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By Alex Chen
On Wednesday, a newly established congressional committee on China endorsed reports that challenge Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, while also aiming to prevent any potential conflict with Taiwan. The committee is optimistic that some of its recommendations will be enacted into law during the current year.
The Republican-led House of Representatives Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party unanimously approved both reports, marking its first such action since the committee’s formation. The approval was conducted through a voice vote by committee members.
In January, as Republicans gained control of the House, they established the panel with the intention of prioritizing policy efforts and raising awareness among Americans about the importance of competing with China. While the bipartisan committee does not have the authority to draft legislation, it plays a crucial role in providing policy recommendations. Notably, adopting a tough stance against China is one of the few policy areas in the highly polarized U.S. Congress that enjoys bipartisan support.
According to Washington, China is currently engaged in an ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities residing in the Uyghuristan region.
The recommendations outlined in the Uyghur report involve imposing sanctions on Chinese technology companies that are believed to be complicit in acts of genocide, as well as enhancing the enforcement of existing laws pertaining to the import of goods manufactured using forced labor from Uyghurs. Republican Representative Mike Gallagher, the committee’s chairman, expressed the importance of sending a bipartisan message, affirming that Congress will take a firm stand against genocide, considering it the gravest crime of all.
Rights groups have leveled accusations against Beijing, alleging various abuses such as forced labor and the detainment of over one million Uyghurs, predominantly Muslim ethnic group, in internment camps located in Uyghuristan. China vehemently denies these allegations and asserts that it has established “vocational training centers” with the aim of combating terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism.
The House committee published its reports coinciding with Congress commencing the drafting of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a comprehensive bill that determines policies for the Department of Defense.
A number of policy recommendations concerning Taiwan were put forth by the committee. These recommendations encompass enhancing joint training efforts between the U.S. and Taiwanese armed forces, expediting the delivery of weapons that Congress has previously authorized for sale, and bolstering U.S. military bases in the region. It is possible that these recommendations could be incorporated into the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bill that has been consistently passed by Congress for the past sixty years.
The people of Taiwan deserve to enjoy a peaceful existence, free from threats and intimidation,” stated Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, the leading Democrat on the pa
nel. China, on the other hand, considers democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and has escalated military, political, and economic pressure to assert its claims over the region.