Representative Smith Appointed Chair, Senator Merkley Cochair of Bipartisan Panel on China

(Washington, DC)–Representative Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) were appointed to lead the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) for the 118th Congress. Smith will serve as Chair and Merkley as Cochair of the bipartisan and bicameral body.

“I am honored to serve again as Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. The Commission is a model of bipartisan cooperation on issues that should always be at the heart of America’s foreign policy,” Smith said. “As Chair I will continue to shine a light on the Communist Chinese government’s egregious abuses of human rights and work across the aisle to further address genocide and forced labor; free political prisoners, protect religious freedom and end censorship; and focus on transnational repression and the erosion of Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms. It is an important agenda, but we cannot shrink from the challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China, as the PRC’s human rights abuses not only affect the Chinese people, but the interests and livelihoods of the American people as well. I look forward to partnering with Senator Merkley as we work together to face these great challenges.”

“The Congressional-Executive Commission on China plays a critical role in defending universal values against the forces of tyranny, censorship, and intimidation, and it is a privilege to serve as its Cochair for the 118th Congress,” Merkley said. “In collaboration with Congressman Smith and our fellow commissioners, I look forward to continuing the Commission’s bipartisan work to stand against the Chinese government’s assaults on fundamental freedoms, advocate for political and religious prisoners, and push for meaningful action. The story of Xi Jinping’s leadership is one of genocide, slave labor, trampling of democracy, and bullying of critics at home and abroad. It’s our job to do what we can to push back and protect those fleeing persecution, facing transnational repression, fighting coercion, or fearing the destruction of their culture.”

Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA) was appointed as the CECC’s ranking member for the House of Representatives in the 118th Congress. Additional House and Senate appointments are pending.

Congress created the Commission in 2000 to monitor China’s compliance with international human rights standards and to establish and maintain a list of victims of human rights abuses in China. The Commission submits an annual report to the President and Congress on these subjects. The Commission is comprised of nine Senators, nine Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials. The Speaker of the House, in consultation with the House Minority Leader, chooses the House members of the Commission. The Senate Majority Leader, in consultation with the Senate Minority Leader, names the Senate’s commissioners. The President appoints the five executive branch commissioners. A list of current and past CECC congressional and executive branch commissioners can be found here.

The Commission’s 2022 Annual Report and an Executive Summary are available on the CECC’s website. The CECC’s Political Prisoner Database, with information on over 2,500 currently detained prisoners of conscience in China, can be accessed and searched via the website at