair McGovern sent a letter to congressional leadership highlighting numerous of these recommendations, including:

  • Expanding immigration pathways for Hong Kong residents and Uyghurs to protect those fleeing PRC persecution;
  • Creating of the “China Censorship Monitor and Action Group” to protect U.S. businesses and individuals from PRC censorship and intimidation;
  • Extending the ban on export of crowd control equipment to the Hong Kong police; and
  • Sanctioning individuals complicit in forced sterilizations and forced abortions targeting primarily Turkic Muslims in the XUAR.

In recent years, the research and advocacy of the Commission produced significant legislation in defense of human rights, including the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (Pub. L. 117–78); the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act (Pub. L. 116–76), the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (Pub. L. 116–145), a bill to prohibit the commercial export of munitions to the Hong Kong Police Force (Pub. L. 116-77), and the Tibet Policy and Support Act (Pub. L. 116-260, Sec. 341). This year’s Annual Report lauds the critical signal sent by passage and enactment of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, an important tool preventing the complicity of American supply chains, businesses, and consumers in modern slavery.

Over the past year, the Commission completed a major upgrade of the Political Prisoner Database, a resource for case information on prisoners of conscience in China. Detailed information on thousands of cases can be found on the enhanced and searchable Political Prisoner Database. The Commission continued to highlight prisoner case in the past year, including though its #OlympicPrisoner initiative. A list of 16 representative cases highlighted in this year’s report can be found here.

Chair Merkley and Cochair McGovern commend the capable and professional work of the CECC’s research staff in producing the Commission’s 20th Annual Report.